4G


We’ve been saying for long that voice will be just another app. Reliance Jio has made it so. Therefore, we should take statements from the senior managers of that company seriously: Spectrum allocation will be the most critical element in adoption of fifth-generation or 5G mobile networks in India, Reliance Jio Infocomm president Mathew Oommen has said. The comment comes in the wake of the government last month setting up a high-level panel with a corpus of Rs 500 crore for research and development to facilitate rolling out of 5G-based services by 2020. “The government has set its focus on 5G.
I have yet to receive a good answer to the question of why regulators require specific spectrum bands to be used for specific modes of “last mile” technologies. The most persuasive reasons have been tied to revenue maximization for government. The technical reasons are not very persuasive. It appears the Myanmar government is going to make USD 80 million x 3 (or 4) by giving this authorization. But anyway, it is good that 4G is being rolled out in this country where most phones are smartphones and are thus likely to be able to use 4G with just a change in settings.
In an interview with Light Reading, the Ooredoo CEO says The growth plateauing in Myanmar’s telecom sector will be based on the quality of the network and service because mobile users’ expectations are high. If an operator can’t provide attractive service, customers will definitely switch to another. Our growth is improving quarter-by-quarter. We had 8.2 million active customers in the second quarter of 2016 and 4 million active users in the same period last year.
Data usage is increasing in Myanmar at rates way beyond expectation. Operators are scrambling to meet demand first with 3G and now with 4G. Release of 1800 MHz spectrum will be critical in this regard. U Myo Swe, deputy director of the Posts and Telecommunications Department at the Ministry of Transport and Communications, said the 1800MHz band would be allocated to all operators in March. The spectrum will be made available to all operators equally, he said.
Ooredoo, which rolled out a 3G network in 2014, skipping 2G altogether, is first to offer 4G over existing frequencies. Ooredoo Myanmar, the country’s third largest operator, launched 4G service in parts of the country’s three major cities — Yangon, Nay Pyi Taw and Mandalay – making it the first to offer the high-speed service. The operator rolled out the service across more than 20 townships in the three cities and aims to cover half of Yangon’s townships, nearly 90 per cent of Nay Pyi Taw’s townships and all of Mandalay, without giving a timeframe, the Myanmar Times reported. Its 4G plans will be priced the same as its 3G offers. Report.
One of the most interesting things that happened within government in Sri Lanka with regard to electricity policy was that they started asking a different question. Instead of asking only the question”how much does the proposed electricity generating option cost” they started asking the question “what are the costs to the economy of load shedding.” The end result of this shift in thinking is that Sri Lanka in the only South Asian country (other than Bhutan and possibly the Maldives) that can assure its citizens and industries more or less 24/7 power. Power in Sri Lanka is a lot more expensive than in the region, but our companies and people do not have to invest in generators, inverters and various other back up mechanisms. It seems that the government of Pakistan should also start asking a different question with regard to 3G and 4G frequencies: “what are the costs to Pakistan of not having wireless data networks,” not “what is the one-time revenue boost the government will get from an auction.
The perception is that 3G networks are not being rolled out rapidly in India. But it could be that the Indian consumer is ahead of the operators and regulators, as we saw in Thailand where smartphone sales picked up well before 3G frequencies were assigned. Global smartphone shipments jumped 47 per cent to 229.6 million in Q2 2013 from 156.5 million units in Q2 2012, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, with Samsung accounting for much of the growth.
Fiji follows Papua New Guinea in assigning 4G frequencies. It appears the auction is going well. Notices posted by the Department of Communications yesterday showed that of the three telecommunications providers, only Vodafone filled their 30 MHz quota and had left the ongoing 4G spectrum auction leaving TFL and Digicel to bid for the remaining frequencies. Each company had a quota of 30 MHz. In total, there were 20 lots of spectrum to bid for with bids ranging from $131,500 to $504,700 by the close of the auctions yesterday.
Travel broadens the mind. Maybe. I doubt that sometimes. Makes me reflect, at least. Since being asked to think about Sri Lanka-China relations recently, I’ve been paying attention to the ascendant Chinese model.
LTE (aka 4G) is manifolds faster than UMTS (aka 3G). That doesn’t mean the governments can make more money from auctioning LTE spectrum. Her Majesty’s government, which had forked £22.5 billion from UMTS auction 12 years back, knows it. Yet the British Finance Minister, George Osborne, targeted £3.
The British government has allocated nearly £1bn to accelerate the development of superfast network. It is expected to boost national broadband speeds to more than 24 megabits per second – nearly three times today’s average – by 2015. This initiative is an essential part of the UK government’s policy, which believes that rapid internet access will boost productivity, create new industries and link distant areas. The Economist Intelligence Unit, however, argues that existing networks are capable of delivering many of the anticipated new services over the next few years. It also warned that there were obstacles to even using the existing technology capabilities, including a shortage of digital skills and ingrained resistance to change, although it predicts that there will be some short-term stimulus to jobs and economic activity.
If other countries have announced plans, please tell us. By region we mean South Asia, but even SE is fine. Of course, there’s the gap between cup and lip. Announcing is one thing. Actually getting the job done is another.
We have been talking about the need to prepare for qualitatively higher volumes of data in Asia as more people start using 3G networks. Our proposals have focused on adding to international backhaul capacity in order to reduce prices of this key input that is now 3-6 times more expensive than capacity in Europe and North America. The New York Times discusses how the data flood is playing out in the US. The projections are that the networks will have to carry the total traffic they carried in all of 2010, in just two months in 2015 in the US. Cellphone plans that let people gobble up data as if they were at an all-you-can eat buffet are disappearing, just as a new crop of data-gobbling Internet services from Netflix, Spotify, Amazon, Apple and the like are hitting the market or catching on with wide audiences.
So AT&T is claiming that it can rollout 4G networks only if it is allowed to buy T Mobile (and combine the frequencies assigned to both). So what they really want is spectrum? As smartphones and tablets proliferate, so too have apps like one by Facebook that draw in ever-rising amounts of data. Monday’s letters cite AT&T’s contention that the T-Mobile deal will allow the carrier to expand its nascent 4G network to cover 97 percent of the country and an additional 55 million Americans. “The access aspect of this is so, so important,” Fred Humphries, Microsoft’s vice president for United States government affairs, said by telephone.
Auction design is hot. The Economist reports on 4G auction design in the UK: The government will want to squeeze as much revenue as it can from the sell-off, but it must also preserve competition in a consolidating industry. The recent merger of Orange and T-Mobile has left Britain with four mobile-phone operators: Everything Everywhere (the imperious name for the newly merged company), Vodafone, O2 and Three. That is a healthy number compared with some countries, such as America, where AT&T’s proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA would create what some regard as, in effect, a duopoly. But Three warns that it would struggle in an unrestrained bidding war with its larger rivals for the new spectrum.
Cynics among us decry the endless seminars and workshops and conferences that seem to be unavoidable feature of business and political life. But if the Bangladesh Daily Star has reported it accurately, the recent seminar on the Bangladesh telecom sector has actually achieved significant results. One of the major problems in Bangladesh is the lack of certainty about whether or how the licenses of four leading mobiles operators, which expire in 2011, will be renewed. Economic theory and common sense say that unless an investor knows how long he has an asset, he will not invest in it. Thus, theory would predict a steep decline in investment in each of the networks as they approached 2011.
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