Showing posts with label MBB. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MBB. Show all posts

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Mobile Broadband Enablers in future

From a presentation by Huawei at the New Zealand Future Wireless Technologies Seminar. The presentation is available here.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Against the Limited "Unlimited" data plans

Once upon a time the Mobile Operators had loads of bandwidth and not enough data users. So they decided to lure the poor users into buying the 'unlimited' data plans. They were sure that the devices are quite rubbish and no one can use enough data. Just for the precaution some clever operators added a small print where unlimited meant 1 or 2GB. The operators thought that the users will never reach this amount.

Then came the iPhone and changed the whole world. People actually started using the data on their devices. The operators started panicking. Android just compunded this problem. So the operators now have started advocating against these unlimited plans.



The CEO of Vodafone , Vittorio Colao , has told attendees at this year's Nokia World 2010 event that he welcomes the end of "unlimited" Mobile Broadband data plans. Colao also warned consumers that "data pricing has to adjust", thus signalling a greater focus on tiered pricing models.

He added: "The principle here must be that, a bit like motorways or hotels, every class of service needs to have its own price and customers must be able to pay for the level of service [they want]. Pricing should be adjusted to reflect the usage and load. We are approaching the end of the free era."

The cowboy salesmen are still fooling the average Joe when it comes to unlimited plans. People sue the operators but dont succeed.

We are begging to see the return of those bad old days when WiFi was the only option in conferences, etc and they were really expensive. Now instead of WiFi we have got our dongles that may not work well anyway inside the conferences or hotels due to the structure or location but when they do, you again have to think about the costs.

In Korea, KT Telecom had to introduce unlimited plans because the other rival introduced one. This is probably because they still have spare bandwith available. Once that gets used up then they will either be running for caps or advocating against the unlimited plans.

I have been against the unlimited plans from the beginning but I advocate that the operators become a bit wise in the way they charge us, the end users.

If I have 4 devices I dont want limited data on all devices because I dont want to keep track of which devices use how much data or have an allowance. Maybe what I need is a data bundle that I can use across devices and maybe share with my family members. Wallmart has recently come up with something similar in US. Wallmart is a MVNO using T-Mobile network. Though their data plans are expensive compared to T-Mobiles plans just because they allow data sharing and rollover, people may go for them.

Rollovers are available on Pay as you go plans but not on Pay monthly which makes the pay monthly (generally on contract) people seem stupid. Operators should encourage this, maybe keep a maximum that can be rolled over.

Finally, there is this net neutrality and QoS discussions are going on. Eventually some kind of QoS or destination based speeds, etc will come but for the end user they will go where they will get what they want. The operators should remember this.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Whitepaper: Traffic Management Techniques for Mobile Broadband Networks


The report, Traffic Management Techniques for Mobile Broadband Networks: Living in an Orthogonal World,focuses on 3GPP networks and concerns itself specifically with traffic management, including the handling of traffic flows on 3GPP networks in contrast with other network management techniques that operators may deploy (such as offloading, compression, network optimization and other important mechanisms).

Mobile broadband networks are confronted by a number of challenges. In particular, the physical layer in mobile networks is subject to a unique confluence of unpredictable and unrelated, or “orthogonal,” influences. Moreover, mobile broadband networks have some important differences from their fixed brothers and sisters, which lead to different traffic management requirements. Among the most significant differences for purposes of traffic management is the need for more granular visibility to circumstances on the ground. Optimally, traffic management for mobile broadband networks requires visibility to what is occurring (by device or application) at the cell site level and in a timeframe that enables as far as feasible near-time reactions to resolve issues.

With the consumer in mind, an End-to-End (E2E) view of mobile service is critical for traffic management. For example, a consumer using a mobile phone to look up movie listings and purchase tickets considers the E2E service as the ability to see what movie is playing and execute a transaction to purchase tickets. 3GPP has endeavored to standardize increasingly more robust traffic management (Quality of Service, or QoS) techniques for mobile broadband networks with a consumer’s E2E view of QoS. It must be considered, however, that mobile operators typically do not have full control over E2E provisioning of services that depend on mobile broadband Internet access.

