Currently viewing the tag: "Clear"

Dishint Been a while… I’ve been collaborating and innovating but I thought I would register my approval of a Dish + Sprint + Clear tie up. Firstly let me say I don’t think Softbank would be willing to let the opportunity slip away so low ($25.5B US) but I like the idea of an all wireless triple play. Yes, after a decade of talking about ‘Triple Play” it could finally happen. 

Some reasons that I like the idea of this combination:

  • Pricing for TV and mobile telephony in the US is high and not falling due to relative mon/du opolies of dominant incumbents
  • Dish and Sprint have both looked to use spectrum in alternative ways- seems like they could finally put something new out when together.
  • Sprint’s extreme risk averse culture sure could use a shake up, overall, it is really is slow to make decisions.
  • A triple play offer that’s true- not a reseller play, could offer some interesting future technology through integration
  • Both subscriber bases could grow marginally
  • Synergistic (did I just say that?) spectrum for LTE Advanced!
  • Saves a combined company CAPEX by not having Dish rush to build a nationwide LTE network (good for subs, but takes a very long time, so small likelihood of success)

They both also have ‘oddball’ spectrum, 2.6/2.3GHz [TDD]/800MHz [FDD] @ Sprint plus the 2200MHZ [FDD] @ Dish and could be merged into a very fast LTE-Advanced spectrum with some changes @ 3GPP…Heck even Verizon doesn’t have that much spectrum that close together to put up initially, although they have lower bands which have better RF propagation characteristics than the 2.2GHz.

Interestingly, Dish has set top boxes in homes and Sprint has femtocells deployed, so there is CPE in millions of homes. A combined devices makes a lot of sense but has been difficult to pull off between competitive issues etc…

Here is Dish’s site about the merger

Overall I think this could be a win for the US subscribers!

we win

 

Reuters Story:

Dish tries to trump SoftBank with $25.5 billion Sprint offer

From the Dish site:

Offer Letter

On behalf of DISH Network Corporation (“DISH”), I am submitting this proposal for a merger between DISH and Sprint Nextel Corporation (“Sprint”). Our proposal provides Sprint shareholders with a superior alternative to the pending Sprint/SoftBank transaction. It provides a superior cash proposal and affords your shareholders the opportunity to participate in a combined DISH/Sprint, which will benefit from substantial synergies and a significantly-enhanced strategic position.

sprint + FreedomPOP MVNO LTE Experiement A curious market experiment is taking place. I’ll explain. FreedomPop, an Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) founded in 2011 and based in Los Angeles, is offering 500MB of free wireless data over LTE for their customers. They are marketing a DSL type of replacement service with a LTE gateway and LTE mobile service through dongles, usb attachments for tablets and iPods. Their business model seems to be to over 4G LTE services as an MVNO by appealing to the lower end of the market with the offer of free data, low device costs, and opportunities to increase the amount of free data (beyond the initial 500MB) through mobile ads.

I think this is interesting from several angles.

Firstly, FreedomPop, at the moment is positioned as data only MVNO, unlike the multitudes of voice centric MVNO’s in the North American marketplace. This is interesting because they will either be complementing or competing with Clear on Sprint. If there is Clear then why FreedomPop…not ‘clear’ to me yet. The guys at prepaidreviews.com have a nifty chart that shows the present relationships in the NA MVNO space.

MVNO Chart So the first question is, does FreedomPop fill a market segment underserved today? Not clear…haha…couldn’t resist. Maybe.

freedom hub in box

Yes, the second angle is target market. They are offering a DSL replacement service via their LTE gateway called the Freedom Hub Burst. This is a good idea generally speaking to serve the underserved, but this is exactly what Clear is doing. If the top end of the market, unlimited @ $49.99/mo is served by Clear, this is a complementary new bottom end offer to grow the total base. 

freedom-sleeve-rocket-001They are selling a sleeve for an iPod to add connectivity, which is shown to the left and is called the Freedom Sleeve Rocket and a small form factor attachment to tablets to add mobile 4G to WiFi only tablets called Freedom Pop LTE Clip. To me this represents the underserved lower end of the market that could not afford to add mobile broadband to their device purchase initially and/or people purchasing these devices in a secondary/used market and now are attracted to mobile internet. 

Third interesting angle is they are apparently planning to offer an open WiFi hotspot service and/or device. Tell me that an open WiFi hotspot won’t drive service demand. At an extra $10 per GB, this could get costly for the poor fellow that gets one. On the other hand, I wonder how they will deal with guys who think like I do. I would get this hotspot, and free 500MB of monthly data and use it for connected embedded devices like refrigerators, picture frames, alarm systems etc. It may be locked down where you cannot turn on WPA type of security and that would discourage people like me from using it that way. Either way, driving demand is a good thing from their standpoint.

