Sunday, July 28, 2013

LTE - 4 Things That Can Increase Mobile Data Revenue

There is quite a significant gap between EU and US in the mobile wireless markets. Based on the report "Mobile Wireless Performance in the EU & the US", May 2013 by GSMA, US seems to perform far better than their EU counterpart. How about countries in Asia especially the newcomer Malaysia? Are we taking the right move to introduce LTE when only half of the mobile subscribers are still using 3G and only 30% of them own smartphones? Can LTE increase the data revenue? Maybe we can learn something from US. Some of the key aspects of the report are mentioned below with additional personal comments.
  • Mobile Internet Culture - The need to inculcate the culture for seeking knowledge, consuming and downloading information, generating contents purchasing online. The same activity that we used on the fixed Internet at home/office computers is now moving to the next level - i.e. using a smaller screen of mobile devices to do the same tasks.
  • Size Matters - With LTE speeds, smartphones with smaller screens does not matter very much but it does make a big difference on a bigger devices such as Tablets and Laptops. With the kind of speed, what previously being a stumbling block for wireless adoption, users are now receptive to the idea of having LTE dongles on their laptops or having Tablets for better browsing experience. There is no more lagging of watching Youtube or streaming videos or having to wait when downloading contents.
  • Connection Quality - LTE promises the speed higher than 3G or even what TM Unifi currently offering i.e. beyond 10 Mb/s or even 20 Mb/s. Ask anyone on the street and they will always wish for higher speed and quality.
  • Coverage - This is one the basic criteria of choosing a network operator. What's the use of having an LTE device with an attractive data plan but could never get online? In the US, the operators spend a significant amount of CAPEX to deploy and cover nearly 96% of Americans. Most of their users have data plans. That's why we see companies like Apple launch their LTE-enabled iPhone in US first before any other countries. Americans are already hunger for higher-speed mobile Internet.
Is the perception "build and they will come" will remain true? Let's look the example of WiMAX networks in Malaysia. Two WiMAX operators in Malaysia (namely P1 and YES) have different strategies in deploying their network. P1 started to market their 4G WiMAX in places even before they have base stations installed in those places with the intention to get users hyped up and aware of their branding first. On the other hand, YES deployed their networks first before they officially launch their service to ensure the customers expectations are met and no complaints about coverage. 
P1 strategy works to some extend in getting their services roll-out well ahead of their competitor and thus successfully capture the early adopters. However, YES learned from the mistakes of the first entrant by providing a better and richer user experience to their users.
However, WiMAX lost the 2 year window frame "given to them" when they did not get enough traction from the device manufacturers. Nearly all WiMAX operators around the world are new players. Thus, they faced an uphill task to get their operations in full swing as compared to the incumbents who can quickly deploy LTE by utilising all the existing infrastructure that's already in place.
This post revisit Malaysia's future of mobile data in the LTE era.
You can contact Dr. Mazlan Abbas via the below Social Media links:

4G LTE - A New Cash Cow for Telcos?

Maxis and Celcom launched their 4G LTE in the first half of the year 2013. Both of them offered at two frequency spectrums i.e. 1800 MHz and 2600 MHz. Earlier, when they offered at 2600 MHz, there is a big disappointment since there is lack of support on current smartphones. Even the iPhone 5 supports 1800 MHz.
When both operators managed to get approval from the Regulatory, MCMC, to operate at 1800 MHz, many applauded including the public because now more LTE-enabled smartphones will be available. Maxis made easier for their customers to use LTE - without changing their SIM Cards.  Only an update of their Carrier software settings. However, Celcom need to get the new SIM cards and furthermore if some of the users have upgraded their iOS firmware to iOS 7 Beta, they somehow need to download some carrier tweaks to enable the Celcom LTE.
Malaysia’s 3G SIM card penetration is low at 52%, while nationwide smartphone penetration is only at about 30%. It took 3G more than 8 years to get to this stage (Celcom launched 3G service in May 2005), thus, what makes us think 4G LTE can do the same or better? 
Personally, I am very positive with the growth of LTE in Malaysia. What we did things 5 years ago are not the same today. Let's take a look what's the difference:-
  • Awareness - Users today hunger for speed and they are aware that 3G is able to satisfy their needs but they still want more. They are now well educated regarding the evolution of mobile standards from 1G to 2G to 3G and they are expecting a better experience with 4G.
  • Social Media - The phenomenal growth of social media when Facebook was introduced. It became more personalised when smartphones introduced Facebook clients on their mobile. Since then, most mobile social media applications are such an easy to use. Popular apps like Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Instagram are now built-in to the mobile/portable devices OS such as Android, iOS and Mac OS X. Sharing has now become so simple - thus the era of user generated contents has finally arrived
  • Generation Y - We considered Gen-X to be tech savvy and Gen-Y to be user savvy. The current Gen-Y grew up with the technology and coincidently at the right time when the wireless technology is matured enough to have a better experience. Gen-Y and the next upcoming Gen-Z will have higher expectations since these mobile applications and gadgets have become part of their daily life.
  • Smartphones & Tablets - The phones has evolve into more than just a phone. The increased power of CPU, bigger memory, hi-res display (retina, Full HD), integrated functions such as music, games, video, GPS coupled with high speed network have transformed the way we traditionally look and carry the gadgets. Tablets gave a new browsing experience in browsing Internet with its instant boot-up time and mobility.
This upcoming post describes the success factor of LTE.
You can contact Dr. Mazlan Abbas via the below Social Media links:
Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter | Slideshare | Google+ | Email |

