Editor’s Note: RCR Wireless News goes all in for “Throwback Thursdays,” tapping into our archives to resuscitate the top headlines from the past. Fire up the time machine, put on the sepia-tinted shades, set the date for #TBT and enjoy the memories!
T-Mobile US talks up 600 MHz auction
LAS VEGAS – T-Mobile US is looking to maintain its remarkable 2013 turnaround with plans to continue attacking what it terms consumer “pain points” as well as broadening its network capacity and scope.
Speaking at a keynote address at this week’s Competitive Carriers Association event in Las Vegas, T-Mobile US CTO Neville Ray explained that the carrier will keep pressuring larger rivals through its aggressive marketing and network push, tactics that have at least in the near-term paid off handsomely for the nation’s No. 4 carrier. Ray highlighted the carrier’s “1.0” and “2.0” moves, which included the launch of its Simple Choice plans earlier this year followed by its Jump device financing program. The Jump program seemed to really ignite its rivals, with Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility rolling out similar programs, and Sprint reportedly set to do the same this week. … Ray spent most of his speech on topics of spectrum and network, echoing other speakers at the event regarding the importance of the planned auction of 600 MHz spectrum licenses scheduled for 2014. Ray noted the auction, which many in attendance did not expect to happen before 2015, is the “biggest event in the wireless industry for the next 10 years, and that it was of upmost importance that it is handled to ensure increased competition in the wireless space. … Read more
Rumors of AT&T tower sale
AT&T looks to be the latest domestic operator attempting to raise some quick cash by selling off its tower assets. According to a Bloomberg report, the telecommunications giant is looking to unload between 10,000 and 11,000 towers for around $5 billion. This is not the first time AT&T has been rumored to be looking at a potential towers sale, with The Wall Street Journal earlier this year reporting the company was interested in moving the assets. “We’ve seen others in the industry sell non-core assets, and if we wanted additional flexibility, that could be an option for us, too,” AT&T spokeswoman McCall Butler said at that time in a statement to The Wall Street Journal. “The bottom line is we have attractive assets that could be a potential source of cash.” … Read more
Verizon balks at unlimited offering
Any thoughts that Verizon Wireless would be forced to go back to offering unlimited data plans to mobile customers in the face of similar offerings from smaller rivals took a hit this week as the company claimed such offerings will eventually hobble a network. Speaking at the Goldman Sachs 22nd Annual Communacopia Conference this week, Verizon Communications CEO Lowell McAdam explained that carriers offering unlimited data services will eventually run out of capacity on their networks, impacting overall network quality. This would seem to bolster Verizon Wireless’ 2011 move in cutting out unlimited data plans in favor of tiered options. That decision followed one by AT&T Mobility, which cut unlimited data access for smartphones. “With unlimited, it’s the physics that breaks it,” McAdam explained. “If you allow unlimited usage, you just run out of gas.” Sprint and T-Mobile US continue to offer flat-rate, unlimited data for smartphone customers, offerings that the smaller rivals are using extensively in their marketing efforts. Both operators have been questioned extensively on the ability to continue offering that option, with both saying they were confident in being able to support the traffic at least for the near term. Sprint one-upped that guarantee in July by rolling out new rate plans that ensure customers will continue having access to unlimited voice calling, messaging and data services for the life of a line of service. … Read more
LTE’s rising trajectory
ABI Research expects usage of LTE networks to grow so quickly that the data traffic on LTE will surpass that of 3G networks within three years. The firm noted that while LTE subscriptions made up only 2.9% of the global total at the end of the second quarter of 2013, those users are still expected to account for more than 20% of the total data consumption on mobile networks worldwide for this year. ABI predicts that LTE data traffic will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 82.2% between 2013 and 2018. “After surpassing 3G networks in 2016, 4G networks will go on to capture two-thirds of data traffic by 2018,” ABI said. Driving the trend are two factors: aggressive LTE network deployments, and a wide variety of smartphones and tablets whose prices are falling. “These two factors work hand in hand to enable consumers to stream videos,” comments Ying Kang Tan, research associate at ABI Research. “Already, Verizon saw video accounting for 50% of its network traffic earlier this year. ABI Research believes global annual video consumption will soar at a CAGR of 60.6% to exceed 100 exabytes in 2018.” … Read more
US leadership in LTE
The United States leads the world in the number of LTE subscribers, but in terms of LTE penetration the United States is in fourth place behind South Korea, Japan and Australia. A global LTE heat map (below) produced by Juniper Networks shows that in South Korea almost two thirds of the population has access to LTE, versus roughly a fifth of the population in Japan, Australia and the United States. More than half the world still has 2G service, or no service at all. Outside of North America, Europe, India and China, most 3G and LTE nodes are concentrated in coastal areas. High speed connectivity is often much less expensive for consumers outside North America. Juniper’s Steve Shaw points out that connecting subscribers to mobile broadband is more profitable for U.S. operators than for their cohorts in other parts of the world. “Today a gigabit of traffic on Verizon’s network is something on the order of $7.00, $7.50 a gig, in some markets it’s as low as $1.00 or less, and so in those particular cases just pricing based on bandwidth isn’t enough,” said Shaw. “In some of the markets in Asia we’ve actually seen applications based pricing — the basic data plan and for a couple of bucks extra I get unlimited access to Facebook or to other social networking or to email service … Read more
Check out the RCR Wireless News Archives for more stories from the past.