Showing posts from October, 2015

Internet Basics to Test Demand for Village Wi-Fi

Facebook’s Internet Basics initiative now plans to test demand for Wi-Fi in 100 Indian villages. As always, sustainability is an issue.
Initially, Internet Basics will help create service in 25 villages, buying bandwidth from BSNL for a minimum period of three years, allowing time to test the extent of demand for a “for-fee” service.
Internet Basics has partnered with an Indian rural Internet access provider, AirJaldi, to manage the operation of the “Express Wi-Fi” service.
As currently configured, Express Wi-Fi costs 10 rupees, or about 15 cents, for one day’s access to 100 megabytes of data. For $3, users can buy use of 20 gigabytes of data, which can be used over the course of a month.
There are, according to Professor Rekha Jain, of the Indian Institute of Management, 640,000 villages in India, containing 180 million houiseholds.
Those households hve monthly household income of US$230, with US$24 a month in per person spending.
So part of the challenge is convincing those consumers t…

MIMO and Small Cells Can Only Do So Much: More Spectrum is Needed

If you assume demand for mobile Internet access bandwidth is going to keep growing in excess of 50 percent a year, as it presently is doing (Cisco predicts bandwidth consumption in Asia will grow at 58 percent annual rates through 2019), then supply also has to be increased.
If you also assume the percentage of higher-performance smartphones will keep growing, then you also must account for much-heavier bandwidth demand. A feature phone tends to use about 22 MB a month. A smartphone tends to use 819 MB each month, while a smartphone used on a 4G network will tend to consume 2,000 MB a month, according to Cisco.
As smartphone adoption grows, so will the percentage of phone customers regularly using mobile data. That also applies to use of smartphones on 4G networks or 3G networks, compared to 2G networks. People consume more data on faster networks
It also follows that significant additional capacity will have to be supplied.

Traditionally, there are three ways to do so. Regulators can a…

Is Google Fiber an Existential Threat? How Much Can it Do with 30% Coverage of the U.S. Market?

Is Google Fiber an existential threat to either telcos or cable TV? That might seem an overblown threat. “Existential” implies a threat to existence.

To the extent there is legitimate danger, it comes not from massive losses of telco or cable TV market share and gross revenue (though that might well happen), but “only” from a sustained dip in profit margins caused by the new competition.
In other words, assuming Google Fiber currently is sustainable itself (earning a positive rate of return), the issue is whether the competition tips either telco or cable TV profit margins below the 20-percent level, towards zero.
Nor does Google Fiber have to do all the work.
Other trends work in that direction, namely declining demand for fixed network voice and declining demand for linear video, in addition to the obvious new pressure on high speed access pricing and profit margins.
The challenge Google Fiber represents is that cable TV and telco competitors have to increase capital investment while …

Reliance Jio Plans Big Push into Fixed Services

Reliance Jio, about to launch a major challenge in the Indian mobile communications business, also hopes to enter the fixed network business as well, as a cable TV operator. In June 2016, Reliance Jio Media Pvt. Ltd, a subsidiary of Reliance Jio, received approval to launch a pan-India cable TV company.
That would be an expensive, time-consuming and daunting exercise under the best of conditions. So it is not surprising that Reliance Jio would consider growth by partnership and acquisition.
The company is said to be in talks with a number of cable TV operators, particularly in large and densely packed cities, such as Mumbai and Bangalore, to supply the platform. At the moment, cable TV operators represent about 100 million connected homes.
As in the past in other markets, Reliance Jio might discover it will have to upgrade the cable TV facilities, both in terms of reliability (network uptime) as well as ability to support two-way operations.

source: Business Standard

Google Fiber Formally Asks 3 More Cities to Work on Qualifying for Google Fiber

Google Fiber says it has  invited Oklahoma City, Okla., Jacksonville, Fla. and Tampa, Fla. to explore bringing Google Fiber to their communities, as it did in September, inviting officials in Irvine, Calif., Louisville and San Diego to work with Google on a standard checklist of items Google Fiber uses to assess market viability.
That normally includes a detailed study of matters that affect construction, such as local topography, housing density, and the condition of existing infrastructure.
Cities also must complete a checklist of items—such as providing a map of utility lines—that Google Fiber insists are prerequisites.
Those of you familiar with the history of the U.S. competitive local exchange carrier business will see the pattern here. Many U.S. CLECs, exploring communities where it was favorable to commence operations, also stayed away from the major metro areas (“NFL cities”) and instead picked tier two cities.
The same logic appears to make sense for Google Fiber.

source: Goo…

What is Harder than Being an Indian Mobile Operator?

It might be easier to thread a camel through the eye of a needle than to succeed wildly and easily in the Indian mobile communications market. It would not be unusual in any big market for four providers to control 95 percent share of the mobile services market.
In India, though four providers have about 70 percent share, five providers have 86 percent share, while six providers have 93 percent share. Structurally, the Indian mobile market is more fragmented than most.

source: Datareign
For reasons I do not claim to understand, mobile operator infrastructure costs some 30 percent more than global averages, says Rajan Mathews, Cellular Operators Association of India director general.
That is not all. Spectrum prices range from 30 percent to 35 percent higher than global averages as well.
And Indian mobile operators labor with less spectrum. “Every mobile operator in India has, on average, 12 MHz to 15 MHz of spectrum,” said Mathews. “Globally, every operator has 45 MHz to 50 MHz.”
There oth…

"Dig Once" is More Useful to Some Than to Others

In principle, it is helpful to some communications service providers when conduit suitable for installing new optical fiber cable already is in place. That is the attraction of “dig once” policies that install conduit whenever other construction projects are undertaken.

