Mobile Internet

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Carriers Constrain Entrepreneurs

Previously, I've written about how the success of the MVNO (though not without its problems) demonstrates how an Open Access-like business model can work in a wireless context. The underlying carrier, such as Sprint or Verizon, can sell access to its network at wholesale rates to a company like Virgin Mobile, which then markets to consumers. This model can be and is a success both for the retailer and the wholesaler. MVNOs are not perfect. more

Don’t Let Patent Wars Widen Digital Divide

For generations, large pockets of Africa were isolated from things many of us take for granted: access to medical treatment and advances that can make the difference between a healthy, productive life or debilitating illness -- or even an early death. These problems still persist, but over the last two decades technology has helped break through and enable medical professionals to reach the poorest and most remote populations and offer some hope. more

Huawei Says They Are Willing to Sign No-Spy Agreements With Governments

During a London conference, Huawei's chairman Liang Hua told reporters the company would sign no-spy agreements with governments as a response to United States' pressure on Europe to bar the Chinese telecommunications company over spying concerns. more

The Legacy of the Pai FCC

As is normal with a change of administration, there are articles in the press discussing the likely legacy of the outgoing administration. Leading the pack in singing his own praises is former FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who recently published this document listing a huge list of accomplishments of the FCC under his Chairmanship. Maybe it's just me, but it feels unseemly for a public servant to publish an official self-praise document. more

4% of Americans Online Use Location-Based Services, According to Pew Survey

In its first report on the use of "geosocial" or location-based services, the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life project finds that 4% of online adults use a service such as Foursquare or Gowalla that allows them to share their location with friends and to find others who are nearby. On any given day, 1% of internet users are using these services. more

Internet, Mobile Connectivity a Lifeline for Refugees, Reports UNHCR

"Many refugees regard a connected device as being as vital to them as food, water or shelter," according to a new report from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and Accenture. more

A Reality Check on 5G in Rural America

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai recently told the crowd at CES that 5G would be a huge benefit to rural America and would help to close the rural broadband divide. I have to imagine he's saying this to keep rural legislators on board to support that FCC's emphasis on promoting 5G. I've thought hard about the topic, and I have a hard time seeing how 5G will make much difference in rural America – particularly with broadband. more

When Will We See Real 5G?

The non-stop wireless industry claims that we've moved from 4G to 5G finally slowed to the point that I stopped paying attention to it during the last year. There is an interesting article in PC Magazine that explains why 5G has dropped off the front burner. The article cites interviews with Art Pouttu of Finland's University of Oulu about the current state and the future of 5G. That university has been at the forefront of the development of 5G technology and is already looking at 6G technology. more

Brazil Judge Orders 72-Hour Ban on WhatsApp

A Brazilian judge on Monday issued a 72-hour ban on WhatsApp chat service throughout Brazil. The measure which took effect at 2 p.m. was issued on April 26 following a failed 2013 access order from a branch of civil police that investigates criminal activity online. more

Starlink Comes to Africa - Markets and Competition

SpaceX Starlink Internet service will be available in several African nations in the second quarter of this year, and the price in Nigeria has been announced -- $600 for the "residential" terminal and a monthly fee of $43. Is there a market for Starlink at that price in Nigeria and other Sub-Saharan African nations? The IMF projects a GDP per capita of $2,580 for Nigeria this year (and $1,900 in Sub-Saharan Africa and $2,260 for Africa overall) so the market for individual consumer accounts will be much smaller than in what the IMF refers to as "advanced economies." more

Audio and Video Traffic Passes 70% in North America

Real-Time Entertainment (streaming video and audio) traffic is now responsible for over 70% of North American downstream traffic in the peak evening hours on fixed access networks, according to a new report from Sandvine. Five years ago, video and audio streaming accounted for less than 35%. more

Technology Trends for 2021

The following are the most important current trends that will be affecting the telecom industry in 2021. Fiber Construction Will Continue Fast and Furious in 2021. Carriers of all shapes and sizes are still building fiber. There is a bidding war going on to get the best construction crews and fiber labor rates are rising in some markets. The Supply Chain Still has Issues. The huge demand for building new fiber had already put stress on the supply chain at the beginning of 2020... more

The Cost of Walled-Garden Designs

The Swedish morning daily Svenska Dagbladet on their editorial page yesterday writes about the EU threat to intervene at mobile roaming costs for voice, SMS and data. The editorial is pushing the point that it's wrong for the EU to try and price regulate the market, but instead the free market will prevail. They even seem to be indicating that the current pricing is fair and that an EU price regulation would hamper investments. In very general terms I would agree with the editorial... more

Almost All 5G Estimates for 2019-2020 Need to Be Doubled

The remarkable take rate in Korea and China is invalidating almost all projections of 5G subscriptions. The 5G promotion has consumers wanting to buy, buy, buy. Huawei Mate 20 5G is selling for only US$30 more than the 4G model. At that price, who would want to buy a 4G phone that could be obsolete in a year or two? In the first two weeks of sale, over a million Chinese bought Huawei's 5G phone. more

What Will 2021 Have Install for the ICT Industry?

While 2021 will remain a year with lots of uncertainties, at the same time, we can say that the pandemic has not affected the information and communications technology (ICT) industry in any significant way. Yes, there has been a slowdown, for example, in the sale of smartphones. Shortages in both materials and expertise are slowing fiber deployment, and the recovery over 2021 will be slow and uncertain because of the many lockdowns and travel restrictions. more