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US Mobile Market Update Q4 2014 and 2014 February 23, 2015

Posted by chetan in : 4G, 4th Wave, 5G, AORTA, ARPU, Chetan Sharma Consulting, Connected Devices, Connected Intelligence Era, Devices, European Wireless Market, Fourth Wave, Internet of Things, IoE, IoT, LTE, Mobile Applications, Mobile Cloud Computing, Mobile Devices, Mobile Future Forward, Technology Cycles, The Golden Age of Mobile, US Wireless Market, Wi-Fi, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , add a comment

US Mobile Market Update Q4 2014 and 2014

 

Summary

The US mobile market continues to be the biggest market by revenue and 2014 was a key transition year for the industry. The overall market grew 21% to almost $400B. Voice revenues declined by 15%, messaging by 16%, and tablets by 4%. The biggest winners were the 4th wave/OTT services which grew by 92%. Access revenues increased by 32%, handsets by 11%, and wearables by 150%. Verizon, AT&T, and Apple were the top 3 players by revenue (from the US market).

Last Jan, we had estimated $108 Billion in mobile data revenues for the market and the revenues ended spot on at $108B making US the first market to surpass the $100B mark. We are forecasting that the mobile data service revenues will increase by 22% to $132 Billion in 2015. Verizon will become the first operator to generate more than $50B from data services in 2015.

Verizon became the second operator after China Mobile to cross the milestone of 100 Million postpaid subs. After acquiring lusacell and Nextel Mexico (still pending), AT&T became the biggest North American operator with over 131 million subs. In 2014, US also crossed the 350 million subscription mark.

The average mobile data consumption (cellular) crossed 2GB/mo in 2014. In the US, it took roughly 20 years to reach the 1GB/user/mo mark. However, the second GB mark has been reached in less than 4 quarters. An entire year’s worth of mobile data traffic in 2007 is now reached in less than 100 hours.

From 2010 to 2013, the data pricing declined by only single digits YoY. However, in 2014, the data pricing has plummeted by 77%. It is having an impact on the industry financials which might help clear the way to further M&A in the US market.

The intense competition amongst the operators meant a whopping 20% rise in OPEX QoQ and a 1% decline in CAPEX YoY. The income stayed flat while EBITDA grew modestly at 3%.

In our 4th series of papers, we had postulated for years that the 4th wave revenues will become bigger than any of the previous curves. This finally happened in 2014 in the US market with the revenues from the 4th wave applications and services built on top of the IP access layer surpassed both voice and data revenues. The operator share of the US mobile industry revenues fell below 50% for the first time since the birth of the industry.

Smartphone penetration increased to 75% and roughly 95% of the devices sold now are smartphones.

The Android OEM ecosystem suffered its first major profit decline in 2014 - the profits dropped precipitously by 44%. iOS revenues increased by 31%. The difference in profits between the two major ecosystems is now $33 Billion – the highest it has ever been.

Apple broke more records in a single quarter than most athletes break in their lifetime. The amount of revenues and profits generated by a rectangular screen sent everyone in a tizzy. To get a sense of the scale, consider this – Apple’s iPhone generated more revenue than revenues generated by entire portfolio of products from Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Twitter combined. Add in Macs and Tablets and you can mix a dozen more companies in the mix. The laser focus on quality and the benefit of the brand loyalty and aspiration catapulted into the business stratosphere that few can even dream of reaching.

Apple also introduced two new products late last year – Watch and Apple Pay. While it is too early to figure out the overall impact of Apple Watch (it clearly will put some Swiss Watchmakers out of business), Apple Pay appears to be more disruptive. Apple’s classic approach of embracing the ecosystem and thinking end-to-end might finally disrupt the otherwise staid financial sector. Apple Pay is already seeing significant traction and the financial industry is nervously promoting the service. Rumors of Apple Car will keep media on its toes for the next few years.

4th wave services continue to grow at a very past face around the globe. At least 37 companies generated a billion dollar or more from 4th wave services in 2014 – a 311% jump from 2012.

The difference between Sprint and T-Mobile number of subs is less than a million now – the narrowest it has ever been. Like we suggested mid-last year, T-Mobile is likely to become the number three operator in a matter of weeks now. This is more or less just a symbolic event with the transfer of bragging rights.

T-Mobile accounted for over 40% of the overall net-adds for the year with Verizon coming in second at 30%. After having a lack-luster year in 2013, the operators doubled the net-adds in 2014 with connected devices driving most of the growth.

Race To The Bottom?

The mobile data traffic has been doubling YoY in the US. The consumption is clearly growing with the introduction of new devices, network upgrades, and application enhancements. Operators are seeing tremendous pressure on data pricing due to the competitive environment. EBITDA declined for the second straight quarter.

From 2010 to 2013, the data pricing declined by only single digits YoY. However, in the first 9 months of 2014, the data pricing has plummeted by 77%. It is having an impact on the industry financials which might help clear the way to further M&A in the US market.

Is Android in trouble?

Samsung suffered one of the biggest mobile revenue and profit declines in its history. As the dominant leader of the Android ecosystem, it is caught in the middle of two major trends that ironically enough Samsung had influenced. The bigger screen phone segment that Samsung seeded has become the fastest growing segment in smartphones. Apple following Samsung into the segment meant that it took away the single biggest differentiating factor and as such a serious impact on its high-end line. The lower end which yields higher volumes but much smaller ASP has attracted hordes of local developers in China, India, and Russia who have better logistics and operational advantage. Many of these players are becoming successful. To damage Samsung, they all don’t need to be successful, just enough to be in the market to sway the market. As such, Samsung has seen its share dwindle in the two biggest emerging markets.

Much of the current situation has been predictable for some time. While Samsung has ridden the smartphone wave masterfully, it hasn’t been able to build a platform moat, something that helps fundamentally differentiate its products in the sea of Android devices around the planet. They are not in a Blackberry or Nokia panic situation yet as some in the media have surmised. But, they need to figure a way out of the middle band. Unlike Nokia or Blackberry who were blinded by their success and ignorance, Samsung has shown it is a more nimble competitor. Samsung’s R&D and marketing is also second to none. Its diversified portfolio also helps in cushioning the drop in the phone segment. Historically, OEMs with such sharp revenue declines haven’t been able to arrest the decline. Can Samsung do it? Samsung is launching Galaxy 6 at MWC this weekend.

Given that Samsung controls most of Android ecosystem profits, the Android ecosystem suffered a 44% decline in profits. The woes of OEMs such as Sony, Motorola, and others also contributed to the decline. We can expect some of the Android OEMs leaving the device business altogether.

Operator M&A

In his classic book, “Competition in Telecommunications,” Nobel Laureate Jean Tirole wrote, “With digital technology, telecommunications, cable TV, broadcasting, and computers have become a single industry, which will be a critical element of our economies’ backbone. With the impending opening of competition, industrial restructuring is progressing at a fast pace.” The book was written almost 15 years ago. As I have written before, the computing and communications industries are merging into one and that collision is generating ripple effects some of which we are starting to understand (more on the Connected Intelligence Era trends here)

One of the implications of the 4th wave evolution is that there will be fewer mobile operators in the world. As we have argued in the papers, many of the smaller players just won’t be able to keep up and compete. AT&T acquired Mexican operator Iusacell (it also made the bid for Nextel Mexico) which made AT&T a clear leader in North America with almost 131 Million subscriptions. As we mentioned in our 4th wave series of papers, the number of operators will continue to shrink with fewer global operators who will seek to combine wireless and wireline assets to strengthen their moat. It is quite likely that US Cellular will be acquired in 2015.

Net-Neutrality Debates

After a blockbuster spectrum auction, FCC is looking to put its stamp on the future of the Internet by proposing net-neutrality rules later this week. President Obama decisively tilted FCC’s position on the subject. However, this is not a done deal yet. The legal and political apparatus is likely to react quite strongly to the ruling and we are in for a tough fight on this one. Other governments and regulators are also keenly watching the debate and the final ruling. Dish ended up acquiring a bulk of the spectrum wares. Is this a precursor of their wireless moves or was this just old-fashioned asset hoarding?

4th Wave Revenues

For the first time, US operators revealed some of their 4th wave (digital) services metrics publicly. Verizon reported $585 million in 2014 up 45% from a year ago. At the current run-rate, this will be a billion dollar business by 2016. AT&T reported 2.8M connected car connections and 140K home security connections. The connected car segment is clearly on its way to becoming a billion+ dollar business for AT&T. Connected cars accounted for 62% of the connected devices for AT&T.

Globally, 37 companies generated a billion dollar or more from 4th wave services in 2014 – a 311% jump from 2012.

The Upcoming 5G wars?

I started my career when 1G was all the rage. My first 4G project was back in 2002. By some measures, we are already behind on the 5G discussions. In general, it takes 7-10 years before the standards are finalized and then the network technology lasts for approximately 20 years before a market moves onto the next generation of technology. US led in the growth of 1G (AMPS, TACS) followed by Europe on 2G (GSM, CDMA). Japan took the leadership role with 3G (WCDMA, EVDO) and US wrestled it back on 4G (LTE). Japan and EU are determined to lead on 5G and have been making very public statements and R&D investments about their ambitions on 5G. Japan of course has a very clear goal of having 5G by Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Am sure some operator(s) somewhere will jump the gun and start calling LTE-A+ as 5G around 2017-18 or sooner. You can expect a lot of activities both in public and private on 5G as companies and governments try to figure out a way to claim the 5G leadership mantle.

We have a 5G paper coming out in March. You can read the summary here – 5G: The history of the future.

Apple Pay

Mobile Payments has long infatuated mankind. Many players with deep pockets have invested in the segment but in truth, the market was waiting for Apple to show up and show up it did with the launch of Apple Pay. In an ambitious orchestration of the financial supply chain, Apple introduced a simple payment proposition. The basic strategy is for commerce to flow through iOS. The institutions are even paying a share of the transaction to Apple which previous payment explorers are watching in utter disbelief. Ladies and Gentlemen, get ready for iTunes 2.0.

What to expect in the coming months?

2014 was a tremendous year for the mobile as it becomes omnipresence in every industry. We saw some massive moves, astounding acquisitions, and interesting strategic endeavors. 2015 promises to be an exciting year for the industry as well.

As usual, we will be keeping a very close eye on the micro- and macro-trends and reporting on the market on a regular basis in various private and public settings.

Against this backdrop, the analysis of the Q4 2014 and 2014 US wireless data market is:

Overall Industry Revenues

· The overall market grew 21% to almost $400B.

· Voice revenues declined by 15%, messaging by 16%, and tablets by 4%.

· The biggest winners were the 4th wave/OTT services which grew by 92%.

· Access revenues increased by 32%, handsets by 11%, and wearables by 150%.

Service Revenues

· The US mobile data services revenues in Q4 2014 increased 3% and crossed the $25B market for the first time.

· The mobile data services revenue crossed the $100B mark in mobile data services revenue to become the first country to generate $100B from mobile data services.

· Verizon and AT&T dominated the quarter accounting for 70% of the mobile data services revenue and had 68% of the subscription base.

· Verizon and AT&T are at #2 & #3 global mobile data revenue ranking respectively in Q4 2014. Sprint and T-Mobile also maintained their rankings in the top 10 global mobile data operators.

ARPU

· The Overall ARPU fell by 2.57%. 

· Data contribution to the overall revenues is now at 60%.

· The postpaid ARPU continues to decline for all operators with AT&T and T-Mobile experiencing double digit losses for the year.

Subscribers

· The US market had the best net-add year in the last 7 years.

· The US operators added 20M new subscriptions with T-Mobile leading the pack at 40%.

· Verizon’s tablet net-adds accounted for almost 50% of the overall tablets that were added in Q4. Verizon has caught up with AT&T on the tablet front.

· T-Mobile’s postpaid continued to see the positive growth for the seventh straight quarter. It has recovered all its losses that began in Q3 2009 and is now growing in the positive territory.

Shared Data Plans

· Shared data plans launched by Verizon and AT&T have been quite successful. The attachment rates have increased tremendously over the course of 2013-14 with more consumers opting for cellular tablets and connected devices. 61% of postpaid accounts at Verizon are now on shared plans. For AT&T, the number is even higher at 70%.

· Some more granular data plans for tablets have also spurred interest as the cellular broadband is becoming available on demand vs. expensive on premise Wi-Fi solutions.

· 52% of AT&T’s postpaid accounts are on 10GB+ plans.

4th Wave Progress

· The number of players making $250M/quarter on mobile continues to increase rapidly and these aren’t your traditional wireless players. For example, Mobile is now contributing 69% (up from 30% in Q1 2013) to Facebook’s quarterly revenues. Latest addition to the club is Twitter which is now doing 88% in mobile (of the total advertising revenue) up from 60% in 2013. Even traditional players like Hertz, Sears, and Starbucks are generating meaningful revenues from mobile. There are now dozens of such players and the list is just growing. (for more discussion on the topic please see: “Mobile 4th Wave: Evolution of the Next Trillion Dollars”)

· In 2014, we are also seeing continued investments from the operators especially AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint in non-traditional segments like home security, healthcare, insurance, automotive, enterprise mobility, advertising, and security, and others. Collectively, this is already a multi-billion dollar business in the US.

· The cloud and security segments have also gained significant traction with incumbents as well as startups launching new initiatives and technologies.

· Verizon reported $585 million in 2014 up 45% from a year ago. At the current run-rate, this will be a billion dollar business by 2016.

· AT&T reported 2.8M connected car connections and 140K home security connections. The connected car segment is clearly on its way to becoming a billion+ dollar business for AT&T. Connected cars accounted for 62% of the connected devices for AT&T.

Connected Devices

· Connected devices (non-phones) accounted for almost 52% of the net-adds in Q4 2014. This means that while there is a healthy smartphone sales pipeline, it is for the existing subs and as such net-adds for the phone business is tapering off and we can expect that new net-adds will continue to be dominated by the connected devices segment.

· For AT&T, Connected cars started to form a significant base of the connected devices segment with 62% of the new connections in the segment coming from cars.

Handsets 

· Smartphones continued to be sold at a brisk pace accounting almost 95% of the devices sold in Q4 2014. Within the next two years, the feature phone category will practically be extinct in the US market.

· The smartphone penetration in the US is now at 75%.

· After ceding the lead to Android for the last three straight quarters, iOS roared back to reclaim the lead with 54% share of the smartphones sold. For the year though, Android edged out iOS.

· Verizon continues to sell more LTE smartphones as its LTE sub tally rose to 67M making it the leading LTE operator in the world (this year China Mobile will overtake Verizon to become the number 1 LTE operator by subscriptions). Other three operators are also deep into their LTE deployments. Verizon reported that 84% of its total data traffic is on the LTE network now, clearly the fastest technology transitions we have seen in the US wireless industry.

Your feedback is always welcome.

Chetan Sharma

We will be keeping a close eye on the trends in the wireless data sector in our blog, twitter feeds, future research reports, articles, and our annual thought-leadership summit – Mobile Future Forward. The next US Wireless Data Market update will be released in May 2015.

Disclaimer: Some of the companies mentioned in this update are our clients.

