We 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.
We 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.
What 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.
As 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.
Cambridge Wireless, now branded as CW, is a UK industry not-for-profit that organises many technical seminars and events on all aspects of wireless communications. Its Small Cell Special Interest Group is the second most popular, and this event was again over-subscribed.
This session explored how more open access to spectrum could develop provision of cellular service by new players, introducing new funding streams, enabling new vendors and improving all round service quality levels.
Rather than provide a blow-by-blow recap of each speaker presentation, I’ve picked out a few key themes for specific attention.
DAS and Small Cells Congress remains a popular event in the US. This European offshoot is now in its third year, and remains the only DAS oriented conference in the region. DAS vendors see a shift in funding away from operators where building owners cover all costs, even including the basestations. They see small cells, in various forms, as a low cost way to drive smaller DAS deployments, complementing rather than competing in some market segments. Neutral host organisations should see growing opportunities.
Roaming, where cellular service is provided by partner networks, has been a tremendous benefit for foreign travel – extending coverage to all corners of the globe. National roaming is used in relatively few countries to fill in isolated pockets that may be otherwise uncommercial. The success of neutral host enabled small cells will rely on successful national roaming agreements. What’s involved and how could it come to pass?
The TIP held its first major summit event a few weeks ago. The initial thrust is about using innovation including opensource cellular technology to bring Internet connectivity to rural and remote places throughout the world. The longer term scope could be bigger. Major multi-national businesses are fully engaged. Many of the principles of Small Cell technology and operation have been adopted. This paints a very different picture of the next steps for cellular investment than purely super high speed 5G.
While we hear a lot of marketing hype about Smart Cities, with various interpretations of what that might mean, several are taking serious steps towards becoming Connected Cities – building out infrastructure to support the data super-highways of the future. This won’t be exclusively wireless or wired but a combination of both.