Parks Analyzes Mobile Payment Technologies

A new study from Parks Associates finds that over half of U.S. broadband households want to be able to scan barcodes for product price and promotional information on their next mobile phone. “Mobile Payment—Stepping into Uncharted Territory,” a new whitepaper released ahead of this week’s GSMA Mobile World Congress, also reports that 37% of U.S. mobile phone owners are intrigued with the possibility of mobile payments. The study goes on to say that mobile payment technologies processed over $10 billion in transactions in 2011 in the North American market alone, a number that should continue to grow in the near future.

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Cablevision Reveals 2011 Results

Cablevision Systems unveiled their 2011 full year and Q4 results recently. They reported a fourth quarter revenue growth of 7.3% to $1.691 billion, while consolidated operating income grew 28.3% to $346.2 million. Their video customer base continued to decline, from 3,314,000 in 2010 to 3,250,000 in 2011, while their high-speed data customer total rose, from 2,892,000 to 2,965,000 in the same time frame.

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WiFi Aiming at Cellular Ubiquity?

The cellular airwaves are lousy with users. Even with 4G LTE on tap, promising tenfold gains in speed over today’s maxed-out 3G networks, the overwhelming growth of data traffic in the near future makes it unlikely that any cellular network can deliver its promised top speed, 4G or no 4G. How are you going to connect then? Via Wi-Fi, it appears. At up to 15 times as fast as 4G, WiFi certainly has the sheer power to compete with upcoming cellular network standards, but it has its own set of obstacles to overcome. Fortunately, the Wi-Fi Alliance is seeking solutions. Automated logins are on the horizon, allowing for seamless connections between different access points. Range is also being beefed up, with lower broadcast frequencies being utilized that can create hotspots that extend up to 40 miles across an open plain. Wi-Fi may not replace the cellular network, but it certainly has the potential to offload a serious chunk of traffic and allow cellphones to do what they do best: make uninterrupted phone calls.

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CenturyLink Debuts New IPTV Features

CenturyLink introduced new features for some of its IPTV customers. The new features include pausing live TV from any room and viewing the last five watched channels. The company said the new features are available through its Microsoft’s Mediaroom IPTV platform to customers in La Crosse WI, Columbia and Jefferson City MO, Orlando, Tallahassee and southwest Florida, Las Vegas NV, and central North Carolina. The upgrade also allows users who use the whole-home DVR service to pause live TV from any room in the house, rewind and fast-forward up to the live broadcast point, and add the channel they’re watching to their “Favorites” list with a single click. Upcoming features will allow customers to view content and programming online, access to social networking sites, and an enhanced on-demand library and additional HD channels.

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TDS Releases 2011 Q4 Results

TDS recently announced its results from the fourth quarter of 2011. According to the report, operating revenues increased 4% to $206.8 million, as HSI subscriptions rose from 227,700 to 238,400. The company also reported that TDS Telecom continued to grow the number of stations for its managed IP voice and data solution. Among 2012’s strategic priorities: increase broadband speeds, launch TDS TV in 19 markets, and increase the range of services and products for business.

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Challenges Ahead as Connected Devices Access More Content

With the sales explosion of consumer electronic devices such as e-readers, gaming consoles, Internet-connected televisions, smartphones, and tablets, providing content for these products has become a major industry. Indeed, today’s savvy electronics consumer may well demand that their digital content be available at all times, on every device they own. In eMarketer’s newest report, “Smart Devices: Evolution and Convergence,” the research and analysis firm tries to answer some of the questions that have arisen in the wake of this revolution, including:

  • How many people are using these key devices?
  • How will the leading smartphone and tablet operating systems fare in the next few years?
  • What marketing opportunities does the current device landscape present?

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February 2012 CrossTalk Hits the Street

The February 2012 edition of CrossTalk has been compiled, curated, and now released. This issue contains plenty of breaking news, relevant free and for pay market research, and a handy compendium of upcoming events. Stay up to date with all things telco and broadband by getting your February 2012 CrossTalk today.

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Rogers Unveils 2011 4Q Results

Rogers Communications reported on its 2011 fourth quarter results recently, announcing an adjusted operating profit gain of 3% over 2010. The firm also announced that cable operations revenue rose 3% as well, the growth based on a 59% increase in total cable service unit net additions, while margins of 48% reflect ongoing realization of cost efficiencies. Other highlights include:

  • Added 44,000 digital cable subscribers over 2011, with 10,000 of these occurring in Q4 (totals do not include Compton acquisition)
  • Added over 100,000 high-speed cable Internet subscribers over the year, with 25,000 added in Q4

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2011 Q4 Results Roll in for Windstream

Windstream Communications released its 2011 Q4 and annual results recently. Total revenues were $1.6 billion for the fourth quarter, an increase of 0.7% year-over-year. Consumer broadband revenues reached $118 million for the quarter, up 7%. Meanwhile, high-speed Internet and digital television customers rose (4% for both), although the net high-speed Internet additions fell (8,300 in 2011, compared to 11,400 in 2010).

