4G Roll Out Analysis: Winning Strategies and 5G Implications

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As LTE adoption passes 50% in North America and 9% worldwide, we review the operators who did best and worst and draw conclusions for the mass adoption phase of 4G. The analysis provides a valuable template for all players in the 4G race, and has important implications for plans for 5G.


Format: PDF filePages: 35 pagesCharts: 20Author: Alexander Harrowell, Dean BubleyPublication Date: March 2016

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
  • Identifying & Analysing Key Operators
  • A Design for Success
  • Parameters
  • Commercial Options
  • What Strategy Did the Top Eight Adopt?
  • Conclusions on the Network for the top Eight
  • Conclusions on the Commercial Strategy
  • Getting It Wrong
  • Operator Case Studies
  • Conclusions and recommendations

Table of Figures

  • Figure 1: 8 out of 40 MNOs made the cut for further analysis
  • Figure 2: The fastest-growing 4G operators are either holding or gradually increasing their EBITDA margins
  • Figure 3: Scale helps, but less than you might think
  • Figure 4: A strategy matrix for 4G operators
  • Figure 5: An introduction to carrier aggregation
  • Figure 6: Parameters of our 8 leading 4G deployers
  • Figure 7: MTS holds onto margins as data volumes surge
  • Figure 8: Wind’s data revenue gains now offset losses from voice entirely, at 37% margins
  • Figure 9: VZW’s service margin soars despite the price disruption
  • Figure 10: AT&T service margins are also high and rising
  • Figure 11: Service margins are rising strongly at 3UK
  • Figure 12: Six operators who are struggling to escape the lower-left quadrant
  • Figure 13: Sprint and T-Mobile are playing the same game but only one is winning
  • Figure 14: Sprint toned down the smartphone bonanza in 2015
  • Figure 15: Vodafone’s European OpCos are improving, but it’s been a hard road
  • Figure 16: Vodafone Germany’s turnaround plan – 1800MHz plus backhaul
  • Figure 17: Project Spring still hasn’t filled the fibre gap
  • Figure 18: Free, despite being the smallest and latest to start of the French MNOs, had an outstanding score on our latency index
  • Figure 19: T-Mobile USA’s latency performance is market-leading on a blended 3G/4G basis
  • Figure 20: T-Mobile USA generates fewer high latency events than any US operator

Technologies and industry terms referenced include: 4G, 5G, data, infrastructure, Networks, spectrum