Posts Tagged LTE
Understanding the interplay between the wireline and wireless worlds is important as value shifts occur. You can’t have a blockbuster iPad2 launch without Wi-Fi. And 55% to 60% of the embedded home Wi-Fi base is coming through cable modems. Apple Inc.’s success eventually results in Comcast Corp.’s, Time Warner Cable Inc.’s, Verizon Communications Inc.’s FioS and even AT&T Inc.’s U-Verse’s success.
With the next generation of tablet and phone devices (Apple’s iPad2 and the HTC Corp. Thunderbolt, for example) comes the front facing camera. We wrote about this with the column “The iPhone without a contract” last Labor Day. Sprint Nextel Corp.’s HTC Evo 4G launched last year with a front-facing camera using the WiMAX network and QiK (now owned by Skype) as the pre-installed app. New hardware begets new software. And this new software is high BPS (bandwidth per second). The higher the BPS, the faster the app.
The next $100 billion of value in the telecommunications industry (inclusive of software) is going to be created by the fast app ecosystem. Combine secure cloud computing with gigabit Ethernet backhaul and dual-core processors and you have the makings of an entirely new industry. It’s not that Groupon brought millions of us daily deals – it’s that they now bring them to us in 1080p (or whatever form factor your device can support). I can now see next year’s holiday blockbuster toys in action at Amazon.com (or through their app), not still photos. And video communication, including a revamped Pandora + YouTube, is now connected to my television. Why do I have a V-Tech cordless phone (and a $40 per month bill)? Why do I have a premium digital video tier?
It’s an exciting world to dream about, and developments are coming very quickly, thanks to companies like Apple and Google Inc. The highest returns can only occur, however, when you expand the market from portable (Wi-Fi) to mobile devices. In car. On train. On bus. If you are moving, you need mobility, not portability. And mobility requires bandwidth that moves with you.
This is where the wireless carriers come in. They hold the keys to mobile fast apps. As much as the developer community wants to circumvent or ignore relationships with the wireless carriers, they cannot achieve a high common denominator (“fastest app”) without the ability to achieve consistent bandwidth speeds and consistently low latency. Said another way, those applications developers that invest in the network interfaces and carrier relationships will create differentiation (and value) faster than those who dumb performance down to the lowest levels. When technology moves quickly, value is created from those companies who can expand with the market, who can achieve the highest and best result instead of the lowest and least. The bandwidth disparity created by 2G/3G/4G and Wi-Fi networks operating simultaneously is too great.
The only way Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA Inc. (combined or separate) can grow 10 to 20 million net adds in the next three years is to partner with the fast applications developers. Multi-player Angry Birds in 3D with optional voice chat does not happen without network integration – the connections are real-time, not “push” and servers need to be very close to the network. Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA may need more growth than 10 to 20 million net adds over the next 3 years to remain relevant. Dropped calls be damned – what about dropped apps?
So we have a willing development community, at least two willing carriers (on top of Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility who will definitely not take this lying down), and capital waiting to earn disproportionate returns. Where do we get started? Three ideas:
1. Multi-player Angry Birds in 3D with optional voice chat takes applications to a new level. Maybe an “all green” AB on March 17?
2. Facebook (or their replacement) could reinvent video communications singlehandedly (and take advertising to a new level).
3. Cloud-based communications directories with caller identificaton (app free version includes a mini-advertisement delivered on every incoming call).
One of the biggest reasons for any directory is discovery. In the old days of White Pages, we discovered a street address and a phone number associated with a name. With the advent of fast apps, I may want to know if you have FaceTime and if you are available for a quick chat, even if you are not in my contact list. Where’s the FaceTime (or Skype or Fring or ooVoo or YouTube or Facebook) listing on my BlackBerry? It doesn’t exist. Then how do I discover that you have FaceTime (meaning an Apple device that has a front facing camera on a participating carrier that has optimized FaceTime for their 4G network)? We need a better discovery engine to make FaceTime or their competitor a more relevant communications application.
The directory needs to protect privacy. I need to be able to turn off applications from being used by some and make an entirely different set of applications available to others. The directory needs to be connected to individuals, not Exchange (which, as explained in the last paragraph, doesn’t have room for these listings anyway). Privacy is easiest with an independent source – friendly to but free from wireless carriers, handset manufacturers, and operating systems.
Finally, the directory needs to be free. Listed or unlisted, private, user-controlled and free. This is not to say that there aren’t charges for “end caps” (featured fast apps), or that larger corporate or association directories don’t pay some fees, or that we show a mini-message on every incoming call in exchange for a free app, but this is not the calling name data storage margins of the past. And, if it can bring in 10 to 20 million customers for Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA (together or separate), it’s worth the carrier effort.
Fast apps are the next $100 billion opportunity in the communications industry. A well executed fast apps strategy by T-Mobile USA and Sprint Nextel (combined or separate) can break the current duopoly (or Verizon Wireless can execute it on its own with LTE and cripple their competition). To make fast apps a reality, the discovery process needs to be radically simpler, privacy needs to be protected, and it needs to be free to the end user. We need an independent directory.
