Wednesday, December 22, 2010

2011 Predictions

Before we offer predictions for the coming year, it is worthwhile to take a look at how our forecasts for the current year have worked out.

Trend #1 Device innovations will increase.

2010 was indeed a year of accelerated device innovation:

  • Sprint introduced the HTC EVO 4G, which upped the competition between Android and Apple’s iPhone.
  • Motorola increased their success in Droid-branded Android WebPhones, winning back some of the market share lost to Apple during the previous three years.
  • Apple came out with the improved ‘4G’ iPhone, iPad, and iPods including more efficient batteries, higher resolution screens and camera/video.
  • Samsung upped the ante in display-driven features with Vibrant, Captivate, Epic phone models.
  • Dell, Samsung, Apple, and a flurry or other competitors increased offerings in pad devices.
  • Google announced their foray into pad and laptop OS markets with the official introduction of Chrome. While slated for market impact in 2011, Chrome rides on the coattails of success for Android based pad devices.

Trend #2 Applications stores proliferate to the point of market confusion.

Verizon, China Mobile, and Google Chrome were among the many examples of operators and market makers who made enhanced efforts to establish online mobile applications stores. Several European operators announced efforts to push back against the dominance of Apple and Google in terms of applications and mobile services.

Trend #3 US government broadband spending will lift small boats.

While temporary, US government spending helped keep smaller BWA equipment suppliers afloat during a year of increased competition with mainstream operators and suppliers.

Trend #4 Cloud 4G (cloud computing/ICT) will take center stage as a major theme for wireless operators.

“Cloud 4G” has increased in visibility but cannot yet be said to be a stand-alone market driver. The market remains focused on devices and building out networks needed to position Cloud 4G as an increasingly pivotal aspect of operators’ revenue models.

Trend #5 Clearwire-Sprint will meet their goals of coverage of over 100 million POPs by year end.


Trend #6 Clearwire-Sprint and their cable partners will move into a more competitive position vis-a-vis mobile operators in ‘hot’ device availability.

Only partially the case: while Sprint and Clearwire benefitted from new devices, particularly the EVO 4G, raising the stature of the WiMAX ‘4G’ network, revenue growth was not up to the level required to stave off the need for an additional capital infusion, nor was raising such funds an easy matter.

Trend #7 Legal battles between mobile device, PC and consumer electronics suppliers will continue.

And so they did: Apple and Nokia expanded their legal and trade battles to include a broader scope of patents and jurisdictions. Wi-LAN, Interdigital, Intel, Qualcomm, Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung, Huawei, Microsoft, and ZTE were among companies pursuing increased visibility for patent positions in 3.5G and 4G wireless, devices and IP networking. In addition, consortia have formed to commercialize IPR and bring forward products in Asia and India, and to continue the shift toward patent pooling.

Trend #8 Verizon will not officially open their LTE network until late 2010.

Verizon chose to launch its LTE network with data only, slating the launch of mobile devices for the 1st half of 2011. We have learned that VZW will show off several devices in Janurary at CES – some due for launch as early as January.

Trend #9 Verizon and AT&T will continue to do battle over coverage and devices.

Indeed, the marketing tempo has picked up speed as Verizon prepares to launch LTE. Expectations for iPhone and iPad availability from VZW have increased, with a Verizon Apple iPad anticipated in the first quarter of 2011. Meanwhile, AT&T has increased the number of Android and new Windows mobile 7 based devices. Complimenting this trend, AT&T will acquire Qualcomm’s 700 MHz spectrum for US$1.9 billion, giving the company a broader coverage map to contend with coverage leader Verizon.

And now, here are the trends we are predicting for 2011:

Trend #1 Pads will proliferate and diversify.

The mobile device market will continue to see increased competition among WebPhones, partially masking the emergence of a more capable and diversified field of tablets/pads and ‘transformer’ devices that covers the span between notebooks and smartphones. This trend will be driven by the growing functionality of combined devices and services; more powerful performance yet longer battery life combined with the thirst for higher bandwidth applications will enable market growth.

Trend #2 Emergence of multiple device attachment.

Although it has been part of the justification for HSPA/HSPA+ and LTE evolution, market awareness of multiple device usage is lagging. Most consumers think of wireless in terms of one device per user., but this will start to change in 2011 as the focus shifts from the dominance of WebPhones to the multiple device market environment.