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Motorola Mobility Slides; Set Tops to be Replaced by Gateways?

Motorola Mobility announced recently that revenue from its home division dropped 11% to $897 million in the Q4 2011. The technology vendor, which supplies digital set-tops and other equipment to Comcast, Verizon and several other cable MSOs, said fourth-quarter shipments decreased by 3 percent compared to the same period in 2010. Motorola faces increased competition in the set-top space from consumer electronics manufacturers, which are supplying gaming consoles, connected TVs and other devices capable of delivering pay TV programming. The company said it is fighting back by the planned deployment of video gateways, which would replace traditional DVRs and allow cable subscribers to access programming on multiple devices, including tablets, computers and thin client IP set-tops.

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Cincinnati Bell Announces Q4 and Full Year Results

Cincinnati Bell released its 2011 results recently, announcing that they had exceeded their original financial guidance for the year, hitting $1.5 billion after forecasting $1.4 billion. The company’s recently completed fourth quarter was also marginally better than last year’s, raking in $365 million compared to Q4 2010’s tally of $363 million. High-speed Internet subscribers rose to 257,300 (an increase of over 1,200 new customers), while DSL subscriptions dropped almost 11,000 over the course of 2011.

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Content on Multiple Screens to Become Routine

According to new research from IMS Research, the number of IP-enabled consumer electronics shipped will near 2.5 billion in 2012, and rise to 3.5 billion in 2015. The sheer number of devices suggests that multi-screen content consumption is set to become a mainstream activity. IMS notes that the increasing adoption of fixed broadband connectivity in homes, along with the high popularity of wired and wireless home networking, will also play a large part in driving this transition forward, along with the growing installed base of IP-enabled CE devices.

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Verizon Tops J.D. Power Again

The latest J.D. Power and Associates customer care survey ranks Verizon no. 1 in customer care performance. Second, third and fourth place among the four largest carriers went to Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile, respectively. Virgin Mobile emerged victorious for customer care among non-contract providers. Interestingly, owners of 4G-enabled handsets contact their carrier considerably more than owners of less sophisticated devices, and each of these support calls takes five minutes longer than support calls involving the older phones.

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Frontier Posts 2011 Financial Results

Frontier Communications Corporation unleashed its Q4 financials, announcing a fourth-quarter revenue of over $1.2 billion, operating income of $230.5 million, and a net income of $42.2 million, which represented their strongest quarterly revenue performance since acquiring Verizon. Other notable numbers:

  • The company notched 1,764,200 high-speed Internet subscribers as of 31 December 2011, a gain of over 50,000 for the year
  • On that same date, Frontier could also boast of 557,500 video customers
  • Reached 415,000 new households with broadband availability during the year

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East Asia Leads in Fastest Advertised Broadband Speeds

According to an informal survey of advertised global broadband speeds conducted by IDG, East Asian countries boast some of the fastest advertised connections around, with four countries featuring at least one carrier claiming average download speeds of 100Mbps or higher. Hong Kong emerges as the leader, with advertised broadband upload/download speeds of 300Mbps. Other East Asian countries to feature 100Mbps download speeds are Taiwan, South Korea and Japan (Poland, Germany and Canada are also in this club). Even more impressive, Hong Kong’s 300Mbps service costs just $40 a month and includes television service. In the United States, by contrast, 25Mbps Internet access runs around $75 per month, and doesn’t include television.

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CenturyLink Releases Annual Results

Next up, CenturyLink. The company reported revenues of $4.653 billion and growth of 4.7% year-over-year. They also announced strong growth in high-speed Internet subscriber numbers, with over 70,000 new additions (reaching 5.55 million customers), as well as 1,250 fiber builds within their fiber-to-the-tower expansion initiative. Other highlights:

  • Broadband subscriber base grew from 5,316,000 to 5,554,000 in 2011
  • Expanded Prism TV subscribership by 30% in Q4 2011, and increased penetration of available homes from 5% to 7%

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Comcast Announces Q4 and Year-End Results

And the hits just keep on coming. Comcast reports its annual results. Among the many numbers:

