One of the more intriguing demos during CTIA's Super Mobility Week event in early September was at the Ericsson booth, where the vendor installed a row of stadium seating that let folks relax for a bit and watch multiple screens full of multicast sports content. The demo highlighted the types of offerings that are possible with not just LTE Multicast--a technology that is on lots of operators' minds--but Wi-Fi Multicast as well.
Time is speeding up in the wireless industry. Though advanced markets have rolled out significant LTE and LTE Advanced footprints, many markets worldwide are just now dipping their toes into the LTE pool. Nonetheless, the collective industry already has 5G on its mind, with most pundits calling for requirements and specs to be laid out in the next couple of years in time for commercial rollouts in little more than five years.
Cable operators have dallied in wireless numerous times over the years, but nothing has really stuck. Their Pivot and SpectrumCo initiatives came and went, and it seemed the MSOs might never carve out a significant role in wireless communications. But their wireless prospects changed for the better as soon as they started dabbling in unlicensed, rather than licensed, spectrum and nomadic, rather than highly mobile, services.
A funny thing happened on the way to opening up 500 MHz for fixed and mobile wireless broadband. Reality reared its head, revealing just how challenging it can be to free up spectrum that is already being used for other purposes and hand it over to the wireless industry.
The recent report that Apple's late cofounder Steve Jobs hoped to encourage wireless router makers to include a "guest network" option so Wi-Fi's footprint could be spread exponentially is helping focus more attention on Hotspot 2.0, which enables seamless roaming between Wi-Fi networks and also enables seamless data roaming between Wi-Fi and cellular networks. But recent comments from industry executives indicate Hotspot 2.0 has yet to gain widespread adoption, though its impact could be expansive in the future.
The battle over net neutrality and related pushes to rewrite the Telecommunications Act of 1996 are sure to have major impacts, one way or another, on the future of consumers' communications and entertainment options. But those effects will themselves be influenced by ever-changing marketplaces, which are undergoing rapid transformations.
The FCC's plan to create a Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) in the 3.5 GHz band has multiple moving parts. And the FCC's spectrum-related decisions will likely have international as well as domestic repercussions.
AT&T's Mansfield proud of persistent pace at Small Cell Forum, remains bullish about industry's roadmap
Just as the small cell industry is coming into its own, with small cells now on most major operators' roadmaps in one form or another, the Small Cell Forum has also matured into a go-to source for operators interested in learning about ways they can put small cells to use to gain coverage, capacity and possibly new revenue streams.
Apple fans have long suffered from large-screen envy as the smartphone maker has resisted the urge to increase the screen-size of its iconic iPhone. But rumors are that the Cupertino, Calif., company is close to giving in to temptation with plans for an iPhone 6 whose screen could run as large as 5.5 inches, with a smaller variant that might be offered simultaneously coming in at 4.7 inches. But along with larger screens could come higher wireless data consumption, which mobile operators, depending upon their network's capabilities, may meet with cheers or jeers.