The last thing Orange, SFR, Bouygues Telecom and even Iliad need is to kill the golden goose of LTE. No one in the industry will thank Iliad if LTE suffers due to its rather audacious approach.
LTE adoption is growing at a pace that is considerably faster than the move from 2G to 3G, according to recent research from the GSM Association. The GSMA predicts that there will be 1 billion LTE connections globally by 2017, when LTE networks will also be available to half of the world's population.
Nokia shareholders ushered in a new chapter for the company this week after they agreed to the sale of the devices and services unit to Microsoft and essentially gave the green light for a future based on networks. Like Ericsson, the Finnish company will no doubt have taken heart from Vodafone's stated intention to maintain high levels of network investment over the next two years and maybe beyond.
There was some good news for the European telecoms industry this week, with Vodafone unveiling investment plans and French operators slowing their rates of profit decline, although the latest missive from Moody's reminds us that the industry is still in a fairly fragile. Enter the bold predictions from one analyst company that foresees a wave of M&A sweeping Europe and the world in the coming three years.
Huawei this week said it will spend around $600 million (€449 million) over the next four years in research and innovation into "5G" networks. However, other news this weeks provides a timely reminder that operators and vendors still sometimes need to learn to walk before they can run, and get 3G networks right first.
The market has long talked of the democratisation of smartphones in order to connect people in emerging and developing markets, but the mobile community still has a deal of work ahead to ensure there are more attractive devices out there at a lower cost to give people more options.
In some European markets, it seems that governments want to have their cake by lining their coffers with the proceeds from this natural resource, and then eat it, too, by castigating operators for slow rollouts and slow mobile broadband speeds. Mobile operators have their faults, for sure, but on the subject of spectrum costs they do seem to have a point.
Missed opportunities for some as well as second chances for others have dominated the headlines this week, highlighting the often fickle and sometimes surprising industry we all work in.
The mobile industry's "golden age" may be waning, as Ovum put it, but developments with LTE and increased interest by operators in exploring how they can differentiate their offers through tariff innovation and new types of services should help push the industry through to the next stage--whatever that will be.
Whatever you may think about the single market proposals put forward by the European Union's digital chief, Neelie Kroes, in September, one proposal does stand out as being potentially beneficial for the industry: the harmonisation spectrum allocation across Europe.