Biography for Keith Mallinson
Keith Mallinson is a leading industry expert, analyst and consultant. Solving business problems in wireless and mobile communications, he founded consulting firm WiseHarbor in 2007. WiseHarbor publishes an Extended Mobile Broadband Forecast. This includes network equipment, devices and carrier services to 2025. Further details are available at: http://www.wiseharbor.com/forecast.html.
Articles by Keith Mallinson
Fixed-mobile convergence is a popular proposition once again, but with better prospects than a decade or two ago. More tightly integrated fixed and mobile will be the hallmark of future networks and services with fast, reliable and economic delivery, and upon which access to prime video content will be paramount.
While LTE is successfully providing faster services at lower cost in new spectrum, LTE Advanced takes things further by maximising capacity in hot-spots, improving coverage and service quality--particularly at the cell edges. LTE Advanced, with features standardised in 3GPP Releases 10 and 11 optimises the coexistence of large and small cells by coordinating them. These techniques are, unsurprisingly, needed most where demands are high and spectrum holdings are short.
Technology makes so much possible. We are principally constrained by the limits to our imagination and reluctance to try doing things that are new and different. We have come a long way with 2G, 3G and 4G, but there is clearly still enormous scope for innovation and improvement on our mobile networks with 5G. Perhaps Europe will regain its former glory and fortune by making this happen?
European nations are significantly more dependent on mobile for broadband connections than fibre-rich South Korea and the widely-cabled United States, for example. Europe cannot afford to wait for "5G." It needs to accelerate its laggardly 3G and 4G deployments forthwith.
It is vital that the European development community--from silicon design to software applications--work to benefit from making, using, optimizing and commercializing 4G LTE here at home. Thankfully, and most importantly, market growth potential for mobile and wirelessly connected devices and services is substantial and certain. However, we can't be effective in developing 5G or becoming leaders in providing it to the world if we are not even on the pace in 4G.
Changing rules of the game for standards-essential patents licensing would be a major step and, given the success of the mobile communications market, completely unwarranted. It would significantly affect the relative competitive positions of many market players.
Pan-European integration has political appeal--particularly to those in Brussels--but it is a pipedream and a distraction from the pressing need for rationalisation at the national level. Only full-blown acquisitions and mergers can ensure the owner commitment and extent of rationalisation required.
European competition authorities and their political masters need to obsess less about maximising or preserving numbers of mobile network-based competitors, and, instead, help maximize--or at least not impede--infrastructure and services investments and other developments by letting market forces prevail. The United States shows us that allowing industry consolidation--with mergers and acquisitions among mobile network operators--increases economic efficiencies, improves financial returns and creates the incentive for further capital investments by large and small operators alike.
Cellular technologies and operator services are highly complementary to those for Wi-Fi. This symbiotic relationship will continue and grow. However, with exponential demand in growth for mobile broadband, it is essential that substantial amounts of additional spectrum be made available for cellular.