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

Dark Fiber Makes a Comeback. Here’s Why.

Dark FiberWireless operators have quietly embarked on acquiring dark fiber – a trend that was picked up in 2013 and accelerated in 2014. Verizon is leading this activity and rolling out dark fiber to their cell site. But why specifically have carriers decided on dark fiber rather than continue lease capacity?

I think the answer has to be looked at from the perspective of long-term developments which matches the time-frame for leasing dark fiber which ranges between 10 to 20 years, and is typically closer to 20 years. Looking at that time-frame, we note that: Read more of this post

Taking Wi-Fi to Sub 1 GHz

IoT internet things connectivityThe Internet of Things (IoT) is the catalyst for a number of new standards that will reshape wireless connectivity as we know it. Examples: Bluetooth LE, LTE-MTC, Zigbee, and LPWA standards. Wi-Fi (802.11) is also being reshaped to accommodate IoT applications. These applications have different requirements which make connectivity techniques for IoT fragmented. Competition is not limited to among these standards, but also extends to include proprietary protocols which makes developments in this space particularly interesting to watch in the next few years. Read more of this post

AWS-3 Auction Closes on $44 Billion: Did They Cross The Bounds of The Rational?

AWS-3 AuctionIt seems US wireless operators have crossed the bounds to the irrational in bidding on the AWS-3 spectrum. As I write this article, round 91 closed at over $43.74 billion for the 65 MHz of spectrum. That’s a gross average of $2.3/MHz PoP. To put this into perspective, the 90 MHz of AWS-1 spectrum in 2006 netted $13.7 billion at gross average of $0.54/MHz-PoP. In other words, the cost of AWS-3 is more than 4 times that of AWS-1. In fact, the cost of AWS-3 is more than 2x the cost of the 700 MHz spectrum which is considered superior because of better propagation characteristics that leads to lower infrastructure capex. Overbidding on spectrum in higher bands is doubly damaging. Read more of this post

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