Global standards organizations like 3GPP play an important role in the development of traffic management through provisions for addressing QoS, particularly regarding interworking with non-3GPP access mechanisms. These are important new innovations, and the 3G Americas white paper notes that the efforts of standards development organizations should be intensified.

In addition, the configuration of end-user devices and content and applications not provisioned by the network operator not only impacts the experience of the particular user, but potentially other users in a particular cell as well. Efforts to drive further QoS innovations should be mindful of potentially adverse impacts from these sources and support and foster interoperability of third party applications with existing network platforms.

More innovations are needed throughout the mobile broadband ecosystem, in particular by application developers, in order to realize E2E quality of service. Furthermore, transparency in network management practices is important in fostering innovation, but requires a careful balancing to ensure consumer comprehension while safeguarding network reliability. Organizations with technical expertise such as 3G Americas are prepared to help to illuminate and progress the development of these new technologies.

“3G Americas stands ready to assist interested parties in the ongoing development and understanding of traffic management techniques,” said Chris Pearson, President of 3G Americas. “We are mindful that in this hemisphere and elsewhere, the industry has accepted an increasingly active role in addressing questions about service levels and innovation on mobile broadband networks.”

The white paper, Traffic Management Techniques for Mobile Broadband Networks: Living in an Orthogonal World, was written collaboratively by members of 3G Americas and is available for free download on the 3G Americas website at www.3gamericas.org.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Quality of Service (QoS) and Deep Packet Inspection (DPI)

One of the things I mentioned in my presentation in the LTE World Summit was that differentiation of Services based on Quality of Services is required to be able to charge the users more.
This QoS can be varied based on deep inspection of the packets which can tell the operator as to what service a particular packet belongs to. The operators can thus give higher priority to the services and applications that are recommended by them and also block certain services that can be deemed as illegal or unproductive (like file sharing or P2P).

Continuous Computing claims to be one of the market leaders in producing the DPI systems. You can read this article by Mike Coward who is the CTO and Co-founder of Continuous computing here.

There is also this very interesting paper on QoS control in 3GPP EPS which is available freely here.

Please feel free to comment or suggest how do you see DPI being used in the future.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Interesting calculation showing that data cost to operator is €1/per GB


The 'Cost per Bit' issue...

Cost per bit has always been an issue from operator point of view. The other day an operator tried to show a comparison of data transfer with SMS. Though this may make some of us feel guilty that we are ripping these poor operators off ;) in reality most of us agree that it is the other way round.

A slightly older report from Ericsson suggested that from operator point of view, 1GB data transfer can cost as low as 1 euro.

So if we now plug in the above information into the slide below, presented by Moray Rumney of Agilent in the LTE World Summit, we can see that the operators have been earning massive profits on our behalf.



With Mobile broadband becoming more common and cheaper, users may not be willing to pay any more than they are now. At the same time, they may expect the speeds to keep increasing at regular intervals. The operators will soon be forced (if not already doing so) to offer QoS based packages which can help them boost their revenue and provide better QoE to the higher paying users.

I will cover this issue of QoS, QoE and DPI in the upcoming posts.

If you are wondering along the lines of how to reduce this cost per bit then I would recommend you to go back and have a look at this discussion on Martin Sauter's blog.
If you are thinking along the lines of increasing ARPU with LTE, then please see my presentation here.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

HSPA finds success with Mobile Broadband Growth


Another GSA report titled "Mobile Broadband Growth - Reports from HSPA Operators Worldwide". As the name suggests, this contains report from different operators on their Mobile Broadband revenues growth.

