Editor’s Note: RCR Wireless News goes all in for “Throwback Thursdays,” tapping into our archives to resuscitate the top headlines from the past. Fire up the time machine, put on the sepia-tinted shades, set the date for #TBT and enjoy the memories!

NFV moves into early deployment
Network functions virtualization has come a long way in the last year, according to experts, who have noted movement from discussion to actual deployments on live networks. ACG Research CEO Ray Mota joined Affirmed Networks CEO Hassan Ahmed and RCR Wireless News’ Jeff Mucci, to discuss how the NFV landscape has changed in the last year. “It’s actually pretty exciting to see what’s going on,” Mota said. Since last year, “What we’re seeing this year is real deployments. You see the value of it now.” Mota said carriers are going after “low-hanging fruits,” like virtual evolved packet core deployments and virtual consumer premise equipment for managed services. “These use cases are becoming real compared to last year where it was a lot of PowerPoints,” Mota said. … Read more

T-Mo talks VoLTE
T-Mobile US says it’s the nation’s leader in voice-over-LTE calls on its mobile network. This week at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, T-Mobile US CFO Braxton Carter said more than half the voice calls on the carrier’s network are on VoLTE and the “un-carrier” is ahead of its competitors in VoLTE penetration. Carter said T-Mobile US is in the process of repurposing legacy spectrum for LTE. The company is also expected to bid aggressively this year in the 600 MHz spectrum auctions, but any spectrum T-Mobile US secures through that process will not be available until the TV stations currently using the spectrum move to a new channel or go dark. T-Mobile US has been loud and proud about VoLTE since launching the service in May 2014. The company was the first U.S. carrier to launch VoLTE and has been adding markets and devices quickly. By the end of last year, T-Mobile US said almost 40% of its calls were on VoLTE, and now it says that number is above 50%. … Read more

Smartphone shipments slow
Total smartphone shipments are expected to reach 1.5 billion units this year, representing a 5.7% compared to 2015, according to a report from IDC. The research firm said total smartphone shipments hit 1.44 billion units last year, climbing 10.4% compared to the previous year. According to the report, the global smartphone market will experience single-digit-growth until 2020, when the market is expected to see volume growing to 1.92 billion devices. IDC also noted the smartphone market will continue to see volumes shifting to the low end with the aggregate market average selling price dropping from $295 in 2015 to $237 in 2020. IBB Consulting senior partner Jefferson Wang calls this the “good enough” smartphone segment, which he discussed with RCR Wireless News during Mobile World Congress 2016. … Read more

ZTE export ban begins to take hold
U.S. chipmakers will feel the sting of the U.S. government’s decision to restrict technology exports to China’s ZTE. Qualcomm and Intel are both suppliers to ZTE, as is Singapore’s Broadcom. (Broadcom is now part of Avago, and the combined company uses the Broadcom name.) Chip stocks fell more than the overall market today, with shares of Qualcomm down 1.5% for the day, Intel off 1.2% and Broadcom ending the day down 2.7%. Shares of Oclaro fell more than 15% on Tuesday. The maker of optical components and modules said that ZTE is a customer for many of its products, and will be the source of more than 10% of Oclaro’s revenue during the current quarter. All of these companies supply components for the smartphones and/or network infrastructure made by ZTE. The loss of ZTE’s business is not expected to have a huge financial impact on any of them in the short term, but it could in the longer term. … Read more

LTE subs hit 1 billion
The global LTE and LTE-Advanced market reached 1.068 billion connections by the end of 2015, following 156 million net additions during the final three months of the year and 552.2 million for the full year, according to a Global Mobile Suppliers Association report. According to the report, the number of LTE and LTE-A connections are expected to pass the 3G/WCDMA-HSPA global total in 2020. “A daily average of almost 1.7 million LTE subscriptions were being signed up during Q4 2015, and the rate of LTE subscriptions growth is accelerating,” said GSA VP of research Alan Hadden. “LTE technology is now being used by one in seven mobile subscriptions worldwide.” In Asia Pacific, total LTE connections amounted to 580 million at the end of 2015, representing a global market share of 54.3%. … Read more

The worst phone owners in America
We’ve all been there. The agonizing moment as you fumble your phone and it lands squarely in the pool or a pitcher of margaritas. In fact, according to a new study conducted by Verizon Communications and KRC Research, 49% of us have been there. The study, based on a survey of more than 1,000 people, found nearly half have broken or lost two mobile phones. Millennials apparently drop their phones an average of four times each week, which is twice as much as Gen Xers or baby boomers. Further, parents are more likely to have broken or lost a mobile device compared to phone owners without children; the operative percentages are, respectively 67% to 38%. So how do people break or lose their phones? According to the study, 43% dropped it in water or sent it through the washing machine; others threw the phone, dropped it out of a window, found a pet chewing on the phone or tripped and landed on the phone. There were some great specific responses that really paint a picture. Take, for instance, the phone user who reported breaking the phone when they “threw it at the wall after the New York Giants lost their sixth game in a row.” … Read more

Smith Micro buys Birdstep
Smith Micro Software is buying out its primary competitor in intelligent Wi-Fi offload. The California company is purchasing Birdstep’s software development and marketing arm for an undisclosed amount. Both Smith Micro and Birdstep help mobile operators offload traffic to Wi-Fi networks to ease network congestion. “Birdstep has been our primary competitor in policy driven solutions designed to optimize the utilization of wireless networks,” said William W. Smith Jr., president and CEO of Smith Micro Software. “The acquisition brings trained resources and complementary technology to support the new customers we added at the end of 2015, and will continue to add in 2016.” Smith Micro’s NetWise client uses policy-based algorithms to redirect mobile data traffic at the device level, and Birdstep offers a similar solution. Both companies offer operators ways to evaluate Wi-Fi network quality before shoveling traffic off the network indiscriminately. … Read more

Check out the RCR Wireless News Archives for more stories from the past.

The post #TBT: Early NFV deployments; T-Mo talks VoLTE; ZTE export ban takes effect … this week in 2016 appeared first on RCR Wireless News.