Swisscom data use 2018 230

Wireless traffic growth is falling across the developed world, but the 2018 figure from Swisscom is lower than anything else I've seen. The Swiss figure may be an anomaly, but Cisco's VNI, a respected source, sees Western Europe growth in 2018 as 44% and North America 42%. In 2022, the Cisco projection is Western Europe 35% and North America 31%. 

Update 5/12 Iliad/Free in France announced 28% in 2018 (end) In the developed world, the era of exponential growth is long gone. 100% annual growth is now just a memory, that ended when most of the population acquired smartphones. In India and Africa, only a minority have smartphones today, so growth is higher.

Verizon and AT&T both estimate wireless productivity growth of ~40% per year. Traffic growth and declining cost per bit roughly match. The result: Cost per customer is roughly flat. If prices are roughly flat, which is common, profit will remain roughly constant. In 2017 & 2018, profit at most major telcos has risen slightly. That confirms the Verizon and AT&T productivity estimates. 

Analyses from Nokia, Sprint/T-Mobile, and many others assume traffic growth of 50-60% going forward. This is highly unlikely and the conclusions are meaningless. One Nokia projection makes that error and several others, resulting in a conclusion telcos must increase network spending or become seriously congested by about 2022. Actually, nearly all telcos should be fine through at least 2025 and probably 2030 at roughly constant capex. 

Which is great news unless you are an equipment vendor or trying to scare regulators. 

Mobile Data 2017 2018 growth 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022


By Geography (EB per Month)  
Asia Pacific 5.88 10.35 76 15.91 22.81 31.81 43.17 36%
Middle East and Africa 1.22 2.05 68 3.25 5.01 7.56 11.17 48%
Eastern Europe 1.38 2.15 55 3.12 4.32 5.83 7.75 33%
North America 1.26 1.8 42 2.5 3.41 4.48 5.85 31%
Western Europe 1.02 1.47 44 2.06 2.81 3.8 5.12 35%
Latin America 0.75 1.18 57 1.72 2.42 3.31 4.44 34%
Total (EB per Month)  
Mobile data and Internet 11.51 19.01   28.56 40.77 56.8 77.49 36%
Source: Cisco VNI, 2018              

dave ask


Vivo is selling new the iQOO 5G premium quality phone for US$536.

Lei Jun Xiaomi "5G to have explosive growth starting from Q2 2020"5G to have explosive growth starting from Q2 2020" I say sooner

Verizon CEO Ronan Dunne: >1/2 VZ 5G "will approximate to a good 4G service" Midband in "low hundreds" Mbps

CFO John Stephens says AT&T is going to cut capex soon.

Bharti in India has lost 45M customers who did not want to pay the minimum USS2/month. It's shutting down 3G to free some spectrum for 4G. It is cutting capex, dangerous when the 12 gigabytes/month of use continues to rise.

Huawei in 16 days sold 1,000,000 5G Mate 20s.  

China has over 50,000 upgraded base stations and may have more than 200,000 by yearend 2019. The growth is astonishing and about to accelerate. China will have more 5G than North America and Europe combined for several years.

5G phone prices are down to $580 in China from Oppo. Headed under $300 in 2020 and driving demand.

No one believed me when I wrote in May, 90% of Huawei U.S. purchases can be rapidly replaced and that Huawei would survive and thrive. Financial results are in, with 23% growth and increased phone sales. It is spending $17B on research in 2019, up > 10%. 

5G phones spotted from Sharp and Sony

NTT DOCOMO will begin "pre-commercial service Sept 20 with over 100 live bases. Officially, the commercial start is 2020.

 More newsfeed


Welcome  1,800,000 Koreans bought 5G in the first four months. The demand is there, and most of the technology works. Meanwhile, the hype is unreal. Time for reporting closer to the truth.

The estimates you hear about 5G costs are wildly exaggerated. Verizon is building the most advanced wireless network while reducing capex. Deutsche Telekom and Orange/France Telecom also confirm they won't raise capex.

Massive MIMO in either 4G or "5G" can increase capacity 3X to 7X, including putting 2.3 GHz to 4.2 GHz to use. Carrier Aggregation, 256 QAM, and other tools double and triple that. Verizon sees cost/bit dropping 40% per year.

Cisco & others see traffic growth slowing to 30%/year or less.  I infer overcapacity almost everywhere.  

Believe it or not, 80+% of 5G (mid-band) for several years will be slower than good 4G, which is more developed.