Here come the fast apps. Are you ready?
Jim Patterson is CEO and co-founder of Mobile Symmetry, a start-up created for carriers to solve the problems of an increasingly mobile-only society. Patterson was most recently President – Wholesale Services for Sprint and has a career that spans over eighteen years in telecom and technology. Patterson welcomes your firstname.lastname@example.org.
The faster the network, the better your MobileURL’s operate | Sprint could deploy LTE nationwide by year-end 2013 | RealtyGo_blog
Should Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) decide to deploy LTE as part of its Network Vision network modernization project, the company could have a live LTE network this year, with nationwide LTE coverage by year-end 2013, a senior Sprint executive said.
Speaking at a Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom conference Wednesday, Steve Elfman, Sprint’s president of network operations and wholesale, said that the company will not make a decision regarding LTE deployment until mid-year. He added that if Sprint does decide to deploy LTE it could turn it on quickly and have LTE devices by 2012. Elfman added that the reason the company will not make a decision until mid-year is because Sprint wants to establish and announce a strategy that is still being determined by the company and its partner Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR), which runs a mobile WiMAX network.
Elfman also discussed Network Vision, the $4 billion to $5 billion network modernization project that Sprint is undertaking over the next three to five years. Sprint currently runs an EV-DO network in the 1900 MHz PCS band, has a wholesale deal with Clearwire to use WiMAX in the 2.5 GHz band and owns an iDEN network in the 800 MHz band. Sprint has said it will begin phasing out the iDEN network in 2013.
Elfman reiterated that the company plans to enhance its CDMA coverage in the 800 MHz to improve in-building coverage. In addition, he said that Sprint will deploy a CDMA-based push to talk solution from Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and will have new PTT devices by the third quarter of this year that will use the enhanced PTT solution.
Regarding Sprint’s relationship with Clearwire, Elfman said that Clearwire has been a good partner to Sprint and that the company is “in the middle of some positive negotiations with them.” The two companies have been locked in a dispute over wholesale revenue sharing, and Clearwire has said that resolving the dispute is key to moving forward on securing new funding. Clearwire expects to announce a decision on new funding sometime in the second quarter.
This is a bit scary…
Verizon Wireless failed to connect around 10,000 calls to 911 during the Jan. 26 snowstorm that blanketed Maryland, according to the FCC, and the agency has requested that the carrier provided a detailed account of what went wrong and what the carrier plans to do to fix it. Importantly, the FCC said it is worried the problem may not be limited to the area, and instead is “widespread across Verizon’s footprint.”
Verizon noted the issue involves the company’s wireline division, although the FCC said the problem specifically involved wireless callers.
“We have taken seriously the concerns about the outage that was triggered by the mass call event that occurred during the January 26th snowstorm. We have been addressing this issue directly with the counties involved, and will work cooperatively to address the FCC’s questions, as well,” said Verizon spokesman Harry Mitchell. “Our objective is to provide the best service to our customers, and we will continue to work with 911 centers and others to ensure that callers receive the level of service they deserve and expect when they call 911.”
James Barnett, chief of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, sent Verizon a letter Feb. 17 detailing the problem, which he said blocked 8,300 wireless calls to 911 in Montgomery County, Maryland, and 1,700 calls to 911 in Prince George’s County, Maryland, on Jan. 26. Barnett wrote that Verizon’s system stopped taking 911 calls during the snowstorm and did not alert the local 911 answering stations about the problem. He noted that 911 workers only discovered the problem after they received complaints from callers.
Barnett said the trouble was not due to an overload of the system or faulty equipment, and that similar troubles have occurred in the area a number of times before.
“We are particularly concerned that this problem may be widespread across Verizon’s footprint,” Barnett wrote. “We therefore request that Verizon investigate the extent of the problem across its network.”
The FCC requested that Verizon respond to the issue by March 10.
– see this FCC document
T-Mobile needs the WiFi spectrum to compete with Verizon LTE? T-Mobile USA nearing deal for Clearwire spectrum – RealtyGo blog
Verizon’s LTE application gives them superior leverage in the Mobile data transmission space; Will T-Mobile emerge as a huge competitor…?
Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile USA unit is getting closer to a deal to buy spectrum from Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR), according to a Bloomberg report–the latest twist in the long-rumored relationship between the two companies.
According to the report, which cited unnamed sources familiar with the matter, T-Mobile is the only potential bidder for Clearwire’s spectrum and a deal could happen by the end of the first quarter. T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray said at the carrier’s investor conference last month that the company does not need spectrum in the near-to-medium term, which could give T-Mobile leverage over Clearwire. T-Mobile has been upgrading its HSPA+ network and has not committed to deploying LTE in the near term.
Clearwire, which recently announced a debt offering of $1.33 billion, is seeking additional funding sources to continue its mobile WiMAX network buildout. Clearwire’s WiMAX network is in 71 markets and covers roughly 120 million POPs.
