Mobile Users “light” PC Users

Market researcher comScore says its cross-media panel of PC and mobile Internet users in the U.S., found that light PC Internet users are 30 percent more likely to use their mobile devices for Internet access than heavy PC users.

In total, 42 million people used their mobile devices in October 2008 to access news and information content on the Internet. That’s an increase of 57 percent from October 2007, says comScore.

The study found that 15.2 percent of light PC Internet users accessed news and information on their mobile device at least once per week, compared to a lower 11.7 percent of heavy PC Internet users. The study also found that mobile Internet users are more likely to be male (58 percent) and to be 18 to 44 years of age. Light mobile Internet users are heavier users of the PC.

ComScore defined “heavy” PC Internet users as those who viewed, on average, 6,701 pages in the month, and “light” users as those who viewed, on average, 1,104 pages in the month. Twenty percent of PC Internet users in the cross-media panel were classified as heavy users, and accounted for 43 percent of overall page views, while 50 percent were light users and accounted for 18 percent of page views. The balance was classified as medium users.

The study was conducted using a sample of individuals who were members of comScore’s PC panel of online users and who were also participants in comScore’s monthly mobile survey. The findings above represent digital media usage for the three-month average ending October 2008.

According to IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker report, the smartphone market grew 22.5% in 2008 while the mobile phone market declined 12.6% in 4Q 2008. Smartphones are currently about 15 percent of the entire mobile phone market, but are predicted to grow to 40 to 50 percent within the next five years. Informa forecasts subscriptions to UMTS/HSPA will number nearly half a billion worldwide by the end of 2009, and will pass the one billion mark in 2012.

Mobile Data Traffic by Application is expected to shift to video and internet access.

Total US Internet ad spending will increase to $25.7 billion in 2009, says eMarketer, an 8.9% growth rate. That will be the lowest year-over-year increase for online advertising ever. Yet it will still be a robust increase compared with nearly all other media.

Alaska Airlines Tests Wi-Fi

Alaska Airlines today announced the launch of its customer trial of satellite-based Wi-Fi service. Named Alaska Airlines Inflight Wi-Fi (FAQ), the service is free for now but Alaska will likely charge a fee after the 60-day trial, says the Seattle Times. The airline will later extend the service throughout its fleet. Alaska is working with satellite-based Row 44 on the project. But the service won’t be available on flights to Alaska, at least at first.

The 60-day trial will be free and offered on afternoon flights between Seattle and San Jose, CA. After the trial period, the airline will develop a schedule for expanding the offering to other flights and airplanes, including Alaskan service. The Wi-Fi service is designed for laptops and handhelds, even VoIP over WiFi. Cell phone use is banned by the FCC on U.S. flights. VoIP over Wi-Fi policy may vary on different airlines.

Meanwhile OnAir, another satellite-based WiFi provider, uses SwiftBroadband, the latest spotbeam technology from Inmarsat, which also offers GSM and GPRS for voice, data and Internet. British Airways plans to launch in-flight communications on its new all-business class route from London to New York using OnAir.

Aircell, in contrast, utilizes a network of terrestrial-based cell towers across the United States. That precludes connections on international flights and Alaskan flights.

Aircell’s Gogo Inflight WiFi service will be available for United customers traveling in all classes of service for a flat fee of $12.95. It will initially be available on the 13 Boeing 757 aircraft that fly between New York’s JFK and California’s two largest airports, in LA and San Francisco. The service is also available on select American Airlines flights, Virgin America flights, United Airlines flights, and many Delta flights. Delta expects to have more than 330 aircraft complete by summer 2009. Gogo WiFi service typically costs passengers $9.95 on flights of three hours or less, and $12.95 on flights of more than three hours.

JetBlue Airways has been testing limited wireless access on one of its aircraft. JetBlue and other airlines, such as Continental, use LiveTV’s satellite-based television programming service. JetBlue, which owns LiveTV, won rights to 1 MHz of the 800-MHz spectrum last year for their internet service.

