Print 37 comment(s) - last by CaedenV.. on Feb 11 at 3:31 PM

He said normal, everyday people wouldn't notice a difference between 3G and 4G

Vodafone's CEO referred to 4G connectivity as a feature that only "technofreaks" are worried about.

Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao discussed how UK digital communications company EE's 4G network has impacted Vodafone's business in the UK during a media conference call earlier this week.

According to Colao, customers wouldn't notice a difference between 3G data speeds using HSPA+ and 4G network speeds -- hence, 4G isn't a necessary network feature.

“I haven’t seen any figures but when I visited an EE store to see how fast it was all I saw was technofreaks in there," said Colao. "I haven’t heard any calls from friends, colleagues of businesses that we need this fast internet. With the increase in data speeds of HSPA+ (a faster version of 3G), an early LTE network won’t be much different.”

Source: Mobile News

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Cartel economics
By Shig on 2/8/2013 3:06:57 PM , Rating: 3
Bandwidth and highspeed internet is a resource that everyone wants. (it should be regulated like a utility). By monopolizing the market and turning bandwidth into an artifically scarce resource, they can charge whatever they please. This is what drug cartels and illegal weapon dealer cartels do, they control a key resource and extort people.

Bandwidth is not a scarce resource, no matter how loudly all the ISPs scream. The cost of delivering a bit of data follows a Moore's Law type progression, and that goes for wireless and wired connections.

RE: Cartel economics
By hubb1e on 2/8/2013 3:21:28 PM , Rating: 3
Wireless IS a scarce resource. There's only a few frequencies we're allowed to use and then there are hard limits to how much data can travel over that frequency. You can improve bandwidth with technology like modulation and better noise algorithms, but given any technical standard such as 4G there IS a fixed amount of data that can fit over a certain frequency. Cable based internet is the same way. There's only so much data that a 1GB pipe can send. Even fiber has it's limits. But with cable you can always bury more cables but at high cost. I'm not against regulations since permits to bury cables and getting frequencies is all a shared resource, but your statement that bandwidth is not scarce is false.

RE: Cartel economics
By StanO360 on 2/8/2013 4:31:18 PM , Rating: 1
Just not true, you can add radios, string more fiber. Modulate and compress. Build more towers, different towers.

Regulations and permits are appropriate for digging because it's a public resource. But, the internet is not a public resource and demands little public interaction (versus electricity), it's more akin to telephone service. And telephone service deregulation has been a massive success. We call around the world for pennies, we don't even consider long distance calling. The quality is high, the equipment cheap. I don't know if you're old enough to remember the naysayers though, "It's too complicated" "Who will take care of home repairs?" There are too many choices!" etc.

I remember gathering around the phone to call relatives long distance and saying a few quick words! The same will be true with wireless. Monopolies will come and go if the government doesn't disappear, new technology, new marketing etc.

Bandwidth is available in the exact proportion people are willing to pay for it. You don't think there would be more bandwidth available if people would pay $200 a Gb?

RE: Cartel economics
By kyuuketsuki on 2/8/2013 5:54:59 PM , Rating: 5
"And telephone service deregulation has been a massive success."

Lol, good one. Deregulation of any utility never been anything but a bust for consumers.

RE: Cartel economics
By Mathos on 2/8/2013 6:10:50 PM , Rating: 4
Not necessarily true.

The cable form most hard pressed for bandwidth is DSL, as you can only transmit so much over 2 thin copper wires. The actual amount of frequency those two wires can carry, is very limited. Which is why it's hard to find a DSL/ADSL line much over 10Mb/s, even then you're real limited on upload speeds.

Coaxial cable on the other hand, actually can carry a LOT of bandwidth. Something in the area of 6Gb/s, if all 6Mhz channels are set for data usage. Thats not counting a cable companies trunk, and backbone lines, which will contain several Coax runs.

OTA and Cell phone bandwidth is limited by available spectrum that is usable by private and commercial entities. Only certain spectrums are really suitable for long range OTA broadcast as well, those usually being the lower frequencies. And with a lower frequency, comes lower bandwidth available per channel.

RE: Cartel economics
By Cheesew1z69 on 2/8/13, Rating: 0
RE: Cartel economics
By Totally on 2/9/2013 1:53:48 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, telephone wire and cable are made sing the same metal, just different gauges 8 gauge vs 16 or 18 gauge iirc. Thank you for pointing out the obvious

RE: Cartel economics
By bobsmith1492 on 2/9/2013 7:37:54 AM , Rating: 5
Coaxial cable is far different than plain old twisted or non-twisted pair. Coax has a specific electrical impedance that results in high signal integrity across the run. That allows higher bandwidth through because of reduced phase distortion in the higher frequencies.

