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.
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You can contact Dr. Mazlan Abbas via the below Social Media links:


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