Last month, news broke that Google is working on an MVNO that will ride on the combined networks of Sprint and T-Mobile. This is big news, and many people discussed how this could be a low-cost service that uses the best available signal from the No. 3 and No. 4 carriers combined in order to get network quality close to matching the top two. This, in itself, is potentially disruptive, but Google is likely up to something more, and an MVNO may enable it to do something far more interesting.
When LTE was first conceived in the middle of the last decade, the focus was on providing a flat IP architecture optimized for broadband connectivity. This included placing the air interface protocol functions at the base station and using wide frequency bandwidth with multiple-antenna technology that OFDM technology enables in silicon at relatively low cost. It is an approach that reversed centralization of high-layer functions, such as scheduling, in 3G networks.
Untethered is better. We love our smartphones, tablets, Bluetooth headsets, wireless keyboards and mice, wireless speakers, and ever more gadgets that connect us to work, family, friends, entertainment, and emerging applications in areas such as health, education, and energy consumption. With 4G offering fantastic performance, many users are cutting the cord to their wired broadband connection, electing for one monthly broadband bill instead of two.
Despite reports that special access is somehow a secret monopoly, today's reality is that the business market served by special access services is robustly competitive--and many Americans (including businesses) have already abandoned it.
Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) explicitly targets the two biggest problems facing network operators: bringing costs in line with revenue growth expectations and improving service velocity. But it also has the potential to fundamentally change fixed network economics.
How much does Carrier Ethernet service cost? That's like asking how much a car costs. The answer is similar--it depends on what you need and what you can afford to spend.
Sometimes it's funny to watch the relationships between a network equipment vendor and their customer. In most areas of business, the customer is king. Not in mobile infrastructure. In our business, the OEM tells their customer what to do... and the mobile operator has no choice. With 2G, 3G, and 4G in multiple bands, networks have become so complex that 3GPP standards are not enough.
Fear of the unknown can hold back American innovation and economic growth in the form of those who invoke bogeymen to scare consumers away from technological advances. That's happening today, as a dialogue is just beginning on how to upgrade and modernize the nation's old telephone networks to next generation high-speed Internet networks.
T-Mobile made three announcements today: 157 million LTE population coverage, the new Jump device program and family plans for non-contract customers. The general expectation was that T-Mobile would announce the 100 million LTE population coverage milestone by mid-year 2013. Instead, T-Mobile topped that by announcing 157 million population coverage, which came as a welcome surprise and shows how T-Mobile has executed over the last year.
It's summer now and that can mean only one thing--an inability to focus. Maybe it's just me, but between the change in weather, impending vacations and the need to get up super-early in order to watch the Tour de France, I'm having a tough time dedicating too much brain power to any one technology or market theme. Bear with me, then as I run through some of what's been keeping me, and the rest of the Current Analysis crew, busy over the last month or so…and what will likely be keeping us busy into the rest of the year.