In an end of an error (surely era Ed.), AT&T has shut down its 2G service and finally killed off the first-generation iPhone.
The 2G shutdown has been planned for a few years and judging by the lack of outcry from Apple fanboys when the network stopped working there can’t be many people still able to get Steve Jobs’ pivotal shiny toy to go. To be fair it is ten years and Apple normally expects people to replace their phone after one.
AT&T notes that the 2G shut down will free up resources and spectrum bandwidth for the network to use for future rollouts of more advanced wireless solutions like 5G down the line.
Of course, the Apple fanboy could move to Blighty, where 2G is still going. In fact some remote areas are only covered by 2G because it is reasoned that some coverage is better than nothing.
Even within more urban and populated areas that have substantial 3G coverage, there is still a large dependence on the reliability of 2G.
Swedish firm Ericsson and US firm Apple have ended a dispute after the former accused the latter of breaching its patents.
Ericsson had alleged that Apple breached patents on iPads and iPhones for 2G and 4G connectivity.
Apple hasn’t said how much it has paid Ericsson to stop suing it but will pay an initial amount and then pay it royalties for the next seven years.
Ericsson said it was very pleased that the niggles had come to an end and will work closely with Apple to develop new technologies.
Ericsson took legal action in Apple in several countries and, as usual, Apple retailiated by suing Ericsson.
That’s how these sort of disputes work in the technology industry, with lawyers doing particularly well out of the bickering.
While Volkswagen is in deep water worldwide because it tampered with energy efficiency software, the car industry as a whole is leading the way implementing the internet of things (IoT).
ABI Research said that by 2020, there will be $60 billion worth of global telematics and “infotainment” service revenues.
But the surprising thing is that it will be 3G and not 4G networks that will be the primary connection technology.
4G won’t come into its own until after 2020, according to research director Dan Shey.
He said that there will be exceptions to the general rule that vertical markets are slow to implement the latest technology – with the US, Korea and Japan implementing 4G but even then that won’t happen until 2019 or 2019.
By 2020, vendors including Ericsson, Verizon, Wireless Car and Airbiquity will grab the lion’s share of the market.
The car industry will also shift into a cloud based approach to connect everything up.
ABI believes the IoT will be powered by open source hardware reference designs and third party mobile integration, putting pressure on existing vendors like Harman and Bosch to radically shift their design models.
A report from Gartner estimates that mobile data traffic worldwide will hit 52 million terabytes (TB) this year and it’s only set to grow more.
The rise this year will be 59 percent more than 2014, and analysts estimate that by 2018 traffic level will hit 173 million TB.
Jessica Ekholm, a research director at Gartner should set alarm bells ringing in the ear of communication services providers, which need to re-think their data caps.
She said: “Mobile data traffic is soaring worldwide, more than tripling by 2018. New, fast mobile data connections (3G and 4G) will grow more slowly, from 3.8 billion in 2015 to 5.1 billion in 2018, as users switch from slower 2G connections and consume more mobile data.”
She said that Gartner had surveyed 1,000 smartphone users in Germany and another 1,000 in the USA. German people are less likely to watch videos compared to cellular networks because of the data caps.
And the German people mostly waited to download apps or look at content when they were in a wi-fi zone. Just over a third of Americans do that, largely because the US data plans were more flexible.
Families with children are mostly responsible for mobile video usage, helped by providers offering shared data plans the reason.
A research document claims that Intel’s SoFIA 4G application processor will now be delayed until the beginning of next year.
Apparently, according to Digitimes Research, the design of the chip is ready and could be rolled out in vast quantities tomorrow. But there’s problems with the software, it appears.
That means, according to the report, that Intel will have to rely on its SoFIA 3G chips to satisfy its rather few mobile customers that choose the chip giant as a supplier.
And there’s more trouble on the horizon, the analysts suggest.
The SoFIA 4G chip will be built using a 28 namometre process and if it is true that it is delayed until next year, that may well put a spanner in the works for a 14 nanometre application processor that was planned for next year.
Intel has at least two big problems on the mobile front. The first is that handset vendors, despite subsidies, aren’t that willing to be in the gentle hands of the behemoth. The second is that the chips it does make for the mobile market are way too pricey, probably because, above all, Intel is a manufacturing company with the concomitant high costs.
You can find more about this, here.
The arrival of 4G/LTE is proving so popular that there’s a fortune to be made out of selling masts and antennae for the global infrastructure.
So much so, that market intelligence company ABI Research, forecasts that the global market for LTE capable antennae will be worth close to $4 billion this year.