LiveTV asked the FCC to require Row 44 to demonstrate how its system design would operate “on a non-interference basis” with its provider, ViaSat. ViaSat has accused Row 44 with unauthorized operations.

The NY Times says Not Everyone Is Cheering as Wi-Fi Takes to the Air.

In other news, Airtight Networks, a wireless security firm, recently sent hackers to 20 U.S. airports to check out their security, reports CBS station WBZ-TV in Boston. Their results: 97-percent of users were vulnerable. Airtight says airports are natural targets for hackers. F-Secure says their Mobile Security software works invisibly in the background and works on Symbian and Windows Mobile, scanning all network traffic and monitoring the device for malware.

Related DailyWireless stories include; Southwest Air Tests PlaneFi, American Airlines Launches Wi-Fi, Aircell WiFi on Delta Airlines, Aircell: We Be 4G, Aircell Takes Off, Row 44: Cleared for Take Off, Bill Banning Airplane Calls Moves Ahead, JetBlue Buys Airfone, FAA: Go For Aircell Launch , Aircell Vs Row44: Two for Two, FlyFi Takes Off, Lufthansa & AA Trying WiFi — Again, Inflight Phones Banned by FAA?, AirCell on Virgin by 2008, Wireless Voice on Airplanes? Yes & No, AirCell Demos Inflight WiFi, Aircell for Planes, FCC Rules on Airplane Cellular, Connexion On Again?, Dis Connexion.

US Cellular Carriers: 2008 Results

Stacey Higginbotham at GigaOm has a Wireless Scorecard that breaks out the 2008 financial results of the four big cellular carriers in the United States.

  • AT&T (Total Subscribers: 77 million)
    • Wireless Revenue: $11.5 billion
    • Wireless Data Revenue $3.1 billion
    • Net Subscriber Adds Prepaid: 800,000
    • Net Subscriber Adds Postpaid: 1.3 million
    • Churn: Postpaid 1.2 percent, prepaid N/A
    • ARPU: Postpaid $59.59, prepaid N/A
    • Wireless Operating Income: $2.7 billion
  • Verizon (Total Subscribers: 72.1 million)

    • Wireless Revenue: $11.1 billion
    • Wireless Data Revenue: $3.2 billion
    • Net Subscriber Adds Prepaid and Postpaid: 1.2 million
    • Churn: 1.35 percent blended, postpaid 1.05 percent
    • ARPU: Blended $51.72
    • Wireless Operating Income: $3.57 billion
  • Sprint (Total Subscribers: 49.3 million)

    • Wireless Revenue: $6.56 billion
    • Wireless Data Revenue: N/A
    • Net Subscriber Loss Prepaid: 314,000
    • Net Subscriber Loss Postpaid: 1.1 million
    • Churn: Postpaid 2.16 percent, prepaid 8.2 percent
    • ARPU: Postpaid $56, prepaid $30
    • Wireless Loss: $1.82 billion
  • T-Mobile (Total Subscribers: 32.8 million)

    • Wireless Revenue: $4.9 billion
    • Wireless Data Revenue: $905 million
    • Net Prepaid Adds: 355,000
    • Net Postpaid Adds: 266,000
    • Blended Churn (contract and prepaid): 3.3 percent
    • ARPU: Postpaid $54, prepaid $23
    • Wireless Net Income: $483 million

