China Mobile has finally caught up with competitors in providing high speed mobile data services to smartphone users. Using the TD-LTE network, users have reported 10x performance increase compared to CM’s legacy TDSCDMA (3G). The TD-LTE network is also increasingly ubiquitous, covering 96.7% of test locations in three Tier 1 cities, and is expected to cover 95.0% of the population by year end. More importantly, speeds of 5.4- 35.9Mbps achieved by TD-LTE are clearly a game-changing step upwards from average speeds of 0.1-1.4Mbps, which China Mobile achieved on its TD-SCDMA (3G) network. The network speeds on China Mobile’s TD-LTE (4G) are now high enough and consistent enough for seamless enjoyment of most ‘common’ smartphone usage, Continue reading China Mobile’s TD-LTE Success, Big Boost for Reliance Jio Infocomm
Deep Pocket Challenger in the Indian Telecommunications industry Mr Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Jio Infocomm is attempting to do what has not been seen before in any market and seems impossible – be a 4G LTE player without owning a legacy 2G / 3G network.
Admittedly, this is a critical aspect. We believe Jio is counting on VoLTE (voice over LTE) to get its voice product right (despite lack of legacy), but this is still an evolving technology. Though some operators (such as Verizon, SingTel, NTT DoCoMo) have launched commercial VoLTE services over the last few months, it might be too early to declare its success. Reliance Jio has the option available to it of signing 2G roaming agreements with an incumbent operator such as RCom for voice services and it appears to have done so, but the deal is not publicly announced. Continue reading Reliance Jio Infocomm & Reliance Communications into PAN India Roaming Agreement ?
The State Radio Regulation of China announced the allocation of TD-LTE spectrum in China. China Mobile (CM) received the broadest TD-LTE spectrum of 130 MHz vs. 40 MHz each allocated to China Telecom (CT) and China Unicom (CU). CT/CU were also allocated FD-LTE spectrum along with TD-LTE spectrum. The MIIT minister reiterated that TD-LTE licenses will be issued by the end of this year.
All the three operators are provided 4G LTE Spectrum in the 2300MHz Band (same band which has been allocated for Reliance Jio Infocomm and Airtel) and the allocation is as follows. Continue reading Chinese 4G LTE Spectrum in 2300 MHz – Advantage Reliance Jio Infocomm
As Voice over LTE still lacks the QoS required and supported by 2G, globally, most operators are
currently using their 4G / LTE network for pure data and switching to the existing 2G/3G networks for voice calls. The following chart shows LTE Spectrum Band allotted in various countries and How Operators are Offering Voice Services.
There are 3 options for Reliance Jio to offer Voice – 1) Use its LTE network, 2) share spectrum with an existing operator or 3) acquire an existing operator.
We believe that challenges exist in offering voice using LTE network. In case of Reliance Jio Infocomm, the 2300MHz band is spectrally inefficient, especially for voice. Even for data, the capex implication will be high in case the company decides to have a relatively wide coverage using this spectrum band.
The remaining two options are likely to involve high entry cost which should curtail any disruptive behavior by Reliance Jio. TRAI recommendations on Spectrum Sharing suggest, operators that have paid the market price of spectrum (based on the auction prices) should be permitted to share spectrum without any additional one-time charge. It is currently silent on the non-liberalized spectrum but we should expect that any spectrum sharing would be allowed only after the operator pays the market price of spectrum – currently stands at $2 Bn for 5MHz pan-India spectrum in 1800MHz band. Even if Reliance Jio undertakes spectrum sharing with Reliance Communications, there would be significant cost implications for the parties involved.
Acquiring an existing operator will also involve high cost. Licensing 2G Voice as an MVNO may find favor since the M&A rules in the industry are not yet clear. Reliance Jio will not impact the A-Vo-Id cartel in the short-medium term but maybe case some turbulence in the long run.
Reliance Jio has a very high level of influence in policy making [Acknowledged by the Chairman, Mr. Mukesh Ambani himself stating “Congress Apni Dukaan Hai”] in the current potentially highly corrupt Government of India headed by Politicians of the Congress Party. Against this backdrop, expect some level of policies favoring Reliance Jio when it comes to Telecom Spectrum.
The day when I discussed about Uncertainties surrounding Reliance Jio Infocomm, warring Ambani brothers embraced each others in Arms and announced the Inter-City OFC Sharing Deal and kept options for other passive infrastructure sharing. However, that does not end the problems of Reliance Jio Infocomm as it’ll require seamless voice calling services achieved by Airtel using CSFB for LTE customers.
VoLTE is possible theoretically and in reality, most operators across the world are 4G/ LTE network for data play and switching to 2G/3G networks for Voice services. Continue reading Reliance Jio Infocomm may go for MVNO Arrangement with Reliance Communications ?
The Entry Level SmartPhone / Feature Mobile Phone [Sub $200] market will be under the control of WhiteBox Phone Manufacturers in 2013. The Mid and High end SmartPhone market belonged to Brands such as Samsung, Apple, HTC etc. However, the equation is likely to change as we have already seen with the disruptive launch by Xiaomi in China.
Xiaomi launched MI2 based on QCOM’s first quad core processor, MSM 8064 (definitely the most powerful mobile processor in the world right now), with 2GB of mobile DDR, 4.3 inch HD quality display (342 ppi vs iPhone 5 of 326ppi and HTC One X of 312 ppi) and 8MP camera sensor with aperture of f/2.0. From a pure hardware perspective, MI2 probably has the most advanced hardware in the world and is also priced at only US$310, around half of the retail price vs smartphones with comparable hardware specs. Continue reading Will Internet Companies Cannibalize Mid-End SmartPhone Market ?