A Tale of 2 Meetings: Mobile Telecom in Crisis

1.  SVC Wireless March 10th Meeting: Mobile in Crisis- How to Survive and Thrive through the Economic Tsunami

With the current credit crisis, economic meltdown, and stock market crash, both business and individuals are facing significant challenges: Big corporations are cutting cost and downsizing workforce while startups are struggling with shrinking market and drying capital sources. The soft job market makes people more cautious about the future. But crisis and downturns can lead to significant opportunity. Here are a few areas to consider:
 
In the upcoming era of Mobile Internet, who will be the next Google? How will the landscape of mobile ecosystem look like after the storm retreats? What will be the next killer apps to drive the changes? How can companies save cost without hurting their business and even improve their business?
 
In this informative panel discussion, moderated by Earl Lum of EJL Wireless Research, several industry professionals discussed various aspects of the mobile ecosystem and share their vision about future growth opportunities.

Speakers

  • Richard Lim, Managing Director, GSR Ventures
  • Junbo Liu, Executive Vice President, VanceInfo Technologies
  • Michael Mace, Principle, Rubicon Consulting
  • Bill Maggs, Head of Developer and Partner Engagement, Sony Ericsson
  • Satya Mallya, Director, Personal Sphere, Wireless & Terminals, Orange Labs, France Telecom

 Key Observations and Data Points: 

China has the most Internet users in the world. Most of them are under 30 with over 1/2 the total users being students. eCommerce is starting to grow rapidly. China Mobile is the leading ISP and mobile service provider with 80% market share. But China Telecom and Unicom also have 3G licenses. Mobile services are the fastest growing telecom market in China. Over 1/2 the world’s handsets are manufactured in China.

Buying patterns change during a severe economic downturn. Users are reluctant to upgrade their or buy new gadgets. HTC (Taiwan) is a significant handset manufacturer.  

Orange, a division of France Telecom,  is keen on value added mobile services. Music and video are starting to get popular, in addition to mobile Internet access. Currently, only 6% of their mobile traffic is from data, but they expect that to grow to 20% if the next four years.
 
Ericsson and Huawei share leadership of the wireless infrastucture equipment market (Base Stations, Subscriber Units, Radios/Transceivers, etc). But Nokia-Siemens and ZTE are strong. No mention of Alcatel-Lucent or Motorola. Mobile backhaul represents a significant opportunity for these companies.

The Mobile OS market continues to be fragmented. Android is a very promising software platform. Symbian (from Nokia) has been losing market share, while Windows Mobile is making some progress. 

Apple’s App Store has been very successful with over $1B in sales. A web application ecosystem from other smart phone vendors (RIM, Palm, etc) will be necessary to successfuly compete with Apple’s App Store.

Mobile video has not been popular in the U.S. and that is not likely to change until devices have larger screen sizes, and network bandwidth increases without users being throttled back. Flash has been standardized on Japanese mobile phones, where video is more popular.
 
Junbo Liu, the Executive Vice President & Chief Business Development Officer at VanceInfo Technologies Inc, said the outsourcing business in China was still doing quite well.  VanceInfo Technologies

2.  TiE Mobility Panel Session- March 3, 2009 – WiMAX Take Aways:  

http://www.wimax360.com/profiles/blogs/takeaways-from-tie-mobility   

3.  3G Phones Exposing Networks’ Last-Gen Technology  (NY Times) 

We have longed claimed that 3G networks would become saturated once more users accessed the Internet using smart phones, gadgets, notebooks, or netbooks. That is why we’ve been a proponent of an all IP network that had built in prioritization, access control, pre-emption and other forms of QoS capability. The NY Times has now documented this problem, reporting on the frustration many iPhone users have with 3G network access. Here’s a quote:

"The major mobile carriers have spent tens of billions of dollars on new voice and data networks that they advertise as superfast wireless express lanes. But analysts say these upgrades present major engineering challenges, and the networks often underperform. The resulting technological glitches have given many owners of fancy new phones the urge to throw them out the window and onto the highway."

More at:  ttp://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/14/technology/14phone.html?ref=techn…

0 thoughts on “A Tale of 2 Meetings: Mobile Telecom in Crisis

  1. We strongly believe that today’s wireless networks will not be able to cope with the coming bandwidth explosion that will result from increase use of mobile data and video applications. In our opinion, there are several areas of the network that will have to be upgraded (and possibly augmented by usage restrictions) if mobile data grows anywhere near what Cisco predicts for the ‘Zettabyte Era’ :

    1. Access networks will have to be re-organized to use pico cells, Distributed Antenna Sysems (DAS), or equivalent user segmentation scheme for efficient spectrum re-use within a given metro area.

    2. Many networks will still be congested during periods of heavy video and multi-media downloads/ uploads or streaming. In that case, the operator will have to meter service or even restrict/ block certain apps, e.g. AT&T blocks Sling Box video to handsets.

    3. The other choice is to upgrade the mobile access network to an OFDM/OFDMA wireless access technology like WiMAX or LTE. . Those networks use spectrum more efficiently and have enhancements like MIMO that further contribute to better utilization.

    Problem with this is that it takes a lot of capital to build out a new infrastructure. Further, mobile LTE is a lot farther from being commercially realized then most people expect. That leaves mobile WiMAX as a viable option, but………..???????

    4. Both local and metro backhaul segments will need to be upgraded. The current average cell backhaul is equivalent to only 5 x T1’s and it must be increased in accordance with the volume and bandwidth of traffic in the access network. Microwave backhaul is the solution for local backhaul and will compete with fiber (where available) for metro and longer distance backhaul.

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