Over the past ten years mobile communications have transitioned from a luxury item to a utility as critical as electricity and water. With this rapid expansion of subscribers and services, the operators of the wireless networks are making money today and adding subscribers at rapid rates. India for example has growth between 20% and 30% year over year growth in mobile subscribers.
However, this very success carries the seeds of potential crisis as these subscribers begin expecting, demanding and consuming ever-increasing amounts of data over these same networks. 3G networks-from the RAN architecture to the synchronous transport-were designed primarily to support increased voice capacity with a modicum of data support. They were never intended to support the multiple terabytes being transported today. HSPA and HSPA+, while definitely providing enhancements, are still bound by the 3G architecture and can be considered mere band-aids as opposed to long term solutions.
As operators eye the incredible growth and hence strain on their networks, they must ponder the question: When and how do I make the move to 4G? It's no longer a question of 'if', but more a question of "when" and "how".
The wireless industry made it clear over the last year or so that 4G technology is a short-term necessity in mature markets, and the long-term answer to broadband connectivity worldwide. In mature markets, consumers are beginning to find ubiquitous access to medium or higher-rate broadband a necessary part of their communications capabilities.
In developing markets, wireless will continue to be the only affordable way to deliver broadband and governments will foster those services to promote economic growth. Thus, it is clear that the experience with voice services over the last two decades-in which it overtook and caused the decline of wireline-will repeat itself with broadband. That is, wireless will become the dominant method to deliver broadband services to users. This process may take awhile, but it will happen.
Nokia-Siemens Networks' acquisition of Motorola network assets should allow them to gain strong position in North America and improves their position in Japan and China.
The initial stage of merging the two companies, which although announced has yet to be consummated through all government approvals, was said to be working together in sales. The more difficult part will be combining the infrastructure platforms to eventually arrive at a common platform that takes advantage of volume efficiencies and presents a simplified and unified offering to operators. Maravedis estimates that this will take 3-6 years to accomplish, as the Motorola's product line may need to be maintained to support current and expanded deployments.
Business is increasingly becoming a mobile activity, and as a result the wireless networks and services used to support that development are growing in importance. In both the business-to-business and business-to-consumer (B2B and B2C) environments, the availability of more reliable, higher-capacity wireless data networks is one of the keys to expanding the reach of business into the mobile environment. This transformation is occurring in the context of an overall enterprise shift toward all-IP communications. “IP,” or Internet Protocol, describes both the format and the switching technology that drives the core of the Internet. Originally envisioned as a general-purpose data transport, IP has now expanded to support voice and video communications over an integrated IP backbone.