LTE Spectrum Crisis, Confirmed

March 6, 2012

Today’s Fierce Wireless recap of a Verizon FCC filing about the need for more LTE spectrum reminded me that we covered that subject more than two years ago. And the quote from Boingo’s Dave Hagan from this blog post over at Light Reading still seems to ring true:

“LTE does not solve the iPhone problem,” said Boingo Wireless Inc. CEO Dave Hagan, speaking on a conference panel. While LTE might provide throughput four times greater than current 3G implementations, Hagan said the incredible jump in demand generated by devices like the iPhone will trump such low-shooting improvements. “They are chasing a 50x increase [in data consumption] with a 4x solution, a 4x solution that’s going to take four years to complete,” Hagan said. “That’s not going to work.”

Meanwhile, Verizon apparently still isn’t selling too many 4G LTE phones since its double-data promotion is back at stores. Go figger.


Did Verizon Finally Sell More 4G Phones Than Sprint? Apparently So

January 24, 2012

It looks like Sprint’s strategic decision to focus on the iPhone has finally allowed Verizon Wireless to sell more 4G phones than Sprint, according to financial numbers released Tuesday. According to Verizon the company sold 1.6 million 4G LTE smartphones during the quarter, as well as another 700,000 4G devices like USB modems and Wi-Fi hotspots. And while Sprint never calls out its 4G numbers its 4G partner Clearwire today pre-announced some Q4 metrics including 900,000 new 4G wholesale activations, which you can pretty much translate into being mostly Sprint 4G smartphones and a small number of other devices, like hotspots and USBs.

(Editor’s note: You won’t find the 4G LTE device breakout numbers in the Verizon press release; the numbers were discussed during the conference call, and a quote with the figures was provided to us by Verizon.)

What’s the 30-second analysis on all this? Sidecut Reports sticks by the premise of our latest report, the 4G LTE Market Report for January, 2012, in which we conclude that 4G LTE phone sales for all providers, including Verizon, are going to stay essentially flat until we see an LTE-capable Apple iPhone hit the market. As proof of the iPhone’s continuing popularity look no farther than Verizon’s Q4 numbers: 4.3 million iPhone activations vs. 1.6 million 4G LTE phone activations. Almost a 3-to-1 preference for the 3G iPhone vs. any 4G LTE choice.

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AT&T: All 4G Phone Users Need $45, 4GB Plan to use Mobile Hotspot UPDATE: Make that $50, 5 GB

January 17, 2012

Editor’s note: Conspiracy theorists, start your engines. Just a few days after we noticed AT&T’s switch to make its smartphone customers pay $45 a month for a 4 GB data plan AT&T announced a further change that would mirror Verizon’s plan and now require a $50, 5 GB plan to use that mobile hotspot feature on your phone. All the analysis from the original post below still holds. More on this topic soon.

I haven’t paid attention to the AT&T 4G LTE site for a few months, so I was surprised by a new twist in AT&T’s top-network data plans. If you want to use the snazzy portable Wi-Fi hotspot feature found in almost every new top of the line smartphone, you’ll have to throw down on the “DataPro 4GB” plan, a $45 per month data plan which includes 4 GB of downloadable data and access to the hotspot feature. Don’t want to buy the big plan? Then you aren’t going to be able to use the hotspot feature, according to an AT&T rep I just had an online chat with.

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