Download Weekly: 3g use slows as networks face closure

Published: Fri 7 Jun 2024 05:58 PM
OpenSignal report shows minority of users not ready for network shutdown
An OpenSignal report looking at New Zealand’s readiness for planned 3G network closures suggests some customers are not prepared for the change.
The clock is ticking. One New Zealand plans to close its 3G mobile network by the end of March 2025. Spark and 2degrees both plan to close their networks later next year.
OpenSignal found, with less than a year to go, users still spend around seven percent of their time connected to 3G. This is significantly down on the 11 to 15.8 per cent of time on 3G that was observed in 2022.Move from 3G has slowed
The report says while time on 3G is falling, the move away from the older technology has slowed. Eventually customers will have to move when the 3G networks close, but, for now a minority users depend on 3G for at least some of the time.
A handful of customers (four per cent) using 3G either don’t have 4G capable phones or use a phone that doesn’t support Voice over LTE. Others have 4G capable phones but either lack a suitable SIM card or have the phone’s 4G ability turned off.
Carriers have plenty of incentive to close 3G networks. Running multiple networks is costly and adds unnecessary layers of complexity to a business. Moreover, they can put the spectrum used by 3G to better use with their 4G and 5G.
OpenSignal says customers have much to gain by switching to 4G and 5G networks: “Users that connect to 4G spend more time with a 3G or better connection and see average overall download speeds that are nearly five times faster than those seen by 3G-only users. Similarly, our 5G users see average download speeds that are 8.6 times faster than 3G-only users.”New Zealand, Australia front of queue for Amazon Kuiper LEO broadband
New Zealand and Australia will be the first markets targeted by Amazon’s Kuiper low earth orbit satellite network. The company told the Australasia Satellite Forum and CommsDay that it expects to begin operation next year. When it comes online it will offer broadband speeds of between 100 Mbps and 1 Gbps.Graham to head One enterprise salesWill Graham, One New Zealand’s new GM Enterprise Sales.
Devoli sales director Will Graham is One New Zealand’s new GM Enterprise Sales. He will be responsible for sales and customer relationships with private sector organisations.
Graham previously worked at Gen-i, Vodafone, Qrious, Network for Learning and PWC.
One NZ offers its enterprise customers unified communication services, managed networks, contact centre and cyber security among other products and services.
While the business partners with Defend, Palo Alto Networks, Microsoft, Google, Cisco and AWS, Graham singled out the company’s more recent relationship with SpaceX and Starlink as giving it a competitive advantage.US industry trims 6G expectations
Samsung’s marketing hyperbole recently went into overdrive promising that when it arrives 6G mobile will be “The next hyper-connected experience for all”. Rival Ericsson has said the next generation cellular technology will bring about an “internet of the senses”.
Long time readers will remember hearing similar overblown promises a decade or so ago as carriers prepared to move from 4G to 5G.
Yet, despite its many behind the scenes benefits, the move from 4G to 5G mobile did not prove to be the life changing consumer revolution the company’s behind the technology promised.For consumers the benefits were incremental
The older 4G standard, or 4.9G if you prefer, coped just fine delivering HD video to mobile handsets.
An everyday mobile user would struggle to see any discernible performance or application difference moving between the two phone generations.
The main change was that carriers were able to connect more users at the same time so there was less network congestion in crowded places.Daly dials down the hype
This week Brian Daly, who is AT's AVP of wireless technology and standards delivered a keynote presentation at the Network X Americas event where he dialled down the 6G hype and talked more about what to expect in practice.
As you’d expect, 6G should further improve network performance. Speeds will be faster than today. Latency should improve. We’ll see everyday wireless communications services squeeze more from rarely used parts of the spectrum.
More importantly, there will be shifts in network automation technologies. Daly says 6G will be less about developing new transmission hardware and more about interoperability with cloud and AI.Fixed wireless the likely winner
Another speaker at the Network X Americas event tartly noted that many of the user cases and applications being talked about for 6G are the same as those that were previously promoted as 5G networks were being rolled out.
Perhaps the most significant aspect of 6G is what it could mean for fixed wireless broadband.
The switch from 4G to 5G meant a huge step for fixed wireless users who moved from something resembling ADSL or VDSL to a fibre-like broadband experience. A step up to 6G will take that further.One NZ reports emissions down a quarter
One New Zealand says it reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 24 per cent during the recent 2024 financial year when compared with the previous year.
The company’s accounting shows activities during the year resulted in the equivalent of 10,700 tonnes of carbon dioxide. The figure for the previous year was 14,201 tonnes. The most recent year’s figure is slightly higher than the 10,736 tonnes managed in 2022.
One says the measure includes business-owned vehicle travel, diesel generators, electricity purchases and scope 3 emissions from the company’s value chain which includes air travel and waste.In other news...
Waatea News reports: World-first data storage infrastructure solution built by Iwi Māori, for Iwi Māori. The project from Te Kāhui Raraunga Charitable Trust is due to go live next year and takes the concept of data sovereignty to a new level.
An unnamed writer at RNZ asks: “Is it acceptable to use emojis at work?”. This is an example of a headline where the answer is, to use a technical term: bleeding obvious.
There’s a complicated visual pun working on Chris Keall’s Fullers, Vessev launch ‘world’s first electric hydrofoiling tourism vessel’ on Auckland Harbour. It prominently shows a keel. The project looks exciting and a peek into the future as Auckland waits for its electric ferries.
Rob O’Neill updates Reseller News readers on the state of local branches of international equipment suppliers in Ericsson NZ and Juniper A/NZ surge while Huawei stabilises. He warns: “2024 could prove more challenging for telecommunications network equipment suppliers.”
IDC forecasts global spending on telecom and network APIs will reach US$6.7 billion in 2028. This ties in with the 6G story above, the research company says the growth will come as “Service providers push customised, programmable connectivity”.
At the Register, Simon Sharwood reports that WiFi can watch your heart beating.
3G use slows as networks face closure was first posted at
Bill Bennett
Freelance journalist.
Auckland-based Bill Bennett writes technology and business stories that are directly relevant to New Zealand readers.
His emphasis is on telecommunications, but he also covers other aspects of technology and business. You can find his features in the New Zealand Herald and hear him regularly on RNZ Nine to Noon and the NZ Tech Podcast.
Bennett's The Download Weekly newsletter is published every Friday. You can sign up for it here. If you want to support his work, you can make a donation to his PressPatron account.
Contact Bill Bennett

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