Ericsson: Smartphone Subscriber Numbers Continue Exploding

Carl Weinschenk

Ericsson’s mobility report, which was released this week, says that there will be 550 million 5G subscriptions by 2022. One-quarter of those will be held by North Americans. Asia Pacific will be home to 10 percent of the subscribers.

The report says that the Middle East and Africa will shift from today’s usage profile, which is 80 percent GSM/EDGE, to one in which 80 percent use WCDMA/HSPA and LTE.

Overall, the explosion of usage is startling, especially considering the density of use at the starting point:

By the end of 2016, there will be 3.9 billion smartphone subscriptions. Almost 90 percent of these subscriptions will be registered on WCDMA/HSPA and LTE networks. By 2022, the number of smartphone subscriptions is forecast to reach 6.8 billion, with more than 95 percent of the subscriptions registered on WCDMA/HSPA, LTE and 5G networks.


It is not just the total number of users that is growing. The report also says that the average use per subscriber will rise during the forecast period.

Laptop Phase Out Timing More Complex

The issue of when a company should replace laptops is an interesting one. One reason that it isn’t as cut and dried as it was in the past, according to eWeek's Wayne Rash, is that machines are stable, tough and have much longer useable lives.

Thus, the point at which an organization changes is more variable than in the past. It can be when machines become too slow or otherwise not up to an organization’s standards. Another break point may be when the laptops are no longer supported by the manufacturer.

In other instances, the bulk of machines may still be functional, but the number having trouble is creeping up to the point that tech departments are bogged down. In still other cases, the decision may be made when the technology has changed to the point that software isn’t supported.

Cisco Has the Hardware Blues

Financial guidance provided this week by Cisco points to slippage in sales of hardware. Bloomberg provides the data. The overriding picture is that Cisco still relies on hardware, which is a problem when the world is switching to software-defined networks and network functions virtualization (SDN and NFV).

Not surprisingly, CEO Chuck Robbins points to weak orders from telecommunications companies for switches as the cause of the decline, according to the story. Orders fell 12 percent in the quarter that ended on October 29 compared to the year-ago quarter.

Bloomberg makes the point that the general decline in the company’s business has been ongoing for six years.

A Step Toward a Thinking Machine

One of the most fascinating topics in technology is whether it is possible to create computers that think. Even the question itself is hard to clarify: What constitutes “thinking?”

A step toward answering that question has been taken at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Researchers in the DANNA neuromorphic software project have developed chips made of off-the-shelf components that recognize patterns and learn just like a brain.

The chips are field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) that can mimic the work done by neurons and synapses in the brain. It’s a tall order: A typical brain has about 100 billion neurons that process and transmit information and trillions of connecting synapses that process in parallel.

FCC Okays Verizon XO Acquisition

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved Verizon’s $1.8 billion takeover of XO Communications. That was seen as a key regulatory obstacle standing in the way of a deal that will expand the carrier’s fiber inventory and millimeter wave wireless spectrum holdings, according to FierceTelecom.

The story says that the approval is coming in “at an interesting time in the business services market segment.” The election of Donald Trump, the piece says, is leading the agency to slow on other issues, such as business data services (BDS) regulations.

XO, while perhaps not a flash point, is important:

For Verizon, the value of the XO acquisition is about having a broader fiber network that it can use to satisfy three main domains: business services, consumer FiOS, and as backhaul for its upcoming 5G wireless services.

XO’s fiber network serves 40 major U.S. markets and has more than 4,000 on-net buildings. The network consists of 1.2 million fiber miles, which includes an intercity network of 20,000 route miles that connects 85 cities.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at cweinsch@optonline.net and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.



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