As competition and the economic crunch pit themselves against communications service providers (CSPs), it’s getting harder and harder for them to maintain profitability, so the search is on for ways of exploiting underused assets. Take customers for example – CSPs have them by the billions, yet they often know almost nothing about them other than an address or a phone number in the eyes of many providers.
The global market for machine-to-machine (M2M) device connections will grow from 62 million devices in 2010 to 2.1 billion devices in 2020, according to a new report from Analysys Mason (London, UK). With a year-on-year growth rate of between 36% and 52%, M2M seeks to be one of the fastest-growing connectivity sectors in the next decade.
The "Machine-to-machine devices connections: worldwide forecast 2010-2020" covers 8 regions, 7 industry segments, and 20 product/solution categories.
Commercially deployed LTE, WiMax, HSPA+, and even "evolved" forms of 3G now may all be accurately referred to as "4G." The International Telecommunication Union (Geneva, Switzerland) has altered the definition of the "4G" standard to one that aligns with the marketing activities of companies like Sprint, Clearwire, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless; though public controversy will no doubt continue.
The surging popularity of smartphones over the past few years has caused some serious issues for the broadband networks which consumers depend on every day. Network issues revolve around a growing capacity crunch, mainly due to the availability of streaming media and rich content being accessed by next-generation devices. A report released by ABI Research in September 2010 estimates there will be more than 1.5 billion active mobile broadband consumers by 2015. In other words, network performance will continue to decline unless solutions are put in place to mitigate the congestion.
Satellite, when combined with 4G wireless, offers two very powerful advantages for stakeholders. First, it provides a large amount of spectrum. That spectrum enables delivery of next-generation wireless services in a world that is increasingly underserved by terrestrial spectrum and is moving in the direction of broadband wireless. Also, satellite’s large coverage footprint offers unparalleled reach to the next frontier of un-served and underserved suburban, rural and remote areas.
Nokia Siemens Networks (Espoo, Finland) announced yesterday plans to set up a Smart Lab in Korea focused on developing smart device-optimized applications, services and networks. The lab is expected to open in the first quarter of 2011.
Last Thursday, the GSM Association announced the formation of a task force of mobile operators to explore the development of an embedded SIM that can be remotely activated. The association expects to enable the design of exciting new form factors for mobile communications and speed the development of M2M services by making it easier to bring mobile broadband to non-traditional devices such as cameras, MP3 players, navigation devices and e-Readers, as well as smart meters.
According to the latest update to ABI Research’s forecasts, cellular M2M connections continue to show steady growth, and are expected to exceed 297 million in 2015. Their 2009 forecast of about 225 million connections by 2014 has also been raised to 232.5 million. On the downside, while telematics and smart grid drive growth in Asia-Pacific, the markets outside Japan and key countries are "less mature," according to Sam Lucero, ABI's practice director.
Historically, telecommunication companies have been characterized by fixed rates for telephone and Internet service. Because price is the distinguishing factor instead of features or other differentiators, the average revenue per user has been on a downward trend. The industry has been looking for a solution to this trend for some time, and some providers are now finding it in managed IT services in the cloud.
Well Positioned to Engage in Managed Cloud Services
As mobile usage in the developed countries moves rapidly from voice to applications, the level of call processing in the network must increase correspondingly. Applications such as video and navigation require hundreds of times more data than voice, and the network’s processing capabilities must be upgraded to handle it. Yet choices now being made about 4G infrastructures will significantly impact operators’ ability to scale processing power as needed.