Representatives for Clearwire and T-Mobile declined to comment.
Clearwire late last year disclosed plans to sell off some unneeded spectrum. CFO Erik Prusch said late last year Clearwire was exploring several different options, including selling off spectrum in regional or market-by-market chunks. He said in the top 100 markets Clearwire has 150 MHz to 160 MHz of spectrum.
Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) said it stopped taking pre-orders for Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 4 at 8:10 p.m. EST yesterday, and that the pre-order sales broke company sales records–an echo of the flood of traffic that greeted AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) when it took pre-orders for the device in June.
Verizon began taking pre-orders at 3 a.m. EST Thursday for existing customers. According to the carrier, within the first two hours Verizon sold more phones than any first day launch in its history. Verizon said online pre-orders will begin again Feb. 9 at 3:01 a.m. EST, and that its stores will open at 7 a.m. local time on Feb. 10 for the official launch. Apple stores also will open at 7 a.m. local time on Feb. 10; Best Buy will offer the CDMA iPhone then as well.
The launch was not without glitches. Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney told Reuters that the majority of the carrier’s customers were able to get their orders processed, but that some customers received error messages. She said Verizon is trying to sort through the issues.
Meanwhile, other carriers are working hard to blunt the impact of the Verizon iPhone. AT&T said Thursday it will throw its marketing muscle behind the Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI) Atrix 4G. Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) will host a media event in New York City Monday to unveil an “industry first.” And T-Mobile is offering two free G2 smartphones when customers sign up for an unlimited, two-line family plan, which costs $179.99 per month. Additionally, the No. 4 carrier, which is kickstarting a company-wide turnaround plan, set up a special website to hype its smartphones and HSPA+ network, which it markets as 4G.
e-Cycle, an official buyback and recycling partner of Verizon Wireless, will be buying back AT&T iPhone units onsite at Macworld Expo 2011.
Macworld Expo runs from Thursday January 27 through Saturday January 29 in San Francisco. Attendees can visit the e-Cycle booth and trade in their old iPhone units for cash.
The Verizon iPhone launch is just around the corner, a fact that is giving many AT&T iPhone owners cause for consideration. e-Cycle is taking advantage of the opportunity to accept in-person buybacks.
According to e-Cycle, only 10% of the roughly 130 million phones discarded each year are recycled. Not only do many of these phones still have resale value, passing a phone on to a new owner is a lot better for the environment than tossing the device in a landfill.
If you aren’t going to be at Macworld, e-Cycle has an online buyback tool for both the iPhone and iPad. Payout depends on the model of phone and its condition. As an example, we were offered $160 for our not quite year-old 32GB iPhone 3GS. Depending on how far along you are in your contract and how much you originally paid for your iPhone, selling the old unit could offset a significant portion of a Verizon iPhone’s cost or the AT&T early termination fee (ETF).
e-Cycle says that it scrubs all devices using “the industry’s most rigorous mobile data security measures,” and phones traded in at Macworld will be wiped of all user data upon receipt.
The battle over network technology supremacy is reaching new heights, with both Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and T-Mobile USA trading claims over the performance of their next-generation networks.
Verizon Communications CTO Tony Melone dismissed T-Mobile’s claims that its upgraded HSPA+ network will offer service comparable to Verizon’s LTE network.
In an interview with CNet, Melone said HSPA+ provides incremental improvements via software and hardware upgrades and said it is possible to squeeze more performance out of HSPA+ technology. “So I am sure they are pushing the envelope on what can be done with HSPA+, but it doesn’t match what LTE is capable of,” he said. “The real difference in the technologies is when you look at what happens on the edge of the cell network, where the signal is weaker and speeds decrease. We’ve stated that average speeds on our network are 5 Mbps to 12 Mbps for downloads. And on the cell edge people are getting 1 Mbps to 3 Mbps on average. For HSPA, I’d say that the download would be a quarter of that or less. Folks who understand these technologies would have a hard time arguing with that.”
The verbal back-and-forth between carriers over network performance is nothing new, but has taken on a new twist now that both AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile claim HSPA+ is a “4G” technology.
Last week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, T-Mobile said at some point this year it plans to launch HSPA+ 42 technology, which provides theoretical peak speeds of 42 Mbps and represents a doubling of the speeds provided by the carrier’s current HSPA+ 21 network. T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray said that HSPA+ 42 will provide speeds that are comparable to Verizon’s LTE network. “There’s very little difference,” he said, adding that T-Mobile has been testing T-Mobile’s planned HSPA+ 42 upgrade against Verizon’s LTE network in Las Vegas and that both networks provided average download speeds of around 8 Mbps.
Melone added that he thinks the only reason T-Mobile is continually pushing the limits on HSPA+ technology is because the company lacks the spectrum to move to LTE. “So they are using HSPA+ to transition,” he said. “I’d do the same thing if I were them.”