Friday, May 18, 2012

Spectrum Crisis Impact on Data Caps

The uproar over major wireless carriers capping data usage is getting louder. This week, a major carrier announced it will be ending unlimited data plans even for customers with “grandfathered-in” status when they introduce tiered shared plans this summer.

Data caps may frustrate customers, but they shouldn’t blame wireless providers. The caps are the natural result of the government’s inability to make more spectrum available quickly. The spectrum crisis requires measured controls on the volume of data-use to ensure a carrier’s network can provide fast and reliable LTE for as many consumers as possible.

Even as carriers spend billions of dollars to build-out their network capability, demand has greatly out-paced supply of data, especially in high-density population centers like New York or Washington D.C. Smart phones and tablets sales continue to rise. According to a recent Mobile Data Traffic report by Cisco, smart phone data usage tripled from 2010 to 2011 and mobile data grew 2.3 times in 2011, marking the fourth consecutive year it has more than doubled. The report also notes 4G connection generates 28 times more traffic than non-4G connection.

These products are designed and marketed on their ability to use LTE for broadband services that require an exponentially greater amount of data than email, text messaging, and basic web browsing. Just a few years back, low bandwidth services were enough to satisfy the on-the-go customer. But with new services and content from providers like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and ESPN, the public’s expectations and habits have changed. New patterns of consumption are straining network capacity today, and will be unsustainable in the very near future without significant amounts of new mobile spectrum.

Until the FCC moves ahead with new spectrum auctions, data caps are necessary to deal with network congestion. Continuing to provide unlimited data is not a viable option today, and would not be in the best interest of wireless consumers as a whole.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

LightSquared Standoff: Technology, Not Politics

Karl Rove recently weighed in on the dispute between LightSquared and the GPS community, reiterating LightSquared’s claim that GPS is “poaching” off of LightSquared spectrum. The problem is that GPS was there first.

LightSquared was granted a conditional FCC waiver to use its spectrum terrestrially only if it caused no interference with nearby spectrum. LightSquared acknowledged potential interference problems by offering to not use the channels nearest to GPS devices and lowering the power output that was initially going to be used for their signal. However, the results of extensive testing with participation by all parties demonstrated that engineering solutions would not eliminate the potential for harmful interference.

There is no evidence the Government wanted LightSquared to fail. But it does want GPS to succeed. National security and public safety depend on it.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Small Cell Webinar Tomorrow

Site Development in a DAS World

Thursday, March 29, 2012
4:00pm ET -
Free of charge

Register Now

Shortcomings of the macro network due to the physics of radio waves and certain building materials has led to the development of small cell site development through in-building and other Distributed Antenna Systems - DAS. But deployment is not as straightforward as a traditional tower or rooftop. Join our panelists to learn more about these issues and potential solutions, as small cells begin to play an even more critical role in the wireless industry.
Presented by David Saab - VP of Development - SSC
Moderated by Chris Horne - CTO - LBA Group

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Making the Case for Reliable Wireless Broadband in the Metro

By Ronny Haraldsvik, SVP/CMO, BelAir Networks

It may not be a surprise that unreliable experiences are preventing subscribers from using video applications and accessing online commerce sites. But that this may be holding back billions in revenue, is news.

A recent survey we did with TNS Research shows that 44% of mobile subscribers find the metropolitan mobile broadband experience inadequate when they leave the home or office; a figure that rises to 57% for smartphone users. This number is higher in United Kingdom where 64% experience access issues.

Mobile video services and application revenues are already seeing the impact: A lack of reliable mobile broadband networks is already putting off 64% of subscribers from using mobile video services – this figure rises to 71% for smartphone users.

This may of course impact the potential for higher customer churn. When asked who they believe is responsible for resolving problems with mobile Internet service, 77% of people first turn to the mobile network provider. No big surprise there. However, close to 12% held the handset manufacturer responsible.

If mobile network providers were to charge for reliable coverage, both smartphone users and average subscribers would pay $7-8 dollars per month, on top of existing monthly service plans, with the age 16-24 demographic willing to pay up to $10. This constitutes tens of billions of dollars in potential additional annual revenue, which suggests that return on investments of additional wireless network deployments in metropolitan areas would pay back in months.

The opportunities are many. The opportunity cost of doing nothing can amount to $ billions.

Scalable service provider Wi-Fi and multi-access small cell networks have a role to play as Wireless as a Service becomes a reality later this year.

Service providers seeking additional revenue or business models, now more than ever, have the opportunity to bundle or evolve existing services to target managed services for SMB, education and hospitality markets. New business models include:

  • Managed Services for small and medium businesses, retail shops, malls and building owners using Wi-Fi or multimode small cells (Wi-Fi, 3G/Wi-Fi) for indoor, outdoor and campus coverage for their own business and customer.
  • Managed Services for businesses that offer private or public wireless access for their customers, vendors and partners
    • Ad-location and per-sub pricing models emerge as an option
  • Hosted Services where small cell networks enable shared access across business users and roaming service provider subscribers with integration to the service provider customers’ own core networks for billing/authentication
  • MVNO shared access small cell networks with secure integration to the customers’ core networks for billing/authentication or to the carrier’s core for fully managed/hosted MVNO services
  • Co-location Services enabling multiple operators to share common network infrastructure

At this year’s Mobile world Congress, taking place February 27 – March 1, BelAir Networks will showcase the benefits of highly scalable and integrated Service Provider Wi-Fi, mobile offload and new business model examples.

See you in Barcelona.

Reprinted from the BelAir Networks blog.

Friday, February 17, 2012

WCAI Applauds Congress for Passing Incentive Spectrum Auction Legislation

WCAI applauds Congress for passing legislation to make more wireless spectrum available. This legislation will cement our global leadership in mobile broadband communications, create thousands of jobs, and give public safety the network it needs when our first responders stand in harm’s way. It is also a testament to the enduring ability of our nation's leaders in Congress to come together when our nation's most critical issues are at stake.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

New Study Shows Every 10% Increase in 4G Adoption Creates 231,000 Jobs

Today leading economists Rob Shapiro and Kevin Hassett released a study analyzing the impact of the adoption of 4G mobile technologies on the U.S. economy. (The study is available in pdf here.) A comparison of wireless technology penetration rates to state-by-state employment data shows that the transition from 3G to 4G mobile technologies should create more than 231,000 jobs for every 10 percentage point gain in adoption rates within a year. This means that a 40 percent gain in 4G adoption would produce nearly 1 million new jobs. These results provide powerful evidence that our national job creation strategy should seek to accelerate the deployment of 4G infrastructure.

The study also demonstrates the critical role 4G mobile technologies will play in achieving other national goals related to health care, energy, e-commerce, and cloud-based innovation. The shift to 4G would:

• Accelerate mobile e-commerce, which grew from about $1.4 billion in 2009 to between $6 billion and $9 billion in 2011;
• Enhance savings from the wide use of electronic medical records created and accessed wirelessly, along with other “mHealth” applications;
• Save $10 billion by further reducing power outages in the nation’s electricity networks; and
• Enable the market for cloud-based services to reach $39 billion by 2016.

Mobile service providers are already investing billions of dollars to deploy 4G infrastructure. But they can’t achieve these goals on their own. Congress and the FCC must make available more spectrum for the United States to sustain its mobile advantage. Today’s evidence shows just how much the success of our economy depends on it.

To hear directly from the authors about the paper, come see them in person in Washington on Thursday, or participate in a live web video briefing/discussion later that afternoon. You can learn more about each presentation or RSVP here.