Wednesday, December 17, 2008

2009 predictions (well, everyone else is at it!)

As the year winds down with yet more gloom (though whether Voda's decision to stop sponsoring the England cricket team is credit crunch driven, or a result of their woeful result against India this week, it's hard to be sure), looking forward to 2009 has to be a bit more cheerful ... doesn't it?

So, in no particular order, what will be some of the themes for 2009...

1. Femtocells will be revealed as the emperor with no clothes. It's all the rage, all very trendy, but anyone actually have any idea on how the price point will come down to where it can be a consumer product? Will they actually solve the technical issues that are starting to come out of the woodwork as operator trials come to a close? They've been great PR fodder this year, but 2009 will see femtocells starting to talk the LTE story. Surely recognition that they've missed this first boat and are having to refocus on a technology that is still another couple of years off. Which means theme two will be ...

2. Start-ups running out of cash. Talk about self-fulfilling prophecies, but Sequioa seems to have single-handedly frozen the whole VC market. If companies were expecting revenue this year but see this pushed out, we'll surely see some bright ideas staying as just bright ideas and never coming to market.

3. Self-optimising networks (SON) have been talked about for a while, but now operators are starting to join in. Cutting OPEX will be a key focus in 2009 and, with the RAN accounting for the single largest expense, operators will look to move SON from theory as they look cut costs out of their business, while still delivering a true mobile broadband experience for subscribers.

4. LTE-this, LTE-that ... the down in the weeds techies will have their moment in the sun in 2009 as the underlying protocols on which LTE is built get their airing. From DPI to GAN, we'll see three letter acronyms flooding the market to explain other three letter acronyms. What's not to love about telecoms!

5. Mini-notebooks ... already a growing phenonoma, this new form factor will become the mobile broadband device. Embedding HSPA into the devices and bundling them with operator contracts will become the norm.

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