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The world’s median mobile phone

Android Smartphone 3GWe can easily overlook or misinterpret some of the headline figures quoted for mobile phone subscriptions, device types and usage. Here are some of the latest statistics and insights into the proportion of mobile phones and subscriptions worldwide. This includes the specification of the median mobile phone worldwide.

How the Big Four Internet Giants are addressing cellular network evolution

Internet GiantsWe may think that the major network operators or the three major RAN vendors are driving the strategy for cellular service for the next decade. But with so much activity and value switching to content, Apps and advertising, the big four Internet Giants all have a major stake. We look at what each has been doing and consider the implications.

Adding new vendors and organisations into networks

Coming SoonWhat is the process by which new vendors and suppliers can be introduced, challenging and competing with the large established providers? With Small Cell growth arguably more constrained by non-technical aspects, we ask what needs to change to accelerate take-up.

 

Small Cell End of Year Report 2016

ReportCardAs we approach the holiday season, it’s once again time for me (and other analysts) to reflect back on the year gone by, revisit our predictions and make some new ones for the year ahead. We've seen some steady progress throughout the year with several leading small cell vendors gaining traction. New features, especially use of unlicensed and shared spectrum, promise easier access to both speed and private deployments in 2-3 year timeframe.

Are mobile data prices about to take a tumble?

About to take a tumbleNew Indian network operator Reliance Jio shocked the industry by launching with a price plan of free unlimited national calls and 10 Gbytes of data for just $7.50/month. Their competitors dropped prices to match. But these prices aren’t unique to the country. We compare prices, consider the implications and some other relevant initiatives.

 

How much do you think your personal data is worth?

Fotolia 84703119 XSWould you use different network services if it gave you more privacy? While the industry debates the finer points of RF between Wi-Fi and traditional cellular service, perhaps a more significant factor in end-user choice will be related to how their data is shared. We find that consumers are unaware of how much their private data is being shared, while at the same time Internet encryption and security continue to improve.

 

Small Cells for quality of service first, network capacity later

Quality ControlThe general consensus has been that Small Cells were used either to solve poor coverage issues (especially indoor) – so called not-spots – or to add capacity. A third reason is becoming visible today – improving Quality of Service and customer satisfaction. CTOs from European operators explained their logic at recent public conferences.

 

Will growing Small Cell revenues offset declining macrocell sales?

Stefan PongratzAfter three years of very healthy performance, the large scale RAN market is beginning to decline. Stefan Pongratz of Dell’Oro Group forecasts an eight percent reduction during 2016 alone. He thinks that Small Cell revenues, already over $1 Billion annually, won’t grow quickly enough to fill that gap. I asked him how this could affect the shape and size of the vendor community looking forward.

 

The epidemic of new Industry Small Cell Forums

EpidemicThere seems to have been an increasing trend of new Forums and branding around the Small Cell industry of late. We’ve drawn up an initial list below and made some observations about which ones you might take seriously and ask if existing organisations are meeting their members’ (and industry) needs.

 

Small Cell Forum Release 6 hits the mark

smallcellforumIt takes many months for the Small Cell Forum to complete a work program. So the contents of this week's Release 6 entitled Smart Enterprise published during Mobile World Congress would have been determined quite some time ago. In a fast changing industry, I'd say they've selected the right topics and maintained their focus on the major issues of the industry today. Their key theme is Enterprise including Neutral Host and LTE-U/LAA. I spoke to Alan Law, their Chairman, to find out how their extensive guidance on best practice is being adopted.

 

Mobile Network Statistics for 2016

Femtocell SpreadsheetWhile we take some time to digest the firehose of announcements around Mobile World Congress, I thought it would be useful to review some key statistics about the current state, shape and size of the global mobile network industry.

 

Urban small cell strategy – Network Suicide or Good Business?

Good or BadIntense speculation around Sprint’s small cell network strategy has included it being termed Network Suicide. Meanwhile, Sprint shares were up almost 20% on the day of their latest earnings report. So does adopting an urban small cell strategy make for good business or signal a downturn? Sprint's large spectrum holdings and lack of fibre/wireline assets are causing a switch to NLoS Wireless backhaul, which affects their choice of RAN architecture to use traditional Small Cell rather than Cloud RAN.

 

Unlimited allowances reduce total traffic. Really?

t mobile binge onThere’s been quite a surprising result from T-Mobile USA’s unusual tactic to offer free, unlimited video streaming to its customers. Traffic levels are said to have reduced in some cases, very much counter to intuitive expectations. We ask why, investigate what’s happening and consider some of the wider implications.

 

Verizon CFO switches investment from spectrum to 4G and small cells

verizon wireless logo 150One announcement you may have missed late last year was a statement by Verizon Wireless CFO, Fran Shammo, in response to suggestions that Verizon would run out of capacity due to lack of spectrum. We reported this in our newsletter but wanted to highlight it further. It’s important because it crystallises the medium term investment strategy that we can expect to see worldwide – moving away from just buying more spectrum to using it more efficiently.

 

So what follows after the Spectrum Glut?

OverstockedThe introduction of LTE has been a profitable time for the cellular infrastructure industry. A large part of that is down to large new swathes of spectrum being made available rather than purely higher spectral efficiency or faster headline data rates. Some operators almost seem to have suffered from indigestion as they equip their networks to take full advantage. Once the quick returns from low hanging fruit have been gained, it will be the smarter decisions that determine longer-term competitive advantage.

 

Operator Mergers, Acquisitions and Small Cells

Mergers and AcquisitionsThe telecom industry seems to be going through a period of consolidation, with substantial mergers and acquisitions activity seen in many continents. We consider how the deployment of Small Cells and other RAN technologies affect such moves, and look at whether a small cell deployment would be an advantage or not in such cases.

 

Small Cell End of Year Report 2014

ReportCardIt's that time of year again, when we (and many other analysts) reflect back at the year gone by and look ahead at what developments await us next year.
First, let's put ourselves in the spotlight and revisit our predictions from December 2013, see if we got them right, and look at how the Small Cell industry might evolve next year.

 

Innovation differentiates commercial performance for Mobile Operators worldwide

bright-ideaHow should mobile operators translate the growth in mobile data to increased revenue and profitability? Some are clearly doing much better than others. Many are simply holding on while a few are major winners or losers.

Industry analysts STL partners released some interesting insights about how mobile operators commercial differentiation. I'd not seen this format before, which emphasises just how far apart some are. Separate charts are shown for US and European markets. They've published a shorter article as a teaser to their full report. The results illustrate how much dramatic market impact one European disruptor can have.

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    Residential

    Residential

    A significant number of users continue to report poor mobile coverage in their homes. There will always be areas which are uneconomic for mobile operator to reach. They range from rural areas

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    Enterprise

    Enterprise

    The term Enterprise addresses any non-residential in-building including hotels, convention centres, transport hubs, offices, hospitals and retail outlets. It's not just intended for businesses to

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    Urban

    Urban

    Urban small cells (sometimes also named metrocells) are compact and discrete mobile phone basestations, unobstrusively located in urban areas. They can be mounted on lampposts, positioned on the

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    Rural

    Rural

    A rural small cell is a low power mobile phone base station designed to bring mobile phone service to small pockets of population in remote rural areas. These could be hamlets, small villages or

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