Archive for March, 2013

Interview: IP Transmission Senior Manager, MobinNet: “Mobile broadband is a foundation not only of how people work but how they live.”

IP Transmission Senior Manager, MobinNet

IP Transmission Senior Manager, MobinNet

Ali Tahmasebi, IP Transmission Senior Manager, MobinNet is speaking on mobile broadband strategies on Day One of the LTE MENA conference, taking place on the 13th-14th May 2013 at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai, UAE. Ahead of the show he tells us more about the pressures on networks and how LTE is helping operators deal with the traffic growth.

Most markets have seen exponential data traffic growth. What are the patterns you are seeing in your region?

The mobile broadband networks in the region have continued to explode and traffic has increased exponentially. This increase has been related to an increasing number of broadband users and their demand for high-speed services due to a proliferation of end-user devices such as tablets.

The enabling factor has been the broadband technologies that have evolved to address the exploding amount of data traffic. This has been through several means such as improved spectral efficiency and enhancements such as dual-carrier, MIMO and smart antennas that have increased the number of bits per second and Hertz, of which LTE is the most impressive example.

As the Middle-East’s largest WiMax operator, here in MobinNet, the traffic pattern has increase exponentially as well. Fortunately the traffic-speed slope has increased a bit more than that of traffic volume.

What steps can operators take to mitigate the effect of ‘chatty apps’ placing too much signaling pressure on a network?

Today, mobile broadband is a foundation not only of how people work but how they live – they communicate in a mobile oriented world. As the many different types of smartphone are increasing daily, the impact of ‘chatty apps’ is becoming ever more evident.

One of the way to resolve this to offload through wifi networks in order to route data traffic directly to the internet without passing through the mobile operator’s network. Considerations have to be made to address pricing and charging issues for this such as a flat/fixed monthly rate.

What are the challenges around maintaining customer satisfaction under increasing pressure on the network?

Customer satisfaction is a core concept and in a very competitive market it is one of the key areas of focus for mobile operators. The main parameters in this regard are users’ connection speeds, network performance and availability and pricing methods. Multiple access technology in the network, wifi offload, flexible quality of service (QoS) and policy based charging are the methods to deliver the desired service to the end users.

Despite the growth and opportunity around data, will monetisation of LTE be difficult?

I don’t believe it will be difficult; it is feasible. We have enough experience on mobile broadband networks such as 3G and WiMax and with its features such as flat architecture and spectral efficiency LTE has further decreased the overall cost for operators to deliver data.

How are you going about predicting what is required in terms of network expansion over the next 2-5 years.

Trends show mobile broadband traffic increasing at an exponential pattern in both traffic speed and traffic volume. From a technical and commercial point of view it is possible to calculate and predict the slope of the traffic growth curve for the next 2-3 years.  The existing 3G networks will adopt with the latest HSPA+ release to enable users to enjoy high-speed services. Most operators are looking to trace in detail the success story of the big operators that have already deployed LTE. Wifi offload and roll-out more new sites play the main role during this transition time.

In terms of backhaul the aim is to provide more flexibility in order to handle the surge of data traffic generated by HSPA+/ LTE networks. As such it is necessary to define a hierarchical topology including access, hub and metro sites. The backhaul dimensioning should be based on the theoretical peak data rate of access technologies and consider statistical multiplexing in aggregation nodes. As a deployment scenario, the main backbone connections and backhaul to backbone interfaces should be 10G ports. The backhaul will also depend on the location of the sites.

The LTE MENA conference is taking place on the 13th-14th May 2013 at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai, UAE. Click here to find out more about the event

Interview: Technical manager, Mobinnet, Iran: “The biggest challenges for us will be transitioning into an IPv6 world.”

Shamim Nael is the Technical director of operation and maintenance at Mobinnet Iran.

Shamim Nael is the Technical director of operations and maintenance at Mobinnet Iran.

Shamim Nael, technical manager, Mobinnet, Iran is speaking on Day Two of the LTE MENA conference, taking place on the 13th-14th May 2013 at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai, UAE. Ahead of the show we speak to him about the transition of Mobinnet from WiMAX to LTE and about his concerns regarding the development of the TDD eco-system.