Some interesting bits from the report:
  • According to a report from AdMob, smartphonedata traffic grew 193% year-over-year in the month of February 2010. Smartphonesaccounted for 48% of its traffic in February 2010, up from 35% the year before. AdMobattributed this primarily to iPhoneand Android traffic.
  • Deutsche Telekom CEO RenĂ© Obermann is expected to double revenues by 2015 with €10 billion coming from mobile data traffic. Obermann said it would double the number of 3G smartphonesin the network to around 8 million by the end of 2010
  • A recent report by In-Stat, stated that mobile broadband is now the second-largest access technology behind DSL, making up 18% subscribers
  • Telia Sonera reported that the strong demand for mobile devices, including mobile broadband and Apple iPhone™, continued. Mobile data traffic in Nordic and Baltic operations increased close to 200% while the number of mobile broadband subscriptions rose by more than 60% during 2009.
  • AT&T reported that Text messaging grew 50% YoY and picture messaging grew 130%
  • According to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, vendors shipped a total of 54.5 million units Q4 09, up 39.0% from Q4 08. Vendors shipped a total of 174.2m units in 2009, up 15.1% from the 151.4m units in 2008. Converged mobile devices accounted for 15.4% of all mobile phones shipped in 2009, up slightly from 12.7% in 2008
  • The number of people subscribing to broadband internet services in Australia grew rapidly with wireless broadband and 3G mobile services continuing strong growth in 2009, according to a new report by ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority). 3G now accounts for more than 50% of all mobile subscriptions, an annual increase of 44%. Internet subscriptions reached 8.4 million in June 2009, compared to 7.2 million in June 2008. Broadband subscriptions increased from 5.66 million to 6.72 million in the same period, with wireless subscribers gaining 162% to 2.1 million
  • Vodafone's Data traffic has risen 300% in the past two years. Data now represents 11% of all European service revenues. Smartphones represent 20% of handsets sales. Around 40% of the company's European 3G/HSPA networks now support 7.2 Mbps. In the coming 6 months, Vodafone plans to upgrade 20-25,000 sites across Europe to HSPA+
  • UK consultancy firm, Coda Research Consultancy, has predicted that mobile data consumption in the US is set to reach 327,000 terabytes a month by 2015, indicating a 40-fold rise in mobile data consumption over 5 years
  • Mobile data traffic from PC modems and routers is forecast to increase 4-fold between 2010 and 2014, according to a report by ABI Research. 2,000 petabytes of data will be sent and received in 2010, a figure that will rise to about 8,000 petabytesin 2014
  • Semiannual US wireless industry survey was released at CTIA in March 2010 revealing that wireless service revenues totaled $77 billion for the last half of the year. The real growth is coming from wireless data services -mobile Web, text messages, and other non-voice services. In the latter half of last year, revenue for wireless data service totaled > $22 billion, nearly a third of overall wireless services revenue and up 26% YoY. Steve Largent, President and CEO of CTIA, said in a statement. "Mobile broadband will increasingly play a vital role in people’s lives."
  • A new study by Juniper Research has forecast that more than 1 in 10 mobile subs will either have a ticket delivered to their mobile phone or buy a ticket with their phone by 2014, representing a five-fold growth over the next five years.
  • Strategy Analytics recently forecast that the number of active mobile broadband subscriptions worldwide is expected to rise to around 1.3 billion by 2014
  • ABI Research announced that shipments of mobile broadband-enabled consumer products, which includes e-book readers, mobile digital cameras, camcorders, personal media players, personal navigation devices and mobile gaming devices will increase 55-fold between 2008 and 2014 with total shipments reaching 58 million units per year in 2014

Monday, 12 April 2010

GSA report on Evolution to LTE


Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) published a report on "Evolution to LTE" which is available on their website here to download.

The report starts with the need for LTE and emphasises its importance with regards to the Mobile Broadband take off. It goes on to encourage the operators to embrace LTE and lists the operators that have committed to LTE roll out.

