2007 Top Ten: Services Stories
So, while we still think the best service of the year is the "takeaway" option from the Blue Mint curry house in Epsom, England (it does a tongue-tingling chana masala), here's our pick of 2007's top telecom services stories (in no particular order and based on some very eclectic criteria).
10. Come fly with me
Fancy being assaulted at an altitude of 30,000 feet? Then you could do worse than book an international flight with Air France, whip out your fancy handset, and get tapping.
That's because the airline's Airbus A318 aircraft are now fitted out with technology from OnAir that, initially, enables passengers to send and receive emails and text and multimedia messages. (See Air France, OnAir Team.)
And within a few months, "passengers will be able to make and receive phone calls, with the service being regulated to maintain passengers’ comfort and well-being."
The well-being of whom, we're not sure.
After six months, Air France will examine "feedback and comments made by customers to determine whether to launch this service on all of its flights."
This is a new service worth watching, if only for the reports of in-flight brawls over the Alps.
The OnAir system is also being deployed by cut-price European airline Ryanair, which is due to launch its service on 25 aircraft by March 2008 after an extensive trial period. (See Irish Skies Are Humming.)
9. Screen Blip
We couldn't have a Top 10 Services article without one of the host of online video sharing sites that's out there eating up bandwidth and keeping some of the vendors we write about in business, so...
Blip.tv does blip.tv. And it does it very, very well. It made some changes about a year ago, and the site works well and is easy to use. (See Big Changes at Blip.)
And it has "Cinema Psychic." 'Nuff said.
8. Video killed the TDM stars
No, we don't really know what our own sub-headline means either, but it sounded right for this little snippet about Optimum Lightpath , the business services arm of Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC).
The Optimum team -- they like to be called that -- are finding new ways of using their spanking new Ethernet network, which has been receiving plaudits and accolades (as opposed to audits with lemonade) for the past couple of years. (See HR Awards Top Ethernet Providers and MEF Honors Optimum Lightpath.)
So in August the operator announced its Broadcast Video Transport (BVT) service, targeting broadcasting and video production companies and an increasing number of regular enterprise customers. (See Optimum Lightpath Lights Up Video Transport.)
This story has all the right stuff going on -- best use of assets, video, a guy called Troy Glick... How could we not include it?
7. At FT, FMC spells UNIK
It's our first entry for Orange (NYSE: FTE), which has taken a very Gallic approach to fixed/mobile convergence (FMC) by giving its service a name that sounds great in French but plain weird elsewhere.
That service is UNIK (or YOUNEEK, if you live in Paris). And it's a winner for le grand porteur's domestic business, Orange France .
In June we reported: "Orange France has left other European operators in the dust when it comes to fixed/mobile convergence." (See Orange Doubles FMC Customers.)
Those others include some pretty big names, too. (See Deutsche Telekom Cancels FMC Service and BT's Flat Fusion .)
The service has proved popular in France because it has been well marketed and, er, it works. It even got a namecheck from FT's CEO when the carrier reported a leap in profits for the first half of 2007. (See Emerging Growth Pumps Up FT.)
With solid growth continuing towards the end of the year -- 468,000 dualmode WiFi/GSM handsets sold for its unlicensed mobile access (UMA)-based service by the end of September -- the carrier is now planning a 3G version of the service. (See Orange Builds on FMC Base and Unik 3G.)
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