RE: Cartel economics
By StevoLincolnite on 2/10/2013 11:19:57 PM , Rating: 2
Coax is copper... And they certainly can push higher speeds over copper..they choose not to.

Not exactly.

You see on copper speeds degrade with distance due to attenuation of the signal, the farther you are away from a DSLAM the slower the maximum connection speed becomes.

In Australia for instance allot of DSL providers are "Uncapped" speed wise, so people sign up for DSL and they will generally get the best possible speeds that their phone line allows.

Now, those who are close to something like a DSLAM may be achieving the maximum speeds available on the 24mbps ADSL 2+ and hence something like VDSL may actually be beneficial, but generally don't expect 100mbps+ over your copper phone line any time soon unless providers are willing to place "Mini exchanges" equipped with VDSL on every street corner.

RE: Cartel economics
By Belegost on 2/8/2013 6:45:34 PM , Rating: 5
This comment is so out of touch with engineering reality it makes baby EE Jesus cry.

There is finite spectrum available for use in wireless data transmission. For a given radio access technology (i.e. LTE or HSDPA)there is a spectral efficiency limit, a cap on now much data can be transmitted on that amount spectrum in a given time. Changing modulation implies changing RAT, because the technology standard defines the available modulation and coding and must be adhered to otherwise devices will fail to interoperate. (For instance if I made an LTE base station that transmitted in 1024QAM it would be useless since no user devices could demodulate the data.) Changes in the standards take time and generally rely on changes in fundamental technologies such as semiconductor process nodes to allow a device to decode larger blocks faster, or radio antenna technology to improve the ability to demodulate dense constellations.

Adding more cells sounds like a good idea, excpt for the whole interference thing. Basically the more cells you add in an area, the more noise you add to the channel, which reduces the amount of data that can be sent over the channel. So there is a tradeoff and network planning requires a lot of analysis of that tradeoff to find a balance.

Building different towers goes back to standards, there are new towers in the works to improve things, but it takes a significant amount of engineering effort to overcome difficulties that arise.

As it sits right now a good LTE network provides the most spectrally efficient means of providing wireless broadband, and this continues to improve as advancements in the LTE spec and the key technologies behind it become available.

The CEO here is honestly an idiot for ignoring the advantages offered by the best current technology and if he is followed will likely greatly impact his company in future years. However, that does not change the fact that even the best available has definite limits on how much bandwidth can be made available.

RE: Cartel economics
By Shadowself on 2/8/2013 9:36:44 PM , Rating: 2
You are absolutely wrong about this.

Wireless spectrum is a scarce resource. People have been battling over the right to use various spectral bands since the 50s. This heated up in the 90s when the U.S. Congress realized that auctioning off the right to use specific radio frequency (RF) spectra in a given reason could be an income source. Since then companies have spent billions and billions on licenses to specific spectra.

AND all that spectrum use must be coordinated. This is the job of the FCC and NTIA in the U.S. along with regional spectrum managers for occasional users.

AND the amount of information you can get through an RF channel *IS* limited. Have you never heard of Shannon's Limit? If not, look it up. You can only push so much information through a given channel.

It really does not matter how much money you throw at the problem there is a limit. DARPA right now is soliciting proposals to figure out how to get 20 bits per Hz of spectrum continuously to known users over long distances and in real world conditions. This is considered a "DARPA Hard" problem. It's pretty cutting edge.

Sure, LTE-A claims *up to* 30 bits per Hz of spectrum, but that is for very short distances and only under the most optimum conditions. LTE-A will not give that kind of throughput to the average user under typical, real world conditions. Then what's next?

If you think you can meet or beat the 20 bits/Hz that DARPA is requesting over long haul distances then put in a proposal for $20 million and get rich.

Spectrum and the information that can be pumped through it are NOT infinite or even abfinite. It is not only finite; it is scarce. Pretty much everything under about 25 GHz RF is already spoken for (licensed) in the U.S. Once you start going higher atmospheric effect really get in the way. At 60 GHz the atmosphere is almost a slightly translucent wall, RF speaking.

So unless you have some way to magically exceed Shannon's Limit and have as much information throughput as you want under all conditions and distances, you should sit down, shut up and let those of us who really know what is going on move technology -- and RF information throughput -- forward as fast as we can.

RE: Cartel economics
By bodar on 2/9/2013 8:25:31 AM , Rating: 2
Technically, there is a physical limit to spectrum bandwidth and eventually you can't modulate anymore. Bandwidth and frequency are related when all wireless signals share the same medium -- the air.

Oh yeah, and deregulation isn't a cure-all.