5G: The history of the future February 18, 2015

Posted by chetan in : 4th Wave, 5G, Connected Intelligence Era, Fourth Wave, Internet of Things, IoE, IoT, Mobile Applications, Mobile Future Forward, Technology Cycles, The Golden Age of Mobile, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , add a comment

5G: The history of the future

- Chetan Sharma

Note: This piece is based on an upcoming research paper on 5G

Over 50% of the world’s LTE subscribers are in the US right now. With aggressive 4G deployments aided by the thriving application ecosystem, US wrestled back the leadership mantle of the mobile world. While consumers are enjoying their mobile broadband devices and services, chatter around 5G has begun. Some new to the industry might be perplexed by all the talk of a technology cycle that is years away. However, if we study the 35 year old history of the mobile industry, things are going according to the plan.

All the major mobile markets have started to focus on defining 5G and the subsequent launch dates. Even Europe, which still has a long way to go before their 4G networks are built out have set their sights on 5G to recapture the mantle and the pride of the GSM days. Korea and Japan led the world in 3G but lost the lead of 4G to the US. They both are eager to be considered leaders in 5G. Japanese government has set the ambitious goal of having 5G by the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 (Russia wants to do it by 2018 for the FIFA World cup). US regulators have also started to talk about 5G and the future spectrum needs as well.

Students of the industry will observe that these network technologies evolve over a 20 year cycle. In general, the time to peak (the point where the net revenues for the technology peak and start dropping) is generally slower than the time from peak to sunset. This is primarily because as the last generation is peaking, investments and roll-outs of the new generation of technology starts thus taking away the share at a faster pace. On an average, the time-to-peak has been 12 years while the time from peak-to-sunset has been 7 years. Obviously, there are shifts in different countries depending on spectrum auctions; competitive dynamics, investment availability but they largely follow the 20 year cycle. For each of these 20 year cycles, the R&D and standardization time period of 7-8 years typically precedes the first major deployments of the network technology. So overall, these are big cycles of 25-30 years from initial concepts to the last subscription getting off the network technology. The research work for 5G got started in 2012 and we might have our first networks by 2018-2020.

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While there is no consensus yet on what 5G will feel and look like, there is some agreement on the types of performance criterion that are worth considering. Some of the performance goals for 5G under discussion are:

· Average - 300-500 Mbps and > 10 Gbps

· < 1 ms latency

· (Almost) 100% network coverage

· 1000 times reduction in power consumption

· Very high reliability in all circumstances especially indoors (99.999%)

· Deep indoor coverage (+20dB)

· 30x higher device density

· 10-100x connected devices

· Significantly higher security requirements

The first four generations have largely followed the same business model that of “metering.” The operator typically invested in assets such as spectrum, network build out, operational capacity, etc. and then built the business based on the usage. In the early days, it was more of a linear model with tight correlation between the usage and the cost of the usage but as the markets matured, the past revenue curves melded into the new ones. That’s the reason voice and messaging are offered as unlimited packages designed around the data services.

Will 5G offer new business models or explore a different relationship between usage and cost? Will consumers warm up to the idea of value-based pricing? Or Will access just become a commodity layer like water and electricity and most of the value will reside in the platform and application layers? Though we have started to see the shifts, how fast will future accelerate? Will the ecosystem landscape be markedly different than what we have in place today? We will answer these questions in due course.

Another important question for the industry will be around the control points. From 1G to 3G, the industry clearly revolved around the operators. Almost all of the revenue in the industry flowed through the operators and they controlled in excess of 75% of the industry revenue. However, primarily because of the broadband capability of the networks, the emergence of the powerful computing platforms in iOS and Android, and very powerful computing devices, the picture in the 4G era is changing. We estimate that the overall control of the industry revenues by the operators will shrink to 50% or lower within the next 5 years. This doesn’t mean that the operator revenues will decline in aggregate, they will continue to increase 1-3% globally but the ecosystem is growing much faster and as such the operator share will decline.

With 5G, it is very likely, that a highly distributed application and services ecosystem will become the dominant industry source of revenue around which rest of the mobile solar system will evolve. The tectonic shifts are likely to result in fewer mobile operators in the 5G technology era. Most of the countries will have 2 or 3 major operators. Given that so much mobile traffic is indoor, we will see the wireline and wireless operate merge at a frantic pace in the next 5 years. Many will also become content owners, banks, and might even operate car companies. On the flip side, we might see the rise of non-traditional MVNOs wherein vertical industry players will bundle in IP access with their services.

The noise around 5G will only grow louder in 2015 but it is normal. All mobile network technology evolutions have gone through the same cycle in the last 35 years and 5G will be no different. However, the ecosystem and the control points in 2025 are likely to look markedly different from the first three cycles. Tighten your seat belts and enjoy the ride.

Your feedback is always welcome.

Chetan Sharma

We will be keeping a close eye on the trends in the wireless data sector in our blog, twitter feeds, future research reports, articles, and our annual thought-leadership summit – Mobile Future Forward.

Chetan Sharma is the President and CEO of Chetan Sharma Consulting – a global management consulting firm focused on the mobile space. Chetan has been in the industry since the 1G days and is often found working with clients around the globe on strategies applicable to 4G, 5G and beyond. He is an author of over a dozen books and over 150 papers/articles on wireless. @chetansharma

Mobile Breakfast Series Recap: Mobile Commerce and Payments

Posted by chetan in : Mobile Breakfast Series, Mobile Commerce, Mobile Payments, The Golden Age of Mobile, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , add a comment

We hosted our first event of the year yesterday and were blessed with some terrific weather and views of the picturesque Puget Sound. This year we want to tackle the topic of mobile commerce and payments. In our annual predictions survey for 2015, Mobile Payments emerged as the breakthrough category for the year. Additionally, mobile commerce is just booming in all parts of the world with some very interesting implications for the ecosystem.

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One of the metrics I use to track progress in any segment is the number of $1B businesses being created each year. In 2012, there were only 9 companies mostly large enterprises like AT&T, Apple, Google, and Amazon that had > $1B digital businesses. However, in 2014, this number jumped to 37 with several new entrants – from known brands like Twitter, Walmart, and Xiaomi but several companies unknown to the western world like WeChat, FlipKart, Otto Group, GungHo, Suning Appliance, and others. While most of the concentration of digital wealth in the US, China is emerging very strongly as a player to reckon with. In fact, how China and US companies interact and play will perhaps define the next 10 years. While other economies like India, EU will play a role, I find China and US to be the most fascinating.

We had a terrific group to discuss the mobile commerce and payments trends, folks who are in the trenches making things happen on a daily basis and come to the problem from different angles.

Sebastien Taveau, VP and Chief Developer Evangelist, MasterCard

Sebastien serves as Chief Developer Evangelist for the Open API team at MasterCard where he leads the outreach to the global developer community. Puzzle solver, strategic thinker, beyond-the-horizon watcher and hands-on doer, Sebastien has technical and professional experience spans more than 20 years in various industries. He was previously with Validity as CTO and Paypal leading the technology integration efforts.

Prat Vemana, VP – Mobile and Commerce, Staples

Prat leads Staples’ eCommerce product teams responsible for the online customer experience (CX) on desktop, mobile and retail-store digital interactions. He also manages global shared services teams for onsite search, user experience research, architecture, A/B testing and analytics. Prior to his current role, Prat lead Staples’ Velocity Lab in Cambridge and drove the company’s global mobile strategy. Prat’s product and CX teams operate out of the company’s corporate headquarters in Framingham, Massachusetts and Staples Labs across the country, including Cambridge, Seattle and San Mateo.

Sam Liang, CEO and Co-Founder, Alohar Mobile

Sam Liang is CEO and Co-Founder of Alohar Mobile. Previously, Sam was the platform architect and lead of Google Location Server and API, which powers thousands of mobile applications on Android and iOS. Sam held a number of patents in wireless and mobile technologies. Sam has a Ph.D. in EE from Stanford University. Alohar was acquired by Alibaba, now the 4th largest tech firm on the planet.

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(Source: Alohar Mobile)

The salient points of discussions were:

We covered a range of topics. Mobile Commerce is driving the 4th wave for sure with so many interesting ideas and companies popping up every month. As usual, I had a lot of fun moderating the panel and engaging the audience. Thanks to all who joined and we will be in touch regarding future events. For now, we are expanding the breakfast series to Vancouver where we will host an event on April 14th and our Mobile Future Forward annual summit will take place on Sept 29th. Stay tuned for more announcements.

Thanks and see you around.

Mobile Breakfast Series–The Future of Mobile Commerce/Payments January 30, 2015

Posted by chetan in : US Wireless Market , add a comment

Greetings,

In 2014, Mobile Commerce is going to generate over $100 billion+ in revenue. Mobile Commerce already accounts for over 12% of the digital commerce in the US. This is the revenue that didn’t exist a few years ago. We will talk to executives who are driving mobile commerce and who are powering the technology behind these billion dollar initiatives. Digital only retailers are likely to take 75% of the mobile commerce revenue share. How are the traditional players reacting to the threat and the opportunities? How does the difference in behavior on smartphones and tablets impact commerce? As we move into the Connected Intelligence Era, how will commerce change in both the physical and the digital worlds? How will Apple Pay transform the financial industry? We will tackle some of the thorniest questions in front of our industry.

Sam Liang, CEO and founder of Alohar Mobile (Alibaba)

Prat Vemana, VP – Mobile and Commerce, Staples

Sebastien Taveau, VP and Chief Developer Evangelist, MasterCard

Chetan Sharma, CEO, Chetan Sharma Consulting (moderator)

We will explore the mobile commerce opportunities and shifts in the ecosystem in detail across the globe. You don’t want to miss this one.

Registration: http://www.mobilebreakfastseries.com/register.html

Venue: Columbia Tower Club, 701 5th Ave #7500, Seattle, WA 98104

Date: Feb 17th 7:30 – 10:30am

Look forward to seeing you soon.

Regards,

Chetan

CES Observations 2015 January 16, 2015

Posted by chetan in : 4th Wave, 5G, CES, Chetan Sharma Consulting, Connected Intelligence Era, The Golden Age of Mobile, US Wireless Market, Worldwide Wireless Market , add a comment

CES 2015 Observations

International CES – the annual gadget fest is a cauldron of hopes and aspirations of big and small entrepreneurs, crazy and whacky ideas, the place where roadmaps are laid bare – some obliterated by the time the show is over while others benefit from the infusion of interest and inspiration. The promise of the Connected Intelligence Era was in full display last week in Vegas where the faithful converge to get a glimpse of what’s to come. More than anything else it is the time to meet friends and colleagues that provide much more insights than any of the booths, launches, and press conferences could disseminate.

Here is the summary of our observations from 2015 CES.

Transcendence – Coincidentally my trip started by watching Transcendence – a story about the metamorphosis of man and machine. It was interesting to view the show from this angle and try to connect the dots of the future.

First, let’s do the numbers – CEA expects the overall electronics market to grow by 3% primarily because of growth in the new category of connected and emerging devices (also includes 4K Ultra HDTV) which are likely to reach $11 billion in revenue in the US market.

Connected Intelligence Landscape – CES lay bare the evolution of the connected intelligence landscape. Millions of end-points are propping up that communicate and interact in ways unexpected. We are all grapple with what it means to progress of technology and humanity and how can we harness the power of “connectivity” and “intelligence.” Some things are moving forward at a much faster pace for e.g. autonomous vehicles, self-watering plants, cancer detecting pills are all examples of connected computing and actionable intelligence. Selfie sticks – not so much.

The IoT Show – If CEA had switched its name to the “The IoT Show,” it won’t be too far off for all the major discussions at the show were around the promise of IoT. The number of companies having something to do with IoT grew manifold this year. Though nothing significant has emerged from the level tricks and trinkets, the overarching theme is that one will see hundreds of these floating around each consumer to prepare an aura of information and intelligence around them that anticipates problems, provides guidance, and keeps them from getting into trouble. But where is the money? As usual, it seems pretty clear that the money will be in the tools and components and not the actual end points. Big winners will be the component suppliers and software players who can tie all of the complexity together in an easy to use human language and interface. There is probably more money in battery packs right now than IoT sensors.

Wearables – Humankind’s first rendezvous with a wearable was back in 1286 in Italy when the Dominican friar figured out the art of making glasses. More progress has been made in this segment in the last 12 months than all the centuries’ prior. In my last year’s CES note, I surmised that the market will segment into high-end luxury (Apple, etc.) and low-end commodity (Chinese OEMs). This theory is unraveling in front of our eyes. Apple is due for its Apple watch splash this quarter and the Chinese are flooding the market. For every $150 fitbit, there was a $20 identical unit from a Shenzhen vendor. For every $200 basis watch, there was an identical watch for a fraction of the cost. Obviously, the Chinese firms need distribution to the western markets and it is not an easy problem to solve. On top of that zero marketing and brand loyalty means there is an opportunity for someone to step in a distribution platform and make a killing.

The value is in the intelligence – As I outlined in my Connected Intelligence paper, the “sensing” part of the ecosystem is going to be commodity. Any new performance enhancements will last only a few months if not days so the value has to be built beyond “sensing” and in “making sense of the data” part. The two big aggregation islands at the OS layers are obviously Android and iOS but there is room for someone to congregate these data points in hubs that control a home or an office, an airport or the mall. Historically, each new wave brings in its own set of aggregation pods – windows for PCs and Android/iOS for smartphones. So, it is likely we will see new plays in the IoT space.

Ma, the Robot is home now – the Robots are getting real in how they interact with humans that some of the science fiction movies look very real today. The Japanese are leading the way with robots and what can be done with them especially in the consumer environment.

Handsets – Just when we thought the market for > $5K mobile handsets was over, Lamborghini launches a $6.5K handset. One sale to an unsuspecting Saudi sheikh has been confirmed. For the rest of us, the market stays flooded with innumerable choices. As I mentioned in my year-end update, the Chinese OEMs control over 40% of the smartphone market now. It is going to be over 50% this year and strolling the show floor you can see why. The market is getting flooded with cheap Android devices. With some really good-looking Android smartphones at $25, the ability to charge more uniformly around the world is virtually gone. I even saw some Samsung look-alikes with 14K gold for only $120. You can’t tell the difference between the brands.

Autonomous Cars – Last year’s show was about connected cars. This year we moved to very possibility of autonomous cars. It is quite likely that a kid born this decade might never need a driver’s license. Thanks to the market push by Google and Tesla, this segment is moving incredibly and excitingly fast and we are going to see some fascinating science fiction concepts come to life over the course of the next 5 years. Regulations obviously need to be figured out but this train is moving so fast that we better get on board. On the operator front, AT&T continues to corner the US market with OEM deals.

3D printing – Is there anything you can’t print with 3D printers – organs, food, rockets, fuel – you name it, you got it. But will you?

Connected Home – Continuing the theme of IoT, connected home innovators were in full display mode. Solutions are starting to come together though they are still cumbersome, work only in silos, battery life is a problem, security is iffy, and the pricing is not attractive just yet for it to be a mass market but slowly and steadily we are cracking the code.

Healthcare – The CES highlight for me was to attend the talk by Dr. Eric Topol (if you haven’t read his new book, do so now). He is a great champion of technology transforming the health care system and as a result changing the doctor-patient relationship forever and for good. As he mentioned in his address, the healthcare profession hasn’t been challenged since the 200 BC. He listed an endless stream of companies who are changing how various aspects of health and wellness gets measured and analyzed that lays bare the futility of today’s healthcare system.

