Tuesday, February 17, 2009

No stopping mobile Internet growth.

Good post by Om Malik on continued growth of mobile web and the threats and opportunities that entails. A few highlights:

What that means is that mobile operators should expect more network traffic and hence bigger stress on their respective backbones. I’m sure that like me, many of you are frustrated by slow networks and their choppy performance. If more and more people come onto the network, wireless backhaul networks are going to be put under further stress.

As I have explained in the past, the backhaul networks that feed into wireless broadband are a big opportunity. Infonetics Research predicts that demand for backhaul-related gear is going to exceed $10 billion by 2011, as today’s T-1 based infrastructure is going to be replaced by fiber and microwave links. Infonetics predicts that in the near term, microwave-related sales are going to grow 83 percent by 2011, from $3.9 billion in 2007. That’s good news for all sorts of companies, including Ericsson, NEC, and a gaggle of startups such as Exalt Communications, which recently introduced a 5 GHz radio with 440 Mbps throughput.

The carriers — despite the economic downturn — don’t have much choice other than to spend on their data networks. For AT&T and Verizon, mobile data represented 10 percent and 12 percent, respectively, of their overall revenues for the fourth quarter of 2008. Unless they spend big to keep the data users happy, this gold mine is going to dry up real fast.

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