Meeting the Cost Requirements for IoT Devices

It seems many are convinced that the magic number for device cost in cellular M2M applications is $5. What should be the cost of a module, and how critical an issue is the device cost to start with, is a topic of debate and although I have my view on it, it is not what I will address here*. Instead, I like to focus on what needs to happen to get the cost to sub $5. So, how can we reach such a target price and what are the implications? Read more of this post

Canada AWS-3 Spectrum Result Summary

AWS-3 Auction CanadaThe AWS-3 auction in Canada has wrapped up raising a total of C$2.11 billion (US$ 1.68b) in a sealed-bid second-price format that was completed in a day. Of the 50 MHz auctioned, 30 MHz was set aside for challengers like Wind Mobile, Videotron and Eastlink who paid just over C$98 m in total, or on average C$0.105 (US$0.084) per MHz-PoP, in what is considered a subsidy to these challengers in a market dominated by incumbents with overwhelming market advantage in spectrum assets and subscriber base. Industry Canada estimates that these operators increased their spectrum holdings by 107% on average, which is considerable. Mobilicity which has filed for Chapter 11 did not bid. Read more of this post

MWC2015 Wrap-up Notes

MWCIf there’s a single theme to sum up this year’s MWC, it is the acquisitions that were announced. A number were announced and many are yet to be announced: NXP’s acquisition of Freescale ($11.8 bllion), HP of Aruba, Mitel of Mavenir, CommAgility of MIMOON are but a few examples. Consolidation is a natural outcome for an industry that transcends communications to offer multiple services including but not limited to entertainment, education, and financial services. So in a clear trend, we find more focus this year on how to enable mobile network operators (MNOs) generate more revenue as opposed to a focus on performance which is characteristics of past years. This represents a new level of maturity in a number of products and solutions that initially were brought upon as a mean to enhance performance but since have morphed into tools to generate revenue. It is also an acknowledgement that the status quo for MNOs characterized by eroding margins (EBITDA margins have dipped below 40% down from low 50% range a few years ago) has to change whereby data services are better monetized. Read more of this post

600 MHz Incentive Auction Key Facts

Incentive Auction - TVWS - WhitespacesNow that the AWS-3 auction has concluded, not without controversy which will continue to reverberate for some time, attention will shift to the incentive auction planned by the FCC for next year. Being the first of its kind anywhere in the world, I thought it would be a good idea to summarize some of the inter-working of this auction by highlighting some key features: Read more of this post

Mobile Edge Compute, The Threat of OTT and Changing Infrastructure Architecture

OTT ThreatThe threat of over-the-shelf services (OTTs) to wireless network operators is well established, but as of yet, there is no clear answer as to how mobile network operators (MNOs) can ward off the OTT threat. This is evident by eroding margins where many large MNOs are now standing in the 30% EBITDA margin range, down from around 50%. The introduction of data service have eroded earnings as operators went into a high capex spending cycle to upgrade networks to LTE and meet anticipated capacity demand. MNOs also embarked on aggressive strategy to acquire new spectrum for the LTE networks which is perhaps best exemplified by the recent AWS-3 auction valued at $44.9 billion. All the while, MNOs have failed at capturing much additional value from the services they provide. The path to increased profitability will have to come from a combined effort to reduce cost while at the same time increase revenues. Finding such a formula is not straight forward and various attempts taken by MNOs to ward off the threat of OTTs have so far largely failed. Read more of this post

AWS-3 Auction 97: Behind the Numbers

AWS-3 Aution 66Auction 97 for the AWS-3 band made headline news as operators spent $44.9 billion on 65 MHz of spectrum – a huge sum of money. But what’s behind the headline story; what do the numbers tell? Here are some of observations: Read more of this post

Cloud RAN Promises to Shape Future Wireless Networks

Wireless Cloud RANWe have released our annual Cloud RAN report with new insights and analysis on the development of this market during 2014. Cloud RAN is certainly gaining in interest in the operator community. This is due to practical reasons related to cost savings that can be realized first by the process of centralization and then by the virtualization of the radio access network. In our analysis of this market, we took a quantitative approach by analyzing the business case for different deployment scenarios (macro cell, HetNets) in different markets (Asia, North America), to determine a plausible evolution and market potential for Cloud RAN. The findings were extremely interesting as they exposed where Cloud RAN makes sense and under what conditions and use case scenarios. This is critical as Cloud RAN has impact on a number of other mobile network solutions such as small cells and distributed antenna systems (DAS). Read more of this post

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