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Showing posts from July, 2016

India Mobile Subscriptions Drop in May 2016

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One does not often see mobile subscriptions decline in any developing country market, in any particular quarter or month, but that seems to be what happened in India in May 2016, when total mobile subscriptions dropped about one percent.
In urban areas, mobile subscriptions dropped two percent. In rural areas, subscriptions grew.
But most of the dip comes from share losses by several mobile providers, not necessarily an  across the board decline in net subscribers for most mobile service providers.
Fixed voice subscriptions also dropped, but that is not entirely unexpected in many markets.
source: TRAI

Consumer Revenues Propel Service Provider Revenue Growth

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Among the big changes in the telecom business over the last three to four decades, one of the most prominent is the growing revenue contribution (and profit contribution, in many cases) made by consumer accounts, as opposed to business customers.
That was not always the case. In the past, super-high profits from business customers funded operation of networks also serving consumers.
These days, it is consumer revenues that lead growth for most service providers.
The other big shift is the relative contributions made by mobile, as opposed to fixed, revenues.
As I mentioned during a recent keynote address for Telegration business partners (a U.S.-based sales organization focusing on enterprise and mid-market customers), when conducting analyses of Internet adoption on a global basis, one can essentially ignore all fixed network access, look only at mobile Internet access, and still get the trend right, and the magnitudes of usage about right.
That is quite a change from historical patterns,…

90% of Asia Internet access is Provided by Mobiles

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Across Asia, about 58 percent of people still do not use the Internet, according to the International Telecommunications Union.
If you exclude China, Japan and Korea, plus the city-states of Singapore and island of Taiwan, the percentage of Internet non-users can, in some cases, range upwards of 76 percent.
Except for about 10.5 percent of Internet users in Asia, who do get access using a fixed network, substantially all the rest of the Internet users do so using mobile networks. That is not to say other access methods will not emerge, but it is hard to ignore the fact that nearly 90 percent of Internet access in Asia now is provided by mobile networks.
Rural coverage, language relevance, device prices and recurring access costs all are issues. Still, mobile has to be reckoned the primary delivery vehicle.
As I mentioned during a keynote address for Telegration business partners (a U.S.-based sales organization focusing on enterprise and mid-market customers), when conducting analyses …

Why Bundling?

U.K. service provider bundled subscriptions will have grown by 20 percent from 2015 to 2020, with quadruple play revenues growing 300 percent, while total multiplay market revenues grow by 34 percent, Strategy Analytics predicts.
Dual-play subscriptions will peak in 2016 and begin to decline as customers move to triple and quad-play bundles, the firm estimates. By 2020, quadruple-play subscriptions will represent more than 21 percent of bundled subscriptions in the U.K. market.   The bundled services trend--in any market--tells you quite a lot about the state of the telecommunications market. There are some advantages in terms of customer acquisition and retention.
Simply, most bundles are a form of discounting: “buy more, save money.” Once consumers have made those decisions, churn tends to drop, because dropping any one service means losing the cost savings of the whole bundle.
But bundling also tells you how hard it is (perhaps how “nearly impossible” it is) to build a modern fixed ne…

AT&T, Comcast Boost Usage Caps for Internet Access Customers

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As with virtually everything else connected with Internet access, speeds keep getting faster, and usage (where there are any limits at all) allocations keep getting bigger, for U.S. customers of leading fixed network Internet service providers.
AT&T has used a variety of usage caps for customers of its U-verse Internet access service, with caps based on user access speed. Users at 768 Kbps to 6 Mbps had a 300 GB cap.
U-verse users on connections of 12 Mbps to 75 Mbps had 600 GB caps. Customers on anything between 100 Mbps and 1 Gbps had a terabyte (1,000 Gb) monthly usage cap.
But AT&T has bumped usage caps usage caps higher. But AT&T now appears to have bumped usage allowances up to 1,000 Gb for all customers on access connections of 768 kbps or faster.
As a practical matter, that means all U-verse customers, and customers of AT&T’s gigabit service have no caps at all.
source: AT&T
Charter Communications, as a condition of the approval of its purchase of Time Warner C…

