• Ross Fadner, Dec 28, 2006, 10:45 AM
  • Sprint Uses Wireless Technology To Cut Costs Business Week Sprint Nextel Corp. aims to become the first major cellular carrier to use the latest in wireless Internet technology to cut the cost of rerouting cell-phone calls through "backhaul" networks. The new measure will cut the cost of switching calls by more than two-thirds.

    Each year, Sprint has to pay other network operators, called "backhaul carriers," to connect cell-phone calls over parts of a network that it doesn't control. As cell calls move from the nearest cell tower to a switching station, they zip along a fiber optic cable, then to the nearest tower. Those last few miles, sent along several T-1 lines, are the single most expensive network operating cost for wireless carriers, says one analyst.

    Backhaul can account for as much as 30% of wireless network operating costs. At Sprint, this number was $20.1 billion last year. Sprint's new WiMAX network, which will be ready early next year, will help the company greatly reduce these costs. WiMAX will also likely provide the carrier with a new technology to use in offering high-speed wireless Internet access to their customers.

    The backhaul business is booming as more cellular providers run more bandwidth-consuming content, like video and music over their networks. Cutting delivery costs is key to the future success of mobile content. Read the whole story...
  • Word of Mouth Clicks For Small Businesses The New York Times Most marketers know that word of mouth has been a driving marketing force since the dawn of commerce. With the Internet, word of mouth marketing has taken new life: companies can get the word out about their products and services with little or no investment. Web logs, email newsletters and chat rooms cost nothing but man-hours to create.

    According to Ed Keller, a research and marketing consultant, word of mouth marketing is more important now than ever. "The word of friends and family is valued 1.5 times more than it was in the 1970s. Consumers are more confident in taking decision in their own hands."

    And it can work for anyone, even a pizza restaurant, which asked customers to order pizza online and post reviews. They also opened a chat room and started publishing email newsletters containing a game with prizes like redeemable coupons. The end result: many more customers for his restaurant than previous TV efforts.

    David Hallerman, an eMarketer analyst says that buzz marketing is often more effective for smaller businesses, even though companies of all sizes can find that kind of success. Read the whole story...
  • Google In-Stream Test Hints At Video Ad Network Adweek Google has begun testing a new in-stream video advertising system, running 15-second commercials for Allstate that appear after video content on a site called Beet.tv, which produces video interviews with broadband video executives.

    A Google rep said the spots are a continuation of an earlier in-stream test of in-stream video spots that appeared after video created by Eepybird, the folks behind the Diet Coke-Mentos viral video series.

    In theory, Google would include YouTube and its AdSense Web publishers in a larger in-stream video network. While YouTube has said it is not interested in pre and post-roll ads, the companies are said to be working on some kind of targeting system that would personalize video- marketing messages for each user. Earlier in the year, the search giant announced a separate partnership with Viacom, enabling AdSense partners to distribute Viacom content using its Google Video platform.

    Beet.tv wouldn't discuss the financial arrangements of the ad deal, but the company's president said the Allstate commercials were sold at a $15 CPM, with the money split between Google and Yahoo. Beet.tv receives about 1,000 visitors per day. Read the whole story...