JIO LYF 45Mukesh Ambani brings down the price to fill Reliance JIO's $25B network. The time has come for all but the very poor to have LTE phones with speeds in the megabits and higher. LTE is 2x-5x more efficient and costs much less per bit than 3G. The parts cost is only $5-15 more than 3G; the operator more than makes up for that with OPEX and spectrum savings. Ambani's $45 LTE phone has a quad-core processor, 4" screen, and performance that matches the iPhones that made people happy a few years ago, For $20 more, the screen is 4.5". 5" inch models are about $100. The $45 model - pictured above - has cameras with only 2 megapixels and other limits For not that much more you can get better specs. JIO is probably subsidizing a bit but other brands are not that much more expensive.

Carlos Slim told me three years ago that $50 smartphones will bring billions to the net. He was right. There are now about 3.5B smartphones, more than half belonging to people who weren't connected a few years ago. GSMA, usually accurate, projects 5.8B smartphones by 2020. India alone will have 400M-600M new netizens, more than the U.S. plus much of Europe.

I predict a very high percentage will be LTE. 

China Mobile and Verizon are rapidly pushing all customers to 4G. Operating costs go down, with some estimates that Verizon is saving 70%, China Mobile is projecting 500M subs by the end of the year.

Ambani is the first major operator in a developing country to commit totally to LTE. Others will follow because the economics are compelling. The parts cost of an LTE phone is only $5-15 more than a 3G phone. The operator more than recovers the difference in lower network expenses.

Ambani has no more than a modest subsidy in the price. Some unsubsidized other brands are not much more expensive. Phone manufacturers will have no choice but to bring down what they charge. iPhone sales are down and most estimates show the overall market also flat to down. Fortunately, chip and camera costs are also plummeting. Mediatek now faces challenges at the low end from companies including Spreadtrum. Qualcomm is responding by offering exceptional chips at modest prices. LYF is using all three vendors.  

The interesting question is what will the world be like when Africa has more net users than America, India far more than Europe, and China more than a billion? The U.S., Europe, and allies will be less than 25% of the Internet. I'm on an Internet Society Chapters Committee that is more than 3/4ths from the global South. One change will be all companies will have to become multilingual. With luck, machine translation will keep getting better. I only read English, but Google Translate lets me read Le Monde, Handelsblatt, and other European papers daily. The Chinese to English translations are good enough that I can get the sense of technical articles. 260 million Indians are native Hindi speakers, more than three times the number of native German speakers. More than 50 million speak each of Urdu, Telugu, Tamil, Marathi, Kannada, Gujarati, or Bengali. Most do not speak English. 

All LYF phones come with ten languages.

LYF LTE 65 300

Newsletter

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 Gig LTE & Massive MIMO ushering in the Age of Wireless Abundance

Wireless Abundance is here: What the new tech means http://bit.ly/Wirelessabundance
Sprint & T-Mobile Charge to be 1st in U.S. to Gig LTE bit.ly/STMOgig  AT&T bit.ly/ATTGIG2016
Kitahara of Softbank “I am crazy about Massive MIMO” http://bit.ly/MMIMOCrazy
20 Gig mmWave, Massive MIMO & Gig LTE at the Huawei MBBF http://bit.ly/Huawei20
LTE gets to the gigabit explained for non-engineers http://bit.ly/GigLteexplained
Massive MIMO explained. http://bit.ly/WHMassiveMIMO
2017's Big Gigabit story: Qualcomm 835 is ready http://bit.ly/BigGigLTE
Doubling speed with 4x4 MIMO & 256 QAM at T-Mobile http://bit.ly/2k1gEOQ
Netgear Nighthawk M1, Telstra do "gigabit class" LTE http://bit.ly/2k1s5Gq
Spectrum price down by half http://bit.ly/Spectrumhalfoff
Dish and the telcos see big asset cut http://bit.ly/auctionlosers
Shorts on 3GPP,  NYU research, Ralph de la Vega, 5G new radio

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5GW News

dave right5G? 4G? Whatever the name, wireless is going to a gigabit, soon.  I've reported broadband since 1999 and now is the time for gigabit wireless. Catch a mistake or have news? Email me please. Dave Burstein

 

Stories worth writing

Starry may match Verizon 5G at half the cost
OFCOM in UK: Share all spectrum, even licensed
OFCOM's Boccardi: 26 GHz worldwide: U.S. goes 28 
Verizon 5G fixed tests will be only 100's of homes
Massive MIMO FD at China Uni, Tele, Huawei, ZTE

 

 

 

Datapoints

Verizon and AT&T burying price increases in fees. 

Huawei's Richard Yu intends to pass both Apple & Samsung in smartphones in five years. 

The 3,000,000,000 transistor Qualcomm 835 is a revolution. Gig LTE, incredible cameras, better VR & AR, & ... State of the art CPU, DSL, GPU, ISP tightly integrated

1,000 T-Mobile small cells 2016, 6,000 more coming. Tech Life

New $84 Reliance Lyf Wind 7S has a 5" screen, a quad-core Snapdragon, an 8 megapixel camera, and some extras. Not state of the art, perhaps, but completely usable at a modest price. 

Orange/FT 4G covers 97% of Poland, 96% of Moldova, but only 84% in France, Q3 2016. They have 113.5 mobile customers in Africa compared to 25.5M in Europe.

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