Comcast Boosts Usage Caps to a Terabyte

In markets where it is testing usage caps for its Internet access customers, Comcast has raised the monthly usage from 300 Gb to 1,000 Gb (a terabyte).
Comcast says its typical customer uses about 60 gigabytes of data in a month.
To be sure, some advocate no caps or any kind, ever, arguing that there actually are not cost implications for unlimited use. ISPs would disagree, of course. All networks are dimensioned for some amount of expected usage, and further designed to support peak loads.
Capital has to be invested when peak loads grow substantially. So the amount of usage by typical and the heaviest users does matter.
The terabyte cap allows for viewing of 700 hours of high-definition video, or about 23 hours at is each day. No single person watches that much video, and even if shared between four people, that amounts to nearly six hours per day, per person.
Power users (less than one percent of Comcast’s high speed access customer base) who want more than a terabyte can sign up for …

U.S. Mobile Customers More Satisfied, AT&T Leads, But Billing Issues Still Drive 44% of Inbound Customer Service Traffic

In its latest study of mobile service provider customer care satisfaction, J.D. Power found U.S. consumers were more satisfied with customer care experiences.
But some things do not seem to change. Questions about billing are huge drivers of in-bound customer service activity.
Among wireless customers contacting their carrier by telephone, billing (44 percent) is the most frequently reported reason for contact.
The same is true for customers contacting using the online channel (52 percent).
On the other hand, the majority of mobile customers visiting a retail facility for customer service purposes do so with questions about service options and equipment (40 percent).
AT&T ranks highest among  full-service carriers, with an overall score of 820. So some things change, in the mobile consumer satisfaction area.
AT&T performs particularly well in the walk-in (retail stores) and online channels, and performs above the full-service average in all four service channels, J.D. Power sai…

One More Proposed Low Earth Orbit Satellite Constellation Ultimately Featuring 2,956 Satellites

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Boeing Co. has applied for a license from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to launch and operate a network of thousands of satellites in low earth orbit, enabling  high speed Internet access and communication services that likely will reach every inch of the earth’s surface.
That, of course, would help maritime applications, but also could bring high speed access to isolated areas at new, and lower, price points.
Of course, Boeing is not alone. SpaceX and OneWeb also plan to launch LEO constellations, and O3b (using a medium earth orbit constellation) already is in commercial service.
Boeing said it planned to initially deploy 1,396 satellites into low-earth orbit within six years of the license approval.
Eventually, the aerospace giant said its system would total 2,956 satellites designed to provide Internet and communications services for commercial and government users around the globe.
There still is some possibility Boeing--if successful--might take a wholesale approach, l…

Eventually, Net Neutrality Rules Will Not be Needed

The argument for regulation of communications services of any type always is justified on the basis of scarcity: that some product or service is supplied by too few suppliers, on too limited a basis, to allow competition to act as the regulator.
Eliminate scarcity and the argument for government regulation goes away. Eventually, even network neutrality rules justified on the basis of scarcity (a few ISPs are so powerful they can shape or limit competition) is going to go away.
Huge amounts of new spectrum; including 29 gigaHertz of new wireless communications capacity, as much as seven gigaHertz to be made available on an unlicensed basis; new competition from Google Fiber, municipal networks and independent ISPs; new economics of fixed wireless; spectrum sharing and new next-generation mobile networks are going to eliminate scarcity.

"Five Nines" Now is Effectively Impossible for Consumer Web Experience

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It probably goes without saying that the Internet is a complex system, with lots of servers, transmission paths, networks, devices and software all working together to create a complete value chain.
And since the availability of any complex system is the combined performance of all cumulative potential element failures, it should not come as a surprise that a complete end-to-end user experience is not “five nines.”
Consider a 24×7 e-commerce site with lots of single points of failure. Note that no single part of the whole delivery chain has availability of  more than 99.99 percent, and some portions have availability as low as 85 percent.
The expected availability of the site would be 85%*90%*99.9%*98%*85%*99%*99.99%*95%, or  59.87 percent. Redundancy is the way performance typically is enhanced at a data center or on a transmission network.
For consumers, “hot” redundancy generally is not possible for devices. One can keep spare devices around, but manual restoration (switch to a diff…