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


Samsung has delivered 5G chip samples to BBK's Oppo and Vivo, the #2 or #3 phones manufacturer. Samsung is facing off against Qualcomm in the 5G market. Qualcomm is unfazed and reportedly moving the production of their next chip from TSMC to Samsung. 

Sprint's 2.5 GHz 5G is delivering 100-500 megabit downloads consistently. That bodes well for China Mobile, using the same frequencies.

Vodafone, BT, and soon 3UK are delivering modestly sized 5G mid-band networks. Vodafone is also live in Spain and Italy. 

Sunrise in Switzerland is using 5G mid-band for fixed wireless in rural areas.  

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Welcome  1,000,000 Koreans bought 5G in the first ten weeks. 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.