Tahoe Talks Shop
Lin got on the phone with Unstrung late Tuesday, initially to chat about the company's new management appointments. But the talk inevitably turned to customer deployments -- or the seeming lack of them. The firm had originally said that customers would implement its Mobile Internet Edge (MIE) infrastructure platform before the end of this year (see Tahoe Confirms Cutbacks)
Lin says Tahoe has a couple of trials running in Europe and a couple in North America. There is particular focus on service creation with some of the European carriers.
However, Lin says the company's main focus has been the Asian market. "Mainly, I think they are a little bit more advanced."
This is a viewpoint Yankee Group analyst Phil Marshall agreed with when we called to ask about Tahoe's prospects in Asia. "From an infrastructure standpoint, Japan and other Tier 1 Asian markets are trailblazers, so they almost have to look at some of these startups," he says.
Lin confirmed that Tahoe does definitely have trials in Japan. One carrier, he says, has been testing for scaleability and dynamic fault tolerance at heavy call volumes. "They don't usually trust the vendor," he notes.
Yankee's Marshall didn't really want to comment on which carrier he thinks Lin is talking about. However, we at Unstrung have a few ideas. It would be interesting to see what you, Dear Reader, thinks.
Consider: There are only three major, high volume operators in Japan -- NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM), J-Phone Co. Ltd., and KDDI Corp. Out of those, KDDI is the only one taking the CDMA route to 3G; both DoCoMo and J-Phone are working on WCDMA/UMTS systems. Tahoe is generally considered to be strong on CDMA technology. Ergo, the major Japanese customer may well be KDDI.
Marshall wonders how much it all matters anyway. "One thing I'm kind of wary of with these things is... what percentage of the total infrastructure spend are they getting. When these things come out, it is really a matter of being able to quantify them."
So, that'll be the next fun question for Unstrung. If and when these startups (see Having a Flutter on the GGSNs) get "multimillion-dollar deals," just how much are they worth?
— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung www.unstrung.com