RE: Cartel economics
By CaedenV on 2/11/2013 3:31:22 PM , Rating: 2
For radio transition you are dead wrong. It is quite limited in what is available, and changing standards is very difficult due to the sheer number of devices that use the old standards which simply interfere with new and better standards. But others have covered that much better than I can.

For wired you are also quite wrong. It costs a boat load of money to implement a network, and so companies go eyeballs into debt laying out the initial network and plan on it remaining largely the same for 10-15 years, most of that time is spent paying off the debt to implement the system before they become truly profitable. The problem in my area (and most areas) is that internet usage increased far faster than they ever expected back in the late '90s and early '00s when the last major network changes went into place. Because of this they have had to redo large sections of the network prematurely, which then heaps on more debt, and delays the point where they can afford to make sweeping network-wide changes that support higher bandwidth for everyone.

However, even though I understand this, I am still a little upset that I have to pay $45/mo for internet. Over 5 years my computer is ~5x faster for a machine that cost roughly the same amount of money. Meanwhile over that same period of time I have paid $45/mo for the same 20Mbps service. Surely by now I would be able to pay something like $25-30/mo for that same 20Mbps service, or at least be able to get faster service at the same price point!

RE: Cartel economics
By althaz on 2/9/2013 7:01:43 AM , Rating: 2
I'll only reply to your "fiber has limits" comment:
Whilst Fiber does, in fact, have limits, those limits are probably hundreds of years away from being reached.

For reference there are already single-fiber connections possible with Petabit per second bandwidth.

RE: Cartel economics
By Reclaimer77 on 2/8/2013 7:16:31 PM , Rating: 1
Clearly you know nothing of how wireless works. If we were talking traditional broadband, I would agree. You just add more backbones, more servers, more cables switches routers etc etc. But that's not how wireless works, your post is just an ignorant rant.

Sadly we cannot just blast unlimited bandwidth through the airwaves at an exponential rate with the current cellular technology. How you can not know that is

RE: Cartel economics
By Jeffk464 on 2/8/2013 11:58:43 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, everybody I know complains about faster data connections.

By futrtrubl on 2/8/2013 4:22:02 PM , Rating: 2
Let me just start by saying that calling potential customers "technofreaks" or any word combination with "freak" is not a marketing win.
As to the shortsightedness. Just like mobile phones killed land lines by allowing you to take your phone with you, mobile internet has the chance to out-compete cable and DSL, IF they are able to offer sufficient speeds to make 24/7 tethering viable.

RE: Shortsighted
By chµck on 2/8/13, Rating: -1
RE: Shortsighted
By chµck on 2/8/2013 4:37:10 PM , Rating: 2
So it's not far fetched to be able to call your customers "freaks" and still milk them for money

RE: Shortsighted
By bobsmith1492 on 2/9/13, Rating: 0
RE: Shortsighted
By kyuuketsuki on 2/8/2013 5:34:52 PM , Rating: 2
Mobile internet is nowhere near being able to out-compete cable and DSL, let alone fiber-optic connectivity. Wireless is simply not reliable, and latencies are far higher. Wireless is beneficial for areas where there is no other alternative, or where DSL/cable connectivity is poor due to old and/or bare-bones infrastructure, but realistically you could build out a faster DSL/cable/fiber infrastructure that's going to be far more capable.

The only reason we're still stuck with basic DSL/cable internet services and corresponding bandwidths that wireless can be competitive with is because wireless has been so lucrative for communication companies that they have shifted their wireline business to the back-burners (if not ditching them entirely). It's not because wireless can compete with modern high-speed wired internet technologies for bandwidth and latencies.

Plus, congestion is already an issue on HSPA+ and LTE networks. Can you imagine how much worse it would be if everybody was also doing all their home internet browsing/Netflix/Hulu/Xbox Live on wireless?

RE: Shortsighted
By melgross on 2/9/2013 12:24:29 PM , Rating: 2
I notice a big difference between my LTE iPad 3 and my older 3G iPad 2. Same thing between my LTE iPhone 5 and my 3G iPhone 4S.

There is no question that true LTE, even this first version, is much faster. Despite the unreliability of wireless, which includes WiFi, it's much faster than the fastest DSL, which tops out at 6Mbs. I'm getting between 11 Mbs and 25Mbs on my devices, with the iPad through AT&T and the iPhone through Verizon. Most cable services people get are between 10-15 Mbs, so this certainly competes well. Even with FIOS, most people choose the 15Mps service.

So called 4G isn't as fast, but can still be pretty good.

The problem with mobile speeds isn't the service right now, but the more limited capability of the low powered devices themselves, which limit the practical usable download speeds. As phones and tablets continue to get faster, so will their over the air performance. That's why we see big improvements in Internet browser tests each generation. Part of that is the software, and part is the hardware. In another few years, when cell speeds reach 100Mbs, And the hardware is much more capable, you'll find that it outperforms what you have at home by a good bit.