How are you managing the transition from WiMAX to TD-LTE?

By carefully considering the future of our network growth, we ensured that we were future-proofed by buying equipment that supported LTE. We also designed the backbone to be powerful enough to meet the all the standards and features that are already being used in modern high-tech telecom environments.

What are the chief technical challenges you expect to face over the next 12 months?

One of the biggest challenges for us will be transitioning into an IPv6 world. Despite several committees working together on a conversion program (including Mobinnet), there is still no announcement from the regulatory organisation about how and when we’re moving over.

Does it make sense to think of LTE as a fixed-line replacement in certain cases?

I don’t think so. In my opinion fixed lines will not be replaced by radio technologies. History shows both fixed and mobile networks developing in parallel, supporting high-tech services with no harm to each other. I remember what happened when IP technology leaked into Telecom world and made a huge revolution on it. We need to keep in mind it’s not the first nor last time that some major technologies may cause remarkable changes in core systems.

What do you consider to be the greatest benefits of the TD-LTE eco-system?

What are the trade-offs between FD-LTE and TD-LTE? The main differences between them lie in their band type. FD-LTE requires paired spectrum with different uplink and downlink channels. TD-LTE uses unpaired spectrum, transmitting uplink and downlink assignments on the same channel. Thanks to the TD-specific frame structure, TD will typically have a smaller link budget than FD. This means that TD-LTE usually caters for smaller cells than FD-LTE. So it’s up to provider’s policies to choose whether use TD, FD or mixed of both in their network. In short, I believe TD-LTE offers more robust radio performance in city environments and also a simpler network implementation because of single-band operation.

The LTE MENA conference is taking place on the 13th-14th May 2013 at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai, UAE. Click here to find out more about the event.

Interview: CTO, Sprint: “Interoperability between FDD and TDD offers exciting new opportunities.”

Stephen Bye, CTO, Sprint

Stephen Bye, CTO, Sprint

Stephen Bye, CTO at leading US operator Sprint is speaking on Day One of the TD-LTE conference, taking place on the 23rd-24th April 2013 at the Fairmont Singapore Hotel, Singapore. Ahead of the show we speak to him about Sprint’s role is leading the TD-LTE charge.

How is the progress of your LTE rollout going in the US?

We are very excited about 2013.  We continue to make solid progress and we have strong momentum. We have been launching five to ten LTE markets each month since July 2012. For the rest of 2013 – we plan to launch in more and more markets. As of early February, we have launched LTE in 58 cities and announced nearly 170 more where LTE is coming soon. We have well over 200 markets where we already have one or more sites on air for 3G enhancements and/or LTE.

Why you believe that TD-LTE is a better choice for delivering mobile data than FDD LTE?

We support the use of both. Their use is linked to specific spectrum allocations. We are using FDD-LTE with Band 25 and Band 26, while we are also working very closely with Clearwire on support for Band 41 TDD-LTE.

There are big changes afoot for Sprint – you have announced plans to acquire Clearwire, and in turn Softbank has announced its intention to buy 70% of Sprint. Assuming these go ahead could you summarise how this will reposition Sprint in the US market in terms of spectrum and economy of scale?

Even as a standalone business, our wholesale relationship with Clearwire provides us with access to additional LTE capacity to support the data needs of our Sprint customers.  Our Network Vision architecture allows for better strategic alignment and the full utilisation and integration of additional spectrum bands, while achieving operational efficiencies and improved service for customers as the spectrum and network is migrated to LTE standards.

Sprint spent heavily to get the iPhone. What impact is this having on Sprint and how critical is it for you that the next version will offer support for TD-LTE?

The iPhone has been an important device in our portfolio and, with our competitive ‘Truly Unlimited’ plans we have been able to win over new customers to Sprint. For the last reported quarter, 4Q 2012, we sold nearly 2.2 million iPhones in the quarter, with 38 per cent of the activations being new customers to Sprint.

Will Sprint continue with its unlimited data strategy for LTE?

We continue to offer our customers simplicity with our unlimited data plans and they offer a great value to new and existing customers. These plans have been very successful for Sprint, and we plan to continue to offer them to customers.

With both FDD and TDD spectrum what are the challenges around interoperability?