Trend #3 The friction between LTE/HSPA and WiMAX will fade.

Due to convergence of devices and networks and operators’ focus on delivering competitive services, media and industry focus will be less on the debate between the two technology camps and more on the delivery of profitable common attributes of broadband and multi-service IP environments.

Trend #4 Android will continue to gain ground on Apple.

Google-led Android and sister effort Chrome OS and app stores will gain market share and recognition to end the year more as equals. Android/Chrome will largely overcome an image problem: while Android devices now outnumber the iPhone and applications have swelled, Apple starts the year with the impression it remains the clear market innovator – this will have changed by year’s end.

Trend #5 Growth outside of North America and Europe will become more profound.

While the focus on LTE developments in the US and Japan will capture many headlines, the influence of populous regions outside of developed markets will shift the balance of industry influence. Indian operators’ decisions will come down on the side of LTE rather than WiMAX, and further defections are likely. China and India will shape up as innovators in low cost WebPhones and tablets and the applications that help drive them.

Below we provide some more specific 4G predictions and forecasts by category:


The worldwide LTE subscriber base will reach 6.52 million in 2011. Leading LTE operators will be Verizon Wireless (USA) and NTT DoCoMo (Japan), with 2.66 million and 2 million subscribers respectively.

There will be a cumulative number of 219 LTE commitments, 71 trials and 57 commercial deployments for the FDD-LTE standard; and 26 commitments, 12 trials and 4 deployments for TDD-LTE.

TDD-LTE will be used as an extender of network capacity in 2011 (TDD femto/picocells will be implemented). Telefonica O2 (Germany) could become the first commercial adopter of this approach, using FDD for outdoor coverage and LTE TDD for urban capacity.

Europe and North America will be the leading regions in terms of commercial LTE deployments, accounting for 22 and 15 respectively.


The Global WiMAX subscriber base will reach 18.87 million in 2011. The regions with the greatest contribution of WiMAX subscribers will be North America and Asia-Pacific, with 8.5 million and 4.74 million subscribers respectively.

The number of WiMAX deployments will slightly decrease for the first time ever in Europe. The failure of several greenfield operators to run profitable WiMAX services, and the momentum of LTE gaining commitments from all mobile carriers, are the reasons for this decrease from the current 164 to 159. However, the number of subscribers will increase considerably, from 1.38 million to 2 million, because of Yota’s delayed switch to FDD-LTE.


Wireless backhaul will recover from the market size reduction it has suffered in 2010. Innovative wireless backhaul technologies such as e-band, free space optics and NLOS backhaul (point-to-multipoint) will help to increase market size to close to US$ 5 billion.

TD-LTE (2.3 and 2.6 GHz) and NLOS backhaul (also in 3.5 GHz) systems will make use of the spectrum left vacant by former WiMAX deployments. NLOS backhaul will focus on 3.5 GHz (available worldwide except in the US), since it is the only band among those covered by WiMAX that is not being addressed by TD-LTE. However, the deployment of TD-LTE by most of 2.6 GHz spectrum licensees is not certain, so there are also chances for NLOS backhaul deployments in that band. The 2.3 GHz band, under-utilized in the US, poses another good opportunity for both technologies.


There are many indications from major mobile operators such as China Mobile, NTT DoCoMo in Japan, and Taiwan’s Chunghwa Telecom that femtocells will play a big part in their network rollout strategy starting next year. Maravedis predicts that this larger group of operators will boost the adoption of femtocells across the world more quickly than originally anticipated. Femtocell pricing will continue to be a barrier for widespread adoption. However, we expect the price to fall to as low as US$70-80 in 2011 from its current US$100 price. We further expect the demand for femtocells will be highest in 2012, when upfront payment is expected to be below US$50.


We expect smartphones to come to dominate the device market over the next five years. Market share leadership will, in turn, be driven by the success of the individual ecosystems. We believe that market support exists only for a limited number of ecosystems. Consumers will not adopt new closed ecosystems when compared with the choice of the leading ecosystem, Apple (which happens to be closed) or an open ecosystem. We expect RIM and HP Palm to fail to bring new customers to their solutions, or even to maintain their current market share. With regard to new open ecosystem entrants such as MeeGo and Windows Phone 7, we believe that the key to their success will be the creation of holistic ecosystems involving deep media and application libraries, consumer and enterprise product tie-ins, and integrated cloud services. Although this is a difficult challenge for both companies, Microsoft appears to be much better equipped for this task than Nokia.

