#TBT: Carriers’ content challenges; Big displays mean big costs; SDN spending set to surge … this week in 2014 – 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!

Content challenges for carriers

2013 saw mobile network operators around the world continuing their tentative adjustment to an environment in which over-the-top content defined much of their network deployment, upgrade and internal infrastructure decision-making. I’ve noticed that the OTT content most feared by mobile network operators is often the most unexpected as well. Auto-play videos in Vine and Instagram apps hit networks quite hard in 2013, and now Facebook has launched auto-play videos in users’ mobile streams as well, albeit with a network-saving tweak that loads and auto-plays the videos only when the user is on Wi-Fi. Cue the collective sigh of relief from operators worldwide. What other content types are operators finding themselves blindsided by in a fast-paced world defined by OTT? Let’s take a look at the top five problematic content types that every mobile network planner will continue to nervously grapple with in 2014. It’s no secret that short mobile video-clip applications like the immensely popular Vine (from Twitter) and Instagram (owned by Facebook) did more to congest networks than virtually any other content type this past year. Carriers found themselves struggling to react to the popularity of these services, which instantly brought videos that automatically played – no button pressing needed – into the daily lives and streams of each Vine and Instagram user. … Read more

Displays loom large in smartphone component costs

Smartphone prices range from $40 to $4,000, but the cost of building a device usually falls somewhere between those extremes. The bill of materials for a high-end smartphone like the iPhone 5S is much less than the off-contract retail price. “You might be a little surprised to see that the bill-of-materials typically hovers around $200 for the kind of device that might retail, without a contract, for around $600,” said Andrew Rassweiler, who heads up the teardown team at IHS Technology, adding that his group analyzes component and manufacturing costs only, not software, shipping, distribution or marketing. (For more on component costs, download our free webinar: Components and Software That Makes Smartphones Smart.) The display and touchscreen are the most expensive mobile phone components, typically costing manufacturers more than the applications processor, camera and battery combined. Apple pays an estimated $41 for the iPhone 5S integrated display and touchscreen. “You’ve got about 22% of the bill-of-materials dedicated to display and touchscreen,” said Rassweiler. “That’s very typical because the displays and touchscreens are such a distinguishing feature when it comes to user experience with a smartphone, all of the OEMs tend to go heavy with their investment in that area.” … Read more

SDN spending set to surge

The market for software-defined networking equipment is set to surge over the next five years as wireless carriers look bolster service offerings and cut costs, according to a new report from ACG Research. The report predicts that annual spending on all SDN-related equipment could hit $29.5 billion per year by 2018, compared with less than $4.5 billion expected to be spent this year. For actual equipment set to be used in live network operations that growth is forecast to increase from $858 million this year to $15 billion by 2018. ACG added that software will make up approximately 20% of those sales totals by 2018, with the revenue split between SDN controller and SDN service control applications moving from an even split this year to a 60/40 split favoring applications by 2018. The largest SDN segment is expected to be data centers for cloud IT and application services, representing more than 50% of live SDN deployments through 2016, according to ACG. … Read more

Intel delays Fab 42

Intel has put its $5 billion investment in an Arizona chip plant on hold, but says it has nonetheless hired more than 1,000 new people to work at the Chandler facility. The “Fab 42” plant, as it was called, was set to start producing chips using Intel’s 14-nanometer process this year. But Intel’s customer wins in mobile have not come quickly enough to make up for slumping PC sales, and the company has reportedly scaled back its plans. President Barack Obama visited the Chandler, Arizona plan during his 2012 campaign to make a call for more tax incentives for technology companies. Intel had received incentives from Arizona, and says it has fulfilled its obligation to hire more than 1,000 people. Many of those people work at the existing Chandler chip plant. Although Intel is not currently buying new equipment to make 14-namometer chips there, it is converting some its 22-nanometer manufacturing resources at Chandler in order to produce the smaller chips. Smaller cuts in the silicon mean that more chips can be produced from one piece of silicon, and that more chips can fit into the small form factors of mobile devices. Another way to get more chips from a single piece of silicon is to use bigger wafers, and Intel is moving forward with an investment in this technology. … Read more

What’s in a name?

Agilent Technologies will name its spin-off electronic measurement company Keysight Technologies. The separation of the company’s test and measurement business is expected in early November. Keysight will be headquartered in Santa Rosa, Calif., and have about 9,500 employees in 30 countries. Agilent has struggled with profits in recent quarters, and is splitting the company into two businesses: Keysight to focus on test and measurement, and the remaining Agilent operations will continue the company’s work in life sciences, diagnostics and applied markets. Agilent also announced that AT4 Wireless has chosen its test equipment to provide certification testing for LTE-Advanced carrier aggregation. As part of the deal, AT4 is upgrading its T4000S series conformance test system from Agilent to support carrier aggregation, and the two companies have also extended their test system validation agreements; AT4 will continue to provide carrier-aggregation validation services to Agilent. … Read more

Dish pulls bid for LightSquared

Dish Network (DISH) may have a new motivation to pursue a deal with a carrier – its bid to acquire spectrum by purchasing LightSquared appears to be dead. Today a lawyer involved in LightSquared’s bankruptcy proceedings reportedly confirmed that Dish is out. Dish had offered $2.2 billion to buy all of LightSquared’s spectrum. In 2012 the Federal Communications Commission told LightSquared that it could not use its 40 megahertz of spectrum in the 1.6 GHz band to offer mobile service because of potential interference with some GPS equipment operating in nearby bands. That decision prompted LightSquared’s bankruptcy filing. Late last month LightSquared filed a new plan to exit bankruptcy protection with up to $3.75 billion from Fortress Investment Group, JPMorgan Chase and Melody Capital Advisors. That deal is contingent on LightSquared regaining access to some of its 1.6 GHz spectrum holdings. LightSquared’s plan to exit bankruptcy is supported by Harbinger Capital Partners, which controls the company’s equity. Today’s New York hearing was to be the first step in helping the company’s creditors decide between LightSquared’s plan and the Dish bid, but now the Dish bid is apparently not an option. Dish is not completely out of LightSquared’s hair yet, however. Its outspoken chairman Charlie Ergen has purchased LightSquared’s debt. … Read more

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

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