Last angle to discuss is the service subsidy. They are planning to offer opportunities for their subscribers to get more free data through mobile advertising participation, referral to friends, joint offers with partners like Netflix and so on. I think this is probably a the most facinating angle of all to me. Mea culpa, I have long advocated this, so yeah, I’m interested in the outcome, however this has not been systematically tried like this before in the mobile broadband arena. Seems to me, if they can find compelling opportunities this alone may help build the base. Maybe the free WiFi hotspot could add some free data to your monthly quota by just using the FreedomPop hotspot name as advertising to build interest. I may be compelled to put it in my car for my kids if that were true. There are so many ways this could get really interesting. Again, I think this could be the secret sauce in the end.

It’s also worth noting, the lack of a voice offering makes me wonder if they are waiting to offer VoLTE type of devices for your vocal pleasure? There has been no public mention of this but I can’t help but think that since they are focusing on LTE and not WiMAX as their platform, and they are looking to head down the path of enabling connectivity over LTE, then this must be a future possibility for them.

So at the end of the day, FreedomPop is a very interesting experiment being tried out by DCM, Mangrove Capital Partners  and  Atomico/Niklas Zennstrom to build a business as a $10/mo no contract 4G LTE MVNO. There’s nothing clearly wrong with their approach nor overly innovative or different, but maybe the interesting mix of target markets, devices and market savvy like offering free 500MB of mobile broadband will be compelling to the market. Who knows, with popularity maybe the whole marketplace will need to react, and that could be a good thing…

Very fascinating.

live long and prosper Spock

 

 So there were tons of rumors swirling around the blogosphere and the actual media regarding the iPhone 5. Turns out, once again, the leaks from the 3rd party manufacturing companies revealed most of the hardware story correctly. On a side note, does anyone else find it weird that the leaks from Apple’s manufacturing chain make it to the press and others, say, Samsung who fancies themselves as an Apple does not get the benefits of this type of leaking? I also noticed that Sammy has hired some agencies to make/post unflattering comments…(searches show patterns) it’s so very childish…anyway…wait one more thing, I wonder if you could outsource/crowdsource negative blog posts to Amazon’s Mechanical Turk?  ok…

Here are my observations on the iPhone 5 LTE related design features.

 First: LTE inclusion in iPhone 5. 

Firstly, yes, it’s LTE enabled!

To me, the vast majority of ‘typical consumers’ will now begin to use LTE thanks to Apple’s marketshare and their inclusion of LTE in an easy to use package. 

As I mentioned previously, I do believe FaceTime video conferencing, as an application, will drive utilization of LTE bandwidth but it’s really only part of a bigger package of capabilities the iPhone brings to the market. And yes, not biased, Android will soon have all of these capabilities too.

 

I was looking at the iPhone 5 LTE availability and saw (from Apple’s site):

Model Number2

LTE Band Support3

Country

Supported LTE Networks

Model A1428
(GSM model)

(AWS)

17 (700b MHz)

United StatesAT&TCanada

  • Bell (including Virgin)
  • Rogers (including Fido)
  • Telus (including Koodo)

Model A1429
(CDMA model)

(2100 MHz)

(1800 MHz)

(850 MHz)

13 (700c MHz)

25 (1900 MHz)

United States

  • Sprint
  • Verizon

JapanKDDI

Model A1429
(GSM model)

(2100 MHz)

(1800 MHz)

(850 MHz)

GermanyDeutsche TelekomUnited KingdomEverything Everywhere

  • Orange
  • T-Mobile

Australia

  • Optus (including Virgin)
  • Telstra

JapanSoftbankKorea

  • SK Telecom
  • KT

Hong KongSmarToneSingapore

  • M1
  • SingTel
  1. Data roaming depends on supported bands and carrier policies. LTE roaming may not be available. Contact your carrier for more details.
  2. To identify your iPhone 5 model number, see http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3939. Unlocked iPhone 5 models may support LTE networks outside the country of purchase when using a valid SIM from a supported carrier. Contact your carrier for more details.
  3. LTE band support is based on the iPhone 5 model number and configuration for either CDMA or GSM networks. Band support does not guarantee support on all LTE networks running on the same bands.

Some features may not be available for all countries or all areas. Click here to see complete list.

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Clear and Qualcomm announced the addition of 3GPP Band 41 (2.4GHz) and TDD support for their line of LTE chipsets. This is a very big milestone announcement as I see it. 