Security and privacy – Last year, we released paper on “IoT Data Privacy Framework.” FTC seems to agree with many of the arguments and concepts laid out in the paper for connected device privacy and security. The agency is expected to release its recommendations in a paper later this year. In general, security continues to be a hot topic with every keynote addressing it. Even President Obama is expected to make cyber security as one of the key themes of this year’s state of the union address.

Dish $20 – Probably the biggest surprise of the show came from the most unlikeliest quarters of the industry. Dish announced a $20 service that provides basic set of channels + the prized ESPN channel. Consumers are likely to switch in droves to accelerate the cord-cutting trend.

TV – What will be a CES show without some TV splash? 3D TVs have been a flop but consumers still crave for high-res and slim designs. Samsung, LG, Sony, and others continue to impress with new designs however pixel based strategy is getting old.

Samsung’s strategy – Samsung has taken the expected hit in the second half of 2014. At CES, some of the early elements of a strategy could be sensed out from the tea leaves – Tizen led IoT strategy, convergence of Samsung products glued by common interfaces, and rethink of the smartphone product lines around the globe. The company still needs to do a better job of telling its story.

Virtual Reality – There are many more players jumping into the VR space after the spectacular rise of Occulus last year.

Enterprise – A well-organized AT&T developer summit kicks off CES every year. As you might have gathered from my past writings, the new mobile money is flowing into the enterprises. Vertical industries and players who serve them are utilizing mobility, IoT, and cloud to change how they design their own business processes and instruments, manage their employees and engage with the customers. I am always impressed with what developers are able to come up with during Hackathons. It is surprising that the governments and corporations around the world don’t invest more in bringing entrepreneurs under a common umbrella to see the possibilities. AT&T also opened up its digital life platform for partners in the ecosystem.

Coolest keynote – Intel – Brian Krzanich excelled in driving home his three points around computing unleashed, intelligence, and wearable revolution. The new Realsense technology can expand the use cases from desktops to drones. Diamler’s Zetsche also scored points for bringing a cool looking autonomous concept car on the stage.

Overall, CES is a good show to sense the pulse of the industry at the start of the year and catch-up with colleagues who provide real insights into what’s going to be important.

Have a fabulous 2015

Chetan Sharma

Mobile Predictions 2015 January 1, 2015

Posted by chetan in : 4th Wave, 5G, Connected Intelligence Era, Mobile 2015, Mobile Future Forward, The Golden Age of Mobile, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , add a comment

Mobile Predictions 2015

http://www.chetansharma.com/MobilePredictions2015.htm

 

 
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A very happy, healthy, and prosperous 2015 to you and your family. My thanks to all who participated in our 8th annual Mobile Predictions Survey. It is a unique polling of the insiders to get a glimpse into what the ecosystem is thinking about the future.

2014 was without a doubt an awesome year for the mobile industry. Not only the ecosystem perform well on almost metrics, it has started to open up the tent to bring in other industries as well which is where lot of the action is going to be in the next 5-10 years. As we discussed in the Connected Intelligence Paper, the Golden Age of Mobile is here and we are in for one heck of a ride.

They were so many milestones that it is hard to capture them in a short note but it is worth noting the steady climb of subscriptions past the human population, the continuous of apps and data revenue, and the disruption of vertical industries like transportation, travel, and health were probably the defining highlights of the year. The 4th wave is indeed in full-effect. Many incumbents are struggling to adjust and the torrent of startup innovation is changing the global landscape of how new revenue is generated in the ecosystem. By our count, there were at least 38 companies generating a billion dollars of more from 4th wave services. This is a whopping 442% jump from 2012. The average amount of data consumed by smartphones doubled in most LTE markets and we can expect a similar jump in 2015.

Just consider the amount of change we have seen in the first half of this decade: 483% growth in digital information, 12,816% growth in mobile data traffic, 339% growth in smartphone sales, 1,344% growth in tablets sales, 73% growth in data revenues, 433% growth in OTT revenues, 50% growth in mobile industry revenues, and 341% growth in mobile apps revenue. Can you imagine what the next 5 years will be like? Stay with us and we will keep you posted J

Our annual survey is a way to engage our knowledgeable community on the trends we are likely to see the next year. We put some of the pressing questions to our colleagues and industry leaders from all corners of the world. The aggregated view and the nuances help us in getting a sense of what’s to come. Executives, developers, and insiders (n=175) from leading mobile companies and startups from across the value chain and from around the globe participated to help see what 2015 might bring to surprise us. The survey draws upon the unique collective wisdom of the folks who are the center of the mobile evolution. Thanks for being part of our annual ritual.

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25 names were randomly drawn for the limited edition of Mobile Future Forward 2014 Book and they have been notified. Welcome 2015!

Kind regards,

Chetan

1. What was most newsworthy in Mobile 2014?

The security and privacy breaches were rampant throughout the year, especially in the US so it is no surprise that it topped the big stories in 2014. The long awaited milestone of the number of mobile subscriptions passing the human population finally happened though it was anticlimactic. Apple Pay was a big story as well and the company has executed it perfectly so far. The likes of Uber and Airbnb continued to shake up the regulators and the logistics industry worldwide. The silent story of the year was the dominance of the Chinese OEMs who now control 40% of the smartphone sales. Samsung’s decline was quite predictable with competition on both ends. Will the company find a way to claw back to former prominence? The growth of a number of new 4th wave companies was also a big story for the year.

2. What will be the biggest mobile stories of 2015?

The connected devices are everywhere from our wrists to homes to streets. We might see some new device experiences in 2015. Foldable devices are rumored to be in the works. Will we grow past the rectangular screen in our hands? Mobile data will continue to define a bulk of the industry revenues. Will Apple watch be a big tipping point for the wearable market? 5G discussions have certainly heated up as we closed 2014 and we will see more noise and progress in 2015. Apple vs. Samsung has become an old story. Folks are expecting a change in leadership at the big 4. Net-neutrality is likely to be a big story in the first half of 2015.

3. Who are the top 4 important players in the mobile ecosystem?

Apple and Google continue to dominate the top two positions. While Samsung was still ranked #3, its influence waned a bit in 2014 while the stars of Facebook rose on the back of its mobile performance. Operators rounded out the top 5.Amazon and Microsoft suffered minor declines.

4. What will be the breakthrough categories in mobile in 2015?

Given the introduction of Apple Pay, there are a lot of expectations around mobile payments and commerce in 2015 and we could finally see the puncturing of the decade’s old financial system with some new energy and innovation. Other categories of interest are connected devices, wearables, health and fitness, and big data.

5. What will be the most popular consumer mobile applications in 2015?

Messaging continues to dominate the developing markets while there is more action around home automation, health, location in the developed world. Commerce and social remains hot everywhere.

6. What is likely to happen in the wearables category in 2015?

Will the wearables category stay niche or will the whole ecosystem grow? We are about to find out in 2015. Can Apple define the category like it did with the smartphones and can anyone besides make any money? Lot of questions, too early for the answers.

7. Who will dominate the mobile payment/commerce space?

We have been asking this question for the last 5 years and the financial institutions have always come out ahead. However, this year, Apple surged to the #1 position on the back of Apple Pay. Will Google, Facebook, Paypal, Amazon, Startups cede the category to Apple? Some M&As are coming up in the space.

8. Who will make the biggest mobile acquisition in 2015?

Facebook surprised many with their blockbuster acquisition of Whatsapp and many think that Google and Facebook will continue to duel it out for big acquisitions in the same. They could be easily trumped by any Operator M&As which tend to have gazillion dollar valuations.

9. Who is doing the most interesting work in the IoT space?

The space is fairly new and clearly startups are tinkering out with the most interesting stuff. Amongst the big companies – Google, Intel, Qualcomm, GE and AT&T are ahead of the curve.

10. Which solutions will gain the most traction for managing mobile data broadband consumption?

Wi-Fi accounts for bulk of the mobile data traffic in almost all major markets hence the rise of mobile offload as the preferred solution for managing data growth. But, LTE deployment, spectrum acquisition, and tiered pricing remained the top solutions for the operators.

11. Which category will generate the most mobile data revenue in 2015?

Messaging tops in Asia and Africa. Apps and advertising do well in rest of the world. OTT services are starting to have a meaningful impact everywhere especially in Japan and Korea.

12. When will mobile commerce be greater than ecommerce?

The tipping point is coming sooner than you think.

13. The company bringing the most successful mobile gadget of the year - 2014 and 2015?

Apple and Apple. Xiaomi’s stars are on the rise and Samsung’s in decline. Can Xiaomi find success beyond Asia? Can Samsung muster innovation to challenge Apple and swat the challengers at the bottom?

14. Mobile company of the year - 2014 and 2015?

There was no argument that Apple rebounded with vigor and was clearly the mobile company of the year. T-Mobile and Uber won honorable mentions for being #2. For 2015, folks expect Google to surge and Xiaomi might surprise.

15. Automation and Digitization of industries will lead to?

I have been thinking about the question of impact from automation and digitization. As we discussed in our Connected Intelligence Era paper, there is no clear consensus on which way things might proceed. Historical evidence suggests net-growth in jobs but will enough high-end jobs be created to counter the decline the services industry jobs? It will be fascinating to watch and study the impact over the course of the next decade. More people thought there will be net-decline in jobs than those who thought we will gain the number of jobs from automation.

16. Which of the following are likely to happen in 2015?

A trillion dollar company was sheer fantasy until recently but can Apple defy odds to become the first company to achieve the milestone? In 2015? Many people thought so. We data rollover plans before they became reality this year. Expect data-only plans to start surfacing this year. Microsoft might sell rest-off Nokia and Alibaba is likely to make its US debut frightening the retail industry. Soft SIM M2M and Tablets are already a reality, will the trend move to Smartphones? A number of companies are up for grabs in 2015 so we can see a fairly active M&A season right away.

17. Which operator is best positioned for the digital world?

AT&T continues to be viewed as the leading operator in the digital space with Verizon, Telefonica, Softbank, and DoCoMo also investing heavily for their share of the 4th wave economy.

18. What category will be impacted the most by mobile in the next 5 years?

Mobile is impacting pretty much every major vertical. Our panel picked health, home, auto, M2M, fitness, and enterprise as the top disruption categories.

19. Which segments are likely to get disintermediated the most by algorithms in the next 5 years?

Disruption disintermediates incumbents as Uber and Airbnb showed so valiantly in 2015. The top categories for disintermediation were: transportation, advertising, retail, real estate agents and car drivers. Doctors and journalists are also on the list.

20. Who was and will be the mobile person of the year?

2014 was no contest for Tim Cook as he brilliantly led Apple to unprecedented growth. Apple ended the year with the market cap of $656 billion. Q4 is going to be darn impressive with probably the best revenue quarter in its history on the back of a record breaking iphone quarter. John “uncarrier” Legere came in second, followed by Jack “IPO” Ma, Sundar “Android” Pichai, and Mark “Internet.org” Zuckerberg. Honorable mentions were: Travis Kalanick, Jeff Bezos, Lei Jun, Lowell McAdam, and Ralph de la Vega. For 2015, folks are expecting Sundar Pichai to edge out Tim Cook who was closely followed by Jack Ma, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, and Lei Jun. Honorable mentions for 2015 went to Tom Wheeler, Travis Kalanick, Satya Nadella, Glenn Lurie, and Hans Vestberg.

So there you have it. Clearly a very exciting year on the cards.

Thanks again to everyone who contributed. Warm wishes for a terrific 2015. Look forward to seeing you around.

Your feedback is always welcome.

Chetan Sharma

We will be keeping a close eye on the trends in the wireless data sector in our blog, twitter feeds, future research reports, articles, and our annual thought-leadership summit – Mobile Future Forward. The next US Wireless Data Market update will be released in Feb 2015. The next Global Wireless Data Market update will be issued in Mar 2015.

Disclaimer: Some of the companies mentioned in this paper are our clients.

Mobile 2014 - Highlights and Milestones December 29, 2014

Posted by chetan in : 4th Wave, Mobile 2014, Mobile 2015, Mobile Future Forward, The Golden Age of Mobile, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , 4 comments

Dear friends,

At the dawn of the Connected Intelligence Era, mobile continues to shape the digital landscape of opportunities and disruptions. 2014 was an incredible year with some key milestones, tectonic plate tremors, and events of significant consequence for the decade. In no particular order, the highlights and milestones of Mobile 2014 were:

If you haven’t taken the adventure ride on our 2015 Mobile Predictions Survey, kindly do so today. Survey closes on 30th Dec. Results will be announced next week. Winners of the Mobile Future Forward 2014 Book will be notified next week as well. Thanks to all who have already taken the survey.

· For the first time since the iPhone was launched, Apple will generate over $100B from the sales of iPhone alone. Samsung has generated over $100B from phones (feature phones + smartphones) in 2013.

· For the first time, US exceeded $100B in data service revenues thus becoming the first nation to do so.

· The Android device ecosystem will suffer its first and most significant drop in profits in 2014 with over 50% decline in expected profits for the year.

· In 2014, the number of cellular connections exceeded the number of humans on the planet (though this can be disputed depending on how one counts the cellular connections).

· The number of smartphones sold in the world exceeded 1.2 Billion.

· The number of phones sold in the world exceeded 1.9 Billion.

· The worldwide revenue from smartwatches was approximately $1.7B in 2014. 75% of this revenue was generated in the US.

· The number of operators making $1B or more from data services reached 50.

· The number of Internet users will exceed 3 billion in 2015.

· The messaging revenue continued to decline in the western markets. The usage was replaced by IP messaging usage but the lost revenue was not.

· Facebook is now operating at a $10B run rate revenue from mobile. Twitter and Yahoo also exceeded $1B in mobile revenue for the year.

· Amazon remained the king of the mobile commerce world with over $15B in revenues from mobile. Profits resembled a lake in the Sahara desert.

· Xiaomi became the leading OEM in China but the profit profile put it in the Amazonian camp.

· The success of Alibaba brought the Chinese giant into the company of giants becoming the 4th biggest technology player by market cap.

· The security breaches were rampant throughout the year especially in the US. Pretty soon it will be hard to find a qualified person without their credit and/or personal data compromised.

· The IoT hype machine was in full gear in 2014. The bulk of revenue was concentrated in the industrial/enterprise market.

· Apple introduced the Apple Watch, which is expected to be in the market in Q1 2015. It will define what the wearables market looks like for the next couple of years.

· The FCC had a blockbuster IPO, I mean, the spectrum auction, with almost $45B collected in the proceeds.

· The noise from the Net-neutrality wars reached its peak with President Obama weighing on the future of the Internet.

· The Sprint-T-Mobile deal fizzled before it could be announced but that didn’t stop big M&As to surface in both North America and Europe. Expect the big mergers to continue in 2015.

· Facebook completed the blockbuster acquisition of Whatsapp, which surprised many, but just like the acq. of Instagram, it will prove out to be a very savvy deal and leave the imprint of Mark Zuckerberg as one of the smartest and the gutsiest CEOs out there.

· There were several key industry leadership changes most notably the promotion of Sundar Pichai as the number 2 at Google and the placement of Satya Nadella as the CEO of Microsoft.

