#TBT: 25 Mbps, too fast?; Predictions for IoT’s next phase; Sony buys Altair … this week in 2016 – RCR Wireless News

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Editor’s Note: RCR Wireless News goes all in for “Throwback Thursdays,” tapping into our archives to resuscitate the top headlines from the past. Fire up the time machine, put on the sepia-tinted shades, set the date for #TBT and enjoy the memories!

Hold up there, sonny, with your fancy 25 Mbps

A group of six U.S. senators this week told the Federal Communications Commission its current broadband benchmark of 25 megabits per second download speeds, 3 Mbps upload speeds could potentially dissuade service providers wary of increased regulation. Senators Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) sent a letter articulating their concerns to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. Last year the FCC changed its broadband benchmark speeds from 4 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload speeds to the new standard. The senators called the new speed thresholds “arbitrary” and pointed out the Connect America Fund, which subsidizes rural broadband deployments with federal dollars, requires service providers to provide 10 Mbps down, 1 Mbps up. … Read more

Ericsson talks smart cities

On this episode of HetNet Happenings, host Sean Kinney takes a look at Ericsson initiatives and solutions geared toward enabling the smart cities of the future. Smart cities combine virtually everything RCR Wireless News covers — access networks, densification, the “Internet of Things,” autonomous driving and more — and uses those different technologies to create a smart city that could potentially change the quality-of-life for millions of people all at once. Ericsson refers to this as the “Connected Industry & Society” in their programming. To get a good understanding of what that means, we spoke to Ericsson’s head of connected industries Alejandro Ferrer to get a high-level overview of the company’s strategy. These clips were filmed on location at the CES 2016 event. … Read more

Jobs, Industry 4.0 and more at WEF

One issue being discussed by world business leaders at this year’s World Economic Forum is the so-called fourth industrial revolution in which connected machines will take over many manual labor jobs. Many are concerned this will be disruptive to the workforce as humans are put out of work and left with little applicable skills in the changing industrial environment. To address this issue, the Forum put out a report called “The Future of Jobs.” According to respondents of the survey “on average, by 2020, more than a third of the desired core skill sets of most occupations will be comprised of skills that are not yet considered crucial to the job today.“ The reports also finds “current trends could lead to a net employment impact of more than 5.1 million jobs lost to disruptive labor market changes over the period 2015–2020, with a total loss of 7.1 million jobs.” … Read more

2016 predictions for IoT’s next phase

Businesses around the world are starting to invest in the “Internet of Things,” and these companies are starting to understand how investments in connecting the physical world to the internet will positively affect their bottom line. Tata Consultancy Services released a global research study earlier this year, which surveyed 800 executives from multinational corporates throughout the world, and found these business leaders see their IoT investments directly contributing to revenue gain, citing increases ranging between 15% and 64%. It seems the promise of IoT was enough for many corporations to invest in 2015, with 7% planning to make major investments of $500 million or more and another 12% planning for $100 million this past year, according to the same study. Recent research and analyst reports suggest that this trend will continue. A recent report by International Data Corporation says IoT spending is expected to grow from $699 billion in 2015 to nearly $1.3 trillion in 2019, which indicates we should expect big things from vendors, regulators and buyers as the market matures over the next few years. … Read more

Apple’s record quarter

On an earnings call Tuesday, Apple executives reported a record-breaking fiscal first quarter, ending Dec. 26, with quarterly revenue of $75.9 billion and net income of $18.4 billion. In the same quarter last year, Apple reported revenue of $74.6 billion and net income of $18.4 billion. International sales accounted for 66% of its latest quarterly revenue, according to the tech giant. Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company’s signature iPhones, Apple Watch and Apple TV products hit “all-time record sales. The growth of our services business accelerated during the quarter to produce record results, and our installed base recently crossed a major milestone of one billion active devices.” “Our record sales and strong margins drove all-time records for net income and [earnings per share]in spite of a very difficult macroeconomic environment,” said Apple CFO Luca Maestri. “We generated operating cash flow of $27.5 billion during the quarter, and returned over $9 billion to investors through share repurchases and dividends. We have now completed $153 billion of our $200 billion capital return program.” … Read more

Sony buys Altair Semiconductor

LTE has an important role to play in the “Internet of Things,” according to Sony. The Japanese conglomerate said it’s buying LTE-only chipmaker Altair Semiconductor for $212 million as it expects more “things” to be connected to the Internet using cellular chipsets. Sony already makes sensors that can be embedded in devices to record metrics like location and orientation, and by acquiring Altair gains a new way to connect those sensors. One of Altair’s products is a Category 1 LTE chipset that is claimed to be less expensive and more power efficient than the LTE modems used in smartphones. Altair’s solution is being used by AT&T in LTE-only IoT modules, which the carrier said will be offered to customers at prices as low as $15. “We’re seeing Cat 1 being very much adopted by many, many carriers and we’ll see products activated with Cat 1 this year, this quarter. The networks are capable,” Altair co-founder Eran Eshed told RCR Wireless News earlier this year. Eshed said his company is competing with Qualcomm and Intel, but those companies are making chipsets four-times as big as Altair’s, and consume 10-times the power because they are derivations of multimode smartphone chips. Altair does not make multimode chips and instead focuses exclusively on LTE. … Read more

Ericsson looks beyond equipment

Ericsson reported fourth quarter sales and operating income that were significantly improved from last year and from the third quarter, but fell short of analysts’ expectations. Sales for the quarter were $8.6 billion, below the $8.7 billion analysts had projected, and the Swedish company’s stock price tumbled. Ericsson has for years led the market for wireless network radio equipment, but it’s looking to other markets and other customers as it plans for the future. The company is investing heavily in network software and video delivery, as well as in global services, which is the business of building networks. “Our global services business is addressing a market that in dollar terms is growing between 3% and 5%, while the networks business is addressing a market that is probably growing 1% to 3%,” said Ericsson CFO Jan Frykhammar. “So from that point of view, for these businesses to stay where they are in terms of market position, then services should really grow faster than networks.” … Read more

Check out the RCR Wireless News Archives for more stories from the past.

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