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LTE Device-to-Device: A Rare Chance for Revenue Growth
Long-Term Evolution Device-to-Device (also known as LTE Direct, LTE D2D or, in one test implementation, LTE Radar) is a technology designed to operate in the access part of the cellular network. It enables devices within a short distance of one another (theoretically up to 1000 m depending on local conditions, and perhaps more typically up to 500 m) to use the LTE spectrum in licensed bands to communicate directly with one another, instead of routing all their communications into, and back out of, the LTE network.

Work has been underway within 3GPP to develop LTE D2D standards, while commercial players have been working on early stage trials, and proofs of concept to help them think through how LTE D2D could be used. A variety of use-cases has been considered and discussed with industry heavyweights, such as Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, Yahoo! and LG, all looking at how they might create innovative new services.

Our analysis suggests that there is a substantial revenue opportunity for network operators that can be accessed by introducing services based on LTE D2D. We estimate that proximity-based marketing alone offers significant revenue potential for mobile operators.

The value of local telecom services has been in general decline around the world with the cost of calls falling. LTE D2D communications offers an opportunity to revitalize the value of local communications by combining it with discovery.

LTE D2D and proximity will drive the development of a raft of innovative new services with obvious value to users. For once, there is potential for operators to monetize this. However, standardization processes must not be allowed to take so long that the opportunity closes. Alternative technologies can deliver much, if not all, of what LTE D2D discovery can deliver. The advantage will be in the scale and global applicability alongside ease of use, but it will be hard to charge a premium if rivals have already flooded the market with inferior but cheaper choices.

Operators have everything to gain by agreeing global spectrum allocations for D2D and nothing to lose. Global proximity roaming could revolutionize tourism, and enables operators to sell services that reach all potential users, rather than fragmented communities of app user.

LTE D2D and proximity will open up billions of dollars in revenue opportunity worldwide.

LTE Device-to-Device: A Rare Chance for Revenue Growth looks at the current state of development of LTE D2D, summarizing the progress of standardization and highlighting noteworthy trials. It offers a timeline to potential service introductions, reviewing the hurdles that must be overcome before services can effectively be introduced. It goes on to show by analyzing just one potential case of LTE D2D, namely-proximity-based advertising that this concept offers a great opportunity for operators seeking to grow revenues. It also includes forecasts for the proximity-based marketing business in the U.S., with detailed discussion of the underpinning assumptions.

Sample research data from the report is shown in the excerpts below:
Table of Contents (4gltei0715_toc.pdf)
There is already a range of solutions available in the market that can provide service providers, shops, advertisers and application and service users with location-based services. These use a variety of mechanisms to determine location (including network-based approaches, such as triangulation, signal strength and cell id, which are already accessible to operators). They are regularly used and often combined with other data sets (including knowledge of Wi-Fi coverage, Wi-Fi triangulation and GPS data) to deliver real-time updated location information that can be used by application developers and advertisers.
[click on the image above for the full excerpt]
Total pages: 18
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