As of April 2010:
  • 64 networks in 31 countries have committed to LTE network rollout.
  • Upto 22 LTE networks would be in service end of 2010
  • 39 or more LTE networks will be in service end of 2012
Spectrum is another area of focus of this report. Along with 2.6GHz, 700MHz will probably be used in Americas, New Zealand and India. 800 MHz and 900 MHz will probably be available and used in Europe.

Finally with LTE being rolled out, it would be easy to upgrade to LTE-Advanced when the standards are finalised in Release-10.

For people interested in this report and topics, the following related presentations are available from GSA:

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Morgan Stanley's 'The Mobile Internet Report'


A bit old but may be interesting for people who are interested in Stats. Back in Dec. Morgan Stanley released a report titled 'The Mobile Internet Report' which is probably one of the biggest collection of mobile Stats.

According to Tomi Ahonen:

The report while they call it a 'mobile internet' report - is in fact, a report on smartphone based use of browser data services. It is very US centric, but is global, and it is far too obsessed about the iPhone. And it disappoints me, that while the report writers are very aware of simpler technologies, even when they discuss the Emerging World, they obsess about 3G, which will not be a meaningful part of the internet experience in places like Africa for most of the next decade..


But it does discuss SMS to some degree, and briefly mentions MMS and 'non 3G' internet such as in China (ie WAP). It is also very good making analysis of Japan's mobile internet (including i-Mode before 3G). Totally worth downloading and reading.


Now a few key highlights. The total mobile data industry for 2009 worth... 284 Billion dollars. Wow. Morgan Stanley says it grew 20% this year (while the global economy shrunk 5%). For those who were looking for regional splits of phone market shares or smartphone market shares - this report has them. It says that the modern smartphone is equivalent to a desktop PC 8 years ago in performance. Haha, fave topic of mine - they also say that for internet content consumption - the mobile is 'better' in at least four areas (but not in every case). These 4 are email, VoIP, news and social networking. And they tell us that the value of paid digital content on mobile phones is 4x as big as the value of paid digital content on the PC internet.


And yes, hundreds of more data points, stats and tons of good graphs to help explain. Totally worth downloading, reading and quoting. Enjoy


You can download the report from here.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Teliasonera reaches a milestone with first commercial LTE Networks

TeliaSonera has rolled out commercial LTE Networks in Stockholm, Sweden and Oslo, Norway. The Swedish network is supplied by Ericsson and the Norway one by Huawei. At the moment only Samsung Dongles are available for browsing the web.

Read the press release here.

By the way, its a bit shameful that the operator wants to market itself and its using the term 4G for LTE as it probably sounds more sexy :) I blogged couple of years back and it still applies that LTE is 3.9G and IMT-Advanced/LTE-Advanced is 4G.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

New report on Mobile Broadband Evolution from HSPA to LTE-Advanced


The white paper, HSPA to LTE-Advanced: 3GPP Broadband Evolution to IMT-Advanced (4G), discusses the 3GPP evolution of EDGE, HSPA and LTE, their capabilities and their positions relative to other primary competing technologies and how these technologies fit into the ITU roadmap that leads to IMT-Advanced.

The following are some of the important observations and conclusions of the report:

  • HSPA Evolution (HSPA+) provides a strategic performance roadmap advantage for GSM-HSPA operators. Features such as dual-carrier operation, MIMO and higher-order modulation offer operators multiple options for improving their networks, and some of these features are simply network software upgrades.
  • Persistent innovation in developing HSPA and HSPA+ is bringing UMTS to its full potential providing mobile broadband to the mass market; in current deployments, HSPA users regularly experience throughput rates well in excess of 1 Mbps under favorable conditions, on both downlinks and uplinks, with 4 Mbps downlink speed commonly being measured. Planned enhancements such as dual-carrier operation will double peak user-achievable throughput rates.
  • LTE has become the next-generation platform of choice for GSM-HSPA and CDMA/EV-DO operators.
  • The 3GPP OFDMA approach used in LTE matches or exceeds the capabilities of any other OFDMA system providing the most powerful wide area wireless technology ever developed. Peak theoretical downlink rates are 326 Mbps in a 20 MHz channel bandwidth.
  • 3GPP has made significant progress investigating how to enhance LTE to meet the requirements of IMT-Advanced in a project called LTE-Advanced.

