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05 February 2013
An unintended consequence of network innovation is that it opens the floodgates to as many threats as it does opportunities – just ask mobile operators struggling to make the economics of 4G investment stack up in a world where OTT players proliferate. Richard Irving assesses the prospects for wholesale operators.
Which of the following telling developments is most likely
to set the agenda in wholesale telecoms?
News that WhatsApp, the almost-free over-the-top (OTT)
messaging service is now handling more than 10 billion texts a
day - a 10-fold increase in a year?
Confirmation that Google is trialing a new technology called
WebRTC (short for web-based real time communications) - an
application that could turn telephony on its head by embedding
voice services in internet browsers?
Or the revelation that Eddy Cue should be able to wangle
cut-price tyres next time he takes his sports car in for a
service? If you are unfamiliar with the name, then let me
Cue is the rising star of Apple - head of the company's
internet software and services division, driving force (no pun
intended) behind the launch of the hugely successful iPad mini
and chief executive Tim Cook's all-round Mr Fix-It.
Austrian regulators have approved proposals by smaller operators in the country to re-use spectrum for 3G and 4G services and compete better with market leader Telekom Austria.
Middle Eastern operators Mobily and Batelco have reportedly signed a 4G roaming agreement for mutual customer benefit.
Mobile operator EE has announced the addition of 1.3 million customers to its 4G network in Q2 this year and claimed that take-up of its mobile broadband service was the fastest in Europe.
Vodafone Australia is reallocating half of its mobile spectrum for 3G to 4G, and plans to expand the latter network to cover 95% of the urban population by the year end, according to local reports.
Manx Telecom has launched the first 4G network in the Isle of Man, UK.
Analysts are warning that Thailand’s decision to suspend its 4G mobile licence auction could cause a loss of $4 billion to the market.