Top 20 USA Phone Companies
Source: Wikipedia

#1 AT&T Mobility 74.91M subs (09/08) Will be 2nd largest after VZ mergers
#2 Verizon Wireless 70.8M subs (09/08) Acquiring Alltel & Unicel
#3 Sprint Nextel 51.91M subs (06/08) Excludes Xohm
#4 T-Mobile USA 32.11M subs (09/08) Owned by Deutsche Telekom
#5 Alltel 13.6M subs (09/08) being acquired by Verizon Wireless
#6 TracFone Wireless 10.45M (09/08) largest virtual operator, uses other celcos
#7 U.S. Cellular 6.18M subs (09/08)  
#8 Virgin Mobile 5M subs (06/08) MVNO, currently acquiring Helio
#9 MetroPCS 4.85M subs (09/08)  
#10 Cricket 3.42M subs (09/08) Includes Jump Mobile
#11 Unicel .79M subs (09/08) being integrated into Verizon
#12 Qwest Wireless .77M (09/08) Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO)
#13 Cellular South .7M subs (09/08)  
#14 Centennial Wireless .66M subs (09/08) Being bought by ATT
#15 Cincinnati Bell .57M subs (09/08)  
#16 nTelos .43M subs (09/08)  
#17 SouthernLINC .28M subs (09/08)  
#18 Movida Wireless .27M (09/08)  
#19 Helio .17M subs (09/08) being acquired by Virgin Mobile USA
#20 Alaska Communications .15M (09/08)  

Verizon’s acquisition of Alltel last year expands Verizon Wireless’ network coverage to approximately 290 million people, nearly the entire United States population, and increases the company’s customers by 12.9 million, after conforming adjustments and before required divestitures.

That will make Verizon the largest wireless carrier in the US with more than 83.7 million customers.

But RCR Wireless writer Jeffrey Silva, who covers the Washington beat, says it’s not over ’til it’s over:

Acting Chairman Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein — were not keen on the Verizon Wireless-Alltel deal when they were in the minority at the commission at the time of the ruling last November.

Copps: “Today’s merger is also seriously bad news for smaller carriers who rely on roaming — and their customers. The reason is that the new, merged network will be the only game in town when it comes to roaming in many regions of the country. Smaller carriers that rely on roaming contracts to provide nationwide service will see a critical partner eliminated in rural areas.

In other news, communications market research firm Infonetics Research says total fixed and mobile WiMAX subscribers hit 3.9 million in 2008, up 120% from 2007.

The overall WiMAX equipment and device market held steady in 4Q08 over 3Q08 at $275 million, as the 802.16e mobile WiMAX segment increased 5% to counter a slight dip in the 802.16d fixed WiMAX segment.

Related Dailywireless articles include; The Bottom Line for 2008, Verizon/Alltel Merger Closes, Top Ten Phones in U.S., AT&T Buying Centennial Communications, DOJ Okays Alltel/Verizon Merger, Embarq Buying Larger CenturyTel, Sprint’s Walkie Talkie: 40 Cities, WiMAX Global War in Japan, Global Landmark: One Billion Internet Users, WiMAX Nations: Taiwan, Italy & UK, 2013: 1B HSPA Users, 100M WiMAXers.

Smart Grid: It’s Alive!

Arkados likes the idea of spending $4.5 billion on smart grid activities, including Smart Meters, as well as the $7.3 billion to support expanding access to broadband in underserved communities, in the recently enacted American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 set aside $11 billion for the creation of a smart grid infrastructure.

Arkados designs its chip-and-software platform around powerline communications. They say their approach eliminates the need for enormous capital expenditures to build out a fiber optic network backbone.

Arkados and MainNet Communications say they have jointly developed applications to improve the reliability and efficiency of electrical grids, as well as connect consumer electronic devices, delivering broadband to homes and offices over power lines.

Arkados chips were used in trials of “green power” applications, implementing energy-saving programs such as temperature control, smart thermostats, and demand-driven load control. They back the development of global standards through organizations such as the HomePlug Powerline Alliance, the IEEE P1901, and the Telecommunication Industry Association (TIA-1113).

The development of the IEEE 1901 standard, says Arkados, addresses the needs of the broadband over powerline.

