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LTE and Family Data Plans January 25, 2012

Posted by chetan in : US Wireless Market , 4 comments

Couple of Cameo appearances:

MSNBC – Talking LTE along with the CTOs of the top 4 US operators

CNBC – Talked to Jon Fortt about Family Data Plans – They are coming

CES 2012 Impressions January 16, 2012

Posted by chetan in : US Wireless Market , 2 comments

CES 2012 Impressions

The Grand Slam of electronic gadgets brought back the faithful to the sin city of Las Vegas to indulge in the future of electronics, gadgets, and consumer behavior. This note summarizes my observations from the CES show.

Pass the baton – CES is turning into a wireless show. With Microsoft no longer leading the keynotes in future editions, my vote will be for Qualcomm’s Paul Jacobs who gave a fun and eloquent keynote himself to occupy the opening keynote next year.

Connected Everything – Our theme for last year’s Mobile Future Forward was “Connected Universe, Unlimited Opportunities.” It was one of the central themes of this year’s CES (and is likely to be for many more years). From health monitors to Sony Vita, from treadmills to autos, connectivity is driving new features, behavior, and hopefully consumer demand.

Gesturize Everything – Touch is for oldies, gesture (wave and voice) is driving the new interactions. If you thought talking to machines was weird, well! get used to it. Starting with TVs, autos, gaming devices, and PCs, gesture based computing is invading the internals of electronic devices everywhere.

Microsoft/Nokia resurgence? – Nokia’s Elop was everywhere to help introduce the windows devices in North America. AT&T could do to Windows devices what Verizon did to Android – give it a boost that is. While the OS is fresh and elegant, the consumer interest has been tepid. Though there are a number of things that could go wrong with pricing, execution, and marketing, at least they have some operator allies in the North American market this time around.

1K is so yesterday, 4K/8K is in – TV manufacturers touted higher resolution 4k/8k displays. Never mind the content in new formats won’t be available for months. However, the displays are getting sharper with exquisite clarity. It is a great time to be a consumer.

Live Mobile TV, No it is not dead yet – I have been a believer in broadcast mobile video. Dyle could succeed where Mediaflo failed; it just needs to get the top tier operators behind the endeavor.

Waterproof is the new black – It seemed like the OEMs have been reading from research that consumers are not aware off. They either expect us to start using the tablets and phones in shower or start colonizing oceans in search of greener pastures. Almost all OEMs had their devices in “hold-your-nose-and-dip-in-water” mode.

Chinese are coming – Pretty soon “Made in China” will also mean conceptualized and designed in China. The Japanese and Korean gizmo manufacturers should be bracing for a tough slug in the months ahead. Chinese brands are starting to make an impact on the show floor, often a precursor to the impression on the global marketplace.

You say MacBook Air Imitators, I say Ultrabooks – Intel and partners were out in full force to demonstrate that sleek designs can go hand-in-hand with windows as well. It is not a substantially new category, will just eat the share from notebooks.

Intel’s entry into smartphones – Will they, won’t they? The question of when will Intel be a player in the mobile space has been out there for a while. Intel’s partnership with Motorola + the OS partnership with Samsung is its attempt to alter the mobile ecosystem. While our Predictions Panel gave man finding water on Mars a higher probability than a new mobile ecosystem emerging, Intel might be one to watch.

3D Printers – Having a birthday party, no problem! Something new and cool, now you can print kids’ toys right from your desk. It will set you back $1300 but you will be the geekiest dad on the block.

Phablets – Getting tired of phones? tablets? How about Phablets with your morning tea sir? Samsung’s Note is trying to convince customers that hybrid is all they need for making phone calls or drawing a portrait for an art gallery. OEMs are launching devices for every inch in the range of 4” to 12” and see what sticks.

Tablet Bloodbath – There were so many tablet launches at CES that it is hard to keep track of them. One thing most of them had in common – no pricing, no launch dates which is generally a precursor to their trip to the graveyard of electronics.

Home Energy Networking – If your home lights are starting to flicker without any sane reason, there is a good chance that someone has gotten a hold of your WiFi router which controls your house’s electric outlets via adaptors that are about to flood the market. Other devices for the home like kitchen tablets etc. have also started pouring in.

AT&T Developer Summit – The mobile developer summit was very well executed, full with announcements (how about free unlimited API access for one year), buzz, and gravitas. Google would have been proud.

The ghost of Apple – As usual, the ghost’s presence was felt at the show (including some execs in human flesh).

Coolest demo – For me it was Samsung’s transparent window. Gives a new meaning to window shopping.

Coolest toy – My vote goes to Parrot’s AR.Drone. Will set you back $300 but will make you the neighborhood ninja. What was missing was a drone that can carry humans so they don’t have to walk 50,000 CES miles in one day.

Coolest booth – Auto industry can teach a thing or two about stacking up the booths. Audi with its blindingly fluorescent lights and futuristic concept cars was quite impressive with Mercedes Benz a close second. LG with its massive 3D TV wall was also quite impressive.