With a customer base of 4 billion connections today, the GSM family of technologies is available on nearly 800 networks in 219 countries worldwide. Building on this base, UMTS-HSPA – the world’s dominant mobile broadband technology today – has proven to be the most widely deployed and adopted 3G technology of all time, with more than 352 operators in various stages of deployment, including 277 commercial HSPA networks in 116 countries.

The white paper explains the tremendous opportunity afforded to GSM-HSPA operators via the 3GPP roadmap to HSPA+. While OFDMA systems such as LTE and WiMAX have attracted a great amount of attention, evolving HSPA to exploit available radio technologies can significantly enhance its performance capabilities and extend the life of sizable operator HSPA infrastructure investments. Techniques include advanced receivers, MIMO, Continuous Packet Connectivity, Higher-Order Modulation and One Tunnel Architecture, many of which are included in the standardization of 3GPP Release 7 and Release 8.

Depending on the features implemented, HSPA+ can exceed the capabilities of IEEE 802.16e-2005 (Mobile WiMAX Release-1) in the same amount of spectrum. Beyond the peak data rate of 42 Mbps for HSPA+ in Release 8 (with 2X2 MIMO, DL 64 QAM and UL 16 QAM), Release 9 may specify 2X2 MIMO in combination with dual-carrier operation, which would further boost peak theoretical downlink network rates to 84 Mbps. In addition to the increased speeds, HSPA+ also will more than double HSPA capacity and has the potential of reducing latency to below 25 milliseconds.

HSPA and HSPA+ will continue to dominate mobile broadband subscriptions worldwide for the remainder of this decade and well into the next. However, announcements have already begun in support of the next 3GPP evolutionary step, LTE. Trials and deployments of LTE will begin in 2010 by leading operators including AT&T, China Mobile, China Telecom, NTT DoCoMo, Verizon and Vodafone. In fact, today there are more than 2 billion subscriptions represented by combining the total existing customer bases of the more than 100 operators, both GSM and CDMA operators, who have announced indications of their intention to deploy LTE networks.

The deployment of LTE and its coexistence with UMTS-HSPA will be analogous to the deployment of UMTS-HSPA and its coexistence with GSM-EDGE.

Whitepaper available to download here.
Accompanying slide presentation available here.

Monday, 16 March 2009

£300/min: The cost of mobile broadband while roaming

Trying to keep his young son entertained in the evenings on a skiing holiday, Will Pierce decided to download a few episodes of their favourite TV shows.

He had assumed that he could use his £25 Vodafone data card - which gives him access to mobile broadband while overseas - without incurring any unexpected costs.

But when he returned from the five-day break in Meribel, he was sent a phone bill for nearly £21,716.

Mr Pierce and his son Louis, eight, had gone for a 'boys' holiday' with another father and his son, also eight.

The group rented an apartment, but it did not have any English-language TV channels. With the boys too young to spend evenings out in the resort, Mr Pierce was anxious to keep them entertained.

So over the course of the stay he downloaded several shows - mostly Top Gear for the boys and Kavanagh QC for the grown-ups - on to his laptop computer using the data card.

He was charged according to the number of megabytes used, meaning one show lasting less than 18 minutes cost him £5,132 - almost £300 a minute. Downloading the same size file in the UK would not have cost Mr Pierce anything under most broadband tariffs.

Mr Pierce did not deal directly with Vodafone, instead addressing his complaint to DRD Communication Services, the European network operator.


DRD agreed to waive its fees, bringing the bill down to £16,500, but Vodafone initially insisted that the usage was 'valid' and refused to back down.

However, a spokesman for Vodafone said yesterday that the company would waive the full amount.

