Archive for the ‘3G/4G’ Category

A dubious achievement: Femtocells now surpass macrocells

femtoAccording to Informa, there are now 2.3 million femtocells buzzing in homes and offices around the world, compared to 1.6 million macrocells. At first glance that might seem like quite an achievement, but on second consideration, it’s really not much of one.

Frankly 2.3 million femtos is a tiny number when you think about what additional capacity and coverage each adds to the network. Most femtos are designed as private access points, serving a family or a handful of office workers and given that many operators haven’t even added mobile broadband radios to their femtos, they’re primarily extending voice coverage and doing little to add data capacity to congested mobile broadband networks. Now contrast that to a macrocell, which is often used to cover whole towns. (more…)

Facing cap impact, Netflix lets customers manage their own bandwidth

Netflix is filling up broadband pipes, both wireline and wireless (CP: Sandvine survey reveals Netflix number-one bandwidth gobbler), and if it’s not a direct response it’s at least related: broadband carriers both wireline and wireless are now instituting data caps to ensure heavy streaming video (Netflix) users don’t overwhelm their pipes. Now, Netflix has quietly put in place an optional account settings feature that lets users better control how much bandwidth they consume. (more…)

Verizon’s new tiered smartphone plans may normalize data charges across all devices

We knew Verizon Wireless was going to shift to tiered smartphone data plans this summer—we just didn’t have a date. On Monday, however, blog Droid Life outed Verizon’s launch date and plan details, reporting that starting July 7 Verizon will offer three data packages as well as supplementary hotspot tethering plans. Verizon Wireless later confirmed with AllThingsD that the shift to metered smartphone data would occur in July, though it didn’t get any additional details. According to Droid Life, the three plans will look like this:

  • 2GB – $30/month
  • 5GB – $50/month
  • 10GB – $80/month (more…)

Cox may not find any buyers for its network, but the spectrum is a different story

Bloomberg has quoted Cox Communications President Pat Esser as saying the cable MSO wants to sell its now defunct CDMA network to a wireless operator. The story cited AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Sprint as possibilities—the fourth option being to tear down the network completely. Bloomberg did its due diligence contacting each of the three operators in turn for comment, none of which was forthcoming. I have to think that each of those operators spokespeople must have been at least puzzled, if not amused, by the question, though. (more…)

AT&T adds another Foundry — but will they deliver innovation?

foundryAT&T has opened its second Foundry, pairing the new facility in Ra’anana, Israel, with its current Foundry in Plano, Texas. Each of the foundries are hosted by one AT&T’s key vendor partners. The Israeli center is in Amdocs’ facilities, while Planos’ is hosted by Alcatel-Lucent. AT&T plans a third one with Ericsson in Palo Alto, Calif. The next question I should be answering is what these foundries do exactly. But, to be honest, I’m still trying to figure that one out myself. (more…)

Analyst: SMS still reigns supreme (and will continue to do so)

SMS may face new challengers in Apple and Google (CP: Apple isn’t going to kill SMS, but Google can), but according to Portio Research any predictions of SMS’s near-term demise are not just premature but even a bit silly. Though SMS and MMS have faced off against multiple mobile messaging technologies—from e-mail to IM—in recent years, SMS continues to grow in both volumes of messages and revenue. In fact, Portio expects global operators to make more money off of SMS in the next five years ($726 billion) than they have in the previous 15 years or so ($585 billion) since SMS’s birth. (more…)

Could cellular signal boosters play a role in Universal Service reforms?

Wilson Electronics, manufacturer of cellular signal boosters, is touting a success story involving the use of its product in rural upstate New York to support 3G data service. (more…)

LightSquared interference data piles up, but the bombshell drops next week

Just a few days before a final report on the subject is due to the FCC, more data is emerging showing LightSquared’s proposed long-term evolution (LTE) network will interfere with GPS signals (WSJ: More tests show GPS interference with LightSquared network). This latest batch comes from government testers, not the GPS industry, which may lend more credence to the results. But the report we should really be waiting for is due June 15 from the GPS technical working group formed by LightSquared and GPS industry representatives. (more…)

Will HP Touchpad be one of AT&T’s first LTE devices?

touchpadHP will launch its iPad competitor, the HP Touchpad, July 1 in a Wi-Fi-only version, with a 4G option coming later this year with mobile partner AT&T. In addition to being the first tablet built on HP’s WebOS, the timing of the 4G version could potentially – though this is pure speculation – make it one of the first devices on AT&T’s soon-to-come LTE network. (more…)

Sprint’s shared data plans: What the shared services concept means for OSS/BSS

sprintSprint plans to launch family-style shared data plans as early as next week, making it the first such offering from a major U.S. mobile operator, according to a report from Intomobile.com based on a leaked internal memo. Shared services models are a mainstay for mobile voice plans, as family share and corporate pooling plans have been on the market for years. But shifting the idea to data plans may herald a new concept for all types of shared services across mobile devices. (more…)