When I was looking for countries with smartphone penetration higher than Myanmar (78%), and of course there was Singapore. So with more than 80% smartphone penetration and the 2G networks about to be shut down and spectrum reallocated, it’s no wonder sales of 2G-only phones are being discontinued. Wonder who will be next? Singapore’s mobile operators will shut down their 2G networks from April 1 to allow IMDA to re-allocate spectrum for more advanced mobile services. IMDA is working with operators to facilitate the migration of remaining 2G users to 3G or 4G networks, allowing subscribers to upgrade their devices while maintaining their plans and monthly subscription costs.
In most of the countries we work in, most people connect to the Internet over mobile devices and/or mobile networks. But as WiFi hotspots of various kinds become more common, it appears that WiFi is becoming the dominant mode. The Global State of Mobile Networks study, based on 12.3 billion measurements taken by 822,556 OpenSignal users in an 84 day period, found that smartphone users spent more than 50 per cent of their time connected to Wi-Fi, with Netherlands the most mobile Wi-Fi hungry country, where it accounted for 70 per cent of all smartphone connections. “You could argue that in many places Wi-Fi has become a far more important mobile data technology than 3G or 4G,” noted the report.
Fifteen years ago, 2G was still the new, new thing. I recall asking the engineers at the TRC to present a comparative assessment of 2G and CDMA. Who would have thought it would outlast 3G? All thanks to M2M. Tommi Uitto, SVP, global mobile broadband sales at Nokia, noted that operators are – even now – calling for an evolution of the legacy GSM standard to support its continued use in M2M.
I was at a CommunicAsia session on 5G thinking about the meaning of generations of mobile technologies. I had just read this piece, and was thinking how interesting it is that Telenor is planning to shut down 3G before 2G. Confirms the centrality of machine-to-machine (M2M) communication in everyone’s thinking about the future of wireless. Telenor Norway’s CTO, Magnus Zetterberg, said the company plans to completely shut down its 3G network in 2020, five years before it closes 2G in 2025. Speaking at the company’s analyst and investor day, Zetterberg talked up the company’s evolution of 4G, established in Norway in 2012, which now accounts for 60 per cent of all mobile data traffic in the country.
Interesting that Ooredoo SIMs cannot be used on feature phones, while Telenor is trying to cover that segment as well. “Cheap SIM cards of two foreign telecom companies will attract people. Ooredoo’s SIM cards cannot be used on Java system handsets as their system is 3G Advanced. But the 3G system will be suitable for almost all Android phones. So far, it has yet to impact the mobile handsets market,” said an official from the Mobile Image handset shop.
Sitting at a session in TPRC40 listening to LIRNEasia Research Fellow Faheem Hussain presenting his paper. Impressed that this kind of study, analyzing an issue that is not of great relevance to US telecom policy scholars, is accommodated at TPRC. The challenge, of course, is to pull back from the temptation to give too much detail on the exotica of a particular developing country and to present the abstract high level findings that may be of interest to a broader audience.
When I wrote the op ed that was published in Daily Star yesterday, I did not know the anti-competitive “Market Competition Factor” had been decided. Today’s Daily Star gives the numbers. Looks unusually good for Citycell that not only pays 1/5th the price per MHz that Grameenphone pays but can also make do with less frequencies because it is a CDMA operator. According to the definition of the MCF prescribed by the telecom ministry, if an operator has more than 20 percent market share, it will have to pay additionally, while an operator with less than 20 percent share will pay at a reduced rate. The MCF for Grameenphone now stands at 1.
Some people ask me about 3G. Is this the ISDN [I Still Don’t kNow] of our time? But I tell them that new, new stuff gives zing to an operator. That Mobitel in Sri Lanka got a lot of energy from 3G, even on the 2G side. Now comes more concrete support: If not for the i Phone, T Mobile would not have been sold, say some.
For the perpetually connected, the experience of being unconnected is salutary; but not pleasant. The Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a world heritage site about three hours driving distance from Colombo. I spent two days there and unexpectedly found myself unconnected, except for a single location in the hotel that allowed the sending and receiving of texts if the phone was held high! It is not that the place is completely disconnected from electronic networks. I paid for the hotel using a credit card, which was processed through a fixed line.
Despite the fact that not all the frequencies have been cleared, India has announced the 3G auctions will be held in April. The original date was January 2009. Perhaps the driving force was the government’s need for money, rather than the conditions being right. India’s long-delayed auction of third-generation (3G) mobile phone bandwidth will be held on April 9, the government announced Wednesday. Applications from bidders for the multi-billion-dollar auction, whose proceeds are earmarked to help plug a gaping fiscal deficit, will be accepted until March 19, a government notice said.