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Design and Architectural Challenges of Shadow Network (ShaNET)

The Shadow Network must be intelligent enough to sense the surrounding and respond to the change. It will use the knowledge and make the necessary decision to adapt. There are at least 3 main challenges:-
1 - How to design an architecture that will support autonomic behaviour?
2 - How to collect and represent the necessary information to achieve an autonomic behaviour?
3 - How the shadow network communicate with each other and organise among themselves in a possibly big context?
So, what are the research challenges? To realise the shadow network, we have to revisit the routing, mobility and communications protocols such as:
1 - Novel routing techniques are required to satisfy multiple, diverse and conflicting traffic flows requirements.
2 - Proactive QoS techniques to maintain end-to-end path quality subject to available spectrum and link performance.
3 - Novel resource allocations techniques to coordinate channel usage and better spectrum exploitation.
In the next post, we will discuss the intelligent requirement of the shadow network (ShaNET).

Twitter: @mazlan_abbas

Thursday, July 18, 2013

When a Phone is No Longer a Simple Phone...

In the early days of 2G GPRS, phones are equipped with WAP browser. Due to the slow speed, web or so-called WAP pages are stripped down and left with text and simple graphics. But these WAP pages get users excited. Developers and content owners took the opportunity to monetize the first "mobile Internet".
Later, cameras are integrated with the phones. Display is only limited to VGA and low-resolution. Either this is due to the technology of phone display, camera or speed is insufficient to carry the bigger multimedia contents.
Initially, MP3 and videos are played locally. These MB size contents are downloaded via a USB cable. Today, with the 3G and LTE speeds, you can play video (Youtube) and Music online instantly.
GPS used to be a separate device but now its s standard feature in the phones.
Nowadays, we see more and more sensors build into the phones such as Wireless Charging, NFC, Gyroscope etc.
There is no longer a need to carry so many devices to make a call, listen a music, watch video, play games, taking photos, finding direction, pay online, browse the Net etc. This is the main reason why smartphones has become part of you and you will never able to part with it.

Twitter: @mazlan_abbas

Making the Shadow Network A Reality.

The concept of Shadow Network was first conceptualised by Mazlan Abbas and his team from MIMOS in 2011. The idea is to develop an autonomous network that can intelligently form and adapt to its surrounding environment.
To be realistic, networks in the future will be heterogenous. Telcos that operate 2G will still continue to operate their 2G and 3G when they migrated to 4G. They will have problem in managing and operating multiple networks but on the other hand, they can use the lower speed network for something else - such a low speed telemetry kind of services. Not all applications require the blazing speed of 4G LTE.
In the era of Internet of Things, when things communicate, they do not always communicate in big amount of data. Only small packets are collected by other nodes. Thus, various forms of access technologies will still be in existence. The challenge is to make them interoperate.
How do we make the autonomous? In the next post, we will discuss the architectural challenges in developing the Shadow Network. 
Twitter: @mazlan_abbas

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tips in Social Media - How do we attract the right attention?

Some people thought Social Media is the easiest and the best way to getting the right attention. Yes, its possible but we have to ensure it must be for the good reasons.
Wrong intentions or bad comments or posts can be a very costly mistake. Internet is like one big permanent storage. Unlike your hard disk, you can delete the files anytime you wish. However, in the Internet world, once the news or whatever content posted and spreaded like a virus, there is not stopping them.
The message can reached faster than "lightning", people can instantly shared to their various Social Media sites of their likings - example Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram, Personal Blogs (Blogger), Keek, LinkedIn and so many others. Thus, the moment it has been stored in someone else storage, there is NO WAY for you to delete them from the Net.
Many times, when people Google a certain keywords or names - you can instantly see the similar contents in different websites. Try that and see whether your photos are on the Net. Most likely if you are someone popular or un-popular, your photos will probably end up on Google and on someone's Social Media sites.
Thus - how do we get the right attention without having a bad reputation? If you are not the one that is responsible for things that you upload, I bet someone else will do that on your "behalf". 
In this era, there is no way for us to stop the Social Media. The only thing that we can control is to behave ourself or probably stay on a different Planet (joke).
I have tested this (to find a way to get cyberspace attention) for the past one month on LinkedIn. I did three things:
1) Connecting and Accepting LinkedIn Requests - I have done this regularly i.e. daily
2) Posts contents with my own status and thoughts about the industry.
3) Replying to comments on my posts and also commented to other people's posts.
As a proof, you can see the sudden surge of traffic by people who viewed my profile. Most probably to know who is this "Mazlan Abbas" that wants to connect with them. The good thing about LinkedIn is that, the website is able to recommend "People You May Know" due to the fact that I always linked to people that are within my area of work.
You can contact Dr. Mazlan Abbas via the below Social Media links:
Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter | Slideshare | Google+ | Email |

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Have You Ever Imagine A Day Without Smartphone?

Smartphones and tablets have now become part of our lives whether you like it or not. I used to remember many years ago (probably 10 years ago) when a simple phone have an Internet capability. I imagined that the days of "Always-On Internet", "Information in Your Pocket". But it seems it has reached far beyond the imagination.

People can forgive if they forget to carry their driving license, but most of them will return home to get their smartphones.

How many times have you seen people looking at their phones at restaurant tables? You can have the whole family or group of friends and yet they seems to be very interested on their phones rather than the actual conversation.

What about the times when you are in boring meetings, trainings or seminars - don't you feel "guilty"  when most of the time you keep on exchanging messages, reading emails or browsing the Internet?

Have You Ever Imagine A Day Without Smartphone?

Twitter: @mazlan_abbas



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