- Subscribers base crosses 400 million
- 15.41 million wireless subscribers added in January 2009
- 5.65 million subscribers in Broadband segment
- Teledensity reaches 34.50% mark!
A mobile phone user survey by Reevoo, the online product comparison site, has “almost ” damned the touch screen bally-hoo. In a survey that happened across 19000 respondents , they featured 226 handsets and the result that they have come out with defies the accepted standards, trends and beliefs in the devices market today. 5 out of the top 10 least popular phones are touch phones with big marquee names such as HTC Diamond, Samsung Armani, Blackberry Storm, Samsung Omnia being least in terms of popularity. Many of the phones have been drubbed on the basis of poor battery life, “nightmare” touch-screen interface, and virtual buttons that “aren’t big enough for male fingers”. A hit to Convergence as a upcoming principle, Web Browsing and E mail functionality are not that highly favoured by consumers!
Picking the winner
Experts and bloggers all over have contested and claimed on which one is better than the other LTE or WiMAX? This is perhaps precipitated by the camps which back the technologies. However, a third view on these technologies suggest that there is no winner in strict terms because these technologies are complementary in nature. Bore OFDM parent, WiMAX has a data background and LTE has a voice background. Furthermore, WiMAX will work on 5 levels of service such as emergency services, public safety, data transmission (real time and otherwise) and Voice. To that extent it appears to be more versatile than LTE which has only two levels of service (one for voice, and the other for everything else). So the usage and market positions of these two technologies will depend on customers and their usages, spectrum positions and other technology quantities. Thus the idea (as depicted bythe graphic below) is complementary technologies for divergent telecom needs. There is a possibility that a single vendor may be use both these standards to provide services to different class of consumers!
Advantage LTE: Where does LTE score above WiMAX?
LTE is the natural evolution resultant from 2G to #G and onto LTE. Thus
1. Handset manufacturers are likely to weight toward LTE handsets (as an extension of their 2G,3G,3.5G lines)
2. Using the existing UMTS network for 80% of its needs, LTE will not involve very high CAPEX involvements. Thus a better experience can be rewarded to the consumer with less investment as far as Telcos are concerned.
3. Mobile operators will roll out LTE and users can fall back on the 2G/3G networks where-ever there is a “hole” in the LTE network.
Advantage WiMAX: Where WiMAX would outscore LTE?
1. WiMAX works on a open standard which translates into a cheaper network.This reduces the cost of operations to almost half of that of LTE
2. As discussed earlier with 5 levels of service, WiMAX is a more versatile service compared to LTE.
3. Build on the IEEE 802.16 wireless broadband standard, fixed WiMAX (802.16D) will tantamount to a huge WiFi area. So this can be used in large campuses and office complexes and for within city Broadband and voice services (as long as in line of sight). Thus in terms of usage, WiMAX can be versatile in terms of group usage as well.
Weaknesses LTE and WiMAX
1. LTE will be limited to single subscriber system on a large carpet area.
2. WiMAX would work on a multi subscriber system in a small carpet area. Also, with loss in line of sight and distances between the tower and the reciver, the rates of data transfer may be erratic and inconsistent.
Yet again, it will be different strokes for different folks sort of a thing out here. Taking pole positions with any one technology could prove to be counterproductive for the players in the market. While LTE will ride upon 80% GSM market share, WiMAX will be handy in Enterprise operation markets and data heavy networks. So while LTE will be at a lesser advantage in Data, WiMAX may find it difficult to cover full geographies as exhaustively as LTE!
The interesting bit is that a study into cellular subscriber patterns in 2012 still reveal that 55% of 4.8 billion cellular subscribers (by 2012) would still be using the GSM/EDGE/GPRS technologies and only a lowly handful will be into WiMAX and LTE.
LTE (Long term Evolution) and Wimax (Worldwide interoperability for Microwave access) are the two competing fourth generation technology standards that will usher in next generation wireless. (Thats a long long way off for a country like India, which struggles with 3G roll outs.)
As the graphic above suggests, the debate today centres around LTE versus WiMAX. Interestingly enough both these technologies come from the same parent OFDM. To that extent they are siblings and this is about sibling rivalry (Kane and Able anyone?)
Graphic on how data speeds stack up in Technologies. This doesnot mention the super standard which would be a combination of LTE and WImax and is supposed to have 1GB/Sec speeds on data transfer.
Palm pioneeered the PDA and the smartphone scene way before RIMs and Apples of the world were in the scene. However, over the years Palm lost its way and is almost out of contention. Almost! The recently announced web OS and Pre have been appreciated and its time, we shall see whether Palm has any fight left in it or not!
I graduated into the internet in the year 2000! My first email account was the huge popular usa.net then. However, in mid of 2001, usa.net migrated to being a paid service under the American Express group. Almost none its consumer base migrated to the paid service. Internet has been a “liberating and democratic medium”. Information and communication was available free, it was the economics of “Free”. I call it Freetardonomics! A lot of the Freetardonomics was through using Google as the Gateway. On 13th February 2009, Google decided to monetize its hugely popular You Tube. You Tube has been the problem child for Google from sometime because inspite of its huge following, it was not adding revenues and profits to its financials! The paid download is a new way for Google to add monetization options for its services and looking beyond the advertisement streams! Most of the downloads will be charged $1 and Google is trying to replicate Apples iTunes business model. (If users can pay for music, why not videos?). Not all videos will be monetized! One can guess that Google will look to monetize content such as music videos, commercials, soaps and other entertainment content. It would also probably look at educational content to be monetized. The typical model would be a trailor of 30 seconds of the video content and then the channel asking for purchase of the content. However, the one immediate challenge that Google faces is how would it control the hacks and the download tools available to users? How would it control mechanisms like Firefox plug ins and webs sites like YouTubeKeep.com, which allow users to rip content from YouTube at will?
I bought my first eco wrist watch 2 years back. It came steep and it boasted of a perpetual battery life. It never needed a charge because it would charge itself under the sun. Something like the Superman! The raucous cries for environmental friendly devices is gaining decibels every moment and i used to think to myself, as to why a Nokia or any other company would not make a solar powered phone. It would be environment friendly, and would liberate the user from having to charge it every now and then! So then, Finally here it is. Samsung announced the Blue Earth at the MWC. Made from recycled plastic, this solar charged phone uses an inbuilt pedometer to measure the carbon footprint of the user. A full solar charge of around 10 to 14 hours will provide enough power for around four hours of talk time (this is bit low, but subsequent devices will better this statistic). The handset can still be charged normally using a conventional plug, with the solar panels used to top up the battery during use. Blue Earth hits the stores later this year at a high end tag. LG has already announced its own energy and environment friendly solar phone and this looks like the first of a mega trend toward zero energy devices. While Samsung has broken this new ground, it remains to be seen, which company is able to graduate all its portfolio to the solar powered phones the first. Long lasting environment benefits will accrus once this technology massifies to the the farmers and tribals of the loneliest parts of the planet!