Tablets are another new element of the smartphone revolution, and it is still unclear whether this is a completely new product segment or rather a replacement of some of the laptop market. Regardless, Apple has again shown with its iPad that there is a tremendous opportunity for vendors who are able to create innovative and compelling products. Tablets also help to bolster the ecosystems for which they are designed by providing another channel for application sales – one that commands higher prices than the handheld channel.

The changes in the device industry since the introduction of the iPhone have been striking and it is difficult in the midst of such disruption to predict an outcome. 2010 has been a year during which the players have appeared to solidify and publicize their strategic plans. However, we expect many aspects of the industry to be in flux throughout 2011, setting the stage for dramatic changes.

MARAVEDIS is a premier global provider of market intelligence and advisory services focusing on 4G and broadband wireless technologies, regulation and markets.

source: LteWorld

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Verizon vs. Clearwire: A 4G Comparison

After much industry speculation Verizon Wireless finally commercially launched its LTE network on December 5th, 2010. The network has been launched in 38 cities covering approximately 110 million people. Major cities include San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Miami, and Silicon Valley, among others, with nationwide coverage planned by 2011, and a full 3G to 4G upgrade by the end of 2013. The largest market in terms of both coverage and POPs covered is southern California, with 20 millions POPs covered.

Competition between Clearwire and Verizon, which are today the two largest 4G operators in United States, is now intensifying. Verizon will be offering very similar speeds as Clearwire and, starting 2011, more attractive devices including LTE smartphones and tablets.

However, in the short term I don’t believe Clearwire has much to worry about regarding Verizon’s recent announcement. Verizon Wireless’ LTE offering is disruptive compared to Clearwire's WiMAX offering. The former has introduced one LTE plan of 5 GB at US$50/month and another of 10 GB at US$80/month (both plans charge US$10.00 per 1 GB overage fee), compared to Clearwire’s WiMAX plans providing unlimited data for only US$45/month (users consume in average 7GB per month). 5 G might not be enough for most of Verizon’s customers, who are likely to turn to the 10 GB plan to satisfy their data needs. Consumers will know how much data they are using via Verizon text alerts when they reach the 50%, 75%, 90% and 100% usage marks.

Speeds for the two carriers’ offerings are about the same – 5-12 Mbps downlink for Verizon and 3-6 Mbps for Clearwire (with burst over 10 Mbps). It is doubtful from a customer point of view whether 6Mbps or 12Mbps downlink makes much difference. What Verizon’s customers will notice right away and will be happy about is the 10x increased speed of the 4G network as compared to 3G. Speed is important but so is latency. Verizon’s spokesman explained that the latency on its 4G network is half the latency on the 3G network, and almost near the latency a user can experience on a wired network.

Not only has Verizon priced its capped LTE data plans higher than Clearwire's unlimited 4G data plan, but its available LTE USB dongles (one from LG and another one from Pantech), will not compete against Clearwire's 4G smartphones (HTC and Samsung). There is a clear time-to-market advantage for Clearwire in terms of devices and cities covered. It has today more than 45 4G embedded laptops and netbooks, 2 smartphones and 4 USB dongles, while Verizon has only introduced 2 USB dongles. Although Verizon has said that more LTE device models will be available within weeks and will be 3G compatible, we believe that the real momentum for Verizon's LTE network will be by mid-2011, when the first LTE capable smartphones hit the market. Verizon has announced Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent as key partners for its LTE network rollout to RAN infrastructure, Nokia Siemens and Cisco as suppliers of core IMS infrastructure, and LG and Pantech as initial device suppliers.

The greatest disadvantage for Verizon is that its LTE network capacity will be limited by its spectrum resources of 34 MHz in the 700 MHz band, as compared to +150 MHz in Clearwire’s 2.5 GHz band. Clearwire will leverage its superior spectrum assets to continue offering unlimited data plans, which Verizon will not be able to support.

