#TBT: Google activating half a million devices a day; iPad dominates US tablet use; LightSquared’s future up in the air … this week in 2011

Editor’s Note: RCR Wireless News goes all in for “Throwback Thursdays,” tapping into our archives to resuscitate the top headlines from the past. Fire up the time machine, put on those sepia-tinted shades, set the date for #TBT and enjoy the memories!

Google hits half a million new devices per day

The days of Apple and Google’s tit-for-tat device activation race has long since passed with Google emerging the clear victor. The search giant’s Android operating system pulled ahead, somewhat inevitably, due to the broad range of devices available and, some would argue, its increasing quality compared the ageing iOS interface. At I/O 2011, Google’s annual developer conference in San Francisco back in May, Google proudly announced they were activating 400,000 Android devices per day. According to a tweet by Andy Rubin, Google’s SVP of Mobile and Android mastermind, as of this morning the company are now activating a staggering half a million devices (both handsets and tablets) every single day. Not only that, but the activation rate is growing by 4.4% week-on-week. This means, via some back-of-a-napkin calculations, that if Android can sustain its 4.4% growth rate, Rubin and his team should be activating one million devices per day by mid-October, and activating two million devices per day by the end of January 2012. Of course if Android growth continues to accelerate – which it shows every sign of doing – these milestones could come even sooner. … Read more

Google pages get a billion visitors in a month

Google may not be the media darling it once was, having lost mindshare to social upstarts such as Facebook and Twitter in recent years, but when it comes to raw traffic the search giant is still top of the pile. Research firm ComScore estimates that last month Google’s family of web properties notched up one billion unique visitors – the first time an individual company has managed such traffic levels. In second place was Microsoft with 905 million, and Facebook was in third with 714 million – up an impressive 30% since last year. Facebook’s numbers are particularly impressive given that all their visitors are on just Facebook.com, whereas Google’s audience are spread out over their many products and services (YouTube, GMail, Google News, Search, Maps etc.). Microsoft is in a similar situation, seeing their visitors split over Hotmail (which remains the biggest webmail service), Bing, which has seen heavy promotion in the US, as well as many other web properties. … Read more

Carriers seek to cope with video traffic

Video generates anywhere from 40% to 60% of mobile data traffic on wireless networks today, according to a fresh mobile analytics report from Bytemobile Inc. Considering that, it’s no wonder mobile videos are stalling between 5% and 40% of the time depending on network conditions and the time of day. “That is a large amount of data to deal with. If it didn’t exist, operators probably wouldn’t have any problems with their network,” Anna Yong, mobile analytics manager at Bytemobile, told RCR Wireless News. The amount of video traffic that flows on any given network is generally a function of the network and the devices, Yong said. “When the experience is poor customers aren’t going to do it,” she added. While most carriers have been reticent to change or manipulate content to achieve a better experience for their customers, there has been a shift and more operators are pursuing video optimization on their network. “Operators are looking for more creative ways and more in-depth ways to figure out what’s going on in their network,” she said. “The problem is getting better and they have to do something about it.” … Read more

Network sharing an option among smaller US carriers?

GUANGHZOU, China – Network sharing among smaller U.S. operators could create a strong venture that would be able to compete against today’s large incumbent operators, although that concept is just a concept today. Leap Wireless International Inc.’s (LEAP) Matthew Stoiber described how a network-sharing agreement among the nation’s regional operators could result in a new operator that would have enough spectrum to compete against U.S. powerhouses AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless. Stoiber, VP and GM of device development at Leap, cautioned the audience at The Global CDMA Operation and Development Forum 2011, that his presentation was merely fodder for average-sized carriers to consider, adding that Leap had not entered into any such deals, but that the topic could create competition in a 4G environment. The conference, sponsored by China Telecom and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., followed the CDMA Development Group’s annual conference in Guanghzou, China. Like many other operators, Leap is facing challenges keeping up with the increased data demands that are arising from smartphone use. About 40% of Leap’s new customers are buying smartphones, even though the flat-rate carrier cannot subsidize the devices significantly. Further, Stoiber noted, another 20% of its subscriber base is migrating to smartphones. Building out a new nationwide network in the United States would take about $9 billion. Spectrum is scarce and over-the-top content providers like Google Inc. and Apple Inc. are trying to control content and the associated revenues that come from that content. So while the smaller U.S. operators separately don’t have the scale to compete with the nation’s top two operators, if they collectively pooled their resources, they would have enough bandwidth to compete. … Read more

Paypal predicts $3 billion in mobile payments

PayPal has revised its projected 2011 revenue for mobile payments for a third time this year to $3 billion. Earlier projections from the company pegged mobile revenue at $1.5 billion and then $2 billion. “Mobile payments are growing at a rate we never could have imagined when we started processing them back in 2006,” Laura Chambers, senior director of PayPal Mobile, wrote in a blog post. PayPal is now managing up to $10 million in mobile total payments volume every day, she noted, adding that it’s up considerably from the $6 million PayPal reported in March. … Read more

iPads dominate US tablet use

It looks as if those reports announcing the end of the iPad era may have been a little premature after all. A study released yesterday by research firm comScore shows that Apple’s best-selling iPad accounts for no less than 97.3% of tablet browsing in the US. Worldwide the iPad is less dominant, notching up a slightly more modest 89% share. The country with the highest tablet usage was Canada, where around 35% of non-PC traffic is consumed on slates. By comparison India had the lowest tablet usage of the countries studied with just 4.5%. The study also examined smartphone traffic, and found that the iPhone still dominates in all markets except the US, Argentina and Chile. In fact, despite Android’s inroads in the smartphone market, in many countries iPhone traffic is around double that of Android – for example in the UK the iPhone has a share of 29.9% vs Android’s 15.1%. … Read more

LightSquared faces GPS issues, uncertain future

LightSquared’s ongoing GPS issues are now well known and seem to have tripped up the company’s plans to launch a wholesale nationwide LTE network. Sure, the company came out last week with updated plans to use different spectrum bands that would minimize interference, but for a carrier that was already a bit spectrum constrained, losing any of its spectrum assets is not a good sign for future progress. But, with rumors of a network sharing arrangement already in the bag with Sprint Nextel Corp., LightSquared’s future could still be on track. That rumored deal would see LightSquared rely on Sprint Nextel’s Network Vision plans to build out its LTE network. Those plans are expected to come along with Sprint Nextel announcing its own plans to launch LTE services. Sprint Nextel has said that such network sharing arrangements make sense for the carrier and were one of the benefits noted for its network upgrade plans. However, with LightSquared’s LTE wholesale plans set to share a network that is also expected to include Clearwire Corp.’s planned expansion into LTE for its own wholesale plans, it looks like LightSquared could be left out as the red-headed stepchild. While the rumored network sharing agreement does seem to provide some life for LightSquared, the details of that arrangement will spell out how satisfying that life will be. If it’s just a straight network sharing arrangement, with LightSquared paying Sprint Nextel rent for access to the infrastructure and no other financial or spectrum sharing arrangements … Read more

Check out the RCR Wireless News Archives for more stories from the past.


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