· T-Mobile continued to make waves with its uncarrier moves and the price wars have pretty much ensnared all the operators now with everyone expected to experience revenue and/or profit declines in Q4 and beyond (at least in the short-term).

· China Mobile’s customer base exceeded 800M, which is almost twice the size of the western European market.

· The Indian mobile subscription base is expected to exceed the 1B mark in 2015.

· The Chinese device OEMs accounted for approximately 40% of the device sales in 2014 making it the most powerful bloc in the smartphone space by volume.

· The average data consumption continued to increase a good rate in the US with an average smartphone consuming over 2.2 GB/month by the end of 2014. Other LTE markets around the globe experienced similar or higher growth rates.

· In the western markets over 90% of the devices sold are now smartphones. Globally, the number was 65%.

· The noise around 5G has started to pick up around the globe with Japan and Europe being the loudest.

· 75% of service revenue in Japan now comes from data and digital services.

· 20% of the data service revenue in Japan now comes from digital or 4th wave services.

· IBM and Apple signed a historic deal to bring iOS to the enterprise putting a big dent in the windows enterprise ecosystem.

· NTT DoCoMo, KDDI, China Mobile, and AT&T generated > $1B from 4th wave services in 2014.

· In India, just like President Obama in the US, Narendra Modi ran an effective digital and social media campaign and uprooted its dynastic opponent in the biggest landslide victory in decades.

· There were at least 38 companies who generated $1B or more from 4th wave services.

· Brazil soccer world cup, Seattle Seahawks super bowl victory, and Sochi Olympics provided mobile moments for the industry when the usage spiked beyond everyone’s expectations.

· Ebola dominated the headlines for much of the year. Mobile couldn’t do much this time around but hopefully we will be better prepared next time.

· Mobile has become the universal language of protesters around the globe. Clashes/protests in the US, Hong Kong, Egypt, Palestine, Italy, etc. – mobile played a crucial role in connecting and organizing people.

· HBO’s decision to offer a standalone service was a major milestone in the industry. Will it open the floodgates in 2015?

· Apple introduced Apple Pay, which is starting to change the financial ecosystem and has laid the foundations for potentially significant disruptions in the coming years.

· Google accelerated the market development for connected car with almost every OEM planning to release some flavor of autonomous car before the decade is out.

· Uber was by far the most fascinating 4th wave company to watch in 2014 for it disrupted with color and flair around the globe.

What was the highlight for you this year? What are you looking forward to next year?

Your feedback is always welcome. See you in 2015.

Best wishes for a terrific new year.

Chetan Sharma

Disclaimer: Some of the companies mentioned in this note are our clients.

Request for input–Annual Mobile Predictions Survey 2015 December 8, 2014

Posted by chetan in : US Wireless Market , add a comment

Dear friends,

Trust that the end of a fabulous mobile year is treating you well. Wish you and yours a very happy holiday season and best wishes for a terrific 2015.

As is the tradition, we are doing our 8th Annual Mobile Predictions Survey for 2015. I would like to request your input in the process. We rely on our community and colleagues to help us understand the trends for the upcoming year.

The survey is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/N26NKZT

The questions are:

1. What was most newsworthy in Mobile 2014?

2. What will be the biggest mobile stories of 2015?

3. Who are the top 4 important players in the mobile ecosystem?

4. What will be the breakthrough categories in mobile in 2015?

5. What will be the most popular consumer mobile applications in 2015?

6. What is likely to happen in the wearables category in 2015?

7. Who will dominate the mobile payment/commerce space?

8. Who will make the biggest mobile acquisition in 2015?

9. Who is doing the most interesting work in the IoT space?

10. Which solutions will gain the most traction for managing mobile data broadband consumption?

11. Which category will generate the most mobile data revenue in 2015?

12. When will mobile commerce be greater than ecommerce?

13. The company bringing the most successful mobile gadget of the year - 2014 and 2015?

14. Mobile company of the year - 2014 and 2015?

15. Automation and Digitization of industries will lead to?

16. Which of the following are likely to happen in 2015?

17. Which operator is best positioned for the digital world?

18. What category will be impacted the most by mobile in the next 5 years?

19. Which segments are likely to get disintermediated the most by algorithms in the next 5 years?

20. Who was and will be the mobile person of the year?

As an incentive, we will be giving away 10 copies of our exclusive edition Mobile Future Forward 2014 book (Connected Intelligence Era: Golden Age of Mobile) that is a collection of essays and interviews from some of the most influential mobile executives on the future of mobile.

Deadline: Dec 29th. Results will be released in early January.

Thanks and see you in 2015.

Kind regards,

Chetan Sharma

US Mobile Market Update – Q3 2014 November 10, 2014

Posted by chetan in : 4G, 4th Wave, 5G, AORTA, Chetan Sharma Consulting, Connected Intelligence Era, Mobile Cloud Computing, Mobile Ecosystem, Technology Cycles, The Golden Age of Mobile, US Wireless Market, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , add a comment

US Mobile Market Update – Q3 2014

http://www.chetansharma.com/usmarketupdateq32014.htm

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Summary

The US mobile data services revenue exceeded $25B for the first time and increased 23% YoY and 7% QoQ. The US market will easily exceed the $100B mark in data revenues in 2014 thus becoming the first nation to do so.

Verizon became the second operator after China Mobile to cross the milestone of 100 Million postpaid subs.

The average mobile data consumption (cellular) crossed 2GB/mo. In the US, it took roughly 20 years to reach the 1GB/user/mo mark. However, the second GB mark has been reached in less than 4 quarters. An entire year’s worth of mobile data traffic in 2007 is now reached in less than 100 hours.

From 2010 to 2013, the data pricing declined by only single digits YoY. However, in the first 9 months of 2014, the data pricing has plummeted by 77%. It is having an impact on the industry financials which might help clear the way to further M&A in the US market.

Smartphone penetration increased to 72% and roughly 93% of the devices sold now are smartphones.

Samsung suffered one of the biggest mobile revenue and profit declines in its history. As the dominant leader of the Android ecosystem, it is caught in the middle of two major trends that ironically enough Samsung had influenced.

After a relatively quiet year, Apple had a blockbuster quarter with new product introductions. The expected bigger screen device arrived and was an instant big hit. It is going to do really well in Q4. The 6+ was in severe short supply and in Q3, the ratio of 6:6+ was 10:1 in the US market.

Apple also introduced two new products – Watch and Apple Pay. While it is too early to figure out the overall impact of Apple Watch (it clearly will put some Swiss Watchmakers out of business), Apple Pay appears to more disruptive. Apple’s classic approach of embracing the ecosystem and thinking end-to-end might finally disrupt the otherwise staid financial sector.

4th wave services continue to grow at a very past face around the globe. We expect 37 companies to be generating a billion dollar or more from 4th wave services in 2014 – a 311% jump from 2012.

T-Mobile recovered all of its postpaid losses since Q3 2009. At its peak, T-Mobile had cumulatively lost almost 5 million subscribers. However, in the last 4 quarters, the 4th place operator has added over 4.5M subs to recover in a dramatic fashion. Sprint on the other hand lost postpaid subs for the 11th straight quarter.

Due to its strong performance, T-Mobile has narrowed the gap with Sprint to roughly 1M subs. As expected, Sprint launched a series of price cuts to counter T-Mobile’s uncarrier moves to recapture the value share of the market. The Sept and Oct numbers show that Sprint has improved its performance but will it be enough to maintain its #3 spot that it has had forever?

The US market had the best net-add quarter in a decade and probably the 2nd best quarter in the history of the US wireless market.

The net-adds rebounded strongly in Q3 2014 on the back of strong performances by Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. The ratio of non-phone to phone net-adds was 1.66. 62% of net-adds were connected devices.

Race To The Bottom?

The mobile data traffic has been doubling YoY in the US. The consumption is clearly growing with the introduction of new devices, network upgrades, and application enhancements. Operators are seeing tremendous pressure on data pricing due to the competitive environment. EBITDA declined for the second straight quarter.

From 2010 to 2013, the data pricing declined by only single digits YoY. However, in the first 9 months of 2014, the data pricing has plummeted by 77%. It is having an impact on the industry financials which might help clear the way to further M&A in the US market.

Samsung – Can It Rediscover Its Mojo?

Samsung suffered one of the biggest mobile revenue and profit declines in its history. As the dominant leader of the Android ecosystem, it is caught in the middle of two major trends that ironically enough Samsung had influenced. The bigger screen phone segment that Samsung seeded has become the fastest growing segment in smartphones. Apple following Samsung into the segment meant that it took away the single biggest differentiating factor and as such a serious impact on its high-end line. The lower end which yields higher volumes but much smaller ASP has attracted hordes of local developers in China, India, and Russia who have better logistics and operational advantage. Many of these players are becoming successful. To damage Samsung, they all don’t need to be successful, just enough to be in the market to sway the market. As such, Samsung has seen its share dwindle in the two biggest emerging markets.

Much of the current situation has been predictable for some time. While Samsung has ridden the smartphone wave masterfully, it hasn’t been able to build a platform moat, something that helps fundamentally differentiate its products in the sea of Android devices around the planet. They are not in a Blackberry or Nokia panic situation yet as some in the media have surmised. But, they need to figure a way out of the middle band. Unlike Nokia or Blackberry who were blinded by their success and ignorance, Samsung has shown it is a more nimble competitor. Samsung’s R&D and marketing is also second to none. Its diversified portfolio also helps in cushioning the drop in the phone segment. Historically, OEMs with such sharp revenue declines haven’t been able to arrest the decline. Can Samsung do it?

Operator M&A

In his classic book, “Competition in Telecommunications,” Nobel Laureate Jean Tirole wrote, “With digital technology, telecommunications, cable TV, broadcasting, and computers have become a single industry, which will be a critical element of our economies’ backbone. With the impending opening of competition, industrial restructuring is progressing at a fast pace.” The book was written almost 15 years ago. As I have written before, the computing and communications industries are merging into one and that collision is generating ripple effects some of which we are starting to understand (more on theConnected Intelligence Era trends here)

As expected Iliad gave up its dream of acquiring T-Mobile. The deal never made sense and had no market merit. This has left DT scratching for other options. The most likely scenario is that Sprint and T-Mobile try to get married in 2017 again or the FCC/DOJ have a change of heart due to declining financial performance of the two players. Another possibility is America Movil getting into the fray. And finally, some cable companies are likely to flex their muscles at an opportune time.

AT&T acquired Mexican operator Iusacell last week. If approved (and there is little reason why it won’t), it will make AT&T a clear leader in North America with almost 127 Million subscriptions. As we mentioned in our 4th wave series of papers, the number of operators will continue to shrink with fewer global operators who will seek to combine wireless and wireline assets to strengthen their moat. Perhaps, US Cellular should sharpen its pencil.

4th Wave Revenues

For the first time, US operators revealed some of their 4th wave (digital) services metrics publicly. Verizon reported $150M revenues from M2M and Telematics. At the current run-rate, this will be a billion dollar business by early 2016. AT&T reported 2M connected car connections and 140K home security connections. The connected car segment is clearly on its way to becoming a billion+ dollar business for AT&T. Sprint is also quite active on the 4th wave front but hasn’t shared any details yet.

Globally, we expect 37 companies to be generating a billion dollar or more from 4th wave services in 2014 – a 311% jump from 2012.

Microsoft Freemium Moves

First it was the OS, Now it is the Office portfolio – Microsoft is leaving no sacred cow unturned in order to gain relevancy in mobile. However, it seems that for the Office apps, Microsoft is essentially doing what it did for Windows Mobile i.e. just pare down the desktop OS for mobile. It never worked. The Office apps on competitive platform is a good strategy but they are still the pared down versions of the desktop app. As such, while people are downloading these apps out of curiosity, they are really not using them. However, the recent moves do indicate a willingness to rethink the business models, the platforms, and the distribution models which is a good start.

Amazon’s Mobile Aspirations

While Amazon is the biggest mobile commerce player in the world by a distance, its hardware aspirations have failed to impress. As expected, the Fire Phone was a complete dud. As we explained previously, it never had a shot. It was Zuned out of the market in record time (Facebook Phone probably holds the world record but Fire Phone wasn’t too far behind). A product without any substantial differentiation doesn’t stand a chance in this crowded market. While Kindle tablets had a tempting price point that made them relatively successful, Fire Phone failed across all dimensions. Software mistakes can be iterated upon. Hardware mistakes show up on the balance sheet.

In the meantime, Amazon is poised to have a blockbuster mobile commerce quarter to make it one of the most dominant players on the 4th wave.

The Upcoming 5G wars?

I started my career when 1G was all the rage. My first 4G project was back in 2002. By some measures, we are already behind on the 5G discussions. In general, it takes 7-10 years before the standards are finalized and then the network technology lasts for approximately 20 years before a market moves onto the next generation of technology. US led in the growth of 1G (AMPS, TACS) followed by Europe on 2G (GSM, CDMA). Japan took the leadership role with 3G (WCDMA, EVDO) and US wrestled it back on 4G (LTE). Japan and EU are determined to lead on 5G and have been making very public statements and R&D investments about their ambitions on 5G. Japan of course has a very clear goal of having 5G by Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Am sure some operator(s) somewhere will jump the gun and start calling LTE-A+ as 5G around 2017-18 or sooner. You can expect a lot of activities both in public and private on 5G as companies and governments try to figure out a way to claim the 5G leadership mantle.

Apple Watch

After visiting the show floor at CES in January, we noted that “The space is going to get commoditized very quickly and it is likely going to get stratified into two major buckets – really cheap $10-20 wearables. The other bucket will be high-end fashion driven wearables.”

Earlier in the year, Xiaomi released a $13 tracker and Apple announced its new product in almost 5 years – the Apple Watch. The mid-market will be under tremendous stress.

Apple Pay

Mobile Payments has long infatuated mankind. Many players with deep pockets have invested in the segment but in truth, the market was waiting for Apple to show up and show up it did with the launch of Apple Pay. In an ambitious orchestration of the financial supply chain, Apple introduced a simple payment proposition. The basic strategy is for commerce to flow through iOS. The institutions are even paying a share of the transaction to Apple which previous payment explorers are watching in utter disbelief. Ladies and Gentlemen, get ready for iTunes 2.0.

What to expect in the coming months?

2014 has been a tremendous year for the mobile as it becomes omnipresence in every industry. We have already seen some massive moves, astounding acquisitions, and interesting strategic endeavors.

As usual, we will be keeping a very close eye on the micro- and macro-trends and reporting on the market on a regular basis in various private and public settings.

Against this backdrop, the analysis of the Q3 2014 US wireless data market is:

Service Revenues

· The US mobile data services revenues in Q3 2014 increased 7% and crossed the $25B market for the first time.

· The mobile data services revenue is on track to exceed the $100B mark in mobile data services revenue to become the first country to generate $100B from mobile data services.

· Verizon and AT&T dominated the quarter accounting for 70% of the mobile data services revenue and had 68% of the subscription base.

· Verizon and AT&T are at #2 & #3 global mobile data revenue ranking respectively in Q3 2014. Sprint and T-Mobile also maintained their rankings in the top 10 global mobile data operators.

ARPU

· The Overall ARPU rebounded to increase by $0.08. 

· Data contribution to the overall revenues is now at 58%.

Subscribers

· The US market had the best net-add quarter in a decade and probably the 2nd best quarter in the history of the US wireless market.