She added: 'Such bills are exceptionally rare and we have an investigation under way.'

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

More mobile broadband ... with WiMAX this time

An interactive, online map by the WiMAX Forum and Informa Telecoms & Media’s World Cellular Information Service (WCIS) offers information on the many WiMAX deployments across the globe. Click here to access the map.

With investments already made into WiMAX, the wireless broadband technology will be able to withstand the current economic downturn in a year that will see some additional network deployments, according to the WiMAX Forum.

Because of the current economic climate, WiMAX providers are not being as aggressive with network deployments, but the forum estimates at least 100 more operators will launch commercial services this year.

The Forum says WiMAX now covers 430 million people or POPS, globally and are on a path to nearly double to 800 million people by end of 2010 and explode to 18 million by 2012. In-Stat forecasts LTE will have 23 million subscribers by 2013, but nearly 82 million mobile PCs with WiMax will ship in 2013.

So far, Mobile WiMAX is being offered in just two cities, Baltimore and Portland, Ore. On March 5th, Clearwire will announce which cities will be added next in the United States. Another nine cities are expected to roll out this year.

According to research firm In-Stat, WiMAX will continue to outpace LTE over the next few years and the technologies will take different paths. Verizon Wireless is expected to launch LTE commercially sometime next year but most operators will wait until 2011 or 2012.

Meanwhile, the WiMAX forum says there will be 100 certified products on the market this year, growing to 1,000 by 2011. The forum also expects growth to continue in Asia, Europe, Latin America and Africa.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Mobile Broadband Report from UMTS Forum

A white paper from The UMTS Forum charts the technical and commercial path towards a new generation of high-speed mobile broadband systems.

Titled Mobile Broadband Evolution: the roadmap from HSPA to LTE, the white paper takes a holistic view of tomorrow’s widely predicted ‘data explosion’. In the global context of rapid growth in voice and IP traffic over both fixed and mobile networks, the paper paints a compelling case for 3G LTE (Long Term Evolution) as a vital next step for operators to anticipate and exploit the challenges of tomorrow’s data-driven world.

Following the large-scale introduction of HSPA, 3G network operators are already experiencing a massive increase in non-SMS mobile data traffic. Driven by applications such as consumer video, new networks with lower carriage costs per bit will be required to satisfy sustained growth in mobile broadband traffic over the next decade and beyond.

The white paper argues that HSPA+ and LTE technologies – deployed either in new or refarmed spectrum – will deliver spectral efficiencies capable of providing the required performance. The emergence of LTE as the next technology of choice for both 3GPP and non-3GPP networks will also result in unprecedented global economies of scale, further improving the cost per bit characteristics of these networks.

Based on an all-IP core plus a new radio interface based on OFDM, LTE promises downlink peak data rates up to 300 Mbps with increased spectral efficiency and more capacity for simultaneous users in the same cell.

LTE offers exceptional flexibility in the use of operators’ current and future spectrum assets. It can be deployed in either paired or unpaired spectrum: and while its full potential will be realised in bandwidths of up to 20MHz, it is also quite feasible to deploy LTE in far smaller tranches of just a few Megahertz.

A hallmark of LTE is the appearance of an Evolved Packet Core (EPC) network architecture, simplifying connectivity with 3GPP and 3GPP2 technologies as well as WiFi and fixed line broadband networks.

First technical deployments of LTE are expected in the second half of 2009, for commercial service openings between 2010 and 2012. The industry ecosystem that already surrounds LTE displays very strong operator and vendor commitment to LTE.

The phased release approach of 3GPP allows operators to introduce LTE in a flexible fashion, balancing their legacy network investments, spectrum holdings and business strategies for mobile broadband. The combination of multiband terminals with backwardly compatible infrastructure is central to this flexibility, allowing operators to build out service capability in line with device and spectrum availability. The deployment of LTE co-existing with WCDMA/HSPA promises to mirror the success of the deployment of WCDMA/HSPA co-existing with GSM/EDGE.

