Within the year, hoping to increase fixed wireless speeds 50+%. Telecom Italia deployed a Kumu unit in Turin for LTE backhaul using the full duplex bandwidth. The 3GPP standard has included "LTE Relay" since 2009 but that hasn't been practical. Qualcomm is sampling the Snapdragon 820 Cat 12 LTE chip, capable of 600 megabits. TI thinks they've found a backhaul solution.
World-leading engineers believe wireless capacity will grow at least 50x in coming years. They include Marconi Prize winners Marty Cooper, Arogyaswami Paulraj, Henry Samueli and Vint Cerf. MIMO will yield at least a 10X improvement. AT&T and Verizon both have enough unused spectrum to double or triple current LTE capacity. Full duplex has the potential to double everything, and the researchers are confident of at least a 50% improvement most places. Back of the envelope, I believe a 25X increase in wireless capacity is possible without raising capital spending.
Nearly 50% price drop with new entrant into the world's most competitive market. Update 5/11 ET points to October for the full launch http://bit.ly/1Tac78M Mega-billionaire Mukesh Ambani has built a 4G network to 70% of India, with 90% expected by the official launch. Reliance Jio will bring in lower prices, $60 LTE phones and should be the most important telecom event of 2016. Reliance Jio is already running a large beta with employees and setting up dealers.
To fill that network, Ambani is offering one of the lowest prices in the world. He's already taken delivery on half a million SIM cards and requesting proposals for $50-75 mobiles in the tens of millions. The other big Indians telcos (Bharti, Vodafone and Idea) have responded by moving up their own 4G buildouts, which will soon take over the country. The increased investment is yet another confirmation that competition, not company profits, is the key determinant of investment. They will presumably reduce prices soon as well.
Ambani initially will concentrate on fixed wireless for broadband rather than mobile voice.
Market for mobile chips disappearing. When Henry Samueli shut down Broadcom's cellular baseband business, I happened to be visiting one of the founders. Many of the 3,000 engineers affected were his friends and the pain was apparent. However, I could see why the decision was necessary. Apple and Samsung dominate the mobile phone business and each made their own chips. Those two companies had growing market share and there just wasn't enough merchant business to sustain the chip vendors. Qualcomm's scale gives them a major advantage and the very efficient Mediatek has also grown.
Huawei, #3 or #4 in cell phone sales, is taking a similar path. Top analyst Linley Gwennap (quote in the headline) is enthusiastic about the new Huawei chip. He believes, "The new chip will outperform both the Snapdragon 810 and the Exynos 7420 on most mobile benchmarks, setting a new bar for smartphone performance."
Korea Telecom/Rwanda Government ORN spectrum could support ~2 gigabits across the country. While the initial rollout is using only 20 MHz, the Nokia equipment being installed can expand quickly to 60 MHz/400 megabits. There's a clear roadmap at least to 100 MHz with higher MIMO, enough to go well above a gigabit. Nokia demonstrated 3.8 gigabits at the recent Mobile Asia event, using 200 MHz. http://bit.ly/38gigabits
Joint venture ORN has 145 MHz of prime low band spectrum between 700 MHz and 900 MHz. This is one of the world's first wide allocations of spectrum, the most efficient way to increase capacity in the LTE and 5G era. Large spectrum blocks are the right move for capacity in any country with few wires, including India, Indonesia, and almost all of sub-Saharan Africa.
Engineers know this because they stand on the shoulders of giants. Policy people are too often blinded by the fog of interests. With just the spectrum already allocated, AT&T and Verizon could easily triple their network capacity without breaking the capital budget. The technology is obvious but the change in business models is unlikely. Sprint has remarkable holdings around 2.5GHz. Dish spectrum is totally unused.
There's enough available spectrum to build at least three Verizon-sized networks. The currently allocated but unused spectrum is allowing both AT&T and Verizon to double their wireless capabilities. I wrote this article because <yet another generally very knowledgeable> person just left that doubling out of his predictions. It's commonly overlooked.
My estimate is that spectrum, advanced technology and investment can easily provide a 25x gain many without blowing out capex budgets - if policy is smarter. The increased costs should be no more than 2% of sales and probably much less.
Realworld likely speeds of 50-150 megabits 90+% of the time. Two 20 MHz bands will deliver speeds like this. You rarely will need that kind of speed but higher capacity wireless means more bandwidth for all. The 2 gigabyte and 5 gigabyte caps need to disappear and they will where there's enough competition. 55% of Singapore is covered now and they'll be close to 100% next year.
Update 3 September: Vodafone in Spain announced a similar 300 megabit (shared) deployment rapidly going countrywide. By December, Voda will have 4G to 100% of Spanish towns of 25,000 or higher.
Rwanda will soon be supporting 750 megabits, as they build a network that can aggregate 5 carriers. The Africans look to leapfrog the west as they have plenty of spectrum available. There are very, very few phone wires in sub-Saharan Africa so the service will be wireless and they intend to make it efficient.
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