· The US operators added 6.3M new customers with T-Mobile leading the pack.

· 62% of the net-adds in Q3 2014 were from the non-phone category. The net-effect has been that while overall subscriber count has increased, there has been a negative impact on the ARPU. 

· Verizon’s tablet net-adds soared accounting for almost 71% of the overall tablets that were added in Q3. Verizon has caught up with AT&T on the tablet front.

· T-Mobile’s postpaid continued to see the positive growth for the sixth straight quarter. It has almost recovered all its losses that began in Q3 2009.

Shared Data Plans

· Shared data plans launched by Verizon and AT&T have been quite successful. The attachment rates have increased tremendously over the course of 2013-14 with more consumers opting for cellular tablets and connected devices. 57% of postpaid accounts at Verizon are now on shared plans. For AT&T, the number is even higher at 62%.

· Some more granular data plans for tablets have also spurred interest as the cellular broadband is becoming available on demand vs. expensive on premise Wi-Fi solutions.

· 50% of AT&T’s postpaid accounts are on 10GB+ plans.

4th Wave Progress

· The number of players making $250M/quarter on mobile continues to increase rapidly and these aren’t your traditional wireless players. For example, Mobile is now contributing 66% (up from 30% in Q1 2013) to Facebook’s quarterly revenues. Latest addition to the club is Twitter which is now doing 85% in mobile (of the total advertising revenue) up from 60% in 2013. Even traditional players like Hertz, Sears, and Starbucks are generating meaningful revenues from mobile. There are now dozens of such players and the list is just growing. (for more discussion on the topic please see: “Mobile 4th Wave: Evolution of the Next Trillion Dollars”)

· In 2014, we are also seeing continued investments from the operators especially AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint in non-traditional segments like home security, healthcare, insurance, automotive, enterprise mobility, advertising, and security, and others. Collectively, this is already a multi-billion dollar business in the US.

· The cloud and security segments have also gained significant traction with incumbents as well as startups launching new initiatives and technologies.

Connected Devices

· Connected devices (non-phones) accounted for almost 62% of the net-adds in Q3 2014. This means that while there is a healthy smartphone sales pipeline, it is for the existing subs and as such net-adds for the phone business is tapering off and we can expect that new net-adds will continue to be dominated by the connected devices segment.

· Tablets form 70% of the connected devices sold.

· QoQ, the non-phone segment grew 30%.

Handsets 

· Smartphones continued to be sold at a brisk pace accounting almost 93% of the devices sold in Q3 2014. Within the next two years, the feature phone category will practically be extinct in the US market.

· The smartphone penetration in the US is now at 72%.

· Android again outperformed iOS by a good margin. iOS is likely to bounce back in Q4.

· While it is fairly clear that Windows will acquire the #3 spot behind iOS and Android, the journey to a substantial and competitive market share is still ways off. It renewed its entry into the battlefield with Windows phone last year but sales have been poor. While Microsoft has made steady progress in other regions, in the US, it’s not gaining any traction and its share remains at a measly 1-3%. (Read our paper to get more insights into why Windows hasn’t been able to make a dent so far).

· Verizon continues to sell more LTE smartphones as its LTE sub tally rose to 59M making it the leading LTE operator in the world (next year China Mobile will overtake Verizon to become the number 1 LTE operator by subscriptions). Other three operators are also deep into their LTE deployments. Verizon reported that 79% of its total data traffic is on the LTE network now, clearly the fastest technology transitions we have seen in the US wireless industry.

Your feedback is always welcome.

Chetan Sharma

We will be keeping a close eye on the trends in the wireless data sector in our blog, twitter feeds, future research reports, articles, and our annual thought-leadership summit – Mobile Future Forward. The next US Wireless Data Market update will be released in Feb 2015.

Disclaimer: Some of the companies mentioned in this paper are our clients.

Interview with Matt Grob, EVP/CTO - Qualcomm September 18, 2014

Posted by chetan in : 4th Wave, AORTA, Chetan Sharma Consulting, Connected Intelligence Era, Internet of Things, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Applications, Mobile Future Forward, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , add a comment

Mobile Future Forward – Seattle – Sept 24th 8am-8pm

Registration (Registration closes this Friday)

In proud partnership with: Amdocs, Ericsson, HYLA Mobile, Intel, Mio Global, MoBack, Oracle Communications, Qualcomm, Synchronoss, and Tata Communications.

Mobile Future Forward Preview: Q&A with Matt Grob, EVP/CTO – Qualcomm

We are looking forward to welcome many of you to our Mobile Future Forward Summit next week. This is the final interview in the series and it is with our opening keynote speaker Matt Grob, EVP, Qualcomm Technologies and CTO. I am really excited that we will kick off the summit with Matt as he has deep experience and knowledge of the space and a compelling vision for the future. In his 23+ years at Qualcomm, he has been instrumental in taking many technologies to the market that we take for granted today. I had a chance to catch-up with Matt to give you a preview of our discussion at the summit next week.

MFF: The chipset roadmap gives us a sense of what new devices will emerge from the mobile platform. What are some of the things on the horizon that you are excited about, and that developers should pay attention to?

Matt: We continue to see a tremendous amount of innovation in smartphones. In the next 5 years, analysts estimate that nearly 8 billion smartphones will be sold worldwide. That amount is larger than the world’s population! With such scale, there’s no doubt that mobile will continue to be a focal point for technology R&D — with major advancements not only in the chipset feature set, but also in the evolution of software, and mobile networks. Many of the things we foresaw a few years back are already in commercial devices, things like LTE Advanced, Ultra HD, wireless charging, surround sound, and computational photography.

Moving forward, I’m pretty excited about further advancements in LTE, things like LTE in unlicensed spectrum, and LTE Direct. These technologies will make mobile networks much more capable and useful. On the device side, we’ll see more low-power processing and sensor technologies, and new developments in computer vision that will improve the context awareness capabilities of mobile devices.

And I’m personally passionate about the developments we’ll see in the field of machine learning — the evolution of processor platforms that mimic the way the human brain thinks and sees. This will be a game changer — since we finally will be able to “teach” our machines instead of simply “programming” them.

MFF: We know that rising data consumption is a challenging issue for mobile operators worldwide. Looking out over the next 5 years, what kinds of solutions do you anticipate? And how big a part will unlicensed spectrum play?

Matt: Although the numbers vary depending on the region, we continue to see solid growth in data demand. According to the CTIA, mobile network operators in the U.S. saw a 120% year-over-year (YOY) increase in data traffic in 2013, compared to a 69% YOY increase in 2012. In emerging regions, we are still in the early days of smartphone adoption, so we should expect further increases in data demand, as people adopt more advanced mobile devices.

We anticipated a day in which networks will have to deal with a thousand times more data traffic than they handle today. We called this the 1000x data challenge. To solve it, our industry has implemented a range of strategies. Of course spectrum is critical. We’ll need to squeeze more out of existing spectrum and we’ll need to find more of it. That’s going to involve taking advantage of multiple access schemes, including licensed, unlicensed, and shared access.

We’re also working on continuing the evolution and enhancement of LTE, including carrier aggregation strategies. Other network efficiencies will be achieved through advancements in 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi technologies. Another key strategy is network densification. We’re working to beef up mobile network infrastructure with the deployment of advanced small cells.

We’ll need all of these tools to address the continuing rise in demand for mobile data, because the fact is that people in every part of the world love their mobile devices, which is a pretty exciting challenge for our industry.

MFF: Mobile is changing so many industry verticals — health, auto, retail, energy, and more. Which verticals are you the most excited about, and why?

Matt: The huge scale of the mobile industry and the rapid design cycles associated with it are driving a tremendous amount of technology innovation. And those breakthroughs are now driving innovation in a growing number of other industry sectors. The components and capabilities that have been invented, integrated, refined, and dramatically cost reduced within modern smartphones are now poised to revolutionize and enable whole new categories of devices, sensors — and machines.

I’m particularly excited about how these mobile innovations will accelerate the evolution of robotics. Drones and robots are taking a lot of the technology developed for smartphones. Things like wireless connectivity, image stabilization, computer vision, precise outdoor and indoor location, and low power processing, are all now contributing to the evolution of robotics as well. And the scale of deployment of those technologies is making robots much more affordable as well. Today we can find hobby drones that sell for less than $1,000.

As part of our R&D effort at Qualcomm we’re building experimental robots that can learn to perform some menial tasks without prior programming, things like sorting toys and organizing them in bins. And all running on the same Snapdragon processors that power many of the most popular smartphones today. It’s exciting to see how smartphone technology is accelerating the development of general-purpose robots and drones, and I’m grateful to have a front row seat, not only as a witness that evolution, but also as a participant in the robotics revolution.

MFF: The “Internet of Things” continues to make headlines and holds great promise, but the growth has been slow due interoperability, security, regulatory, and other issues. What will it take to move past these issues and see the growth rate graph take the anticipated hockey stick shape?

Matt: Everything around us is becoming intelligent and connected, changing the way we interact with the world: phones, tablets, cars, appliances, and health devices. We use the term “Internet of Everything” (IoE) because not only “things” are getting connected, but also places and people.

The IoE is still in its early days, but the ecosystem is coming together to solve some of the key issues preventing the full realization of its promise. Until recently, most IoE products and services have existed in silos, as vertical solutions — without the capability to connect and interact with each other. The challenge is, how to create a horizontal, secure, interoperable environment. We believe that AllJoyn is key solution for moving the industry in the right direction. AllJoyn is an open, universal, and programmable software and services framework, initially developed by Qualcomm Innovation Center and now hosted by the AllSeen Alliance.

Qualcomm backs the AllSeen Alliance as it drives the AllJoyn open source project forward, as the common language for the Internet of Everything. The AllSeen ecosystem consists of a broad representation of cross industry leaders looking to enhance AllJoyn via open source contributions, and to commercially deploy smart connected devices that can discover, connect and communicate with each other across brands and device categories.

The consortium now counts more than 60 members, including many big names in technology and consumer electronics. This level of support increases our confidence about the future. I think we’re close to reaching a tipping point in the development of a truly interoperable IoE.

Hope you enjoyed the insights.

We look forward to seeing you next week.

Kind regards,

Chetan Sharma

Mobile Future Forward: Q&A with Dev Gandhi, CEO of moBack September 5, 2014

Posted by chetan in : US Wireless Market , add a comment

Mobile Applications are the lifeblood of the mobile economy. However, scaling the app from the early prototypes to an app that serves millions can be daunting. A number of players have come out with tools to assist the app developer community. We caught up with Dev Gandhi, CEO of moBack to ask about the state of the mobile app world.

MFF: What are some of the most common problems you see with the mobile app backend infrastructure?

DG: The most common mobile app backend infrastructure problems are:

- Implementing core services such as data persistence, push notifications, maps integration, social integration, analytics, etc.

- Building scalable infrastructure such as virtualization, storage, security layers, etc.

- Writing application business logic.

The main challenge for app companies is to to build these three layers within the project’s scheduled budget and time frame.

App developers can either build all three layers on their own by investing in business logic development, core services, and infrastructure dev ops or opt for third party cloud based service providers such as Amazon, thus saving cost and development time.

Infrastructure service providers such as Amazon only solve infrastructure issues while some service providers only provide core services.

moBack provides both core services as well as scalable infrastructure thus helping app developers focus solely on app development business logic.

MFF: Are app companies trying to do too much on their own? What APIs have proven to be most used and why?

DG: Yes, app companies need to build not only applications but also manage backend services and IT infrastructure. They need to invest in app developers, IT/Dev Ops engineers and hardware infrastructure.

Commonly used APIs are data persistence, analytics, push notifications, social sharing, and maps/geocoding. Most app companies leverage these core service APIs to build their apps.

MFF: What is the business model for the APIs?

DG: APIs are typically provided on a freemium model. App companies can sign up for a free account and start paying later based on usage (number of calls, bandwidth, and storage). This provides app companies a great way to scale without investing too much upfront.

MFF: Majority of the apps are not used after download. How can developers keep their users engaged for a long time?

DG: App companies need to think about various aspects of an application life cycle during design phase:

- App discovery (improving app downloads)

- App engagement (improving long-term app usage)

Application artifacts such as social sharing, gamification, push notifications and mobile messaging help increase engagement.

MFF: In this day and age of constant security threats, how does a developer keep the data secure and maintain user privacy?

DG: Data security and user privacy is usually an after thought when it comes to app design, in turn making apps vulnerable and exposed to security threats. It’s better to incorporate security and user privacy elements in an application design and architecture. Key elements to consider are:

- Using PKI infrastructure to encrypt both data at motion and data at rest.

- Anonymize user data for analytics and reporting purposes thus addressing user privacy concerns.

- Build ACL based privileges allowing granular access to administrators.

- Fine grained logging helps detect security infractions.

- Run security audits (penetration tests, etc.) during QA phase and fix exposed vulnerabilities.

- Apply security patches as early as possible.

Partner Event: FierceWireless: 5G and IoT

Posted by chetan in : US Wireless Market , add a comment

Are you in Las Vegas for Super Mobility Week? Our partner FierceWireless will host the first panel The 5G Roadmap: How Do We Plan For Tomorrow’s Wireless Networks? on Tuesday, September 9 at 7am.

Sue Marek will moderate the panel

· Kristin Rinne, SVP, Network Technologies, AT&T Labs

· Mike Haberman, VP, Network Support, Verizon Wireless

· Arun Bhikshesvaran, VP of Marketing & CMO, Ericsson

· Aicha Evans, VP, Platform Engineering Group, Intel

· Chris Pearson, President, 4G Americas

On Wednesday, September 10, at Mike Dano will moderate a discussion on the Internet of Things: Uncovering the Top Growth Segments. His panel will be comprised of industry executives including:

· Chris Penrose, SVP Emerging Devices, AT&T Mobility

· Matt Thompson, GM, Developer Evangelism, Microsoft

· Alec Saunders, VP, Cloud Business, BlackBerry and member of the Industrial Internet Consortium

· Larry Zibrik, VP of Market Development, Sierra Wireless

· John Horn, President, RacoWireless

They will discuss the market segments where IoT technologies are blossoming now, and explore where the next opportunities may lie.

Both events are part of the official CTIA program. You may add these events to your existing show pass through the CTIA Web site.

There are just a few seats left at each event. Register today before they’re gone!

Mobile Future Forward: Announcing the Preliminary Agenda August 29, 2014

Posted by chetan in : 4G, 4th Wave, Connected Intelligence Era, Mobile Future Forward, The Golden Age of Mobile, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , add a comment

Homework for the Summit

To get the most out of the summit, it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with the following research papers:

-          Connected Intelligence Era: The Golden Age of Mobile

-          Mobile 4th Wave: Evolution of the Next Trillion Dollars

-          Operator’s Dilemma (and Opportunity): The 4th Wave

-          Industrial Internet at Work

-          Industry Transformation In the Networked Society

Morning Sessions (8:00am – 12:00pm)

Welcome – The Connected Intelligence Era

The major technology changes come in 40-50 year cycles. The telecom and Internet cycle that started in the 70s has perfectly setup the advent of the Connected Intelligence Era that is going to have a profound impact on the vertical industries, the global economy, and competitiveness of nations. At Mobile Future Forward 2014, we will discuss the emergence of this technology wave and its implications.

