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Network operators must find new partners for LTE, says analyst

Network operators should seek new partners to make the most of high-speed mobile transmission technology, according to a market analyst.

International telecoms and media analyst Greenwich Consulting said the emergence of Long Term Evolution (LTE) as the so-called 4G mobile technology was an opportunity for new players to enter the market.

Magnus Rehle, MD of Greenwich's Nordic practice, said Google and Apple were having a material impact on traffic through Android and iPhone respectively, and this was translating into revenue for them.

"Operators' revenue from voice services are under pressure everywhere," Magnus Rehle said. Skype, the free voice over internet app that most mobile operators try to block, showed what could happen as the networks converted to all-digital operation, he said.

In other cases, he said some network operators blocked content providers unless they paid the networks to carry their content. This risked losing revenue from traffic, he said.

"We went through this cycle in the 1990s with music streaming on the mobile networks. Now we have Spotify," Rehle said. Spotify is the all-you-can eat subscription service where carriers and content companies share revenue.

Rehle said many providers wanted to sell 3D video content to mobile users. This would put huge demands on network operators' capacity.

Future applications would include eHealth and eEducation, and location-based services such as "connected cars", he said. These would add to the networks' capacity problems.

Rehle said the capital requirements for supplying such capacity were huge. He suggested governments that had still to auction the 4G spectrum should consider the Swedish model.

This meant the government gave up some of the revenue it might have received from the auction in return for a faster roll-out of 4G networks and more sustainable industry players. "That said, there must be strong competition to keep costs down for end users," he added.


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