Thursday, September 20, 2012

Verizon Wireless has Enough Spectrum for 4 to 5 Years

Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo says that Verizon Wireless now has enough spectrum to handle its capacity needs for the next four to five years. Granted, Verizon and other carriers have a vested interest in convincing regulators that they will need more spectrum to handle increasing demand, but there also is a reason most people assume the general claim is correct.

If one assumes demand is growing perhaps 40 percent a year, and even assuming more intense coding, cell division, more efficient signaling and Wi-Fi offload are among the other tools service provider have, more bandwidth will be needed.

The issue, one might argue, is that some of those techniques could be much more expensive than simply deploying more spectrum. And those additional costs will be passed along to consumers.

At a global level, Analysys Mason predicts that mobile data will grow at a 41 percent compound annual growth rate. That would be quite a slower rate than had been the case in 2011, for example, when growth was about 90 percent, on average, in the U.S. market.

According to a 2011 Nielsen monthly analysis of mobile phone bills for 65,000 lines, smart phone owners, especially those with iPhones and Android devices, were consuming about 435 megabytes in the first quarter of 2011, up from about 230 Mbytes in the first quarter of 2010.

Data usage for the top 10 percent of smartphone users was up 109 percent, as you would expect. The top one percent of users increased their usage by 155 percent from 1.8 GBytes in the first quarter of 2010 to over 4.6 GBytes in the first quarter of 2011, Nielsen said.

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