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Barclays lists mobile data opportunities

Posted: 10 Mar 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mobile data? Wi-Fi? WiMAX? 3G? network?

United States gears for 4G
The move to 4G networks is happening first in the United States, driving opportunities for new systems. For example, Clearwire has already deployed as many as 30 million points of presence (POPs) for its WiMAX network and plans to have a total of 130 million installed by the end of the year, Barclays estimates.

Verizon Wireless has announced it will end development of its CDMA network and transition early to LTE. It is expected to deploy about 100 million POPs by the end of the year, covering a third of the United States.

AT&T is somewhat behind in the U.S. drive to 4G, as it focuses on relieving congestion in its backhaul nets. TMobile faces a lack of spectrum to drive a shift to 4G, Barclays said.

With the exception of Sweden, most European carriers are still deploying HSPA+ and will move to 4G slowly, in part stung by snags being the first to deploy 3G technology based on wideband CDMA. However, the HSPA nets may only deliver end users about 1.8Mbits/s, not the promised 11 Mbits/s, Barclays estimates.

Femtocells, Wi-Fi growth
One of the ways carriers will handle increases in mobile dataand avoid big capital equipment expensesis by deploying femtocells and Wi-Fi to siphon data traffic off their core cellular networks.

The move makes sense because more than 60 percent of mobile data use is in homes and more than 95 percent is in buildings, noted Jeff Kvaal, a Barclay analyst covering communications systems in the United States. "It's worth it for carriers to put in the effort to work through challenges with femtocells and Wi-Fi, and some deployments are underway," he said.

Wi-Fi business systems maker Aruba and femtocell chip designer PicoChip will be among the companies that benefit from the trend, Barclays said.

China on the rise
China's two top communications systems makersHua Wei and ZTEhave grown to hold as much as 15 percent of the market for communications equipment in Western Europe, Barclays estimates.

"It's become clear the quality of their products has improved to the point that Western operators have become comfortable purchasing it," said Gardiner. "Hua Wei may have had a start as a low cost vendor with questions of quality, but today that's less the case," he said.

Indeed, Hua Wei now claims Nokia Siemens Networks is driving the lowest prices in the sector. Meanwhile the Chinese OEMs' appetite for merchant silicon is driving opportunities for a growing array of chip makers.

- Rick Merritt
EE Times

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