All this sounds good for Clearwire: with approximately 4 million WiMAX subscribers, a wide array of devices, and a superior spectrum position than any other carrier in the United States, the operator has gained momentum in the last 2 years since its WiMAX/4G network was first launched. But one aspect that we cannot omit is the difficult situation that Clearwire is going through to gain additional funding to continue network development. Lack of funding in the coming six months will inevitably hurt Clearwire’s 4G position.

3G and 4G will be equally important for Verizon, at least in the short term. Verizon will leverage its 3G network to support voice and 4G network to support data applications, the two networks will work simultaneously. At some point in the future when its 4G footprint is larger, Verizon will put voice and data together on the 4G network, however VoIP over LTE will not be available but until late 2012 or early 2013.

The nature of the Verizon Wireless’ 700 MHz spectrum will allow lower initial deployment costs to achieve similar coverage as Clearwire, which is deploying in the 2.5 GHz band. This is offset by the differences between deployments: Verizon will blanket much more suburban, traffic corridor and marginal suburban areas than Clearwire. Therefore, its coverage will be about twice of Clearwire’s down the road.

Verizon’s LTE growth is dependent upon achieving nationwide coverage, which will not take place until 2011. Next year will witness a rapid pace of deployments and the introduction of a growing list of LTE devices. However, before rapid growth can take place, deployment first must mature, devices and services must be rolled out, and advertising campaigns must be mounted.

MARAVEDIS is a leading analyst firm focusing on disruptive technologies including smart networks using WiMAX, IEEE and 3GPP/LTE.

Author: Cintia Garza, Team Leader 4GCounts & Market Analyst CALA

source: LteWorld

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Vodafone offers LTE, Deutsche Telekom next year

Vodafone Germany is launching comercial LTE on December 1 and is offering LTE surf sticks to it's customers. The new Samsung LTE data stick are available nationwide from 1 December, particularly in the Vodafone shops in rural areas. Vodafone is driving the rapid expansion in so-called white areas on a weekly basis. By the end of 2011, the white patches will disappear says Vodafone. Vodafone has planned 1,500 LTE locations by the end of March 201.

Deutsche Telekom is late in commercial LTE launch and has announced LTE expansion with goal to deploy around 500 4G-ready stations by year end. Many stations are already LTE-ready. According to operator selected customers would test the new technology first and marketing will begin in April 2011.

Vodafone LTE home Internet tariff of 39.99 € includes a broadband access of up to 7.2 megabits per second. For those who want more speed, there are tariffs with data rates up to 21.6 megabits per second for € 49.99 and at a speed of up to 50 megabits per second for 69.99 euros per month.

source: LteWorld

Update: State of LTE in USA

MetroPCS launched LTE services in Las Vegas in September this year and became first USA operator to offer commercial LTE services. Verizon is on track for LTE launch in December. Since my last blog onstate of LTE allot has changed in LTE world. More operators have shown considerable interest in deploying LTE and have detailed out the plans. A summary of LTE commitments and status of USA operators are followings.

Aircell - Launch 2011

Aircell, a provider of broadband wireless services to commercial and private aircraft, plans to deploy LTE in 2011 to boost the capacity of its CDMA EV-DO network.

AT&T - Trials 2010/ Launch 2011

AT&T is currently trialing LTE in Baltimore and Dallas, with commercial deployment scheduled to begin in 2011 using 700 MHz and AWS spectrum. AT&T has selected Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson as equipment suppliers for the planned deployment of its higher-speed LTE mobile broadband network.

BayRICS - Launch 2011

Bay Area Regional Interoperable Communications System (BayRICS) vision was established by the 10 Bay Area Counties and three core cities, of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose in 2006 through the creation of a strategic plan with the goal of providing voice and data interoperability throughout the Bay Area region. Bay Area Wireless Enhanced Broadband (BayWEB) is the broadband component of BayRICS. BayWEB has acquired 700 MHz in which an LTE-based public safety system will be deployed. BayWEB, utilizing existing public safety radio system assets, will be built, owned, operated and maintained by Motorola. It is targeted to be operational in early 2011.

Cellcom - Planned LTE Deployment

US regional carrier Cellcom servs customers throughout the Wisconsin and Michigan areas and deploying an LTE network. Cellcom is currently deploying the Bridgewater EPC for IMS femtocell services and for the launch of LTE broadband services.