Chetan Sharma, President, Chetan Sharma Consulting

Fireside - Powering the Connected Intelligence Era

Matt Grob, CTO and EVP, Qualcomm

Chetan Sharma, President, Chetan Sharma Consulting (moderator)

Fireside - Industrial Internet: Transforming the Economy

Bill Ruh, VP – Global Software, GE

Hank Skorny, VP and GM, Intel

Steve Elfman, Former President, Sprint (moderator)

Fireside - Connected Intelligence: Platforms, Ecosystems, and Global Markets

Erik Ekudden, SVP, Ericsson

Benedict Evans, Partner, Andreessen Horowitz

Tim Bajarin, CEO, Creative Strategies (moderator)

Fireside - The Opportunities in the Golden Age of Mobile

Glenn Lurie, President and CEO, AT&T Mobility

Chetan Sharma, President, Chetan Sharma Consulting (moderator)

Afternoon Sessions (1:30 – 6pm)

Connected Intelligence Era through the lens of CIOs

Philip Fasano, CIO, Kaiser Permanente

David Webb, CIO, Equifax

Tim Campos, CIO, Facebook

Steve Mills, CIO, Motorola

Paul Brody, VP – Mobile Practice, IBM

Mark Fernandes, Managing Director, Sierra Ventures (moderator)

Connected Living

Kevin Peterson, President – Digital Life, AT&T Mobility

Liz Dickinson, Founder and CEO, MIO Global

Chris Putnam, SVP, Synchronoss

Josh Will, Chief Category Officer, Best Buy

Tim Wagner, SVP, Samsung

Dawn Chmielewski, Senior Editor, Re/code (moderator)

Growing the 4th wave Pie

Julie Moss-Woods, CMO/CEO – NG Business, Tata Communications

Rob Chandhok, President, Qualcomm

David Sprosty, CEO, Sprosty Network

Ed Lewis, Chief Strategy Officer, Syniverse (moderator)

Designing 5G and the Network of Tomorrow

Dr. Ron Marquardt, VP – Advanced Technology, Sprint

Dr. Hassan Ahmed, Chairman and CEO, Affirmed Networks

Glenn Laxdal, VP – Advanced Technology, Ericsson

Erik Moreno, SVP, Fox Networks

Harvesting the Opportunities in Mobile Commerce

Sharath Dorbala, Head of Mobile Financial Services, Amdocs

Andy Chu, VP – Mobile Commerce, Sears Holdings

Rajeev Tankha, Sr. Director - Applications, Oracle Communications

Mark Donovan, SVP, Comscore (moderator)

The Future of Consumer Engagement and Mobile Advertising

Vik Kathuria, Global Chief Media Officer, Razorfish

Erin Kienast, SVP, Starcom

Chia Chen, SVP, Digitas

Eric Mugnier, SVP, M&C Saatchi Mobile

Ujjal Kohli, Founder, Rhythm New Media (moderator)

Opportunities in the Emerging Markets

Mathew Oommen, President, Reliance

Andreas Gal, CTO, Mozilla

Nathan Eagle, CEO, Jana

Michael Fisher, Head of Intl. Biz Dev, Twitter

Cocktail Reception (6-8pm)

Chill, Network, and form partnerships for Life

Mobile Future Forward: Network Evolution: Q&A with Dr. Hassan Ahmed, CEO, Affirmed Networks August 26, 2014

Posted by chetan in : 4G, 4th Wave, 5G, Fourth Wave, NFV, SDN, Worldwide Wireless Market , add a comment

Mobile Future Forward – Seattle – Sept 24th - Connected Intelligence Era

Registration (limited seats)

In partnership with Amdocs, Ericsson, Intel, Mio Global, MoBack, Oracle Communications, Qualcomm, Synchronoss, and Tata Communications.

We are looking forward to welcoming you to our Mobile Future Forward Summit next month. We are doing interviews with some of the thought-leaders leading up to the event to give you a glimpse of the upcoming brainstorms. LTE has been the quickest deployment in the mobile industry history. However, the pace of change is so dramatic that the industry needs to come up with solutions on-demand. NFV, SDN, Cloud, 5G are being discussed at all major service providers. Japan is already planning a 5G rollout prior to 2020 Tokyo Olympics. EU is investing heavily to reclaim lost momentum. Affirmed Networks is in the middle of this evolution. We caught up with Mobile Future Forward speaker and industry veteran - Dr. Hassan Ahmed, Chairman and CEO of Affirmed Networks to get a pulse on the network architecture evolution trends that will define the next 5-10 years.

MFF: NFV gets thrown around in a lot of network evolution discussions. Why NFV? What does it mean to the operators and the larger ecosystem? And why should we care about it?

Hassan: This is an excellent question because it helps us to look past the buzzword and ask where the fundamental demand for NFV really comes from.  Unfortunately it also requires a lengthy answer.  Some may view NFV as just a natural evolution of technology in the networking space but that really misses the point.  In fact, the transformation of networks away from a collection of isolated, custom built elements to a holistically orchestrated set of virtualized software functions is central to realizing the evolving business model of operators in the face of rising market demand for internet services.  The move to NFV also represents one of the largest transformations in networking since the shift from TDM to IP technology. To illustrate the point, let’s examine the impact of NFV on mobile networks, arguably one of the first places we see the technology being adopted.

Data on mobile networks is growing by leaps and bounds.  Application richness is growing rapidly as well with video leading the charge.  Scaling networks has historically been a hardware game, i.e. building more and more powerful network elements as chips get faster while keeping the network architecture and software intact.  Unfortunately this approach has run its course because mobile data today is growing faster than the rate at which hardware can be commoditized.  Effective network scaling is now a game of parallel software that can take advantage of the computing performance curve.  By reducing expensive custom elements to virtualized software functions that operate on data center servers, the cost of scaling is dramatically reduced.  This is the first answer to why NFV.  However, this isn’t the whole story.

Even after operators invest in scaling their mobile networks, IP service revenue flows over the top with the operator failing to participate in the service revenue equation (except for access, of course).  Today’s networks are very inflexible.  The entire service architecture of the network needs to become more intelligent so that service treatment can allow operators to enhance the revenue in their business models.  With service function chaining and orchestration, NFV brings the necessary flexibility to simultaneously simplify network operation (thereby reducing opex) and increase service velocity for new revenue.  So the market really demands cost effective scaling and enhanced service intelligence.  Together, they create a compelling case for network transformation and NFV answers the call.

As you can imagine the impact on operators and the ecosystem is far reaching.  NFV done well (since not all supposed NFV products are done well) dramatically shifts the operators network costs, simplifies network operation and allows the operator to derive new revenues from the internet economy.  The business model impact is significant.  Costs come down and revenue increases.  However operators need to be wary of approaches that preserve the inflexibility of the legacy network by simply virtualizing old products.  Fresh approaches are necessary to realize the business model benefits.

The ecosystem as a whole will be impacted as well.  Operators will have more choice to “mix and match” applications rather than being beholden to a small number of vendors.  In fact the fortunes of many of the legacy vendors will shift as IT companies and new software-centric vendors start to participate in the network infrastructure.  The landscape of providers in the “intelligence” of the networks will look quite different 5-10 years from now than it does today.

For all of these reasons, I believe NFV, which will play out over some time, is a transformative force akin to the impact IP had on TDM networks.  That’s why we should care.  A decade from now, networks will be built, managed and monetized differently.  Business models will be much richer and the landscape of vendors will shift significantly.  The full impact of NFV will restructure the industry.

MFF: As network consumption grows and as it moves more and more to video, how does NFV help? Can it enable new business models?

Hassan: As we’ve already discussed, NFV impacts both cost and revenue.  Video growth is challenging network capacity and NFV enables operators to cost effectively add capacity rather than succumb to profitless prosperity.  However, I think your question is more about revenue and new business models that NFV’s service flexibility can enable.

NFV done well gives the operator the ability to quickly spawn new services.  This allows for increased innovation and the emergence of new business models. Specifically in the case of video content, today the operator primarily focuses on content delivery.  However there are many opportunities to create user experiences around events that can create a business relationship between the operator and the content provider.  Consider an event like the Tour de France which appeals to a relatively small affinity group compared to say the Superbowl.  Offering premium access to races with differentiated billing to subscribers who purchase a “Tour de France” viewing package is unthinkable in today’s network because the lengthy service creation process is too expensive for serving a small audience.  However NFV can reduce the service creation to minutes and allow the operator to profitably capitalize on hundreds of “medium tail” sports and entertainment events through content partnerships.  This is just a small example of how new business models can be forged when the tools are made available to the operator.

MFF: How should an operator think about offering cloud services to the consumers or their enterprise customers? Do they have shot at the game against Microsoft and Amazon?

Hassan: I think the operators have an excellent shot at the game.  To be sure, some players like Amazon are leading the industry today.  The revenue derived from cloud services today is impressive however I believe that we are very early on in the game.  Much of the growth lies ahead of us.  As operators move to a software centric network architecture they bring some critical advantages around managing scale and delivering reliable networks – arguably traditional strengths of the operator.  When combined with service architectures that enable customers to control and customize the network capabilities they receive, a very compelling product is created. 

If you believe that most computing/applications will move to the cloud over time, then the operators have a significant opportunity to capitalize on as this market grows.  However success will require moving quickly.  The large internet companies have shown what’s possible and the operators need to create networks that allow them to move in “internet time.”

MFF: The legacy network architecture hindered in launching new services quickly. How do things change with NFV, SDN, Cloud? What kind of impact does it have on the capex and opex for the operators? Is there a net gain or are we just shifting costs?

Hassan: We have discussed already how NFV brings considerably more service intelligence to the network.  With service function chaining and orchestration, the speed at which new services can be created and deployed is greatly enhanced.  This definitely creates a net gain.  Opex is significantly reduced on a number of fronts from service creation and provisioning to space and energy cost.  The cost of creating or modifying services comes down dramatically as the time to do so reduces to minutes from months.  Significantly less labor goes into the NFV service model and that is a net gain.

Capex also declines significantly for a number of reasons.  The most often stated one is the much lower cost of data center servers compared to custom hardware platforms comprising today’s network elements.  In addition when servers are pooled in data centers, capacity is more efficiently managed requiring less hardware purchases.  More efficient hardware deployment also leads to reduced space and power needs.

NFV represents a meaningful reduction in the cost of owning and operating a network.

MFF: How does rest of the ecosystem benefit from these network changes? Does it lead to more competition or collaboration?

Hassan: As you might imagine, it leads to more of both.  Certainly, the NFV framework enables more innovation because it greatly simplifies the ability to add functions and capability to the network.  The ease of experimentation is also greatly enhanced so we will see an expanding ecosystem fostering greater collaboration to enable increased and faster service innovation by the operators.  Service transparency across operators should also result in cross-operator collaboration.

We will also see greater competition.  Competition will not just be among operators differentiating on service offerings but among vendors.  The move to NFV invites participation from IT companies that have historically had data center relationships with the operators but have not been suppliers in the network infrastructure.  NFV blurs the line between IT and network and market share will shift away from some legacy providers to traditional IT suppliers.

NFV enables major structural shifts in the industry and heralds an exciting time in telecom.

MFF: What’s your view of 5G? What features do you think should define the next generation?

Hassan: That is a tough question.  So much thought is going into 5G today trying to connect the art of the doable with perceived need.  If past is prolog, then we will see applications and usage emerge that we didn’t imagine.  However what we can imagine today is a rising importance of the network as applications and computing move to the cloud.  We can imagine ever more powerful entertainment services and we can imagine a two order of magnitude increase in the number of connected devices as the Internet of Things emerges.  Device to Device or vehicle to vehicle communication will enable lifestyle changes that we haven’t yet conceived of.  In order for such a vision to be successful, the network must change meaningfully.  Orders of magnitude more data capacity, data rates, connections combined with low latency to enable real time applications become fundamental requirements of a 5G network.  Accommodating disparate networks must be seamless.  In order to realize these capabilities, much of our attention focuses on the RAN and technologies that can create the data rates and capacities that we imagine.  However, the network service architecture has to become increasingly flexible as well to create and service these disparate applications and provide user control.  Today’s NFV evolution will create a foundation for 5G’s service architecture.

Thanks

Chetan Sharma

Connected Intelligence Era: The Golden Age of Mobile August 21, 2014

Posted by chetan in : 4th Wave, Chetan Sharma Consulting, Connected Intelligence Era, Fourth Wave, Technology Cycles, The Golden Age of Mobile, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , add a comment

Connected Intelligence Era: The Golden Age of Mobile

- A Mobile Future Forward Research Paper

http://www.chetansharma.com/connectedintelligenceera.htm

This paper is the 5th paper in the Mobile Future Forward Series. It is a required reading for Mobile Future Forward participants.

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History and Background

In 1925, a soviet economist Nikolai Kondratiev observed in his book “The Major Economic Cycles,” that the growth of human history has been intertwined with economic cycles that resemble waves spread across multiple decades (figure 1). The duration of the cycles might vary but the pattern repeats itself. If we study the technology revolutions of the last 300 years that have shaped human history – the industrial revolution, the age of steam and railways, the age of steel, electricity, and heavy engineering, and the current age of information and telecommunications, each of these cycles lasted on average 50 years. There was GDP growth with every cycle and with each technology cycle, we made earth a better place to live even though sometimes it might not seem that way.

Early in the 20th century, an Austrian economist, Joseph Schumpeter expanded on the theory of business cycles and development and wrote perhaps one of the most influential book in economics – “The Theory of Economic Development.” Schumpeter posited that the entrepreneurs changes the equilibrium of any business cycle and is the prime cause of economic development (figure 2), which proceeds in cyclic fashion along several time scales. In fashioning this theory connecting innovations, cycles, and development, Schumpeter kept alive the Russian Nikolai Kondratiev’s ideas of 50-year cycles.

In 2003, another economist Carlota Perez from Venezuela expanded on the Kondratiev cycle theory in her book, “Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital: The Dynamics of Bubbles and the Golden Ages.” She drew upon Schumpeter’s theories of the clustering of innovations to explain why each technological revolution gives rise to a paradigm shift and a New Economy and how these opportunity explosions, focused on specific industries, also lead to the recurrence of financial bubbles and crises (figure 3). By analyzing the changing relationship between finance capital and production capital during the emergence, diffusion and assimilation of new technologies throughout the global economic system, Carlota’s book discussed some of the pressing issues in front of us.

This brings us to the present time. Where are we in the big economic cycles? Are we in the golden age of the last technology cycle of information and telecommunications that gave birth to the Internet and the modern wireless ecosystem as we know it or are we perhaps on the verge of a new age that will transform human history for the next 50 years? Given that the markers of transition are not always clear, we won’t know for sure which wave we are embarking on for some time but we are fairly certain that we are entering the golden period of the mobile industry.

There is also a strong possibility that we might be onto something new, something more transformative, something different that we would humbly propose is the start of theConnected Intelligence Era. These two operative words are going to define the next phase of human evolution. The confluence of mobile broadband network, smarter devices, pervasive connectivity, and our ability to program the intelligence around us is going to dramatically change every industry vertical from the ground up. Consider the health industry – sensors inside the body can send alerts days before a stroke, telemedicine can help direct a surgery in remote parts of Bhutan, mobile devices will educate and guide us on nutrition, wellness, and medicine compliance. In fact, technology might eliminate the need to go to a doctor completely except in the case of chronic diseases or an emergency. Some of this is already happening but we will see implementations on a global scale that will hopefully reduce the enormous burden on the global GDP.

