Government Technology

Top 10 Wireless Predictions for 2008



New Year Predictions 2008

December 20, 2007 By

inCode, a VeriSign Company, has again issued its Top 10 predictions for the game-changing events that will shape the wireless industry in 2008. The predictions cover major trends ranging from who will win the communication standard wars, what role Google will play in the wireless world after January's spectrum auction and whether or not consumers will finally open up to digital content and mobile advertising.

The predictions, first created in 2003 by inCode, a global business and technology consultancy acquired by VeriSign in November 2006, are designed to help wireless industry players, partners and consumers better plan for the coming year.

"The coming year is going to be incredibly important for the wireless industry as new business models begin to take shape," said Jorge Fuenzalida, vice president of communications consulting for inCode, a VeriSign company. "Beginning with the spectrum auction in January, to the continuing battle between fourth-generation (4G) technologies LTE and WiMAX, to what it's going to take to make converged wireless a reality, wireless will look significantly different in several critical ways one year from today."

2008 predictions highlights (complete predictions follow highlights):

-- The WiMAX/LTE wars will end with a whimper. The long-awaited "take-off-the-gloves" battle between next-generation wireless technologies LTE, HSPA and WiMAX will not occur since they are in different stages of maturity, with HSPA already enjoying widespread adoption and a flourishing device market.

-- A new wholesale carrier will emerge. The 700MHz spectrum auction presents a large opportunity for the emergence of a new wholesale carrier (i.e., no retail operations or direct customer) that focuses on being the most cost-effective player in the market and avoids the retail game. The wholesale carrier model will be driven by companies such as Google - but the question remains: How much control will Google be able to garner?

-- Peer-to-peer (P2P) technology goes mainstream. Long used for pirating files, US distributors follow the UK's lead and begin to utilize next-generation, secure and DRM-protected P2P for mobile content distribution.

-- For the eighth year in a row, mobile service quality will continue to deteriorate. The combination of new technology (3G), multi-band, multi-access technology, advanced and complex handsets, least-cost routing and under-investments in network coverage have made mobile services less reliable than they were before the introduction of 3G.

2008 Top 10 Predictions for the Global Wireless Market

1. RF Technology Convergence Will Finally Start to Materialize
Prediction: The likelihood for global harmony is greater than ever; HSPA will continue to grow rapidly and the elements around LTE will be OFDM-based. The long-awaited "take-off-the-gloves" battle between LTE, HSPA, and WiMAX will not occur since the three technologies are in very different stages of maturity, HSPA is a mature technology with more than 10 million users around the world today and with a flourishing device market. WiMAX is still a technology in a very early stage with trial networks around the world and most likely with one to two more years before commercial volumes are reached. LTE is even further away, and with normal technology maturity timelines it will not be a commercial technology until 2012. With increasing development cost and vendor consolidation it is likely that it is in all parties' interest to allow LTE to be the first time ever we experience full global harmonization RF technology.

2. A New Wholesale Carrier Will be Born
Prediction: The 700MHz spectrum auction in the US presents a large opportunity for the emergence of a new wholesale carrier (i.e., no retail operations or direct customer) that focuses on being the most cost-effective player while avoiding the retail game. The wholesale carrier model will be driven by companies such as Google and will operate at a lower cost per minute, leverage technologies such as software-defined radios to support multiple standards


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