  • Cable Communications OCF grew 6.4% in Q4, year-over-year
  • Cable revenue increased by 4.7%, to $9.5 billion, driven by a 10.1% increase in high-speed Internet revenue and a 36.8% increase in business services revenue
  • The number of video customers dropped, from  22,802,000 to 22,343,000
  • In contrast, the number of high-speed Internet subscribers rose from 16,988,000 to 18,147,000
  • Combined video, high-speed Internet, and voice customers increased by 1.4 million


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Mobile Web Use Continues Steady Rise

According to analytics firm StatCounter, users accessing the Internet through mobile devices continue to rise, doubling every year since 2009. For instance, StatCounter finds that current global Internet usage with mobile devices reached 8.5%, nearly double the 4.3% level of 2011. This statistic, however, comes with an important caveat: only cellphones were tabulated; tablets were not included in the mix. Furthermore, the worldwide leader in mobile Web use was Nokia, with nearly 40%, much of it coming from emerging markets such as India. A strong #2 contender is Apple; the iPhone manufacturer, while trailing Nokia worldwide, leads in use in the United Kingdom and the United States.

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Apple in Talks With Rogers, BCE

According to a recent report, Canadian providers Rogers and BCE will be among the first ISPs to partner with Apple on its upcoming television, a product which has been rumored for some time and is expected to feature Siri, the voice command protocol found in Apple’s wildly popular iPhone 4S. Similar to Microsoft’s recent strategy of lining up partners for its upcoming XBox Live video offering, Apple could be in the process of inking deals with various content suppliers. It remains to be seen, however, if Apple can circumvent the entertainment industry’s restrictive licensing practices and deliver a groundbreaking Internet video experience.

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MTS Reveals 2011 Earnings Report

Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. (MTS) recently reported net earnings of $167.1 million for the year ending December 31, 2011. Earnings per share (“EPS”) were $2.55, compared with $2.18 for 2010. Q4 earnings were $36.9 million. Among other highlights of the results:


  • HSI subscriptions rose from 183,571 in 2010 to 188,946 in 2011, while IPTV subscriptions went from 89,967 to 95,476 in the same time frame
  • Internet revenues grew by 7.8% in Q4
  • IPTV revenues grew 21.8% in Q4
  • MTS wireless revenues were up 8.6% while ARPU rose $2.34, driven by 46.1% wireless data revenue growth
  • MTS IPTV revenues were up 19.3%; 64% of IPTV customers now subscribe to the premium service

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Telus Reports Q4 2011 Results

Telus Corporation recently revealed that their revenue for Q4 2011 was $2.7 billion, a year-over-year increase of more than 5%. The growth was driven by an increase in wireless (6.5%) and wireline (4%) revenue, and strong data growth. Other interesting points:

  • Telus added 56,000 TV subscribers in Q4, bringing its total to 509,000 (2010 subscriber base: 314,000)
  • The company also gained 24,000 new high-speed Internet customers in the quarter, reaching 1,242,000 subscribers (2010 subscriber base: 1,167,000)

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Bell Canada Submits Q4 2011 Results

Bell Canada was the latest telecom firm to announce results from its recently completed quarter. They reported net earnings attributable to common shareholders of $486 million, compared to $318 million in Q4 2010. Among the avalanche of numbers in BCE’s report, a few nuggets:

  • Revenue was up 12.8%, due to strong wireless and media demand, while their wireline business languished
  • Bell TV additions increased 20.4% as Fiber TV gained nearly 28,000 customers, spurred by expansion into the Montreal and Toronto markets
  • The TV subscriber base hit 2,087,596, a gain of 3.3% over 2010
  • High-speed Internet activations grew as well, inching up 0.7% to 2,112,752

For full coverage, see


Dell’Oro Forecasts Growth in Wireless LAN

In a new report by the Dell’Oro Group, overall Wireless LAN (WLAN) market revenues are forecast to reach $9.9 billion in 2016, an increase of 52% over 2011. Some emerging trends expected to drive this growth include WiFi Offload, the 802.11ac upgrade cycle, consumer video over WiFi, as well as a continuation of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend. The report sees the Enterprise segment of the Wireless LAN industry surpassing the $5.0 billion milestone by 2016, while the SOHO segment could approach $4.6 billion. Included in the report as well are estimates on total SP unit purchases and WiFi Offload traffic.

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Time Warner Cable Releases 2011 Results

More Q4 numbers, these from Time Warner Cable. According to their report, TWC’s revenues went up 4%, to $5.0 billion. As for the company’s residential services, growth in this sector was driven by increases in high-speed data and voice revenues. High-speed subscriptions rose from 9,469,000 to 9,954,000 during 2011, while growth in residential video was impacted by lower transactional video-on-demand revenues. The decline in video subscriptions was also notable, dropping from 12,257,000 to 11,889,000 in 2011.


