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. 

 ABCDEFGHI
1
                 
2
Mobile Data 2017 2018 growth 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022

growth
2022

3
By Geography (EB per Month)  
4
Asia Pacific 5.88 10.35 76 15.91 22.81 31.81 43.17 36%
5
Middle East and Africa 1.22 2.05 68 3.25 5.01 7.56 11.17 48%
6
Eastern Europe 1.38 2.15 55 3.12 4.32 5.83 7.75 33%
7
North America 1.26 1.8 42 2.5 3.41 4.48 5.85 31%
8
Western Europe 1.02 1.47 44 2.06 2.81 3.8 5.12 35%
9
Latin America 0.75 1.18 57 1.72 2.42 3.31 4.44 34%
10
Total (EB per Month)  
11
Mobile data and Internet 11.51 19.01   28.56 40.77 56.8 77.49 36%
12
                 
13
Source: Cisco VNI, 2018              
          
                 

dave ask

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The 3.3-4.2 spectrum should be shared, not exclusively used by one company, concludes an important U.S. Defense Innovation Board report. If more wireless broadband is important, sharing is of course right because shared networks can yield far more

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Natural monopoly? Vodafone & Telecom Italia to share 5G, invite all other companies to join.
Huawei predicts 5G phones for US$200 in 2021, $300 even earlier
NY Times says "5G is dangerous" is a Russian plot. Really.
Althiostar raised US$114 million for a virtual RAN system in the cloud. Rakuten, Japan's new #4, is using it and invested.
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Telefonica Brazil has 9M FTTH homes passed and will add 6M more within two years. Adjusted for population, that's more than the U.S. The CEO publicly urged other carriers to raise prices together.
CableLabs and Cisco have developed Low Latency XHaul (LLX) with 5-15 ms latency for 5G backhaul,  U.S. cable is soon to come in very strong in wireless. Details 
Korea Telecom won 100,000 5G customers in the first month. SK & LG added 150,000 more. KT has 37,500 cells. planning 90% of the country by yearend. 
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China Telecom's Yang Xin warns, "Real large-scale deployment of operators' edge computing may be after 2021." Customers are hard to find.
Reliance Jio registered 97.5% 4G availability across India in Open Signal testing. Best in world.

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Welcome On Oct 1, 2019 Verizon turned on the first $20B 5G mmWave network with extraordinary hopes. The actual early results have been dismal. Good engineers tell me that will change. 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.