Interoperability between FDD and TDD offers exciting new opportunities.  Significant progress has already been made to ensure that users can operate between these two duplex modes. Working with our key suppliers and other operators, Sprint continues to work on evolving the interoperability specification to enhance the already existing solutions. The continued work in 3GPP, defining the test specifications and developing interoperability specifications, are critical to achieving economies of scale and broad adoption.

Does TD-LTE offer up any specific challenges around backhaul?

No, operators have the same challenges for backhaul regardless if it is a TD-LTE system or an FDD system. The bigger issue is having a more competitive backhaul market in the US.

What plans do you have for carrier aggregation?

Carrier aggregation is something we are studying but do not have anything to share at this time.

Where do small cells fit into your strategy?

We remain on the same strategic path shared last year. Small cells and heterogeneous networks are just one piece of a larger solution. In theory it looks great. The challenge is the cost of large-scale small-cell physical deployment.

What do you think will be the most exciting new development in the TD-LTE market in 2013?

2013 represents a year where we are seeing more wide-scale deployment and adoption of TD-LTE technology. This is important to achieve the necessary economies of scale and we look forward to helping build the ecosystem for TD-LTE.

The inaugural TD-LTE Summit is taking place on the 23rd-24th April 2013 at the Fairmont Singapore Hotel, Singapore. Click here to download a flyer.

Interview: Customer services executive director, Cable & Wireless, Panama: “[LTE] presents challenges, but also opportunities.”

Fortunato Bertello is customer service executive director for Cable & Wireless, Panamá

Fortunato Bertello is customer service executive director for Cable & Wireless, Panamá

Fortunato Bertello, customer services executive director for Cable & Wireless, Panama, is speaking on day one of the LTE Latin America conference, taking place on the 16th-17th April 2013 at the Windsor Barra Hotel, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Ahead of the show we speak to its customer services executive director about its LTE roll-out.

How has your roll out been going?

The move to LTE has brought many changes not only in terms of technology, but also in terms of customer processes as well so it has been very challenging keeping pace with our road map as it was previously defined.

Do you think that LTE offers great opportunities for monetisation or does it present challenges?

Definitively it does present challenges, but also opportunities. Currently we are in the advanced stage of rolling out an M-Wallet project, taking advantages of LTE features.

To what extent does the introduction of LTE raise the bar in terms of customer expectations?

Customers are demanding more ways to do business and make transactions so we have to solve the problem of how to enable them to do that. LTE is one of the enablers of that.

What do you think will be the most exciting new development in LTE in 2013?

From the customer service perspective, which is my expertise LTE in 2013 will present valuable opportunities to consolidate virtual channels of interaction, increasing self-service, service-on-demand, and providing a channel for instantaneous feedback to give control to the customer. This empowerment will be translated from the customer service representative to the customer.

 The LTE Latin America conference is taking place on the 16th-17th April 2013 Windsor Barra Hotel, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Click here to find out more about the event.

No lag for SK Telecom as it turbo boosts LTE

Following on from our LTE at MWC round-up from last week, I thought we’d go into a little bit more depth on what SK Telecom is doing. Why? Because SK Telecom is one of the world leaders in LTE. According to Informa WCIS stats, as of December 2012 South Korea leads the way with LTE with 32.5% of all subscribers in the country using LTE. It has 7.5m of its subscribers on LTE subscriptions, some 25% of its total user base and it hopes that by the end of 2013 that will go up to 60%. It’s an ambitious figure but it does enjoy coverage of 98% of the country.

When you consider that in the UK, O2 has just been awarded the licence for 800MHz spectrum with an obligation to provide 98% coverage, the difference is stark. In a nutshell, South Korea is way ahead.

Clearly it is in its interests to get everybody across to LTE as soon as possible. It will want to recoup those investments it’s made in LTE and the more people move across the sooner it can leverage the benefits of the lower cost-per-bit of LTE.

If you want to know more about SK Telecom’s latest LTE advances first-hand, Dr Byun Jae-woan is speaking at the LTE World Summit in June. Click here to download a flyer for the event.

No surprise then that at Mobile World Congress SK Telecom said that it would be taking things to the next level and demoing LTE Advanced, with plans to commercialise it in the second half of 2013. After all with strong competitors in the form of KT Corp and LG U+ it can’t afford to rest on its laurels.

