Friday 30 May 2014

AT&T and Verizon are now tied for the rank of largest U.S. mobile carrier

Who leads the U.S. in mobile subscribers? According to mobile analyst Chetan Sharma, it’s now a neck-and-neck race between AT&T and Verizon who collectively controls 68 percent of the market.

At the end of March, AT&T had 116 million total connections, but that number includes all of its wholesale subscribers (those that connect with one of AT&T’s mobile virtual network operator partners) and machine-to-machine links attached to cars, gadgets and other devices in the internet of things. Verizon doesn’t report any of those numbers. It only reveals business and consumer retail subscribers buying their service directly from Verizon. That number totaled 103 million.
If you only factored in AT&T’s retail prepaid and postpaid customers you would get 85.1 million, but AT&T has a substantially larger wholesale business Verizon. So by Sharma’s calculations just as many people are connecting their phones and tablets and hotspots to AT&T’s network as Verizon.
Any way you look at it, these two carriers are huge. They collected control 68 percent of the U.S. wireless market. It’s also interesting to note that if Sprint were to merge with T-Mobile – as Sprint’s new chairman Masayoshi Son is so keen on doing– the two would hold a combined 30 percent of the U.S. mobile market.
That’s still smaller than either Big Red or Ma Bell, but definitely qualifies as a mega-carrier. And it doesn’t leave much room for the other guys. The 125 or so regional and rural carriers in the U.S. accounted for a meager 2 percent of all mobile subscriptions.

Monday 12 May 2014

South Korea: Operator Overview

There are three mobile phone service providers:

Korea Telecom

Korea Telecom (KT) in 2002 absorbed KT Freetel (KTF), its mobile phone service provider, and offers its services, using HSPA and LTE networks. It is currently deploying an LTE network.

LG U Plus

LG U Plus (LG U+), a member of LG Group, also provides CDMA2000 and LTE networks.

SK Telecom

SK Telecom (SKT) of SK Group also offers its service, using CDMA2000, HSPA and LTEnetworks.

Market Share:

There market shares of the three companies are believed to be:
SK Telecom's 50 percent,
Korea Telecom's 30 percent
LG Telecom's 20 percent.

Regarding the Korean mobile phone industry's overseas experiences, SK Telecom has helped the first mobile phone service companies in Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Cambodia, etc. In China, it helped China Unicom's CDMA implementation, both technically and financially.
Samsung and LG have the largest market shares in Korea. Nokia already discontinued its sales operations in Korea.
As of March 2009, the number of mobile subscribers in Korea nearing 46 million total mobile subscribers and the nation’s penetration rate almost 100%. Mobile telecommunications services in South Korea are served by three operators: SKT (SKTelecom), KTF (Korea Telecom Freetel), and LGT (LG Telecom). SKT represents 50.50% of the market share, KTF 31.54% and LGT 17.95% as of December 2007. The nation first launched its mobile telecommunication services in 1960.

New data from the South Korean regulator has revealed that the country has over 48 million 'Wireless Internet Connections,' a figure that represents over 90 percent of its total mobile connections base and underlines its position as one of the most advanced mobile markets in the world.

The LTE-Advanced network can download data at speeds twice as fast as 4G networks and 10 times faster than 3G services, according to SK Telecom Co.

More than 60 per cent of South Korea's 33million smartphone users have subscribed to the LTE service.

Read more:

SK Telecom offers unlimited LTE data to subscribers
Subscribers to the operator’s T&All 75+Unlimited Data Option, T&All 85 and T&All 100 plans can take advantage of the unlimited data, calls and messages at no additional cost and without having to sign up to the upgrade. There are around one million subscribers on these plans according to the operator; it has a total of 27.4 million subscribers, according to the latest figures from Informa’s WCIS.

Keeping its first-mover strategy, SK recently announced that it achieved the world’s first commercialization of Uplink CoMP (Uplink Cooperative Multi Point) a technology that will improve mobile data upload speed by 20% on its LTE network. Importantly, since it is applied to base stations, no upgrade is needed for LTE devices. The company said that it plans to implement Uplink CoMP to all its LTE base stations by the end of 2014.