 

TD-LTE is more efficient at low-med usage than FDD and I expect the rest of the world to jump onto TDD-LTE to realize the efficiencies that are inherent with TDD. For example, instead of having a paired band of 20MHz for eNB and 20MHz for UE, with Release 10 carrier aggregation, Clear can effectively deploy a 40MHz channel in the same footprint as a 20MHz FDD. This is a very good use for their 100-120MHz of 2.4GHz spectrum they have been hoarding.  

 

Make no mistake, TD-LTE will end up the more popular technology in much of the world and here in the US, with a Clear deployment, the broadband universe is finally getting some needed upgrades in competition.

Full PR below….

BTW, Clear is up to 11M subscribers now.

Links: Clear, Qualcomm

Clearwire Expands LTE Choices in North America

Qualcomm to Add 3GPP Band 41 to its Existing 3G/4G Multi-mode, Multi-band LTE Chipsets, Giving Global LTE FDD and LTE TDD Operators Expanded Range of Device Options

SAN DIEGO AND BELLEVUE, WASH. – May 08, 2012 – Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) and Clearwire Corporation (NASDAQ: CLWR) today announced that Qualcomm will add support for Clearwire’s upcoming LTE TDD network to its line of multi-mode LTE chipsets with the inclusion of support for 3GPP’s Band 41 (B41) radio frequency. This new enhancement builds on Qualcomm’s existing multi-mode, multi-band support for LTE FDD, LTE TDD and major broadband wireless standards, thus enabling OEMs to develop a wide variety of cost-effective, fully harmonized LTE devices for networks around the world.

“The growth of LTE networks and services is closely tied to device manufacturers’ ability to develop and commercialize cost-efficient LTE devices,” said Steve Mollenkopf, president and chief operating officer, Qualcomm. “By adding support for the B41 band to our LTE chipsets, in combination with providing support for other LTE bands, Qualcomm is enabling OEMs to design cost-competitive devices and offer them in multiple geographies.”

“We are pleased that Qualcomm will expand the size of the LTE ecosystem by adding support for Clearwire’s LTE frequency bands to their chipsets. By working with Qualcomm, Clearwire will ensure that LTE TDD and LTE FDD will work seamlessly together. This will bring significant benefits to OEMs, network operators and consumers alike,” said Erik Prusch, president and CEO, Clearwire. “Qualcomm is a well-established leader in mobile processor and modem solutions. Their Snapdragon processors and Gobi modems are synonymous with fast, low-power mobile computing and high-quality mobile broadband connectivity.”

Qualcomm LTE chipsets supporting the B41 band in combination with other LTE FDD/TDD bands are scheduled for commercial availability later this year.

About Clearwire
Clearwire Corporation (NASDAQ: CLWR), through its operating subsidiaries, is a leading provider of 4G wireless broadband services offering services in areas of the U.S. where more than 130 million people live. The company holds the deepest portfolio of wireless spectrum available for data services in the U.S. Clearwire serves retail customers through its own CLEAR® brand as well as through wholesale relationships with some of the leading companies in the retail, technology and telecommunications industries, including Sprint and NetZero. The company is constructing a next-generation 4G LTE Advanced-ready network to address the capacity needs of the market, and is also working closely with the Global TDD-LTE Initiative and China Mobile to further the TDD-LTE ecosystem. Clearwire is headquartered in Bellevue, Wash. Additional information is available athttp://www.clearwire.com.

May 8, 2012

LTE Benefits to the End User

Thought I would have some fun and go through the top 5 reasons the average consumer should adopt LTE. The point was to verify there were some end user benefits vs operators seeing all the benefits. I did my best to limit myself to today’s benefits, so there’s no HD Voice or global roaming etc in the list. See if you can think of better ones. Here are my top 5…Drum roll….

  1. Increased competition between carriers
  2. Supports ever growing Multi-mega pixel camera trend
  3. Safer to use at the sandwich shop than WiFi
  4. Low(est) mobile wireless latency
  5. Alternative to DSL at home
What? Here it is atom by atom.

1. Increased competition between carriers:  In the US, a less competitive wireless market, ATT, MetroPCS and Verizon already offer LTE, Clear, CSpire, Sprint, T Mobile, US Cellular are launching this year. I don’t like paying $25/GB/mo so I’m hoping the price competition will pressure down those prices. Yes supply and demand effects will have me using more and paying more, the low end is a mental barrier that needs to be crossed. Secondly, the increased competition with the identical services will result in greater focus in performance. The networks themselves will improve as a basis of competition further making end user experiences better.

 

2. Supports ever growing Multi-mega pixel camera trend: For this one , it’s bandwidth. Tip of the iceberg example, no way 3G is going support transporting your 17Mega pixel pictures of the puppy rolling over very quickly. LTE’s bandwidth will help out greatly here. Also, it looks like we are finally wanting to video call each other which is not very pleasant out on the road on 3G.

