Posts tagged ‘iPhone’

SKT in good voice as it shows operators the way to go

SKtAt the second day of yesterday’s LTE Voice conference, which took place in London, the presentation by Changsoon Choi of SK Telecom attracted a positive responses from the audience, and really brought home how ahead of the game the South Koreans are in LTE and with particular relevance to the conference, in terms of VoLTE.

Choi started with a simple list of SKT’s achievements in LTE so far. As of 2012 it had 99 per cent population coverage based on a dual layer 850MHz and 1800MHz multi-band network and currently has 89 cities running dual-carrier LTE Advanced, all of which means it’s no surprise is enjoys 48 per cent market share for LTE in the country.


An Apple a day ….

Anjan Ghosal, CEO, Diametriq

This is a guest post from Anjan Ghosal, CEO of Diametriq, who describes the effects that the iPhone has had on the telecoms industry. 

On Jun 29, 2012 Apple celebrated the fifth anniversary of the iPhone, a remarkable event indeed. In these few years, the iPhone has generated an astounding US$143 billion in revenue – more than the GDP of New Zealand! Today, the annual revenue for this single product surpasses that of Coca Cola Company and Microsoft!

But while we raise our glasses to celebrate this veritable milestone, let us not forget to dedicate a moment of silence to mark the obituary of telecoms (as we knew it!).

In the late 1990’s, if you chanced to visit CTIA or Mobile World Congress, the biggest booth (and after show parties) belonged to Nortel, Siemens, Lucent, Ericsson, Nokia, Alcatel. All of them falling over each other to woo mobile operators with bulging wallets. Those that did not have a booth ferried the high rollers to their rented mega yachts parked overlooking the bay at Cannes – something that would put Las Vegas to shame.

Well, those days are gone. Nortel is no more. Alcatel and Lucent merged and have never been profitable since. Nokia-Siemens are no different. Ericsson and Huawei are locked in fierce competition with no breakout in sight. The mega yachts and fancy booths have been consigned to history!

The telecoms world today belongs to Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft (with Skype, Microsoft is the largest telecom operator in the world). And all this can be traced to the advent of the iPhone.

The iPhone is responsible for morphing the phone from a mere voice communication tool to our window to the world. (From someone who has never owned an iPhone it is quite a compliment!). It has changed how we live life (when is the last time you bought a map, or looked something up in the Yellow Pages?) and spawned a new multi-billion dollar industry around mobile applications, a trend continued by the iPad.

It has given rise to new acronyms like – OTT – “Over the Top” – whereby third parties make millions leveraging the mobile networks infrastructure to deliver applications to your device, yet not having to share any of the revenue with them. The net result has been an explosive growth of data traffic on operator networks but with an inability to monetize that growth.

Technologies like wif data offload and Long Term Evolution (LTE) are a direct response of the impact of the iPhone (and its ilk). And it is not only having an impact on the data capacity of the networks, but also the underlying signaling capabilities. Operators and vendors have to adjust to the “new normal” and have discovered that for them, an Apple a day can be fatal.

Why LTE would have made the iPhone 4S worse

LTE will come to the iPhone - let's hang in there

While a lot of people were aggrieved that LTE did not make it into the iPhone 4S when it was released last October, the tech site Ars Technica has done a good job making it clear that not only did Apple not need to have LTE in the 4S it actually would have been detrimental.

The clue is in Apple’s just released quarterly results, which show that, unsurprisingly, the iPhone has accounted for a sizable chunk of Apple’s revenue over the past two years. Of the 37 million iPhones sold in the last quarter, only an estimated 10m or so were sold in the US. And outside of the US, while certainly growing apace, LTE is still an emerging technology.

Even within the US, the number of iPhone owners who could actively make use of LTE, is not huge. Verizon has reasonable coverage, but AT&T is still getting going and Sprint has yet to start its LTE roll-out. Apple would have increased the cost of its BOM on integrated technology that most of its customers could not use.

What’s more, considering the battery drain that current LTE chipsets impose on the iPhone’s Android rivals, it’s little wonder that LTE was omitted. The initial release of iOS5 caused users enough battery problems as it was, and having to weather the storm of the inevitable user dissatisfaction that a battery draining LTE chipset would have brought is a sea of hurt that Apple did well to avoid.

It’s also not the first time that Apple has approached network technology in this way. The original iPhone released in 2007 was much derided by commentators for its lack of 3G – but Apple was happy to wait for greater 3G rollout and better 3G chipsets for the follow up a year later. It proved to be the right move.

As I covered a while back, the chipset that Apple is waiting for is that Qualcomm MDM9600, which should enable Apple to get LTE into a form factor it wants with, hopefully, not much power drain.

One area though that does have pockets of LTE is the Middle-East, on networks such as Etisalat, in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Devices are sure to be a major point of conversation at the LTE MENA conference, taking place on 29th-30th April, Westin Mina Seyali, Dubai, UAE, and I for one will be keen to hear the operator’s take for the need for LTE handsets, from either Apple or its competitors.

On a selfish note, if LTE didn’t make it into the next iPhone I wouldn’t be too bothered. It would save me the frustration of seeing others round the world using it, while here in the UK we’ll be stuck with a cutting edge iPhone on a second class 3G network. The chances are though that LTE will be here for the next iPhone, possibly available in the summer. It will be interesting to see if Apple produces a separate version for markets without LTE, or goes for a single phone, containing a chipset that many will have to wait to make use of.

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