News in Short: The top five wireless trends, study shows less than 1% of torrents are legal


Globe on Technology offers “low-down” on future of Canada’s telecom industry

The Globe and Mail’s Globe on Technology, run by expert tech bloggers, suggests their top five trends for Canada’s wireless world. I would agree with most of it. This is a trimmed (but still quoted) version.

1. Fragmentation of the market

Rogers, Bell, Telus and Wind have regional strengths. Rogers is really strong in Toronto and Ontario. Telus is stronger out west, especially in Alberta. Montreal-based Bell is up front in Quebec. And so on. With cable companies launching wireless service over the next couple of years only in their respective markets, many expect the industry to fragment further.

2. Wireless substitution

Traditional providers like Bell, Telus and Rogers have yet to slash wireless prices and introduce unlimited plans across the board for one very good reason: If they did, all of their home phone subscribers would cut the cord on their landline and go completely wireless. Think of all the revenue the Big Three would lose. So they haven’t done it. It’s that simple.

But things are changing. Market newcomers have no such qualms about pricing, since they have no landline customers. This is why their pricing is so low and why they’re offering unlimited voice plans that mimic the talk-‘til-you-drop attitude of the landline.

3. The decline of voice revenue

The amount of revenue carriers garner from voice minutes has been dropping, and fast. Voice is quickly becoming commoditized and worthless, especially as data use begins to soar. Carriers can no longer say, “Here’s a voice product. Now pay me a massive monthly bill for the privilege.” It doesn’t work that way any more.

For carriers with tons of wireless customers paying huge bills and watching a flood of new competitors offer $24 all-you-can-talk buffets, this is alarming. With Rogers launching Chatr, and with the rise of data services like texting and social media and e-mailing, the decline of revenue from voice services will only continue to intensify.

4. The data crunch

Wireless data consumption is booming. Newer, more powerful smart phones are gobbling up vast amounts of data on mobile networks. Consumers are loving it, and growing accustomed to streaming YouTube videos for friends at bars, growing frustrated when you can’t watch free, pirated TV in bed on your phone, etc.

Data brings in big revenues for carriers. Consumers love it. But it’s also a challenge to network operators: They need to become more efficient with how they transport and handle data, and need to offload some of the strain onto their wired networks (like getting you to use your iPad at home, on WiFi, for example.) If they don’t, the gains from data won’t replace the losses from voice.

5. Mobile broadband

In a country the size of Canada, it’s tough to expect that every household in the country will be hooked up to a wired network – which are almost always faster, more reliable, and have better quality than wireless networks. This has a variety of social, political and financial implications. The issue is complicated. But what’s clear is that mobile broadband is taking off.

The future is mobile!

BitTorrent found to be incredibly illegal

The University of Ballarat in Australia conducted a study which analyzed the percentage of legal content found on torrent giant BitTorrent. The result? After 1,000 random samples of files, a minuscule 0.3 percent of the files were confirmed to be 100% legal.

A similar report issued earlier this year elsewhere suggested a minimum of 99% of BitTorrent were illegal in some manner.

Ballarat’s study also said that just four percent of torrents were responsible for a whopping 80 percent of the seed population. And 9 out of 10 of the most seeded files were Hollywood films (Lady Gaga’s album, The Fame Monster was the exception).