February 01, 2012

Beyond 3G


This article originally appeared in the Feb. 2012 issue of Next Gen Mobility

One year after its launch, Verizon Wireless's 4G LTE network has failed to capture the imagination of the public, who still seem to prefer the slower-connecting Apple (News - Alert) iPhone by large margins, writes TMCnet contributor Gary Kim, who attributes this observation to Paul Kapustka of Sidecut Reports. 

Kapustka argues that the lack of a compelling new 4G-only application may be why Verizon (News - Alert) sold fewer than 2 million 4G LTE-capable smartphones during the first nine months of 2011

“The other complicating issue is that it is in most cases the rule that devices drive subscriptions, and the popular Apple iPhone only works on 3G networks,” says Kim. “As it has been the case that ability to get the iPhone seems to drive the subsidiary choice of service provider, so it might continue to be the case that overall demand for iPhones, which only work on 3G networks, is affecting the choice of network, though less so service providers, these days.”

More than four million Apple iPhone 4S devices were sold the first weekend it went on sale.

However, 4G device sales should not be underestimated, adds Kim, noting that Verizon sold more than a quarter-million units of its first 4G LTE phone, the HTC ThunderBolt, in just two weeks after its mid-March 2011 debut. During the first three months of 2011, he adds, Verizon also sold roughly the same number of LTE-capable USB modems for laptops (about 250,000).

It’s Not About the Money, Money, Money

Clearwire in mid December raised more than $715 million through a public offering of $2 a share common stock and via Sprint’s (News - Alert) purchase of Class B stock. But that’s not necessarily good news.

“This equity raise is a critical step for Clearwire to achieve its long-term business plan of creating the first wide-channel TDD-LTE 4G network in the U.S.," says Erik Prusch, president and CEO of Clearwire. “The added resources will enable us to continue delivering 4G mobile broadband service to meet the rapidly growing demand in the industry. We remain ideally and uniquely positioned to serve both wholesale and retail customers well into the future.” 

However, tech analyst Jeff Kagan says that this is just another sign that Clearwire continues to struggle and needs financial help.

“Clearwire started life several years ago with much fanfare,” Kagan recently blogged. “Initially they looked hot. However during the last several years the company has disappointed. They offered a high speed wireless data network, but as competitors like AT&T (News - Alert) and Verizon rolled their 4G tech into the marketplace, Clearwire lost their luster.”

While Sprint Nextel needs Clearwire until it can build its own 4G network, Kagan indicates there’s a question as to Clearwire’s long-term viability.

Location, Location, Location

Nexage in November reported its real-time bidding and mediation platform delivering a 3.8x effective cost per thousand impressionspremium for publishers providing location-enabled impressions for the previous three months. Demand for location-enabled impressions grew 170 percent per month growth in that period, according to Nexage.

“The eCPM premium and volume growth underscore the value advertisers place on location-enabled impressions to support their local and hyperlocal campaigns,” the company says. “For example, a recent survey reported that 53 percent of mobile consumers between 18 and 34 use location-based services to find store locations. This non-linear buying behavior, where mobile ads can trigger in-store purchases from nearby locations, is a central and powerful method for marketers to reach and compel consumers.”

Third Time’s a Charm

NewNet Communication Technologies last year announced plans to acquire the former Motorola Solutions’ WiMAX business from Nokia Siemens (News - Alert) Networks. The deal was expected to close by the end of 2011.

The deal gives NewNet the complete WiMAX product portfolio, the related employees (about 300 of them in suburban Chicago and Hangzhou, China) and assets, as well as active customer and supplier contracts

“This transaction represents a significant milestone in our strategy of building a strong global presence in the telecommunications marketplace through NewNet Communication Technologies,” says Alex Soltani, chairman and CEO of Skyview Capital, of which NewNet is a portfolio company. “We are very excited about the WiMAX market opportunity and are fully committed to supporting Ron and his team as they evolve the business into a global leadership position.”

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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Rich Tehrani,
Since 1982 Rich has led TMC© in many capacities. Rich Tehrani is an IP Communications industry expert, visionary, author and columnist. He founded INTERNET TELEPHONY® magazine...Read More >>>
Carl Ford,
Partner and Community Developer, Crossfire Media
Today as a partner at Crossfire Media, Carl is developing programs that bring to light an understanding of the issues required for delivering broadband wireless Internet...Read More >>>
Erik Linask,
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Erik oversees the editorial content and direction for all of TMC. Erik has contributed literally thousands of features during his 5-year tenure, with a focus...Read More >>>
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Paula Bernier,
CTO & Executive Technology Editor
om is executive technology editor for TMC® Labs, the industry’s most-well known and respected testing lab, and ...Read More >>>