Similarly, the travel and tourism industry is being transformed by intelligence at the fingertips of travelers in unfamiliar lands. The education segment especially in the developing world is being changed by the availability of affordable tablets. M2M is making the energy sector reinvent itself. In a few years, it will be hard to imagine a car without mobile broadband connectivity.

As we outlined in our Mobile 4th Wave paper series, change is in the air. Mobile is becoming the critical tool to drive human ingenuity and technological growth. Fueled by the revenue growth curves of voice, messaging, and access, the industry has flourished beyond anyone’s imagination.

We as an industry are on the verge of incredible milestones in human history. Very soon, for the first time, mobile connections will exceed humans on the planet. Mobile broadband networks are being deployed at the fastest pace ever. Smartphones are in such great demand that in some countries, feature phones are already going extinct. The trifecta of fast broadband networks, well-designed mobile computing devices, and the insatiable supply of content, applications, and services has unleashed consumer demand like never before.

The last thirty years of industry growth were primarily driven by network access to voice, messaging and data. The next thirty will be defined by access to services and solutions that are customized to the individual consumer lifestyles. Enterprises around the globe are also rethinking their business processes and business models and how they can take advantage of the connected intelligence around us. As an industry, we have reached an annual run rate of $1.7 trillion in revenues. But how will the next trillion dollars be generated? Which services are going to dominate? Which players will get the lion share of the revenue stream? How will regulators regulate? How are we going to deal with the vexing issues of privacy and security? How will consumers adapt to the changing dynamics and will we truly realize the potential of the 4th wave? The next decade will yield the answers and determine the new winners of the mobile ecosystem.

In this paper, we make the case that we are in the beginning of the “Golden Age of Mobile” and discuss its impact and the early years of the transformation some of which we are already starting to see.

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Your feedback is always welcome.

Thanks

Chetan Sharma

We will be keeping a close eye on the trends in the wireless data sector in our blog, twitter feeds, future research reports, articles, and our annual thought-leadership summit – Mobile Future Forward. The next US Wireless Data Market update will be released in Nov 2014. The next Global Wireless Data Market update will be issued in Sept 2014.

Disclaimer: Some of the companies mentioned in this paper are our clients.

We will be discussing many of the ecosystem and technology issues, opportunities and challenges for the coming years in our annual mobile executive summit Mobile Future Forward on Sept 24th in Seattle. Some of the confirmed speakers are: Bill Ruh, VP - Global Software, GE; Tim Campos, CIO, Facebook; Erik Moreno, SVP, Fox Networks; Glenn Lurie, President, AT&T; Steve Mills, CIO, Motorola Mobility; Hank Skorny, VP/GM, Intel;Dr. John Saw, CNO, Sprint; JD Howard, VP/GM, Lenovo; Dave Webb, CIO, Equifax; Dr. Hassan Ahmed, CEO, Affirmed Networks; Mark Fernandes, Managing Dierctor, Sierra Ventures; Ujjal Kohli, Founder, Rhythm NewMedia; Vik Kathuria, Global Chief Media Officer, Razorfish; Erin Kienast, SVP, Starcom Worldwide; Josh Will, Senior Category Manager, Best Buy; Steve Elfman, President, Sprint; Glenn Laxdal, VP, Ericsson; Matt Grob, EVP/CTO, Qualcomm; Julie Woods-Moss, CMO, CEO of Nextgen Business, Tata Communications; David Richter, VP, Uber; Paul Brody, VP & Mobile Practice Leader, IBM; Mathew Oommen,President, Reliance ; Andreas Gal, CTO, Mozilla; Chris Putnam, SVP, Synchronoss; Brian Angiolet, SVP – Consumer Product Innovation, Verizon; Sharath Dorbala, Head of Mobile Financial Services, Amdocs; Rajeev Tankha, Senior Director – Applications, Oracle; Andy Chu, VP – mCommerce, Sears Holdings; Philip Fasano, EVP and CIO, Kaiser Permanente;Erik Ekudden, SVP, Ericsson, Benedict Evans, Partner, Andreessen Horowitz; Dr. Mani Prakash, VP - R&D, Covidien; Dr. Corrina Lathan, CEO, AnthroTronix; Chia Chen, SVP, Digitas; Eric Mugnier, SVP, M&C Saatchi Mobile; Rob Chandhok, President, Qualcomm, and many more to come. We hope to see you there for the brainstorm.

Mobile Future Forward: Mobile Advertising: Q&A with Erin Kienast, SVP Starcom August 13, 2014

Posted by chetan in : Chetan Sharma Consulting, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Future Forward , add a comment

“Advertising, once a gamble, has become under able direction, one of the safest of business ventures. Certainly no other enterprise with comparable possibilities need involve so little risk.”

- Claude Hopkins, Scientific Advertising, 1923

We are looking forward to welcoming you to our Mobile Future Forward Summit next month. We are doing interviews with some of the thought-leaders leading up to the event to give you a glimpse of the upcoming brainstorms. Mobile Advertising has been at the heart of the mobile economy. Seven years ago when I was co-authoring the book on the subject, it was clear to us that mobile will fundamentally transform advertising. Slowly but surely, we are getting there.

In our Mobile Advertising panel at the summit, with the help of some really experienced executives who deal with advertising day-in and day-out, we will explore the future direction of the advertising industry. One of the distinguished panelists is Erin Kienast, SVP at media agency Starcom USA. We caught up with Erin about her thoughts on the space.

MFF: What are some of the key characteristics of a very successful mobile advertising campaign? How do you measure success?

Erin: Success is dependent on overall campaign objectives so characteristics can vary drastically by initiative.  First and foremost content is king with mobile so having mobile ready content is critical to driving success.  Mobile offers such a small screen to deliver a message but it is one of the most impactful screens a marketer can deliver given personal nature of the device.  Clearly articulating success metrics at the start of the campaign is critical to understand what exactly you are trying to achieve.  Success can be measured at each phase of the purchase funnel; it is really dependent on what a marketer is trying to achieve.  Sufficient spend is one area that often goes unnoticed when executing mobile campaigns.  Mobile budgets still remain small compared to other mediums in market so spend is often passed over.  It is critical to make sure there is sufficient spend backing a campaign to sustain presence in the market and allow a campaign to achieve overall objectives.

MFF: The mobile advertising industry has grown tremendously in the last 5 years, however, still there are many challenges remain for it to fully realize its full potential. If you had the power to knock-off the top 2 issues that could change the industry landscape, what would those issues be?

Erin: The top two issues are:

o Measurement/ROI: Until there is consistent measurement in place and solid ROI data, marketers will still remain hesitant to shift a larger percentage of dollars in the space.  At the end of the day, marketers are tasked with moving product off of shelf and without having proven success that an investment is driving return, there will continue to be hesitancy.

o Content: Marketers and creative agencies are not prioritizing the building of mobile creative so we still do not understand the full creative capacity of the space.  Now, marketers rely on partners to build a large percentage of mobile creative which results in inconsistency across partners and with other media in market for a brand.

MFF: You have been in the media business for a long time. How has the mobile world changed the consumer expectations and behaviors?

Erin: Consumers expect a brand to be there in a meaningful way.  They are actually willing to provide personal information in return that they receive a meaningful brand experience.  That is a major shift from TV and print advertising where consumers are not providing personal information.  Consumers rely on mobile devices daily outside of previous work only usage.  Consumers rely on phones for directions, recommendations, socialization, shopping, photography, weather, almost everything consumers do in life involves a mobile device.  As a result, a brand must be there when a consumer is seeking them out but be there in a way that provides value.  Before consumers did not expect and sometimes did not want a brand to interrupt an experience.  Now it is welcomed if it is meaningful.

MFF: Where do you get your inspiration in creating unique solutions for clients?

Erin: I walk around and observe people in their natural environments on the streets, in restaurants, at sporting events, on public transportation, at the airport, etc.  Observing and noting human behavior provides with me with the opportunity to capture ways to improve lives that currently doesn’t exist.  People are inspiring, especially those I do not interact with daily.  I love observing human behavior because it sparks a level of creativity and pushes my previous boundaries of thought to brainstorm without boundaries.

I also like to imagine the unimaginable then find a way to make it happen, even if it takes baby steps to reach full capacity.  When it is said something cannot be done, I am inspired to find a way to make it happen and it’s proven successful time and time again.

MFF: As you look forward 2-3 years, what technology shifts in mobile excite you the most – things that will have a major impact on how advertising budgets are allocated?

Erin: Connectivity is the most exciting shift in my mind.  Connectivity in terms of connected home, connectivity in store via lighting/beacons/camera monitoring, wearables, etc.  Marketers are finding new ways to connect to consumers in more meaningful ways outside of a simple banner.  The ability to deliver a brand message in a new way fueled by connectivity and devices that create connectivity is going to advance our culture in the next few years.  The focus is less on traditional advertising outlets in the form of a banner and more on the technology.  Take a washer as an example.  Technology is advancing and these machines are becoming smart, connected to you mobile devices.  How does a washing machine trigger a notification to purchase more detergent where consumers can purchase directly from their phone or tablet? This is where the future will be focused, less on creating large spots/banners, more on partnering with technology company to align with human behavior.

US Mobile Market Update – Q2 2014 August 7, 2014

Posted by chetan in : 4th Wave, Chetan Sharma Consulting, Connected Devices, Fourth Wave, Mobile Applications, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Future Forward, Mobile Patents, Wearables, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , add a comment

US Mobile Market Update – Q2 2014

http://www.chetansharma.com/usmarketupdateq22014.htm

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Summary

The US mobile services revenues in Q2 2014 declined marginally by over $200M. The mobile data services revenue however continued to increase and is on track to exceed the $100B mark in mobile data services revenue. Data contribution to the overall revenues is now at 55%.

T-Mobile continued to outperform its competitors in net-adds. T-Mobile has almost recovered all its postpaid losses that started back in Q3 2009 and continued till Q1 2013. It should move into the positive territory next quarter. T-Mobile also crossed the 50M sub mark and is now within a striking distance of Sprint and could become the number 3 operator in the country before early 2015.

AT&T registered the lowest postpaid churn in its history at 0.86. For the industry buffs, the US record is held by Verizon which recorded the churn of 0.84 in Q2 2012. The world record is held by NTT DoCoMo for its churn of 0.44 in Q2 2010. In general, Japanese have the most loyal customer base in the world.

The net-adds in the US market is now primarily driven by connected devices (tablets and m2m). 84% of the net-adds in Q2 2014 were from the non-phone category. Tablets are driving the connected devices segment with 70% share. The net-effect has been that while the overall subscriber count has increased, there has been a negative impact on the ARPU which declined by 2.27%. All operators saw their ARPU decline.

Smartphone penetration increased to 70% and roughly 93% of the devices sold now are smartphones. Android beat iOS handedly in the quarter. For the first time, Verizon sold more iPhones than AT&T.

M&A Season

From 2005 to almost 2008, the combined entity of Sprint and T-Mobile would have been the #1 operator in the US. Up until 2004, the “Others” were collectively the number #1 operator in the US. However, through a series of acquisitions, exclusive device deals, and just better business performance, Verizon and AT&T have dominated the mobile landscape in the US since 2007. Now, AT&T and Verizon are tied at the top while the market awaits the question mark on how the #3 will shape up. Iliad provided some market entertainment that kept media scratching its head with its offer to buy T-Mobile last week. It was an unattractive proposition as it doesn’t fundamentally offer to alter the US market structure. There are other global operators who are eying T-Mobile as a way to enter the lucrative US market. It might all come down to how desperate is DT to offload T-Mobile.

Yesterday, Sprint abandoned its pursuit of T-Mobile and probably saved itself a couple of billion dollars of break-up fee. The regulatory hurdle in the current environment of mega-mergers was just too high to overcome at this time.

So, will there be further consolidation in the mobile industry? Short answer is – Yes. The only question is about the timing. As we noted in the last note, T-Mobile has complicated things by being successful in the short-term. A third player with 30% market share will of course be better but T-Mobile has been able to change the market by being the fourth at 15%.

Is Windows Phone getting Zuned Out of the Market?

In 2012, we described “Zuned Out” as a phenomenon wherein the market punishes the player (even incumbents and dominant ones) for late entry into the market. The fast follower strategy that had served Microsoft so well for a couple of decades is no longer a useful framework for competing. Either one needs to be a “really fast follower” like Samsung (though they did invent the big-screen device segment that Apple is now following) or a trend setter like Apple/Google to have some command of the control points in the ecosystem.

Google was tempted by the lure of the device business and to some extent was forced to buy Motorola. It took 10 quarters to realize that the device business is a different beast, that there was a DNA mismatch, but the exercise did provide some key business insights to the management team. Google shed the device business and kept its partners happy. Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia followed a similar pattern. Nokia threatened to go Android and Microsoft had no choice but to acquire the beleaguered company that has been just devastated since it picked up Windows as its primary OS. It was clearly a mistake both by Nokia first and Microsoft after that. The new CEO (to his credit) shed a good part of the business in a mere 3 quarters (a clear admission of a mistake). While the impending decimation of the once vaunted Finnish brand was very obvious, the bigger question in front of Microsoft is “what to do with Nokia that’s remaining?” The current plan is to continue churning out the Lumia devices at different price points and see what happens.

As is well known, Microsoft is very strong in the enterprise and in the cloud. Will the new “productivity and platforms” strategy look at the market facts and focus on where the company can be a player and invent new categories and experiences? Or will it focus on just chasing the competitors that have infatuated it over the last decade? Productivity is more than Office and Platforms have moved to iOS/Android. The “core” of the computing market is very different from what it used to be.

The market share of the windows devices in the US last quarter was 1.3%. Globally, it fared marginally better at 2.7%. Granted that in some countries, Windows is starting to approach double digit market share, even Microsoft admits its mobile strategy is in shambles. After being in the US market for more than 2 years with billions spent in marketing and distribution, 1.3% share is nothing to write home about. Microsoft can get better traction in markets where new-subs are entering the ecosystem vs. replacement markets like the US. However, what market is telling us is that despite the blood, sweat, and tears that have been spent over the past few quarters, there is little appetite or need for another platform.

Also, there is this issue of competing with your partners – Microsoft outperforms its ecosystem partners by a distance. I wrote at the launch of the new windows OS that is was a fresh approach, the OS is very well designed and the devices coming out a quite good. However, the current data indicates that unless something changes drastically, windows phones might be on the verge of being “zuned out” of the market. And just like Zune, the fault will lie not in the product or the distribution or the marketing but rather in the timing of the market entry. Microsoft might be better off giving up on its device dream and just focus on services on top of the platforms that dominate. It might be time for hermit crab strategy.

IBM-Apple deal

Intuitively, we have known for a while that the application development environment was moving from windows to iOS and Android. In 2012, we actually measured that shift and found that SMBs were moving to the new platforms in droves. The paper concluded:

“We believe that the SMB segment is a leading indicator of how larger enterprises and consumers in general will adopt mobile data solutions to enhance productivity and reduce costs.”