To view the entire report, see

Infonetics Surveys Broadband Operators about Home Automation

Infonetics Research surveyed broadband operators who are deploying home automation or home control services about the types of services they plan to offer now and in the future, home monitoring equipment suppliers they buy from now and are evaluating for future purchases, and who they perceive of as the top suppliers in the field.

The results make up the bulk of “Home Automation Service Strategies: Global Service Provider Survey,” an in-depth look into the latest trends in home automation. Highlights include:

  • The top reasons broadband providers are deploying home automation services are to increase average revenue per user (ARPU) and reduce subscriber churn
  • Home security service is the most popular home control service offered currently and will remain a top home automation service
  • Monitoring of appliances and monitoring of whole home energy usage will see the biggest growth among home automation services between now and 2013


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Park’s Scrutinizes Digital Gaming Trends

Park’s Associates has released a new whitepaper, titled “Trends in Digital Gaming: Free-to-Play, Social, and Mobile Games.” In the report, the firm examines the impact of the latest generation of online games, particularly in the monetization options created by the new opportunities in mobile gaming. The digital distribution model of games is also investigated, along with the impact of the explosion of new gamers and the abundance of devices with which they can access videogames.

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Bell Aliant Announces 2011 Q4 Results

Bell Aliant unveiled their Q4 results for 2011 recently. Among the announcements, they noted that number of customers on their high-speed Internet service was up 2.4%, to 862,000, while their total FibreOP Internet customer base grew to 47,000. Meanwhile, total IPTV customers numbered 77,000, and FibreOP TV subscribers grew by 11,000, to 42,000.

For the full announcement, see


Shaw Reports on 2011 4Q Results

Shaw Communications Inc., one of Canada’s leading telecommunications providers, announced consolidated financial and operating results for the three-month period ending on November 30, 2011. The company revealed that the number of Internet subscriptions slowed during this timeframe, adding 40,298 subscribers for a total of 1,877,916. This number compares to the 93,041 subscribers Shaw added from 2009 to 2010. Also, consolidated revenue for the quarter was $1.28 billion, up 19% over last year’s Q4, while total operating income increased 18%.

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Verizon Unveils 2011 Q4 Results

Verizon reported on its 2011 Q4 results recently, announcing mixed results with a loss of 71 cents per diluted share due to non-cash pension items, while also experiencing a 7.7% year-over-year revenue growth, a company record. Among other highlights:

  • Total wireline broadband subscriber base rose 300,000, to 8.7 million
  • FiOS Internet subscriptions totaled 4.8 million, while FiOS video subscriptions reached 4.2 million
  • DSL subscriptions dropped 400,000, to 3.9 million


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AT&T Releases 2011 4Q Results

Highlighted by record mobile broadband sales, strong wireless performance, and improved wireline revenue trends, AT&T released its 2011 4Q results. Other interesting numbers from the release:

  • Total wireline broadband subscibers reached 16.4 million, of which more than 5 million were U-Verse subscribers
  • U-Verse subscriber base grew by 2.2 million in 2011
  • Launched AT&T U-Verse TV Wireless receiver, the first fully-integrated wireless receiver available from any provider
  • DSL subscribers decreased to 11.2 million, a drop of more than 2 million subscribers


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Redbox, Verizon Make Distribution Deal

Verizon and Redbox are close to teaming up to distribute live TV networks to high-speed Internet users nationwide, in addition to renting viewers DVDs and movie downloads. Redbox parent Coinstar broke the news recently during an SEC filing. Verizon and Coinstar executives said little about the joint venture on a conference call Monday, saying only that they will discuss strategy details in the second half of 2012. But the Coinstar filing suggests that Verizon hopes to use Internet video distribution to expand outside its FiOS TV services. Verizon will own 65 percent of the joint venture with Redbox when the deal is finalized, and may also be able to use Redbox kiosks to market its FiOS products.


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Tablets, E-book Reader Sales Surge at End of 2011

Sales of tablet computers and e-book readers escalated during the 2011 holiday season, resulting in the share of adults who own at least one of the devices to rise from 10% to 19%. These results are based on a pre-holiday survey conducted among people age 16 and older between Nov. 16 and Dec. 21, and two surveys of adults age 18 and older administered in January 2012. The findings are notable, since during the period from mid-2011 into the autumn of the year, tablets and e-book ownership levels remained flat. It took the holiday season, along with lower-priced tablets such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Barnes and Noble’s Nook, to spur sales.


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