RE: Shortsighted
By Cheesew1z69 on 2/9/2013 12:47:32 PM , Rating: 1
In another few years, when cell speeds reach 100Mbs
Keep dreaming...

RE: Shortsighted
By Rukkian on 2/11/2013 10:07:25 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe in your area, DSL is capped at 6mbps, but I have a 20mbps and my brother 1.5 miles away has 40m down/ 20 m up. I have LTE on my GNEX, and while it is nice, it is still not as responsive as my DSL. There are places where I can get faster speed, but many places it is at best a wash.

With what the providers are charging for data, I am not sure I want any faster connections at this point. 100MBps would mean I would hit a cap in 20minutes instead of 2 hours.

By Flunk on 2/8/2013 3:07:35 PM , Rating: 4
Yes we want it, so make with the 4G already!

RE: Technofreaks
By cknobman on 2/8/2013 4:29:12 PM , Rating: 2
I need more Geeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For True 4G he might be right -- today
By Shadowself on 2/8/2013 9:43:54 PM , Rating: 2
If (unlikely, but what if) he is referring to LTE Advanced which meets the initial ITU definition of 4G then for TODAY he's probably right. Extremely few people today need the kind of information throughput that LTE-A can provide.

However, things change, people are constantly getting more information hungry. People are using devices that have features that require more data (not just information) to make them work.

AT&T is supposedly going to start rolling out a LTE-A capability before the end of this calendar year. Within two years people will be looking at LTE-A the same way they look at LTE now and LTE will be viewed as we view 3G now. It's a seemingly endless progression that won't stop for several more years.

Will it ever stop? Yes, simply because physics says it must. However, that limit is a bit of a ways off into the future.

By jabber on 2/9/2013 7:15:34 AM , Rating: 2
The issues is that its all so political and not aimed at helping the consumer at all.

The roll-out out of 3G globally has meant after ten years its at a point where it's 'almost good enough but not quite'.

Seems to depend which way the wind is blowing. Hence why my enthusiasm for 4G is a little muted. By 2023 it will also be 'nearly good enough'.

By Mumrik on 2/8/2013 4:17:04 PM , Rating: 2
Of course.

That's how it is with most newer technology features.

By StanO360 on 2/8/2013 4:33:52 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think he should have said it. It's like home bandwidth, most services people want are slowed by the website and servers not their connection.

I just started using HSPA+ and I don't sense a lot of difference between it and my sister's LTE phone. I'm getting 5/1 service a lot of the time.

It's called spin
By BifurcatedBoat on 2/8/2013 5:46:03 PM , Rating: 2
The moment that his company has a 4G network, his tune will do a 180.

Slight miscommunication
By UltraWide on 2/8/2013 7:48:46 PM , Rating: 2
The CEO is comparing LTE to HSPA+ and not really saying LTE sucks. I think since his company is going the HSPA+ route instead of LTE he is just trying to say both technologies are similar in performance. Except, he said it completely wrong and ended up sounding like a huge douch3bag. :)

By piroroadkill on 2/11/2013 3:54:32 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, HSPA+ would be fine.. if we had 100% coverage of it.
I'd rather have HSPA coverage everywhere I went than worrying about LTE.

I agree with this statment.....
By GotThumbs on 2/11/2013 9:46:20 AM , Rating: 2
Because most users only need the data for syncing thier email and very occasional browsing.

Who wants to browse the interenet on such a small screen? Most of the 'users' are kids watching tv shows at restarunts.

At the end of the day, it's a personal choice. Me, I like to keep my money in my pocket, so I use Page Plus (uses Verizon's network) for $29.99 mo and get more than enough with 1,200 minutes, 3,000 texts and 250 mb of data. I only use data for emails and Google navigation. Just did a 2,200+ mile trip using my android navigation and still have plenty of data use left. My brother saved over 80.00 a month from his families cell bill. That's $960.00 of savings over a single year. Page Plus is no contract/pre-pay system, but kittywireless has an auto-pay option and handles the whole 'recharge' process for us.

I find it laughable that so many people out there continue to give their money away. This old proverb comes to mind....."A fool and his money are quickly parted"

Best wishes on the coming year and keeping more of your money in your pockets....

By HostileEffect on 2/8/2013 9:45:26 PM , Rating: 1
Being a raider on the move is a prime example of needing a decent connection with at least 4GBs of data. A raid usually takes around 50-150MBs depending on the length.

For the Horde.

By VeronicaGibbs22 on 2/10/13, Rating: -1
By CristinaGibbs22 on 2/9/13, Rating: -1
"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser
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