Co-Head of Satellite Practice at IDATE
Perspectives for satellite broadband facing residential LTE offerings
Just as they did with 3G, telcos started to propose residential offers based on LTE, how does it compare with satellite broadband offers?
Residential LTE, a direct competitor to satellite broadband
ust as they did with 3G, telcos started to propose residential offers based on LTE. It’s notably the case of Verizon Wireless in the United States who proposes “Home Fusion” since May 2012, a service that allows households to access broadband via an outdoor LTE antenna installed on one of the walls of the building. The antenna is billed 200 USD but the installation is free. How does it compare with satellite broadband offers? Downloading speeds vary between 5 and 12 Mbps in average with a pricing range going from 60USD for 10GB of data to 120 USD Monthly for 120 GB. With similarities in pricing, downloading speeds and data caps, LTE is positioned as a direct competitor to Satellite broadband.
Residential LTE coming to Europe
In Europe, first LTE offers arrive on the market. The first to propose such services was Netcom, a filial of TeliaSonera, who was first to propose LTE in Norway. It offers 100GB of data for a monthly fee of 68 EUR. According to Netcom, it is very likely that this kind of solution could be considered as a substitute to DSL, especially when the monthly data cap exceeds observed traffic on DSL networks (An average of 30 GB per household). In germany, Vodafone proposes a similar offer since 2012, but this time it is differentiated with quality of service through network speed with prices starting from 25 EUR to 40 EUR monthly to have access to 50 Mbps and 30 GB.
Satellite Broadband: no more competitive?
Considering this kind of offers, satellite broadband is no more competitive, neither on network speed nor on monthly data cap offered. Even though these new offerings materializes the LTE threat for satellite broadband we had foreseen, LTE coverage remains very limited. Anyhow, satellite will have to pursue its downloading speeds increase since 2008 if it wants to maintain a competitive advantage on this market.
Positioning of some satellite broadband offers in France, March 2013
Source: Digiworld by IDATE
Head of the radio technologies & spectrum practice, IDATE
Head of the Telecoms Business Unit at IDATE
Measuring costs for each EU-27 member state to reach the Digital Agenda in Europe
In May 2010, the European Commission adopted its Digital Agenda policy programme. It was one of the first flagship initiatives of the EU 2020 strategy. It sets ambitious targets to provide all European households with ubiquitous coverage of 30 Mbps as a minimum and half of them with a subscription of 100 Mbps by 2020. IDATE has published recently a report providing different possible cost scenarios – with a breakdown by technology and by population density (urban, peri-urban, rural).
Today, some voices are raising concerns that the goals of the Digital Agenda (DA) will not be reached in many Member States as the necessary expenditure is beyond reach, especially in the current European economic situation. This is why this report focuses in particular on the cost of the Digital Agenda in reaching the ambitious goal of coverage of 30 Mbps and 100 Mbps, and further tries to clarify, per country, what it will be. It puts forward a theoretical model with the distinction of various scenarios involving distinct technologies, namely fixed and wireless.
"In several European countries, the rollout of FTTH networks has started and the European Union disposes already of a 40% NGA net coverage amongst all its member states. Indeed, copper local loop will ultimately be replaced by fibre, it being the medium that can guarantee an almost infinite bandwidth capacity for the future. Nevertheless, good quality copper, especially in Western Europe, and the current economic situation, could lead some telcos to consider other alternative scenarios involving VDSL, LTE or even satellite in Ka band", says Roland Montagne, Director of the Telecom Business Unit at IDATE. He adds: "The adoption of a FTTH-oriented scenario by telcos will not only depend on the amount of capex necessary but also on a viable business model. On this, telcos should be innovative not only with the services they propose but also on their pricing approach (tiered pricing) and their strategy regarding smart access."
Deployment costs by scenario
- Four scenarios in different constellations have been modelled, including a full FTTH/B coverage scenario. Depending on the mix of technologies deployed, these scenarios will cost between 51 billion EUR and 229 billion EUR.
- These amounts, whilst certainly substantial, are within the expected range and therefore come as a confirmation of the ambitious nature of the broadband objectives of the DAE.
NOTE: Scenario names are chosen to reflect main technological characteristics, but do not express a preference for any given
technology to reach the broadband objectives of the Digital Agenda.
90% FTTH/B = 90% FTTH/B only + 10% LTE
Base case = FTTH/B+FTTLA+VDSL2+LTE
Vectoring = FTTH/B+FTTLA+VDSL Vectoring+VDSL2+LTE)
Wireless = LTE+FTTH/B
NGA Costs model
In order to build our theoretical model of the costs of reaching the DA goals, IDATE started by drawing up several assumptions about ‘overlapping’ in each country with the aim of establishing the ‘net’ number of FTTx homes passed, and thus the effective level of NGA coverage. Consolidating this in the EU27 gives a net NGA coverage rate of 41% of European households in late-2011. Among the four fixed NGA architectures considered (FTTH/B, FTTLA+DOCSIS 3.0, FTTN+VDSL and FTTx/LAN), regarding our estimates at that time, FTTH/B accounted for 22%, FTTN+VDSL for 25% and FTTLA+DOCSIS3.0 for 50% of the European NGA coverage.
Using these coverage estimates as a baseline, IDATE modelled the investment required for each of the 27 Member States to reach the broadband objectives of the Commission's DA. We also took into account, nevertheless, for each Member State, the national broadband or ultra-fast broadband plans already launched, with their associated objectives of coverage up to 2020.
We then considered no duplication of infrastructure in our cost model. Indeed, the model's output shows the minimum cost of reaching the DA targets by rolling out one single network per coverage area1.
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