Industry support for LTE is not limited to the 3GPP community. LTE’s backward compatibility with 3GPP2 networks also raises the possibility of migration from CDMA2000 to LTE – as already signalled by several major operators in North America and Asia.

Looking beyond LTE, new access networks with wider spectrum bandwidths will eventually be needed to support anticipated dramatic increases of mobile traffic. Currently under study within the ITU, IMT-Advanced will support peak data rates of up to 100 Mbit/s for high mobility and up to 1 Gbit/s for low mobility scenarios. 3GPP will address these requirements in an upgrade for LTE networks referred to as “LTE-Advanced”.

Paper can be downloaded here.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Mobile broadband to get cheaper

The operators have now got an opportunity to get out of this rat race of constantly upgrading their networks. An article in Broadband Genie mentioned that because of recession operators may delay upgrading their network. The situation reminds me of the time when 3G rollouts were announced.

The operators who spent billions on 3G spectrum didn't seemed very keen on rolling out a network and except '3' which was a greenfield operator in many European markets, most operators took their time to roll out 3G. Those operators have now caught up with others in HSPA rollouts. The same situation is likely to occur in LTE rollouts.

The interesting thing that we have to remember though is that when 3G was being rolled out, there was only one main existing technology called GSM and people used to use dialup connections and we were not hooked on broadband. Now there are many competing technologies vying for the broadband users. We have WiMAX that will be the main competitor and iBurst and WiFi is very common as well. WiFi is free or is available at really low rates, the difficulty being to find one. Recently Inmarsat launched mobile broadband via satellite across the whole of Australia so this is another possibility for Mobile broadband.

If you look at all the options above it is difficult to see how the operators will be able to raise the prices. The only option for it is to go down. Its not difficult for them if they price it properly and optimise their networks. Going back to the Broadband Genie article there was an interesting observation:

Broadband Genie believes that, while pricing models are certainly going to change, it may not be a bad thing for everyone, as heavy users will be charged for the amount they download and less bandwidth intensive consumers may see prices fall.

So in the long term the prices of broadband will come down but at the same time there will be more applications requiring mobile internet use thus increasing our appetite to consume more and maybe the prices will increase for those heavy users. In the meantime enjoy your mobile broadband.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Whitepaper: Mobile Broadband Evolution

3G Americas has released this new paper that can be downloaded from here.

An extract of what it contains from its preface:

This new 2009 paper, The Mobile Broadband Evolution: 3GPP Release 8 and Beyond provides detailed discussions on the HSPA+ enhancements in Rel-8 as well as the EPS, EPC and LTE architecture, features/capabilities and performance estimates. The paper also addresses 3GPP planning for Rel-9 and Rel-10 content which has already begun. In addition to further enhancements to Evolved HSPA or HSPA+, Rel-9 will be focused on features that enhance upon the Rel-8 EPC/LTE capabilities in areas such as location, emergency and broadcast services, support of CS over LTE, Home NodeB/eNodeB architecture considerations (i.e. support for femtocell type applications) and IMS evolution. Further, a new study item in 3GPP will define evolution of the LTE technology to meet IMT-Advanced requirements (called LTE-Advanced), at the same time as work is commencing on the above Rel-9 enhancements. 3GPP recognizes the need to develop a solution and specification to be submitted to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for meeting the IMT-Advanced requirements, and therefore, in parallel with Rel-9 work, 3GPP is working on the LTE-Advanced study item which is likely to define the bulk of the content for Rel-10. The white paper The Mobile Broadband Evolution: 3GPP Release 8 and Beyond includes discussion of Rel-10 and what requirements will officially define "4G" technologies with the significant new technology enhancements to EPC/LTE for meeting the very aggressive IMT-Advanced requirements.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

340m 'Active' mobile broadband users by 2014


Mobile broadband computing (MBC) has grown very strongly in 2008, to 35m global subscribers. This is forecast to increase almost 10x by 2014, to 341m according to a new report titled "Mobile Broadband Computing" by Dean Bubley from Disruptive Analysis.