Cellular South - Launch Q4 2011

Cellular South has acquired 700 MHz spectrum for Mississippi and Tennessee and most of Alabama and plans to deploy LTE in the future. Cellular South has picked Samsung to build a LTE network and plans to launch in the fourth quarter of 2011. Cellular South plans to launch LTE service by the end of 2011 using voice-over LTE (VoLTE) and continue to expand availability across its 700 MHz footprint in 2012.

CommNet Wireless - Trial Q2 2010 / Launch 2011

CommNet Wireless plans to build LTE network spanning parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. CommNet Wireless has contracted with ZTE to deploy a test LTE network. Its LTE network will provide fixed and mobile service to over 30,000 households (approximately 135,000 people) and 1,000 businesses in 15 of the largest communities in the Navajo Nation, including Window Rock, Shiprock, Kayenta, Chinle, and Tuba City. In addition, the project will provide high capacity connectivity on the combined middle-mile backbone to an additional 49 tribal communities.

CenturyTel - Launch 2010

CenturyTel plans to deploy LTE in 700 MHz from 2010. Last year CenturyTel had announced to deploy LTE to deliver high-speed access to its rural customers. Clearwire Clearwire is conducting technical trials to determine how it could potentially add LTE technology to coexist with WiMAX.

Clearwire is currently trialling TDD and FDD in Phoenix, Arizona. Clearwire TDD trial has been reported in 20MHz of spectrum with peak downlink speeds of 50Mbps. While 90Mbps down and 30Mbps up has been reported in FDD using 40MHz of spectrum in paired 20MHz chunks.

Cox Communications - Trials 2010/ Launch 2010-2011

Cox has announced the LTE trials running on equipments from Alcatel-Lucent and Huawei in January using AWS and 700 MHz spectrum. COX Communications has deployed the CDMA LTE multi-mode trial using Huawei' s solution. Cox's LTE trials showed peak speeds of around 25 Mbps with 2x2 MIMO technology over a 2x5 MHz channel.

Leap Wireless - Planned LTE Deployment

Leap Wireless began testing LTE in June, earlier this year. Leap expects to begin broader LTE deployments in the next three to four years, starting with hot spot locations in high data-density market centers such as New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Lightsquared - Launch Q3, 2011

With an ambitious fast track deployment LightSquared is set to lanuch wholesale LTE services by middle of next year and expected to have 92 percent coverage of the United States by 2015. LightSquared network LightSquared will consist of 40,000 base stations.

MetroPCS - Comercial LTE Launched in September 2010

MetroPCS currently provides LTE services in five major metropolitan cities, including Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. MetroPCS intends to expand its 4G services into additional major metropolitan areas later this year and into early 2011, including Atlanta, Boston, Jacksonville, Miami, New York, Orlando, Sacramento, San Francisco and Tampa.

MetroPCS is launched LTE services in Las Vegas metropolitan area with Samsung Mobile LTE network products and has contracted Ericsson as the infrastructure vendor for its LTE network in Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area. MetroPCS is currently offering the first LTE handset Samsung Craft in its served area.

Public Service Wireless - Trial 2010

Public Service Wireless has been trialing IPWireless LTE-based infrastructure solutions since March of 2010 and plans to deploy LTE in central and south-west Georgia.

Texas Energy Network - Planned LTE Deployment

Texas Energy Network has announced to deploy LTE to benefit Oil and Gas companies’ growing data requirements and held a demonstration in New Mexico in conjunction with Alcatel-Lucent earlier this year.

T-Mobile - Commitment to LTE

Unlike its competitors, T-Mobile USA does not own spectrum in the 700MHz band that is being used for the country's LTE rollouts and therefore has no LTE migration timeframe in place.

Verizon Wireless - December 2010

Verizon has confirmed company’s LTE network launch in 38 major metropolitan areas in 700 MHz spectrum, covering more than 110 million Americans, on December 5, 2010. Verizon Wireless has selected Alcatel-Lucent & Ericsson as providers of the LTE Radio Access Network (RAN). Enhanced Packet Core (EPC) will be provided by Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and Starent Networks.

Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia Siemens will be the primary suppliers for the IMS network. Verizon Wireless expects 4G LTE average data rates to be 5 to 12 megabits per second (Mbps) on the downlink and 2 to 5 Mbps on the uplink in real-world, loaded network environments.

source: LteWorld