By the end of 2014 over 100 million people were using LTE Advanced networks and that’s set to grow so that by 2018 a billion people will be covered.
That’s according to a report from ABI Research which said a number of developments this year will spur the makeup of 4G networks.
Those include an LTE spectrum auction in India on the 25th of this month. France has recently confirmed the 700MHz frequency band can be used for telco services.
ABI Research said it expects “fierce competition” in the marketplace over the next four years as more LTE and LTE Advanced systems are rolled out.
According to ABI, there were 49 commercially available LTE Advanced networks globally, with Europe leading the way, followed by the Asia Pacific region. However, the USA is top in population coverage at 7.8 percent with AT&T, Spring, Verizon and T-Mobile all in the fray to capture the market.
While everyone seems to be rushing to get on the cloud, AT&T is downsizing its data centre operations.
The telco is apparently selling some of its data centres worth about $2 billion as it continues its streak of asset sales.
Apparently, AT&T is keen to get its debt loads down and pay off its credit card bill from last Christmas. It is all a rumour of course, and the story is based on leaks to The Wall Street Journal
Part of AT&T’s debt problems came because it had to bid high prices for spectrum. The company said it had spent close to half of the total bids in the record-setting $44.9 billion spectrum sale that concluded last week.
AT&T bagged 251 licences in the AWS-3 spectrum auction worth $18.2 billion. The company has also been investing to expand its footprint in Mexico to grow its business, as the US wireless market reaches saturation. It said last month it would buy bankrupt NII Holdings wireless business in Mexico for $1.875 billion.
A wave of consolidation in the internet of things (IoT) market is assured in the next few years.
That’s according to financial company Hampleton Partners, which said in a report that vendors have spent over $9 billion in the marketplace in the last few years in a bid to put their stake in the ground.
And early players in that market include Google, Samsung, Verizon and others. Apple wants to make a play in the market too.
In the next year, Hammpleton thinks that other companies will make acquistions in the next year or so to get into a market estimated to be worth many billions by the end of the decade.
Those include Intel, TI, Texas Instruments and AT&T.
One of the problems is that when there are countless devices equipped with semiconductors and the ability to be connected to the internet, is that there are few standards and so far few attempts to create such standards.
Estimates vary about the number of devices connected by the end of the decade but it’s certain the number will be in tens of billions. Each device, however, will cost very little – money to be made will be in the way such things are interconnected and structured.
AT&T is sulking about the FCC and the government not immediately doing what it says over the vexed issue of net-neutrality.
The outfit has said that it will stop investing in gigabit internet “until it has a better idea of what the government will do regarding net neutrality.”
President Barak Obama told the Federal Communications Commission to reclassify broadband as a telecom service rather than an information service in its upcoming net neutrality rules. The move would give the FCC more power to regulate ISPs (like AT&T) and wireless carriers. The FCC said it would think about the issue a bit more and make an announcement next year.
AT&T’s move to demand its ball back is an indication how much pressure the US telcos are heaping on politicians to allow them to charge customers twice for the internet. The telcos fear that they will have to stump up a huge chunk of their profits to pay for the network for an open internet.
Ultra-fast fibre is a carrot that AT&T is waving in the hope that users will demand the right to be charged an arm and a leg for their internet connection. It was supposed to be rolled out to 100 cities nationwide, including 21 major metropolitan areas.
AT&T Chief Randall Stephenson said during an appearance at a Wells Fargo conference that AT&T can’t go out and just invest that kind of money, deploying fibre to 100 cities other than these two million [covered by the DirecTV deal], not knowing under what rules that investment will be governed.
Of course if it does not pull finger there is a chance that Google, along with the city councils of cities might start providing the backbone themselves – something else that the telcos have been pressuring their tame politicians to block.
The fact that AT&T is trying to cut its costs at the moment has absolutely nothing to do with it delaying the fibre scheme.
Showing that they are at the cutting edge of technology profits, the US telcos have told regulators that 10Gps is too fast for broadband.
They have asked the Federal Communications Commission not to change its definition of broadband from 4Mbps to 10Mbps. We guess anything faster than 4Mbps requires a man on a horse with a red flag ridding in front of it.
According to AT&T, internet users get by just fine at the lower speeds and have no need for broadband that fast.
“Consumer behaviour strongly reinforces the conclusion that a 10Mbps service exceeds what many Americans need today to enable basic, high-quality transmissions,” AT&T wrote.
Verizon and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), agreed.
“The Commission should not change the baseline broadband speed threshold from 4Mbps downstream and 1Mbps upstream because a 4/1 Mbps connection is still sufficient to perform the primary functions identified in section 706 [of the Telecommunications Act]—high-quality voice, video, and data,” the NCTA wrote.
More than 47 percent of Comcast subscribers get at least 50Mbps, the company says.
The FCC has periodically raised the minimum standard for Internet service to be considered “broadband.” This affects how the commission measures industry progress in deploying sufficient Internet service to Americans, particularly in rural areas.
There are signs that the Telcos might have a job convincing FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler who thinks that 10Mbps is too low and that a 25Mbps connection is fast becoming ‘table stakes’ in 21st century communications,” he said.
If the definition is kept at 4Mbps, statistics on broadband deployment and competition make the telcos look brilliant and they don’t actually have to upgrade their aging infrastructure.