CES Star of the Show – Samsung with its omnipresence dominating virtually every important CE category has to be the most dominating player in the industry. Of course, Apple gives its Korean counterpart run for its money but Samsung made its presence felt with a slew of devices, future vision, and an integrated view of the world.

Your feedback is always welcome.



We will be keeping a close eye on the trends in the wireless data sector in our blog, twitter feeds, future research reports, and articles. The next US Wireless Data Market update will be released in Feb 2012. The next Global Wireless Data Market update will be issued in Apr 2012.

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

2012 Mobile Industry Predictions Survey January 3, 2012

Posted by chetan in : 3G,4G,AORTA,Applications,ARPU,BRIC,Carnival of Mobilists,Carriers,Connected Devices,CTIA,Disruption,Enterprise Mobility,European Wireless Market,Indian Wireless Market,Infrastructure,Intellectual Property,IP Strategy,Japan Wireless Market,Location Based Services,M&A,Mergers and Acquisitions,Messaging,Microsoft Mobile,Middleware,Mobile Advertising,Mobile Applications,Mobile Breakfast Series,Mobile Cloud Computing,Mobile Commerce,Mobile Content,Mobile Ecosystem,Mobile Entertainment,Mobile Future,Mobile Future Forward,Mobile Gaming,Mobile Payments,Mobile Search,Mobile Traffic,Networks,Patent Strategies,Privacy,Smart Phones,Speaking Engagements,Speech Recognition,US Wireless Market,Wi-Fi,Wireless Value Chain,Worldwide Wireless Market , 12 comments

2012 Mobile Industry Predictions Survey


Download PDF


First things first. From all of us at Chetan Sharma Consulting, we wish you and yours a very happy, healthy, and prosperous 2012. My thanks to all who participated in our 2012 Mobile Predictions Annual Survey. It gives our community an insider’s view of trends.

2011 was a terrific year for the mobile industry. With all its ups and down, consumers embraced devices, applications, services, and technology with more gusto than ever before. In the waning hours of 2011, we crossed the 6 billion subscriptions milestone. While the first billion took 19 years, this last billion only took 15 months.

Smartphones are selling like hot cakes. We estimate that by the end of Q4 2011, over 60% of the devices sold in the US were smartphones and over 30% of the global sales were for the evolved brethren of the primordial featurephones. Sparked by insatiable consumer demand for mobile data, LTE and HSPA+ networks are sprouting all over the planet with US leading the charge for broadband deployment.

Our annual survey is a way for us to engage our community on the trends for the next year. We put some of the pressing questions to our colleagues and industry leaders. We are able to glean some valuable insights from their choices and comments, some tangible shifts, and get a sense of what’s to come. Executives, developers, and insiders (n=150) from leading mobile companies and startups from across the value chain and around the world participated to help see what 2012 might bring to keep us on our toes. What makes this survey unique is that it draws upon the collective wisdom of folks who are at the center of the mobile evolution.

Fifteen names were randomly drawn for the limited edition of the Mobile Future Forward 2011 book. The winners are:

  1. Tor Bjorn Minde, Head of Ericsson Labs, Ericsson

  2. Sunder Somasundaram, Industry Solutions Practice Director, AT&T

  3. C. Enrique Ortiz, Mobile Technologist, About Mobility

  4. Russell Buckley, CMO, Eagle Eye

  5. Marianne Marck, VP – Engineering, Starbucks

  6. John Foster, President, ZED USA

  7. Angel Luis Saez, Sr. Director, Orange Spain

  8. Dilip Mistry, Senior Director, Microsoft Asia

  9. Phyllis Reuther, Advanced Analytics Lab, Sprint

  10. Gene Keenan, VP of Mobile, Isobar

  11. Elizabeth Day, Director of Finance, Trilogy International

  12. Alan Cole, Research Staff Member, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center

  13. X J Wang, VP – GM China, Vesta Corp

  14. Michelle Lee, Director, SK Telecom

  15. Hemant Chandak, Sr. Analyst, Cisco Systems

Thanks again to everyone who contributed. We will be calling on you again next year. It has been a terrific year for us at Chetan Sharma Consulting and we are looking forward to an engaging and productive 2012.

Be well, do good work, and stay in touch.

Thanks and with warm wishes,

Your feedback is always welcome.


Chetan Sharma

Now onto the 2012 Mobile Industry Predictions Survey Results.


1. What was most newsworthy in Mobile 2011?


Android had a spectacular rise in 2011 around the globe. Android OEMs collectively shipped the most number of devices and while margins shrank, they were able to put a united front to iOS. 2011 will always be remembered for the passing away of the industry transformer Steve Jobs. His work directly or indirectly touched billions of souls around the planet, many times over – something rarest of human beings are able to achieve in their life time. Regulatory tussles and significant increase in IP disputes also occupied the headlines. Amazon announced its intention for the mobile space with the launch of Kindle Fire.