Fast forward 2 years. Last month, IBM and Apple announced their historic deal that woke up lot of people in the enterprise world. Apple is just looking to find a more efficient channel into the enterprise to sell iOS devices but IBM’s embrace means that the investment in iOS UX and app infrastructure will start to move more directly. Given that IBM is positioned well in all important enterprises across all industry verticals is a big coup for Apple. It also demonstrably indicates the shift from Windows to iOS and Android as the computing platform of choice.

Amazon phone

Amazon phone has been talked about for more than three years. It finally arrived but disappointed. While there were some interesting tech innovations seamed together to provide some differentiation, without any service pricing innovation (and the fact that it is only available on one operator), its fate seems similar to that of the Facebook phone.

Unraveling of Nokia

The mobile (more broadly digital) markets continuously remind us how brutal can the markets be if one is not quick enough to adjust strategies. As the old saying goes, “the bigger they are, the harder they fall.” Motorola was founded in 1928 and only a skeleton of the old glorious days remain as a subsidiary of Lenovo. An 80+ year old firm disappeared very quickly.

In the case of Nokia, the decomposition was even more stunning. A company founded in 1865 had 40%+ of the phone market only 7 years ago, employed tens of thousands of employees around the globe. After the latest round of rightsizing, only a few thousand remain (at least for the short term). Blackberry experienced a similar slide downwards. The cycle of complacency spares no one. The bigger the host, the more lethal the complacency virus is. This decomposition process is actually healthy for the ecosystem. Though the process is traumatic for those who are in the middle of it, it lays the fertile ground for new ideas and startups to germinate, and the cycle continues.

The bifurcation of the wearables market

After visiting the show floor at CES in January, we noted that “The space is going to get commoditized very quickly and it is likely going to get stratified into two major buckets – really cheap $10-20 wearables. The other bucket will be high-end fashion driven wearables.”

Last month, Xiaomi released a $13 tracker and Apple is expected to announce its wearable next month. The mid-market will mostly disappear.

What to expect in the coming months?

2014 has had an excellent start and rest of the year is looking great with a slew of announcements and activities planned for the rest of the year. We have already seen some massive moves, astounding acquisitions, and interesting strategic moves.

As usual, we will be keeping a very close eye on the micro- and macro-trends and reporting on the market on a regular basis in various private and public settings.

Against this backdrop, the analysis of the Q2 2014 US wireless data market is:

Service Revenues

ARPU

Subscribers

Shared Data Plans

4th Wave Progress

Connected Devices

Handsets 

Mobile Patents/IP

Your feedback is always welcome.

Chetan Sharma

We will be keeping a close eye on the trends in the wireless data sector in our blog, twitter feeds, future research reports, articles, and our annual thought-leadership summit – Mobile Future Forward. The next US Wireless Data Market update will be released in Nov 2014. The next Global Wireless Data Market update will be issued in Sept 2014.

Disclaimer: Some of the companies mentioned in this paper are our clients.

We will be discussing many of the ecosystem and technology issues, opportunities and challenges for the coming years in our annual mobile executive summit Mobile Future Forward on Sept 24th in Seattle. Some of the confirmed speakers are: Bill Ruh, VP, GE; Tim Campos, CIO, Facebook; Erik Moreno, SVP, Fox Networks; Glenn Lurie, President, AT&T; Steve Mills, CIO, Motorola Mobility; Hank Skorny, VP/GM, Intel; Dr. John Saw, CNO, Sprint; JD Howard, VP/GM, Lenovo; Dave Webb, CIO, Equifax; Dr. Hassan Ahmed, CEO, Affirmed Networks; Mark Fernandez, Managing Partner, Sierra Ventures; Ujjal Kohli, Founder, Rhythm NewMedia; Vik Kathuria, Global Chief Media Officer, Razorfish; Erin Kienast, SVP, Starcom Worldwide; Josh Will, Senior Category Manager, Best Buy; Steve Elfman, President, Sprint; Paul McNamara, VP, Ericsson; Matt Grob, EVP/CTO, Qualcomm; Julie Woods-Moss, CMO, CEO of Nextgen Business, Tata Communications; David Richter, VP, Uber; Paul Brody, VP & Mobile Practice Leader, IBM; Mathew Oommen, President, Reliance ; Andreas Gal, CTO, Mozilla; Chris Putnam, SVP, Synchronoss; Fareed Adib, Global Head of Telecom Partnerships, Google; Brian Angiolet, SVP – Consumer Product Innovation, Verizon; Sharath Dorbala, Head of Mobile Financial Services, Amdocs; Rajeev Tankha, Senior Director – Applications, Oracle; Andy Chu, VP – mCommerce, Sears Holdings; Philip Fasano, EVP and CIO, Kaiser Permanente; Erik Ekudden, SVP, Ericsson, and many more to come. We hope to see you there for the brainstorm.

Mobile Future Forward: Connected Living and Lessons from Emerging Markets July 30, 2014

Posted by chetan in : Connected Devices, Emerging Markets, Mobile Future Forward, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , add a comment

In one of my interview with Time magazine last year, I alluded to the “Connected Intelligence Era” that is slowly but surely touching the various technology microcosms. It is transforming how we live and expect technology to behave. Glenn Lurie at AT&T has been investing in “Connected Living” products and services for well over 5 years in areas such as home security, health, and connected cars. Similarly, Tom Nagel is leading Comcast’s strategic initiatives to drive value from a connected home. Chris Putnam at Synchronoss has been working with service providers to help make some of these visions possible. We will explore the multi-trillion dollar “Connected Living” market with some of the leading global experts in the space.

Not too long ago, emerging markets used to follow the developed markets in technology adoption. While some of it is still true, many emerging markets are adapting and leapfrogging at a fast pace. Companies operating in India and China are often coming up with innovative solutions for the constrained environment and the lessons can be applied anywhere. We are fortunate to have two industry leaders who are leading the way. Mathew Oommen is a long time industry veteran who is doing some terrific technology work at Reliance. Similarly, Andreas Gal is leading Mozilla in mobile in LatAm and Asia.

Opportunities in Connected Living

· Glenn Lurie, President, AT&T

· Tom Nagel, SVP, Comcast Cable

· Chris Putnam, SVP, Synchronoss

Lessons from the Emerging Markets

· Mathew Oommen, President, Reliance

· Andreas Gal, CTO, Mozilla

We at Chetan Sharma Consulting are deeply involved in these changes and use our global mobile executive brainstorm forum to kick-off another year of ideas, networking, and industry collaboration. Our work on the 4th wave has shaped strategies of players around the world and we continue to strive to bring you the best of “global mobile thinking” at Mobile Future Forward.

When: Sept 24th in Seattle.

Registration

We are excited to partner with the industry leaders and thank them for their ongoing support: Amdocs, Ericsson, Intel, Oracle, Qualcomm, Synchronoss, and Tata Communications.

Some of the confirmed industry leaders are:

· Dan Hesse, CEO, Sprint

· Bill Ruh, VP, GE

· Tim Campos, CIO, Facebook

· Erik Moreno, SVP, Fox Networks

· Glenn Lurie, President, AT&T

· Steve Mills, CIO, Motorola Mobility

· Hank Skorny, VP/GM, Intel

· Dr. John Saw, CNO, Sprint

· JD Howard, VP/GM, Lenovo

· Dave Webb, CIO, Equifax

· Dr. Hassan Ahmed, CEO, Affirmed Networks

· Mark Fernandez, Managing Partner, Sierra Ventures

· Ujjal Kohli, Founder, Rhythm NewMedia

· Vik Kathuria, Global Chief Media Officer, Razorfish

· Erin Kienast, SVP, Starcom Worldwide

· Josh Will, Senior Category Manager, Best Buy

· Steve Elfman, President, Sprint

· Jason Hoffman, VP, Ericsson

· Matt Grob, EVP/CTO, Qualcomm

· Julie Woods-Moss, CMO, CEO of Nextgen Business, Tata Communications

· David Richter, VP, Uber

· Paul Brody, VP & Mobile Practice Leader, IBM

· Tom Nagel, SVP, Comcast Cable

· Mathew Oommen, President, Reliance

· Andreas Gal, CTO, Mozilla

· Chris Putnam, SVP, Synchronoss

.. more to come

We will be announcing new speakers and partners through the course of the summer and look forward to seeing you in September.

Thanks

Mobile Future Forward: Enterprise Mobility: IBM July 24, 2014

Posted by chetan in : US Wireless Market , add a comment

Last week Apple and IBM announced their historic Enterprise Mobility deal. Microsoft in a series of memos and presentations this month declared that it is essentially betting the company on redefining productivity. In one of the hottest mobile segments – IoT – Enterprises are the ones who are driving the most revenue and tangible value. Enterprise mobility is getting redefined in so many respects – from the use of sensors to drive tactical decisions, from securing a global and mobile workforce, from creating collaborative moments of productivity, from putting true “analysis” and “data” at the fingertips of managers and field engineers, that it will see a complete transformation of what the world thinks of enterprise mobility. We saw some of these trends coming in our work with AT&T last year.

The Apple/IBM deal can have a significant impact on how enterprises use devices and think of applications. We are fortunate to have Paul Brody, VP and Mobile Practice Leader at IBM, one of the leaders who was behind this deal from day 1, to talk about how enterprises worldwide are thinking about mobility, workflows, operations, ROI, and business models. Paul has a deep global understanding of the enterprise challenges and has the experience of coming up with solutions. He joins a stellar cast of leaders to discuss the present and the future of enterprise mobility.

Rethinking Enterprise Mobility

· Tim Campos, CIO, Facebook

· Steve Mills, CIO, Motorola Mobility

· Dave Webb, CIO, Equifax

· Paul Brody, VP/Mobile Practice Leader, IBM

· Mark Fernandez, Managing Partner, Sierra Ventures (moderator)

We at Chetan Sharma Consulting are deeply involved in these changes and use our global mobile executive brainstorm forum to kick-off another year of ideas, networking, and industry collaboration. Our work on the 4th wave has shaped strategies of players around the world and we continue to strive to bring you the best of “global mobile thinking” at Mobile Future Forward.

When: Sept 24th in Seattle.

Registration (Summer Saver Expires 7/25 – Friday)

We are excited to partner with the industry leaders and thank them for their ongoing support: Ericsson, Intel, Oracle, Qualcomm, Synchronoss, and Tata Communications.

Some of the confirmed industry leaders are:

· Dan Hesse, CEO, Sprint

· Bill Ruh, VP, GE

· Tim Campos, CIO, Facebook

· Erik Moreno, SVP, Fox Networks

· Glenn Lurie, President, AT&T

· Steve Mills, CIO, Motorola Mobility

· Hank Skorny, VP/GM, Intel

· Dr. John Saw, CNO, Sprint

· JD Howard, VP/GM, Lenovo

· Dave Webb, CIO, Equifax

· Dr. Hassan Ahmed, CEO, Affirmed Networks

· Mark Fernandez, Managing Partner, Sierra Ventures

· Ujjal Kohli, Founder, Rhythm NewMedia

· Vik Kathuria, Global Chief Media Officer, Razorfish

· Erin Kienast, SVP, Starcom Worldwide

· Josh Will, Senior Category Manager, Best Buy

· Steve Elfman, President, Sprint

· Jason Hoffman, VP, Ericsson

· Matt Grob, EVP/CTO, Qualcomm

· Julie Woods-Moss, CMO, CEO of Nextgen Business, Tata Communications

· David Richter, VP, Uber

· Paul Brody, VP & Mobile Practice Leader, IBM

.. more to come

We will be announcing new speakers and partners through the course of the summer and look forward to seeing you in September.

Thanks

Mobile Breakfast Series–IoT–London July 3, 2014

Posted by chetan in : 4th Wave, Chetan Sharma Consulting, Internet of Things, IoT, Mobile Breakfast Series, Mobile Ecosystem, Mobile Future Forward, Smart Cities, Wireless Value Chain, Worldwide Wireless Market , add a comment

We hosted our Europe Mobile Breakfast Series in London last month in partnership with Telefonica and they have been gracious host for the series. The topic of discussion was “Internet of Things: Exploring the next big thing in mobile.” Regular readers will notice that it is the same topic we covered in our Seattle breakfast event in March. IoT is gaining lot of share of the news cycle and investments from big companies like GE and Caterpillar to startups like Fitbit and Smart Things. Many traditional computing and communications players like Telefonica, AT&T, Intel, Qualcomm, Microsoft, Google and others are also plunging full-steam ahead into the segment.

I have written about the notion of the coming “Golden Age of Mobile” and IoT, IMHO fits right into that growth strategy. In previous notes, I suggested that:

It is very clear to us that we are entering the ‘Connected Intelligence’ era. These two operative words are going to define the next phase of human evolution and are going to dramatically change every industry vertical from the ground up.

We are starting to see the signs in all directions. We had assembled a great panel to delve into some of the early opportunities, solutions to problems, and the traction areas. Executives from BMW, Intel, Telefonica, and Worldsensing were at hand to share their opinions and experiences in the space.

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Dominik Fromm is responsible for expanding BMW Group’s Mobility Services in the United Kingdom under the BMW, MINI and BMW i brands. Strategy, Mobility and Financial Services have been his professional focus in recent years. The current work builds on this wealth of experience, gained whilst working in the United Kingdom and in BMW’s global headquarters in Munich.

Raine Bergstrom is a vice president in the Software and Services Group at Intel Corporation and general manager of API Services. He takes the lead on market and product definition, as well as the execution of API management. He also defines the IoT Services Platform strategy, helping deliver a true end-to-end IoT solution for some of Intel’s largest customers.

Carlos de otto Morera is an economist educated in the United Kingdom. He has now 15 years of international experience including entrepreneurial experience in mobile, hardware and Internet startups. Created the largest online music platform in Spain from 2008 till 2012. Deeply passionate about his job designing and manufacturing connected products. Currently running Thinking Things, connected Hardware initiative from Telefónica.

Mischa Dohler is Chair Professor in Wireless Communications at King’s College London, UK. He is Distinguished Lecturer of IEEE ComSoc, Senior Member of the IEEE, and Editor-in-Chief of ETT. He frequently features as keynote speaker and had press coverage by BBC and Wall Street Journal. He is a tech company investor and also entrepreneur, being the cofounder, former CTO and now with the Board of Directors of Worldsensing.

So, as you can see, we had quite an eclectic group of individuals with diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

To recap, as we stand today, here are some of the forecasts:

In 2011, Ericsson forecasted 50 Billion Connected Devices by 2020

In 2012, Cisco agreed with the forecast and said they too expect the same number of connected devices and in 2013 came out with a paper talking about a $14.4 Trillion economy powered by IoE

In 2013, GE came out with their research and paper on the Industrial Internet powered by sensors and calculated that we could see $10-15 trillion dollar impact on the GDP in the next 20 years.

The salient points of the discussions were:

Overall, it was a great discussion on the practical aspects of IoT and the audience was great in keeping us honest. I always enjoy interacting with the London mobile crowd and this time was no different. My thanks to the attendees, the partners, the speakers, and to Telefonica for making this event possible.

Given the importance of the topic, we will be dealing with it again at our annual summit Mobile Future Forward on Sept 24th in Seattle and will have more speakers talking about their perspectives and experiences on IoT including GE.