 

3. Safer to use at the sandwich shop than Wifi: Security of LTE vs WiFi is very deep and I won’t go into all of the nuances. Suffice it to say, at the lowest common denominator, it’s not free to begin stealing your data if on an LTE network. It takes significantly more effort than that. All that being said, I don’t want my instant messages to my wife on the internet. (yeah, ok, assume I have some end to end secure IM client.)

 

4. Low(set) mobile wireless latencyGaming. ‘Nuff said. Actually since the latency is so much lower than other wireless technologies, it’s going to make Push To X (PTx) services finally really usable. It also benefits chat and video calling a great deal. All of these apps are far more possible, pleasant etc on LTE than 3G or even WiFi under low loading in some cases.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Alternative to DSL at home:For this one  Tie it to your ‘stick it to the man’ strategy. Don’t know about you but it’s only recently I’ve had choices in wired networking. Another option never hurts when it comes to connectivity at home. More competition, and better pricing, better service as mentioned above.  

 Clearwire stepped into the 10M subscriber club recently by adding the final 900K subscribers this quarter. They now have around 9.1M wholesale subscribers (via mainly Sprint) and 1.3M retail subscribers so they have validated their partnership with Sprint. Another interesting tidbit is the subs have increased usage year over year by 22% so the whole flat rate thing may hit a wall. It’s a good thing they got motivated and started doing all those MIMO upgrades…In all actuality they have plenty of headroom since 802.16M/WiMAX is much more efficient than 3G either EVDO or HSxPA. Very good news from the guys in WA (and no not just the COSTCO guys…)

Link: Clear

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I generally try to stay away from simply repeating what’s on every news page, blog etc on the planet at the moment. What I will instead make some commentary about is the position these guys are in and why LTE Advanced. Maybe it’s more like stream of consciousness but there’s only so many hours in a day….

It all started many moons ago at Nextel, following the Sprint acquisition, the fusion occurred after throwing in some explosive ingredients like Morgan O’brien, and Barry West a supporting cast like the Sprint management team, in a small space and well, the fusion reactions begin with the decision to deploy WiMAX 802.16 (TDD)

 with all of the weird 2.5 spectrum, under the banner of Xohm…. (Yes, I waaay oversimplify but you get the general gist.)  Of course we have the whole Craig McCaw angle with the ClearWire startup and their management team including John Saw etc… that started down a similar path starting with their original Motorola Canopy system, switching to WiMAX with their Sprint joint activities, and ending in their merger with Xohm 

to form Clear.At this point you have a startup company with oodles of spectrum at 2.5GHz, a fair number of launched markets with 802.16 (TDD), and so far lots of debt and not millions and millions of subscribers. Clear’s decision to deploy LTE Advanced in TDD mode sort of is harmonious with their existing 802.16 networks as they share similar bandwidths and requirements to use multiple antennae. Sprint even did some legwork for them with a full out RFP to select 3 OEMs that could provide CDMA/WiMAX and LTE in the same base station. This cleared the path technically for Clear to theoretically upgrade their existing (newer) base stations to support LTE as an additional carrier.

This buys them a more certain future with respect to devices of course as the world seems to be moving towards LTE and away from WiMAX.

 

Now competitively this was a very logical move since their wholesale partner, Sprint, as I mentioned, is also on the path for upgradable base stations to provide LTE on their own plus they have some funding for the upgrade since they did a wholesale (two way) deal with the satellite LTE provider Lightsquared.

 

Clear has announced they plan to deploy 120MBps service so this means roughly 20MHz with 4×4 MIMO will be allocated to the task. (Wow, Add that to their existing WiMAX carriers and that is some serious backhaul required at each site…if each sector supported 20Mbps of WiMAX and 120Mbps of LTE, then 360Mbps per site ideally…) There are few operators capable of 20MHz allocations in a single band so they do have a competitive edge in this area if they can figure out the backhaul.

Source: Clear

Full PR after the break…

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I see LightSquared has both a lot of momentum and inertia at the moment. I don’t have volumes to say about them at the moment, but thought I would try to summarize with some pictures to save some of their words….

Firstly, the momentum. LightSquared received permission (a waiver) from the FCC to use the GPS (MSS) spectrum for LTE under the Ancillary Terrestrial Component rules. They managed to successfully launch and perform test calls on their first satellite, SkyTerra-1, in November (2010 of course) and they obtained $586M funding from JP Morgan and UBS in late February (2011.) After that, they secured deals to provide 4G LTE to OpenRange and roaming agreement with Cricket.

Links: FCC, LightSquared, NewAmerica Foundation, saveourgps.org, CNET.com, nextgov.com, AOPA

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