Friday, 25 November 2011

Vodafone selected to provide 3G connectivity for PlayStation Vita

Vodafone has been chosen by Sony as the connectivity provider for Sony's Playstation Vita. Geographically the deal covers VF's footprint in Western Europe (plus SFR in France), Australia and New Zealand. For more details see here.

The device will be fitted with both 3G and WiFi. No need for LTE at this stage as the networks aren't ready, the additional BOM cost of LTE (USD60-70) is substantial in the context of the price of the device and the lifespan of the device is not more than a couple of years, so plenty of time for LTE versions in future. It'll be interesting to see what happens in the US. If they're sticking with just a 3G device there they're basically committed to AT&T, who do have a good pedigree in consumer electronics M2M (e.g. Kindle).

Vodafone will act as a channel for the Playstation Vita including, we would assume, retail as well as online. No details are available on price, subscriptions etc. The interesting question is whether the connectivity will be completely opaque as it is in the case of the Kindle. If it is, then the cost of the connectivity will be bundled in with the device. If it's not, then the user will have to sign up to a monthly contract. A lot depends on the form of online gaming that Sony puts in place. Vodafone/Sony have until 22nd February next year to decide. That's the device launch date.

By 2020 Machina Research expects that there will be 30 million WWAN connected games devices. For more details see Machina Research's Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Communication in Consumer Electronics 2010-20.

Monday, 21 November 2011

All the fun from Mobile Asia Congress in HK last week

I was over at Mobile Asia Congress in Hong Kong last week for three reasons: support the GSMA in some of their Connected Life messaging, chair a conference session on automotive M2M, and pick up a few tasty morsels on the Asian market. So here's a quick precis:

The GSMA Connected Life

We've been doing a lot of work at Machina Research supporting the GSMA's initiative (see here for more details). And what better opportunity than MAC to highlight some of our key findings about the Asia-Pacific region in 2020, the most connected region in the world.

  • Asia-Pacific will dominate the global market for connected devices. In 2020 it accounts for 46% of devices, 47% of SIM-based devices and 41% of machine-to-machine connections. It represents 38% of the US$1.2 trillion global MNO addressable market opportunity (US$447 billion).

  • In 2020 China will be the biggest market in the world for connected devices: 20% in 2020 up from 16% today. The revenue opportunity for MNOs is US$180 billion, 2nd only to the US’s US$225 billion. Much of this growth comes from M2M in Consumer Electronics (due to growing disposable income), Intelligent Buildings and Utilities (the latter two particularly due to improvements in the housing stock and government mandating of smart metering).

  • Japan and South Korea will be the most connected societies on the planet. They average 11 connected devices per head of population (global average = 3). Japan has the highest MNO addressable revenue for connected devices per head of population in the world with USD660/head.

  • India is the big emerging mobile opportunity beyond 2020. It's the 5th biggest market in 2020, worth a potential USD43 billion to MNOs in 2020. With only 0.2 M2M devices per head of population (global ave. 1.73), accounting for only 3% of cellular (Japan 79%, China 58%), there's a lot of room for growth.

Automotive M2M session

I ran a very interesting session on Thursday on automotive telematics (with a bit on utilities too), with Fran Dance of BMW and Ed Pleet of Ford, talking about their companies' respective approaches to automotive M2M. This was particularly interesting as they have chosen to take very different approaches. BMW's focus is on connecting the vehicle itself, while Ford's approach is to make use of the driver's own connectivity (i.e. the smartphone). There are strengths to both approaches. For in-vehicle entertainment, for instance, I am wholeheartedly of the view that the driver (or passenger) will want to access their own content through their own device. However, for some of the applications that involve no user intervention (e.g. security/tracking, eCall etc) then I'm of the view that it's more naturally the vehicle that is connected. If you're interested in this area you could do worse than check out Machina Research's report Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Communication in the Automotive Sector 2010-20, published earlier this year.
Of course the session covered a lot more ground than I'm talking about here. Apparently the session was being recorded and should be available some time on Mobile World Live. I'll keep you posted if it does become available and you'll be able to enjoy it for yourself.

Other nuggets of information

If you were following me on twitter (@mattyhatton) then you'll have seen some of my comments on news from the keynotes. Some very interesting stuff. Here's a few things from the keynotes.

  • Nice to hear Anne Bouverot, the GSMA's DG, name-checking Machina Research and our figure of 24 billion connected devices worldwide in 2020.

  • China Mobile is going aggressively after the M2M space with its Smart Cities initiative. 160 cities are already signed up. No wonder we're expecting China to be #1 M2M market by 2020.

  • NTT DoCoMo has found a unique way of dealing with mobile broadband demand. In congest cells it downgrades the service to any user who has been a heavy user over the previous three days. Cute. And a good way to deal with its expected 12-fold growth in mobile data between now and 2015 (which sounds a rather high estimate to me). They're also planning 98% LTE coverage by 2014. Particularly relevant for DoCoMo as they're (I think) the only MNO whose data revenue exceeds voice.

This has been a bit of a hotch-potch blogpost. Ideally I'd have told you lots more but Q4 is always the busiest time for us analysts and this year more so than any other for me. Drop me a line if you're interested in any of the above.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Talking M2M at 4G World

Here's a video of me, Ton Brand of the GSMA and Michael Coyne of Ericsson talking M2M with the bNET folks at 4G World last week in Chicago. An interesting discussion...