2. What will be the biggest mobile stories of 2012?


As we look towards 2012, our panel voted for the continued growth of mobile data as the biggest story followed by Amazon’s entry into the mobile space. Some key questions for the year are: Will Microsoft/Nokia devices will make any meaningful progress? Will RIM survive the year? How does Google manage the fragmentation, decline in margins (for the OEMs), and the IP issues? Will any high-profile security and privacy mishaps lead to more regulatory entanglements? Facebook IPO and its mobile ambitions? How do operators manage the data demand? Which M&As will capture industry’s attention? Will Apple continue to dominate on both smartphone and tablet front? What does Apple do with mobile payments? and much more. Clearly, it is going to be a terrific year.

3. Who will be the most open player in the mobile ecosystem in 2012?


File this in the “perception is reality” folder. Despite all the criticism, Google has maintained its strong position as the most open player in the mobile industry.

4. What applications will define 4G?


Still looking for a killer-4G app? Video, cloud computing, and access will continue to drive 4G demand and growth.

5. What will be the breakthrough category in mobile in 2012?


For a second year in a row, the panel voted for mobile payments and mobile commerce as the top two category that will find their voice. Mobile advertising has become mainstream so it lost its ranking in the top 3.

6. What will be the most popular consumer mobile applications in 2012?


Apps preferences vary by regions depending on a whole range of factors. Messaging and Commerce are the top two categories for the developing world while consumers in the developed nations are likely to gravitate towards commerce and location based services.

7. Which will be the most dominant (unit sales) tablet platform in 2 years?


iOS and Android will dominate the tablet landscape for the next 24 months. A late entry by Windows 8 tablets could make a dent but don’t count on it.

8. Who will make the biggest mobile acquisition in 2012?


2011 had its fair share of block-buster acquisitions, some successful while others were not. Our panel expects Microsoft and Google to continue making the biggest acquisitions.

9. How will the "Apps vs. Mobile Web" debate shape up in 2012?


It seems like the pendulum is swinging towards the mobile web though hybrid solutions are likely to stay with us for a long time.

10. Who will define the mobile payment/commerce space?


The financial companies safely locked in the mobile payments space and while the value chain is fairly complicated and definition confusion abounds, the likes of Visa, Operators and Google will continue to drive the payments/commerce space.

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


Managing data growth and margins drives all strategies at mobile operators these days which in turns drives the value chain. 4G, tiered pricing, and mobile offload continue to be the top solutions if one has the spectrum that is.

12. Which category will generate the most mobile data revenue in 2012?


Messaging, access, apps, and advertising are the four broad categories that drive mobile data revenues around the world. The developing markets rely on messaging while the developed markets are increasingly looking to access as their dominant form of revenue generation.

13. What will help mobile cloud computing gain traction in 2012?


Mobile cloud computing will continue to be defined by enterprise, storage, and media needs.

14. Which enterprise segment will mobile impact the most?


Best buy is becoming the next Circuit City. Other retailers will follow unless they can successful reinvent themselves. Health is more regulatory driven so the progress will be slow though it is ripe for a complete overhaul and developing nations are moving much faster in this space.

15. What will be the dominant revenue model for apps in 2012?


In-app revenue model made good strides in 2011 but the combination of the various available revenue models will be the norm for most application developers.

16. What mode of mobile payments will get traction in North America and Western Europe in 2012?


2011 was the year to set the ground work for growth in the mobile payments space. Given the investment and focus, we are likely to see more movement and consumer involvement in 2012 with proximity based solutions and commerce of physical goods on mobile.

17. What will be the most successful non-mobile-phone category in 2012?


Tablets dominate. Period.

18. Which of the following are likely to happen in the near future?


The is a significant shift in computing taking place right in front of our eyes wherein tablets are replacing laptops and even desktops in the enterprise. European operators have been experiencing tough times while some of the Asian operators are flush with cash, they might make their move in 2012 though regulatory hurdles might prove to be an issue. 33% of the nations will have elections in 2012, maybe which will move mobile voting to the forefront in some nations. Our panel thought there is a better chance of humans discovering water on another planet than rise of another significant mobile OS.

19. Which areas will feel the most impact from Regulators in 2012?


Net-neutrality and market competitiveness will keep the regulators busy in 2012.

20. Who was the mobile person of the year?


Clearly, Steve Jobs was an easy choice but who will replace him 2012? Jeff Bezos has an early lead followed by Andy Rubin and Mark Zuckerberg. Angry Birds representing the developer community will be in for another terrific year. Other honorable mentions were Tim Cook, Paul Jacobs, Sanjiv Ahuja, Dan Hesse, and Glenn Lurie.

A lot to look forward to in the New Year. My thanks to all who participated and we hope you found it useful as you embark on your journey for a successful 2012.

We will be keeping a close eye on the trends in the wireless data sector in our blog, twitter feeds, future research reports, and articles. The next US Wireless Data Market update will be released in Feb 2012. The next Global Wireless Data Market update will be issued in Apr 2012.

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