LTE pioneer SK Telecom has successfully developed LTE-Advanced tri-band carrier aggregation technology, to ease network congestion in built up areas in South Korea.

South Korean operator SK Telecom has launched a platform that it says will provide real time information on what its customers are doing. The Context Platform uses data collected by a customer’s smartphone, if it is embedded with the platform, via its camera, GPS, sensors and wifi to discover contextual information about that subscriber.

The firm explained that the platform allows it to make informed guesses about whether  the user is walking, for example, as the handset detects the user’s repeated movement and speed via its sensors and GPS. It then analyses the data it has collected through an algorithm to conclude that the user is “in a walking situation”. SK Telecom added that the more the platform repeats this process of analysis, the more accurate the platform becomes.

The operator said the platform can also make conclusions based on customers’ usage patterns involving social networking, voice calls, SMS and applications.

SK Telecom and LG Uplus, number one and three respectively in South Korea’s mobile market, both claimed a world first on developing three-band carrier aggregation (CA) for LTE-Advanced technology.
SK Telecom plans to demonstrate its triple-band CA technology at this year’s Mobile World Congress, but will be going one step further by aggregating together three lots of 20MHz. This, says SK Telecom, will give top-line speeds of up to 450Mb/s on LTE-Advanced.
According to GSMA Intelligence, South Korea is the world’s most advanced 4G market with penetration as a percentage of total connections passing the 50 per cent mark in Q4 2013. This compares to around a quarter 4G-user penetration in Japan and the US.

Saturday 10 May 2014

India will have 520 million smartphone users by 2020: Ericsson

There's a burgeoning smartphone market in India and mobile operators have yet to take advantage of it. Ericsson believes that the number of smartphone users in India will grow up to 520 million by 2020.

In a news release obtained by the Indian media, Ericsson predicts that the smartphone penetration rate in India, which is currently only at 10% or 90 million users in 2013 will jump up to 45% or 520 million users in 2020. The company also says that the number of mobile broadband users in the country will increase from the 795 million subscribers last year to 1,145 million subscribers in 2020. That would account for a 69% rise in the number of mobile broadband users in a six-year period.

Ericsson also estimates that the average data usage per month of 155 MB in 2013 will more than double to 390 MB per month in 2017 and will reach up to 620 MB per month in 2020.

"Consumers' value broadband and their expectations around experience are evolving fast. A few years ago, access needs were limited to 'some-time,' today it is 'real-time' and it is moving towards being connected all the time with access to high-quality content," says Ericsson India head of marketing and strategy Ajay Gupta. "Smartphones and MBB (mobile broadband) services are becoming more affordable. As a result, we are seeing the advent of a new networked society in India as in other parts of the world that will benefit consumers and businesses alike."

The use of mobile broadband in India continues to rise, with social media, web browsing and chat apps such as WhatsApp, BBM and Line accounting for almost one-third of the country's mobile traffic. However, in spite of the growing demand for better mobile services, only around one-third of the roughly one-billion population are able to access the Internet over a mobile network.

Ericsson believes that for operators to fully monetize their broadband services, they need to invest in three key areas: network ubiquity, consistent app coverage and personalized charging models.

"Consumers today expect ubiquitous and high-performing networks everywhere they go. At the same time, different applications being used by consumers require more and more from the networks," says Nishant Betra, head of engagement practices at Ericsson India.

As an example, Betra cites social media, where the main experience is all about sharing text and images. In the near future, Betra believes social media will expand to cover video sharing and mobile operators will have to grow their coverage to allow their subscribers to be able to share high-definition online videos in real time.

The International Telecommunications Union, in a report released earlier this month, says 50% of all data users in 2014 will come from developing nations in the Asia-Pacific region. India, whose smartphone user base has not yet reached its saturation point, is expected to be fertile ground for mobile companies.