LTE vs Fibre: Fixed-mobile convergence in the SFB era

LTE vs Fibre: Fixed-mobile convergence in the SFB era

In both fixed and mobile access markets, the trend is one of increasing speeds, and especially the transition to superfast access (>30 Mbps).
Fixed and mobile NGA network rollouts will go hand in hand in advanced markets, even if the first observations and forecasts give superfast mobile rollouts an edge in terms of pace.
But wireline networks will not disappear anytime soon, as they are vital for mobile backhauling, and fronthauling for future 5G systems.
This report examines what the future is likely to hold for fixed and mobile networks, and system convergence opportunities available to operators.

1. Executive Summary
2. Methodology and definitions
3. Fixed and mobile networks: state of the art
3.1. Fixed fibre network rollouts
3.2. Fibre being pulled up to subscribers with FTTH/FTTB architectures
3.2.1. Subscriber numbers growing fast
3.2.2. FTTH/FTTB coverage rates progressing
3.3. Hybrid fibre/cable FTTX/DOCSIS 3.0 networks
3.3.1. Growing number of SFB subscribers thanks to the adoption of DOCSIS 3.0 equipment
3.3.2. Coverage bound up with historical TV broadcasting systems
3.4. Hybrid fibre/twisted pair + VDSL/VDSL2 networks
3.4.1. VDSL/VDSL2 supplying only a fraction of high-speed connections
3.4.2. Coverage bound up with the legacy copper network
3.5. Swift rollout of LTE, superfast cellular technology
3.5.1. Remarkable rate of adoption
3.5.2. Steadily increasing coverage
3.5.3. Massive investments
3.5.4. Monetising mobile data traffic
3.6. Increasingly ubiquitous Wi-Fi, supplying Internet access for people on the move
3.7. Government actions
3.7.1. European directives in support of rapid deployments
3.7.2. National SFB programmes
3.7.3. The spectrum issue
4. Fixed network evolution
4.1. Evolution of networks with cable in the last mile: DOCSIS 3.1
4.2. Evolution of twisted pair networks: and FTTDP
4.3. Evolution of FTTH networks: 10G-PON technology
5. Evolution of LTE and roadmap for 5G
5.1. Advent of LTE-A
5.2. Emergence of VoLTE in 2015
5.2.1. HetNets, small cells and Wi-Fi
5.3. HetNets
5.4. Growing use of small cells
5.5. LTE-U, LTE LWA, LTE-H: already part of operators' approach to network convergence
5.5.1. LTE-U, LTE in unlicensed bands
5.5.2. LTE LWA (LTE Wi-Fi Access) or LTE-H (LTE-HetNet)
5.6. 5G systems expected to be natively convergent
5.7. LTE and 5G: dire need for better backhaul
6. Factors driving operators' fixed and mobile convergence
6.1. Bundles and cross-selling, driving fixed-mobile convergence
6.2. Infrastructure convergence in the superfast fixed and mobile era
6.3. Fixed-mobile consolidation deals
6.3.1. The situation in Europe
6.3.2. Outlook in the United States
6.4. And what of fixed-mobile substitution?
6.4.1. LTE products for residential customers and SMEs, a direct rival for fixed Internet products
6.4.2. LTE, competing head on with fibre
6.4.3. FDD-LTE: an alternative to fixed superfast access in rural areas
6.4.4. TD-LTE: direct rival for WiMAX
6.5. What about a fixed-mobile combination?
6.6. What role for LTE in the fixed market?
6.6.1. LTE has undeniable assets
6.6.2. But LTE technology also has real drawbacks
6.6.3. What strategies are operators using?
Table 1: Number of FTTH/FTTB subscribers in a selection of countries
Table 2: Number of FTTX/DOCSIS3.0 subscribers in a selection of countries
Table 3: Number of VDSL subscribers in a selection of countries
Table 4: The main cellular and high-speed wireless access technologies
Table 5: LTE coverage in a selection of countries
Table 6: Generations of Wi-Fi
Table 7: Comparison of Wi-Fi and cellular technologies' features and functionalities
Table 8: Regulatory framework for the BB/SFB market in the United States
Table 9: Spectrum for mobile networks (Western Europe)
Table 10: Obligations attached to LTE licences in Brazil
Table 11: Technical limitations of E1/T1 leased lines as a backhaul solution for LTE-A traffic
Figure 1: Breakdown of FTTH/FTTB subscribers worldwide, at the end of 2014
Figure 2: Breakdown of FTTX/ DOCSIS 3.0 subscribers worldwide, at the end of 2014
Figure 3: Breakdown of SFB subscribers in a selection of Western European countries, at the end of 2014
Figure 4: Breakdown of VDSL subscribers worldwide in December 2014
Figure 5: Maximum download speed by mobile technology
Figure 6: LTE subscriber growth by region, 2012-2019
Figure 7: NTT DOCOMO's LTE Capex in Japan, fiscal years 2011 - 2015
Figure 8: Hotspot 2.0 development stages
Figure 9: Oi's coverage strategy in Brazil
Figure 10: Frequencies used on copper networks
Figure 11: Evolution of the different copper pair technologies, available speed and maximum line length
Figure 12: Relevance of VDSL solutions according to fibre connection point
Figure 13: LTE roadmap
Figure 14: HetNet combining macro and small cells
Figure 15: How Wi-Fi LTE access works
Figure 16: How the bundles affected Virgin Media subscribers churn rates in 2011
Figure 17: Comparison of fixed and mobile broadband growth in Sweden, 2008-2014
Figure 18: Comparison of fixed and mobile superfast broadband growth in Sweden, 2008-2014
Figure 19: Deutsche Telekom's "integrated" strategy
Figure 20: Different industry strategies

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