New broadband access products and deployment strategies provided for a touch of reality at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2016, which was captivated by virtual reality demos


LightCounting releases a research note covering announcements and product introductions made at MWC


FaceTime, Skype and WebEx are great, but nothing compares to actual face time with customers, suppliers and industry analysts, as exemplified by more than 100,000 people attending MWC this year. The crowd swarmed Barcelona on the way to the show, baffled, but not deterred by the strikes of transportation workers.

MWC is a must attend event for industry CEOs and included celebrities like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook this year. He first appeared at Samsung’s event presenting new virtual reality products, but he was clearly more concerned with the real-life issues of connecting the unconnected. Mr. Zuckerberg expressed “disappointment” that the industry’s focus was on connecting things rather than the unconnected, and that there was a danger of just providing “faster connections” for rich people. “, a Facebook initiative launched three years ago to connect the world’s population, has made significant progress, insisted Zuckerberg, despite a major setback in India where the Free Basics service was banned”.

LightCounting’s research on broadband deployments in India suggests that banning Free Basics is hardly a setback for this country. The government’s initiatives for deployments of optical and wireless connectivity are progressing well. In contrast to China, all projects are carried out in close partnership with the private sector, ensuring economic feasibility rather than blindly meeting targets set by the government. Deployments of 4G LTE are just starting in India and will be more gradual of the meteoric rollout in China in 2014-2015. Despite the slower pace of deployments, broadband connectivity is clearly changing the lives of people in India, gradually lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, according to information shared with LightCounting by Accenture. This is the best long-term strategy for service providers in India to ensure success of their businesses: creating a huge customer base willing and capable of paying for services.

Deployments of broadband access infrastructure in a more cost-effective way was the key theme at Huawei’s exhibit. The company presented a case study for supplementing FTTx deployments with WTTx (WiFi to the X). This approach accelerates return on investment by at least a factor of three. Business plans for broadband access deployments have to adjust to specific situations, depending on the number of potential users and their demand for bandwidth. Providing wireless broadband access via LTE is the best strategy for entering new markets, according to Huawei. Adding FTTx and WTTx in areas with high concentrations of customers is the important next step, unless it is mandated otherwise by a local government.

Huawei exhibited its 4.5G LTE technology, which is already in trials around the world. One of the key elements of this solution is a GigaRadio transmitter capable of delivering mobile broadband at 1Gbps, enabling a range of new services (Figure 1). GigaRadio is based on a Massive MIMO array of transmitters, combining fifty 20Mbps channels, operating across 3 bands at 0.7-2.6GHz. This effectively means that the whole bandwidth of GigaRadio will have to be allocated to a single customer to deliver a burst of 1.2 Gbps bandwidth. This is a good example of a broadband technology for entering new markets, which will need to be supplemented by other types of access to deliver high bandwidth to more than one user.

Figure 1: Applications for 4.5G Mobile Technology

Source: Huawei

Clients can access full text of the research note at:

It includes analysis of the latest optical networking, datacenter, fronthaul and backhaul optical solutions announced at MWC 2016 by Coriant, Ericsson, Huawei, NEC, Nokia and ZTE.




LightCounting is a leading optical communications market research company, offering semiannual market updates, forecasts, and state-of-the-industry reports based on its analysis of primary research with dozens of leading module, component, and system vendors as well as service providers and other users. LightCounting is the optical communications market’s first choice source for the accurate, detailed, and relevant information necessary for doing business in today’s highly competitive environment. For more information, visit: or follow us on Twitter at @LightCounting.