Moffett: Cable will ultimately win in wireless
By Claus Hetting, Wi-Fi NOW
In the race towards the convergence of networks, cablecos are not only way ahead. They will also ultimately win. This was the key message from award-winning telco financial analyst Craig Moffett, Partner of MoffettNathanson, at this year’s Wi-Fi NOW USA in Washington DC.
“Whomever has the densest wired network will win in wireless. That means that cable’s infrastructure will ultimately win, just as it has already won in broadband,” said Craig Moffett at Wi-Fi NOW Washington DC.
The key here is the inevitable densification of wireless networks needed to meet the surge in wireless data demand. As densification happens, the importance of wired infrastructure (to support wireless services) grows, Moffett said.
As a consequence, wireless networks will begin to look and behave as wired networks, and the one thing we know about wired network economics, is that they won’t support many networks, Moffett said. There will be room for fewer telcos and cablecos, and there’s just not going to be room for four. In fact, just saying that T-Mobile & Sprint will merge will not be enough, Moffett said.
Moffett also highlighted what he called the ‘most disruptive part’ of Comcast’s recently launched Xfinity Mobile service: The $12 dollar a month 1 GB plan. The service – which will rely heavily on Comcast’s Xfinity Wi-Fi network for capacity – addresses abut 10% of the US mobile market. But that’s still a lot of subscribers, Moffett said.
Moffett also said that outside of a handful of highly dense areas, it’s unlikely that the economics of 5G will ever make sense. “The US is an extraordinarily non-urban society. Add to that I don’t know what would be the big wireless revenue opportunity,” Moffett said with reference to future 5G. He also said that the idea that autonomous vehicles will drive 5G deployments, is flawed.