Mobile Broadband to Boom with Giga LTE - Mobile World Live

Mobile Broadband to Boom with Giga LTE

27 MAY 2020

PARTNER CONTENT: Live From Huawei Analyst Summit 2020, Shenzhen, China: During the LTE Roundtable, the representatives from telecom industry groups and vendors shared their insight and viewpoint on the positive impact of mobile technology on the economy and society, as well as building a simplified and highly efficient Giga LTE network to level up mobile broadband service and maximize the value of 4G. The key quotes from the LTE Roundtable:

  • Mobile networks and digital technology is the foundation of digital economy and society.
  • COVID-19 has led to an average increase of 40% in global bandwidth demand, which requires more actions to effectively equip the network to speed up the recovery in the economy and society and help to prepare for future crises.
  • Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) has developed rapidly in recent years, becoming an integral service for operators in delivering connectivity
  • To achieve a simplified and highly efficient target network, operators should accelerate the sunset process of 2G/3G and strengthen the coordination of 4G and 5G in development and operation.
  • 4G is evolving to Gigabit throughput levels due to technology innovation, and it is the most cost-efficient technology for universal mobile broadband service.

Simon Molloy, communications and technology economist and ITU expert, gave a speech on the socio-economic benefits of mobile broadband services. “Higher levels of mobile broadband penetration and speeds are associated with higher growth of GDP”, Simon recommended to government and regulators nine ways for improving the national ICT capabilities, including setting broadband targets, providing incentives for digital infrastructure deployment, releasing more IMT spectrum, facilitating transition from 2G/3G to 4G/5G services, building regulatory skillsets, etc. Finally, he believed that the Covid-19 pandemic and the possibility of increased online work and education in the medium and even longer term means that improving broadband coverage and speeds is more urgent than ever and that, as a result, the economics has shifted in favor of mobile broadband deployment.

“It is exciting that we reached 100 million households with FWA and the industry expects 500 million households by 2025,” said by Joe Barrett, the president of GSA. “There are 401 operators deploying FWA services, which becomes the best choice for home broadband in many cases.” FWA started from 4G and is evolving to 4G plus 5G. With 4G matured and 5G entering a new stage, 4G/5G FWA can now provide up to Gbps downlink throughput required for fiber-like experiences. This enhances its advantageous position among global mobile operators seeking to expand their market presence to the home broadband industry. As Joe introduced, GSA has been following up the development of 4G & 5G FWA across the world as well as the ecosystem.

Joyce Wang, Vice President at KaiOS Technologies, shared how KaiOS enables internet connectivity for previously unconnected people. In her opinion, the key barriers for the unconnected are affordability, accessibility, relevance and usefulness. KaiOS, a web-based mobile operating system, overcomes these barriers by providing light, affordable, accessible, and relevant technology. Joyce said, “KaiOS smart feature phones form a bridge from feature phone to smartphone. It can run on devices with limited hardware capabilities. KaiOS based devices are affordable, and they are designed specifically for the first-time internet users while still providing rich experience with the same applications and service as smartphones, such as WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube, and Google apps. KaiOS started its business in 2016, and after 4 years’ development, KaiOS supports global carriers in 157 countries for their 4G migration plans.”

Speaking later in the session, the Strategy Analytics Director Phil Kendall added,“At the start of 2020, 2G & 3G networks accounted for 46% of subscriptions but only 27% of revenue worldwide and the revenue share will continue declining to 10% by 2023.” Global operators are considering switching off the legacy 2G/3G networks due to low efficiency and high operational costs, and release the spectrum for the 4G and 5G deployment. Phil also suggested, “Ultra-low cost LTE smartphones and smart feature phones are becoming increasingly important for developing markets, but more measures are needed to further address the affordability issue, including tax reduction, partner subsidies or content incentives, low-cost distribution approaches, or financing loan options”. Some countries have succeeded in accelerating the migration from 2G/3G to 4G by driving low-cost 4G devices into market, like India, Thailand and Indonesia.

“5G has been put into commercial use, however, 4G will remain dominant over the next five years.” Presented by Jake Saunders, the Vice President of ABI Research. He advised that operators should pay attention to 4G, “With the user migration towards 4G and the data demand driven by service experience and large data plan, 4G traffic will keep rising with a CAGR of 26.7%, which will put significant pressure on the existing 4G network”. Jake also concluded that a solid 4G foundation is crucial for the deployment of 5G, “LTE plays a key role when operators migrate their network to 5G NSA. 4G foundation will cooperate with 5G to provide improved experience for 5G users in terms of LTE anchor, dynamic spectrum sharing, dual connectivity, and voice coordination.”

Jake Saunders’s perspective on the trend of 4G is also supported by Qin Liang, the CMO of Huawei LTE Product Line. As shown from the telecom industry report, 4G has been dominant among the mobile ecosystem and the operators’ revenue. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is reflected that 4G has been the essential infrastructure of society supporting distance education, remote work, online shopping, etc. “In future, the coordination of 4G and 5G are vital for mobile operators, as it can guarantee a robust and high quality of service experience and continuous 5G service.” Liang highlighted during the roundtable. The 4G network is evolving to Giga level with the use of massive antenna, carrier aggregation, which enables the mobile operators to maximize the 4G potential and exploit more business opportunities like FWA and IoT.

In a word, global telecom industry are still following up the development of 4G network even though 5G is truly hot and attractive. As Cao Ming, the Vice President of Huawei Wireless Product Line said, LTE has become the most popular wireless technology, serving over 4 billion users while covering 80% of the global population. However, a significant percentage of the world still need 4G for getting connected and participating in the digital world. As global citizens, everyone should be entitled to mobile broadband service like water, electricity, etc. The telecom industry are making efforts to build a fully connected, intelligent world for the sustainable development of the digital economy and society.

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