The project will develop a standard for high speed (>100 Mbps at the physical layer) communication devices via alternating current electric power lines, using Broadband over Power Line devices. The standard will use transmission frequencies below 100 MHz. This standard will be usable by all classes of BPL devices, including first-mile/last-mile connection (<1500 m to the premise) as well as devices used in buildings for LANs and other data distribution (<100m between devices).

Low-frequency (about 100-200 kHz) carriers can be impressed on high-voltage transmission lines. They may carry one or two analog voice circuits, or telemetry and control circuits with an equivalent data rate of a few hundred bits per second; however, these circuits may be many miles (kilometres) long.

Broadband over power lines (BPL) provide broadband Internet access through ordinary power lines. A computer (or any other device) would need only to plug a BPL “modem” into any outlet in an equipped building to have high-speed Internet access.

According to Wikipedia, power distribution uses step-down transformers to reduce the voltage for use by customers. But BPL signals cannot readily pass through transformers, as their high inductance makes them act as low-pass filters, blocking high-frequency signals. So, repeaters must be attached to the transformers, raising cost. Ham radio operators are opposed to BPL on interference grounds.

Nokia Wins China Contract

Nokia Siemens Networks is set to get a good slice of the 3G equipment pie in China this year, reports Unstrung.

The vendor announced today that it has agreements in place with China Unicom and China Mobile that are valued at 7.6 billion Renminbi (US$1.1 billion) during 2009 for 2G and 3G equipment and services.

For China Unicom, Nokia Siemens will roll out WCDMA networks in 11 Chinese provinces. For China Mobile, Nokia Siemens will provide China’s homegrown 3G standard TD-SCDMA networks as well as GSM networks.

China has restructured the telecom service provider market to create three mega fixed and mobile operators — China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecommunications — and issued 3G licenses.

Operators plan to invest tens of billions of dollars to build out their mobile infrastructures. Reportedly, China’s Minister for Industry and Information Technology, Li Yizhong, has said operator 3G-related capex is estimated to be at least $29 billion this year.

Nokia Siemens says it has six research and development centers in China and that it is pioneering work on the next generation of China’s 3G TD-SCDMA standard, a time division duplex (TDD) version of Long-Term Evolution (LTE), called TD-LTE, which is championed by China Mobile.

China Mobile refers to its TD-SCDMA network as a “large-scale trial” that comprises 15,000 base stations. But China Mobile’s aggressive timescale for 4G LTE makes deploying 3G TD-SCDMA an open question, says Unstrung.

The primary regulator of telecommunications in China is the Ministry of Information Industry (MII). It closely regulates all telecom industries with the exception of the radio and television sectors, which are under the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television.

Research and Markets estimates over $40 billion USD will be invested in China’s 3G market.

On 7 Jan, 2009, The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued three, 3G mobile telephone licenses. China Mobile got a TD-SCDMA license; China Telecom got a CDMA2000 license and China Unicom got a WCDMA license. China Telecom bought China Unicom’s CDMA network.

China Telecom is the largest fixed-line telephone company in the world, but it has little experience in mobile communications services. China Mobile, which got the TD-SCDMA license, is the world’s largest mobile phone operator, ranked by number of subscribers, with 415 million customers.

Spectrum Fees Added to Budget

The Obama administration’s proposed 2010 budget seeks to significantly boost the user fees the U.S. government charges holders of public airwaves held by many telephone and wireless companies.

Yearly fees for spectrum licenses are proposed to rise to $200 million in 2010, from $50 million in 2009, according to the document posted on the Office of Management and Budget’s Web site.

After that, the fees eventually increase to $550 million per user per year, totaling $4.8 billion over the next decade.

The budget projects $1.4 billion in receipts from spectrum auctions over the same 10 year period, reflecting the reality of the dwindling supply of airwaves that are left to be sold. Wireless providers have paid billions of dollars to acquire licenses in government auctions since the mid-1990s. Wireless providers, of course, have opposed spectrum fees in the past and are expected to do the same as lawmakers take up the Obama budget.