Some of the interesting highlights from the report as follows:
  • Growth has been driven by cheap HSDPA modems and flatrate data plans.
  • The majority of MBC users exploit conventional-seized laptops with separate 3G USB modems (“dongles”). This model will continue to lead despite the growth of netbooks, built-in 3G, WiMAX and MIDs (mobile Internet devices).
  • At present, Europe accounts for 50% of global mobile broadband users, reflecting earlier introduction of consumer-friendly USB dongles and ferociously-competitive low-priced HSDPA tariffs.
  • “Free” netbooks, provided on a subsidised basis by mobile operators on typical 2-year contracts are popular, but have a limited addressable market.
  • By the end of 2011, about 30% of mobile broadband users will be exploiting notebooks with built-in 3G or WiMAX modules. 58%, roughly twice that proportion, will use external modems like USB dongles.
  • By 2014, there will be 150m users of notebooks and netbooks with embedded mobile broadband worldwide. In terms of shipments, 100m wireless-enabled laptops will be sold annually by then – but not all will be activated.
  • By 2012, there will be 45m users of WiMAX-enabled MBC devices. 11m of these will also use 3G or LTE connections in various hybrid approaches.
  • Use of LTE in mobile broadband computing devices will be very limited until 2012. After that, ramp-up will be rapid, reaching 75m units shipped in 2014.
  • By 2011, only 40% of mobile broadband users will be on long-term monthly contracts. Most will use prepaid, session-based, bundled or “free” models.
Some of the other interesting points from the extended summary as follows:
  • Some operators' marketing teams have become over-zealous about competing with fixed broadband. In some markets, HSDPA is now cheaper than ADSL/cable. This is unsustainable, as the cost structures differ hugely. There are physical limits to the capacity of mobile data networks, which will rapidly be reached with the explosion of low-cost traffic. Some cellular networks now see more than 90% of 3G traffic from PCs. Network operators are now hostage to future high-bandwidth Internet applications gaining viral adoption among mobile users.
  • Adoption of embedded-3G and embedded-WiMAX notebooks will grow slowly alongside separate “dongle” modems. Predictions of 50%+ attach rates in 2-3 years are over-optimistic; there are numerous practical, commercial and economic reasons for delayed adoption
  • To date, most mobile broadband users have connected with an existing notebook PC, together with a separate datacard or USB dongle. Looking forward, a broader set of choices are emerging, with the advent of embedded-WWAN notebooks, small & inexpensive 7-10” sized netbooks, MIDs and the use of 3G handsets as “tethers”. Implicitly, these all compete to some degree against higher-end smartphones as well.
  • At present, the majority of mobile broadband subscribers are engaged through
    traditional monthly contracts, typically over 12-24 month periods. However, further evolution is necessary. Disruptive Analysis expects a variety of new business models to emerge and take a significant share of the overall user base, including:
    • Session-based access, similar to the familiar WiFi hotspot model.
    • Bundling of mobile broadband with other services, for example as an adjunct to fixed broadband or mobile voice services.
    • “Comes with data included” models, where the upfront device purchase price
      includes connectivity, perhaps for a year.
    • Free, guest or “sponsored” mobile broadband, paid for by venue owners or
      event organisers.
  • Incrementing capacity of Networks by perhaps another 10x in the next 6 years will need investment in more spectrum, more cell sites, newer radio technology, better backhaul and dedicated “hotspot” solutions like femtocells and WiFi. Yet in the current climate, these investments face delay, meaning a “capacity crunch” is possible in some cases.
On an unrelated note, More than 25 per cent of the content that workers view each day will be dominated by pictures, video or audio by 2013, according to research by Gartner. Though this does not specifically say mobile content, I think the same phenomenon will be observed in the mobile world and maybe to a larger extent with applications like Youtube already very popular with the mobile users.