Korean Spectrum Pricing – An Analysis

Last week, Korea’s largest mobile network operator SK Telecom successfully acquired 20 MHz of spectrum in the 1.8 GHz band for 995 billion won ($924 million). SK Telecom, which plans to use this band for LTE, beat out KT Corp which dropped out of the race as the price exceeded twice the reserve level of 445.5 billion won set by the KCC (Korea Communications Commission). KT Corp settled for a 10 MHz license in 800 MHz for the minimum bidding price of 261 billion won ($242 million). Meanwhile, LG U+ won a 20 MHz license in 2.1 GHz for the minimum bid price of 445.5 billion won ($413 million) as both SK and KT were excluded from the bidding for fair competition (the Korean market is essentially a duopoly: SK with 51% of active subscribers and KT with 31%). All licenses are for 10 years. Continue reading

The End of Wireless?!

The numbers for mid-2011 are in and the big picture for mobile network operators is clear: overall ARPUs continue to decline led by declining voice service revenue. Data service revenue continues to grow, but not at a sufficient rate to compensate for the decline in voice revenue. In fact, data services which on average constitutes a about a third of ARPU fail to stabilize ARPU and hold off the erosion. Continue reading

Spanish Spectrum Auction Results: As Expected?

The results of the spectrum auction in Spain were published on Monday. The auction was for digital dividend band frequencies in 800 MHz, a slice of 900 MHz spectrum and 2.5 GHz spectrum. Continue reading

Dichotomy of Access and Backhaul Capacity Planning

I have listened to a few webinars recently by some of the major microwave backhaul vendors, all with the message that microwave has enough capacity to support required LTE data rates. It is evident that network operators have been pushing these vendors for higher data rates. Microwave after all cannot compete with fiber on capacity and MNOs (Mobile Network Operator) have been laying lots of fiber in anticipation of LTE network roll out. Continue reading

LTE Data Rate: What Can We Expect?

I have already address peak LTE data rates and showed how they’re calculated. But what type of data rates would a user actually experience? This is what really matters from a quality of experience perspective.

A number of factors impact the ultimate capacity offered by a cell site. Two critical factors are interference and network loading. These factors are inter-related: higher network loading, which is a measure of the number of active subscribers, results in greater interference. Continue reading

LTE Peak Capacity Explained: How to Calculate it?

I like to focus on LTE capacity in the next few blog entries and present what can realistically be obtained. I have seen wild figures, mainly pushed by system vendors and consumed by many operators, journalist and writers who like to wow readers of the promise of new technologies.  For network operators, erring on capacity expectations has negative consequences as capacity fundamentally impact the cost of the network both on the access side and the backhaul side. Inflated capacity figures would lead to under-dimensioning on the access side and over-dimensioning on the backhaul side. So, for example, if we think LTE cell will provide 100 Mbps of throughput while in reality can only do 50 Mbps, the operator will be short by 50% of capacity in the access network resulting in poor user experience (e.g. slow download, blocking, etc.) and will be 50% over the required capacity for backhaul in which case it’s investment in capacity that’s sitting idle. This is why it is important to get capacity expectations right. Continue reading

Welcome to my blog!

I started this blog in 2011 to share my insights into the technology impact on the wireless industry. Specifically, I am interested in the impact of technology on business, markets and society. I find myself often working with clients who want to assess a technology for its commercial benefits. But before answering this question, we need to answer many more basic questions. Thus my tag line for the site: making sense of [high] tech! Technology is often hyped and the fundamentals are obscured. It is challenging and bold to voice a contrarian view. But to make informed decisions, we need to ask the tough questions and face the facts. Numbers often help in clarifying a clouded picture.

I hope my posts will provide a balance between technology and its commercial and market impact. This is why I hope you will come back often to read my posts. I welcome the interaction through comments or even direct contact.