The London REE Report: Mobiles Update. The Right Tide.

The recently concluded BWA spectrum auction in India has paved the way for early and large scale introduction of TDD LTE into the world’s fastest developing market.

Having covered the renewable power generation plans of Australia and China, as part of my premise  that rare metals demand is probably underestimated ahead, and will go on for decades as the new technologies take hold and break our dependence on unstable oil producing countries for our energy needs, a reader quickly emailed me to remind me not to leave out India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.


Combined another 1.3 billion market. He was quite correct and it was perfect timing to lead me into today’s mobiles update. But first this from the BBC yesterday on India.

India growth rate rises to 8.8%
India's economy grew at its fastest rate for more than two years in the last quarter, according to official data. In the three months to June, GDP was up 8.8% compared with the same period last year. Although only the 11th biggest economy in the world, India is the second fastest-growing, behind China.

—One of the key factors underlying India's performance was strongly rising sales of goods at home, to Indian consumers.

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Asia is booming and the good life and a better life is coming to hundreds of millions. Lacking a widespread, old fashioned AT&T style copper wire phone system, India, China, Pakistan, and Bangladesh have jumped head first into the mobile phone world. It’s amazing how business booms when you’re reachable by phone. And as amazing as current phones and Ipads are, the mobile industry has a decade more of even bigger change to come. All of it is going to require, Lithium for batteries and rare metals for the phones. With much of India’s future rare earths production headed to Toyota for their hybrid cars, India just like China, will likely become an importer of rare metals later this decade and into the next.

Next, the latest from the Global mobile Suppliers Association on “LTE”, the “next big thing” in mobile technology. LTE allows integrated mobile broadband roaming, among lots of other things, and according to the GSA President, LTE is essential to take mobile broadband to the mass market. History suggests that each next big thing gets adopted faster and deeper than each invention/lifestyle change that went before. This time it could be different, but I don’t see why.

My guess is that what we in the recession wobbly west expect will happen by 2020, in mobile phones world will probably be achieved by 2015.  The GSA membership is rolling out LTE, the Long Term Evolution project for the early 21st century. The current GSA estimate is for 300 million handset sales by 2015. My guess is that they are wrong by a massive under estimate.

The Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) has published an update to its Evolution to LTE report which confirms that  101 firm LTE network deployments are in progress or planned in 41 countries. The number of network commitments is 71% higher than GSA reported in a similar survey six months ago.

This figure includes three LTE systems which have launched commercial service – in Sweden, Norway, and Uzbekistan. GSA anticipates up to 22 LTE networks will be in commercial service by end 2010.

Another 31 operators are engaged in various LTE pilot trials and technology tests (these are referred to as pre-commitment trials). Taken together, it means that 132 operators are now investing in LTE in 56 countries.

The GSA Evolution to LTE report covers both LTE FDD and LTE TDD modes, and provides a summary of the market situation in each country, including operator activities and plans, spectrum requirements and developments, information on the growing eco-system including device and platforms availability, performance and interoperability trials results, key industry trends and forecasts.

LTE networks are now being deployed for commercial service or planned in Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Latvia, Libya, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, The Philippines, UAE, UK, USA, and Uzbekistan.

A number of tenders for spectrum licenses have been announced or confirmed in recent weeks for the granting of spectrum suitable for LTE deployments, including in Australia, Brazil, Chile, Poland, and the UK. Several auctions are scheduled for completion in the next few months.

LTE is the next generation mobile broadband technology of choice and the natural evolutionary step for GSM/WCDMA-HSPA operators and also for many leading CDMA operators around the world. A leading WiMAX operator has also recently announced the company has decided to shift to LTE.

In other mobile news, even in the recession strapped USA, smart phones are the in thing to have.  I think our world will blow by 300 million long before 2015. Asia alone will likely hit 300 million by 2015.

Samsung ships one million Galaxy S phones in U.S.
Aug. 30, 2010, 9:06 p.m. EDT
Samsung Electronics Co. (5930.SE, SSNHY) said it has shipped one million of its Galaxy S smartphones to the U.S. since mid-July as more carriers begin stocking them.

The phones are currently available through AT&T Inc.'s  T-Mobile and will be available through Sprint Nextel Corp. starting Tuesday.

In comparison, Apple Inc.  has said it sold 8.4 million of its flagship iPhones between April and June.

"Bringing Galaxy S devices to multiple carriers has given Samsung Mobile the opportunity to reach millions of consumers," said Samsung Mobile President Dale Sohn.

Smartphones running the Android operating system, made by Google Inc. (GOOG), have gained popularity recently and have become the main rival to Apple's iPhone and its operating system. Earlier this month, industry researcher iSuppli said more smartphones will be using the Android operating system than the iPhone OS by 2012

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Alan Hadden, President, GSA said: "The success of recent LTE systems launches, newly completed spectrum auctions in 2.6 GHz and 800 MHz bands, and the continuing strong upsurge in mobile broadband worldwide are combining to produce the huge momentum for LTE we see right now. LTE is essential to take mobile broadband to the mass market

We are very fortunate to be aware of the start of a 21st century very different world. Time and tide wait for no man. We are at the right time and have the right tide. We are Columbus.

More tomorrow.

Graeme Irvine. London.