We all once understood the cellular industry, but the rules are changing all over again, as it faces the Perfect Storm.
LTE and LTE Advanced must open the door to the internet, broadband, video and the ever popular social network – just about anywhere you are.
Already there are 7 billion mobile subscribers, more than the world’s population, and the lead has been handed from Europe to the US to China and India. This is where you have to conduct business - where 30% of the world’s mobile subscribers are in just two countries.
There are more mobile handsets than there are TVs, PCs, laptops and normal telephones all put together. There are more mobiles handsets than there are toothbrushes. And the numbers are growing faster. And they all want connectivity.
Already 1.2 billion use phones to connect to the web, more than twice as many as use fixed broadband lines. In some parts of the world people think that the internet IS the phone. More people in Asia use the mobile web than anywhere else and mobile devices account for 9% of global website hits. This number is rising fast. 85% of new handsets come web enabled, so pretty soon 5 billion people will EXPECT the phone to reach the internet.
Meeting this rising expectation presents the sole agenda for the modern cellco. The other half of that agenda is that people expect to pay less for future service than they used to pay for simple voice, except they want, and expect Video.
Mobile operators face a ‘perfect storm’ - mobile data rising at 70% a year, mobile data revenue rising by just 17%. Data already eats 90% of existing networks, but provides only a third of its income.
Users all the time want a better experience. They expect broadband to include mobile video, TV, gaming. Cellcos will spend $ billions chasing these targets each year, but will have to go further and change the shape of their networks. The size of cells must change, the use of multi-layer, multi-spectrum networks and base stations, will become standard, new backhaul options will come into play, and WiFi will become its sidekick, in this struggle to meet expectations.
WiFi is used already by 700 million people and there are 800 million new Wi-Fi devices each year. Most phones will have it, most customers will expect more of it.
This highly connected world attracts many of the sharpest brains on the planet, which is what makes this markets so competitive. And as countries and regions approach saturation, competition will get stronger. Major brands will evaporate overnight. Which is why we Watch Wireless – someone has to.
Look away from the new cellular conundrum and somebody else will be tucking into what used to be your lunch.
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