ABI thinks that multi-band antennae are the hot potatoes in the LTE bortsch. “Lance Wilson, a research director there, said: “LTE does not have the formal spectrum standardisation of previous air interfaces such as 3G, so multi-band antennae that can operate over a number of different frequency slots offer a solution to the problem of rapidly growing LTE wireless data traffic.”
The cost of active antennae has caused it to have lack of appeal, but the entire supply chain for antennae is “unusual” because of multiple tiers and multiple players.
Wilson said that most vendors are small companies and there’s very likely to be consolidation in that sector.
He believes that LTE capable antennae are responsible for growth the market and that’s going to continue to happen at least for the next few years.
Adoption of 4G data services is eclipsing revenues from mobile voice revenues, which are in decline.
And it won’t be long before the difference between 4G and 3G widens to such an extent that by 2020 the newer standard dominates the market.
A report from ABI Research said that in 2020, 4G data traffic will hit 224.7 exabytes and represent 79 percent of total data consumption.
Realising the revenue opportunities for data, mobile operator are “sparing no effort” to cover customers to 4G networks, said Marina Lu, a research analyst at ABI.
She said they’re doing that by offering attractive tariff plans and quick update services.
“In addition, the richer content services including HD video, lossless music and high speed games are in great demand, boosting data service revenues,” she said.
Last year, China Mobile made the best gross profit, followed by Verizon and AT&T.
Lu said that in its first year of commercialisation of LTE/4G, China Mobile moved from being voice centric to being more data centric.
Verizon moved to plans which encouraged people to shift to data enabled services as part of their package.
There were over 100 million LTE subscriptions taken out in China last year with China Mobile taking a 90 percent market share.
And in 2015, ABI Research believes that China will overtake the USA to be the biggest 4G market in the world, with 500 million LTE subscriptions.
In the fourth quarter of last year, LTE subscriptions worldwide rose by 149.1 million – overtaking 3G subscriptions by 10.9 percent.
ABO expects subscriptions to grow at a CAGR of 21 percent between this year and 2020, reaching 3.5 billion.
Asia Pacific is the prime region for LTE subs, followed by North America and Western Europe.
By 2020, global 2G subscriptions will continue to decline and stand at 1.69 billion.
Consolidations in the Western European market meant there were some short term fluctuations to mobile subscriptions.
Although chip giant Intel has already taken a considerable beating because of its commitment to become a leading player in the mobile and tablet market, it seems that it doesn’t feel it’s spent quite enough yet.
According to Taiwanese wire Digitimes, Intel is going to create reference designs for the Android operating system in the second half of this year in a bid to help so-called “white box” manufacturers make and sell cheap tablets.
“White box” goods are unbranded products which distributors and others can then pick up and re-brand with their own je ne sais quois.
The Chinese white-box tablet market has, according to several market research companies, already taken a whack as demand falls because the replacement cycle for these devices isn’t on a very regular basis.
But Intel wants tablets to use its SoFIA processors and prices for 10 inch, 8 inch and seven inch LTE and 3G tablets at prices of around $130, $90, and $80.
It isn’t just Chinese manufacturers who will benefit from Intel’s largesse – the same report said that well known names including Foxconn, Compal, Pegatron, Wistron and Elitegroup will all give the Intel scheme a go.
Meanwhile, the research arm of Digitimes reported that there is such a huge stock of cheap notebooks in 2015 that manufacturers are complaining of the “worst ever” decline in shipments.
Mobile chipmaker Marvell is suffering as demand for 3G chips slowly dies as the rise of 4G LTE demands different chips.
The company announced that its quarterly gross margin fell as demand for its chips used in third-generation mobile communication outweighed a rise in sales of its more profitable 4G LTE chips.
Marvell did better than expected in the first-quarter but overall the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street are predicting worse to come.
Smartphone sales growth is shifting away from North America to China where buyers favour handsets priced below $200.
Chief Financial Officer Michael Rashkin said in a post-earnings conference call that the company’s mix was skewed to 3G even though LTE did well and its margins came slightly below what was expected in the quarter.
Marvell’s gross margin shrunk to 48.4 percent for the first quarter ended May 3 from 54.3 percent a year earlier.
The company said it expects second-quarter adjusted profit of 28 cents per share and revenue of $940 million-$980 million.
Wall Street was expecting a profit of 26 cents per share on revenue of $930.1 million.
The company has benefited from the multi-billion dollar rollout of long-term evolution (LTE) 4G networks in China, which accounts for a third of Marvell’s total revenue.
Marvell’s first-quarter net income rose to $99.5 million, or 19 cents per share, from $53.2 million, or 11 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding items, earnings were 27 cents per share.
Revenue jumped 30 percent to $957.8 million.