LTE usage in the US is about to explode! Crash Networks???

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I’ll give you one guess why LTE usage in the US is about to explode? Say it together… ready… 

Yep, iPhone 5. If the rumors are true and they follow the precedent of implementing LTE in iPad, then it’s reasonable to assume that iPhone5 is going sport LTE. Now, per our previous discussions, the design choices will guide how many markets a single SKU can support (hopefully they chose wisely) but I am going to be optimistic and think it would support 700, 800, 950, 1800, 1900 and 2100 handily. The next challenge would be global roaming but let’s hash that out later. 

From a utilization perspective, if 50% of the iPhone users are in urbanized areas where LTE is deployed, it’s safe to assume that most of these will be using LTE instead of HSPA+/EVDO. The data model shows that iPhone users are averaging around 1GB per month currently so I would expect that to nearly double quickly given the new capabilities of the LTE channel.

Here is our previous discussion regarding how the iPad parts were chosen BTW.

Next, prediction, at the application level, video chatting may finally get BIG thanks to Apple’s Face Time.   They have done a good job of making video conferencing simple to the point I think people are likely to begin using this en masse’ soon. Ohhh yeah, Contrary to the doom and gloom types, Face Time over LTE will not crash the network. It’s really a small bandwidth service as compared to high definition streaming (gaining popularity) or downloading those huge work PPTs and PDFs. (uh huh) Factor in the general mobility and individual sectors won’t stay loaded…more likely people will go indoors anyway and end up on WiFi…but even when out and about, Face Time WILL NOT CRASH LTE NETWORKS. 

Simple example:

1 sector capacity= 70Mbps (10MHz 2×2 MIMO such as Verizon or ATT) … Toss out 50% for no SON, poor optimization etc… = 36Mbps…

1 FaceTime user bandwidth 175Kbps (peak) x2 (Uplink and downlink) = 350Kbps (numbers from fairly popular mouths range from 392Kbps to 150Kbps)

(See this interesting link on Face Time bandwidth and this one too… )

36Mbps/350Kbs = 102 simultaneous (instantaneous), non throttled, FaceTime users PER SECTOR. A typical site usually has 3 sectors, sometimes 4 or 6…

So if you are a tech blogger and go to a major conference or iUnveiling on campus, and there are more than 102 smokers outside since you are likely to be on WiFi inside, you may find yourself competing for bandwidth but the hogs are more likely to be YouTube streaming (have seen 3Mbps!) and not necessarily just FaceTiming…