That is the thinking behind a ”dig once bill introduced in the U.S. Congress. Of course, the measure balances “more” value for future potential Internet service or app providers and less value for users of federal highways, since the cost of installing the conduit means “less highway.”

That will be deemed a reasonable tradeoff in many instances, with the greatest value if the conduit is laid along important and recognized routes useful for path-diverse long haul transport, or passing population centers or other sites where close access to long haul facilities is useful.

The conduit will have less value if it merely is installed along existing long-haul routes where conduit already exists, or where there is little increm…

Chorus to Outsource Network Management to Alcatel-Lucent

New Zealand wholesale network operator Chorus has awarded Alcatel-Lucent a five-year managed services contract covering 24/7 monitoring of the operator's nationwide wholesale copper network.
Under the agreement, Alcatel-Lucent will provide real-time monitoring and analysis services from a new network operation center in Hamilton working with an additional NOC in Bangalore, India to provide monitoring aimed at preventing faults, improving network availability and ensuring continuous service quality of the copper network.
The contract is part of a long-standing trend in telecommunications, where service providers outsource network management functions to third parties, or actually divest assets such as networks of cell towers, or, in the case of Telecom New Zealand, the entire network.
That throws light on an old question (largely rhetorical) about what the typical telecom operator’s core competence might be. It remains hard to answer with precision. The question concerns not merely “…

T-Mobile US Adds 2.3 Million Net New Customers

T-Mobile US third quarter 2015 results continued a recent streak of subscriber, revenue and earnings growth.

T-Mobile US added 2.3 million total net customers, grew service revenue 11 percent and “adjusted earnings” 42 percent, quarter over quarter. T-Mobile’s total revenues for the third quarter of 2015 grew by 6.8% year-over-year

T-Mobile US added 2.3 million total net adds, the 10th consecutive quarter when T-Mobile US added more than one million net new accounts.

Of the total net adds, 1.1 million were branded postpaid net adds, of which 843,000 were branded postpaid phone net adds. T-Mobile US also added 595,000 branded prepaid accounts.
Verizon added 430,000 net accounts during the same quarter, while AT&T lost 333,000 postpaid accounts.

European Parliament Sets Network Neutrality Rules

The European Parliament has ratified net neutrality rules applying across the European Union. Blocking of lawful apps has been an issue.  
In 2012, the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC) reported that between 21 percent and 36 percent of Internet access subscribers were affected by blocking or throttling depending on the type of application.
The new rules forbid blocking or throttling of lawful online content, applications and services, on mobile or fixed networks. That will have possible implications for Skype, Facetime or other apps sometimes blocked by ISPs. Nor will it be lawful to charge a fee to “unblock” those apps.
No traffic can be prioritized, whether on a paid or unpaid basis. At the same time, equal treatment allows reasonable day-to-day traffic management according to justified technical requirements, and which must be independent of the origin or destination of the traffic and of any commercial considerations.
The rules also clarify the conditio…

European Parliament Approves End to Mobile Roaming Charges

The European Parliament has ratified an end to wholesale mobile roaming charges by June 2017 and also set net neutrality  rules for the first time in EU law.
For consumers, the new rules mean that, starting 15 June 2017, EU mobile customers will pay home rates for voice, texting and mobile data when traveling within the EU, subject to a fair use cap that is not yet defined.
Since the EU took action in 2007, prices that consumers pay for roaming across calls, texting and data have decreased by over 80 percent.
Data roaming is now up to 91 percent cheaper compared to 2007, with perhaps predictable results:  the volume of the data roaming market has grown by 630 percent.

Current Revenue Opportunities Dictate AT&T, Verizon Linear Video Strategies

It might not have seemed obvious, a few years ago, what stance either AT&T or Verizon "should" take towards future video entertainment strategy. Both firms had modest share of the linear video business, even if video was an essential ingredient for the triple play anchor service.

Today, AT&T and Verizon are taking different tacks to video entertainment. AT&T has made a bigger commitment to linear video. Verizon is emphasizing mobile video.

To be sure, there are some commonalities. AT&T believes its ability to bundle video entertainment, on a national basis, will help it sell and retain mobile accounts that also are sold nationwide. 

Verizon, on the other hand, had a smaller fixed network footprint to begin with, and concluded for several reasons that the better bet was to "go mobile," since perhaps 85 percent of total Verizon revenue is generated by mobile services. 

Aside from other considerations, the DirecTV acquisition was immediatly accretive for A…

Does 25 Mbps Change Anything?

With one obvious possible exception--doling out of federal funds to support high speed access in rural and underserved areas--what is the impact of the Federal Communications Commission’s change in definition of “broadband” from 4 Mbps (downstream) to 25 Mbps?
Record keeping obviously changes. When the next report appears, many service providers will no longer be said to be providing “high speed access,” their services being defined out of existence.

Many more residents will said to be “lacking” such access. That, of course, is the purpose: creating a gap; a problem to be fixed. And the shift could be as high as 90 percent, using the latest Akamai study results.

Akamai also says U.S. “adoption rates for 25 Mbps broadband remain fairly low nationwide, with 46 states seeing levels below 10 percent.” That’s the magnitude of the likely reporting change.

It matters “what” is being measured, of course. What likely matters more are Internet service provider investment decisions about what is …