The LTE Advanced it showed at MWC consisted of ‘Super Cell’, a concept that uses cell virtualisation to improve network capacity by reducing inter-cell interference. It also helps to ensure better call handovers between cells. It’s still possible to get cut off when travelling between cells today so that’s a welcome improvement.

Top speed is the big news though and the LTE Advanced solution can comfortably deliver 150Mbps to a handset.  A 1.4GB HD movie would download in just 75 seconds SK Telecom is pleased to tell us. (Thunk. Don’t worry, that’s just the sound of someone who’s just signed up to EE on a 500MB cap hitting the floor after fainting).

LTE. It's fast in a completely different way to a McLaren F1.

LTE. It’s fast in a completely different way to a McLaren F1. (See below)

SK also demonstrated VoLTE, which the company has successfully deployed. This is in large part thanks to its widespread LTE coverage layer, which means it doesn’t have to worry about the tricky business of handing over calls to 2G or 3G.

Another good news story for LTE from the house of SK, was that it announced that it had an impressive one million users on its Joyn.T application, all garnered in just 50 days since its launch in December 2012.

Joyn.T, is the RCS-based offering created by operator in a bid to give them a tool to be the OTT guys such as Skype and WhatsApp. It’s good news for the Joyn backers the GSMA, which had to contend with Deutsche Telekom announcing that it was delaying its Joyn deployment for more extensive testing.

On the infrastructure side the news was the SK Telecom was working with Nokia Siemens Networks, the struggling telecoms infrastructure vendor that has seen resurgence in recent months.  NSN was boasting of its so called ‘Liquid Application’ technology, the main thrust of which is essentially to put more intelligence into the base stations in a bid to improve latency. This is a good move.

What many people don’t realise is the latency enhancements in LTE are where most of the real world perceived benefits come from. It’s all about responsiveness. Poor latency is like turbo lag in a car on a race track full of cars. If you have to wait for ages for the boost to come in, and you don’t have long stretches of road ahead of you to make use of that top speed you’re going to lose out to more nimbler connections with lower top speeds but faster responding turbos.

If that seems a little confused it’s because the parallel occurred to me as was failing to leave slower cars behind despite driving a McLaren F1. (In the Xbox 360 game Forza 4 that is – I don’t own a McLaren F1 in real life you probably won’t be surprised to know). It was the laggy turbo in the F1 you see, and the track didn’t let me go above fourth gear at any point, so despite its 240 mph top speeds its potential bandwidth couldn’t help me. Much like a high bandwidth connection with low latency. If NSN’s Liquid Application can improve latency and top speed, it’s the best of both worlds.

SK Telecom has been boosting its backend bandwidth too though, with the announcement in January that it would be moving from 40G to 100G upgrades, giving it 8Tbps to play with on its optical network.


SK Telcoms’s CTO and Head of Future Technology R&D Division Byun Jae-Woan

Other interesting developments that came out of MWC this year for SK Telecom were its indoor location positioning technology, its innovative healthcare solutions such as Smartcase that used mobile connectivity to send medical information to doctors remotely, and FREND, which provide on-site diagnosis of major diseases and send that information again for 3G or 4G.

However, for SK Telecom I’d say MWC 2013 was mainly about LTE. The GSMA certainly thought so and here is a picture of SK’s CTO and Head of Future Technology R&D Division Byun Jae-Woan, proudly displaying the award the operator won from the Global Mobile Awards 2013 for the 4G LTE with PETA Solution – a cocktail of technologies to improve LTE performance involving multi carriers, femtocells, VoLTE, SON and Advanced Smart Cloud Access networks.


LTE and wifi: two halves of the same coin

As I’ve mentioned in a recent post I’ve recently switched to EE, mainly to get LTE, and on the whole it’s excellent. However, the downside is that I had to move away from the unlimited data I was used to when I was on GiffGaff (an MVNO of O2 – Telefonica UK).

I now have a data cap of 3GB of data a month, which from what I can gather in on the large side compared to the average mobile user. I came close to using all of this one month but usually keep well under – and wifi is key to this.

Aside from wifi access at work, I’ve been taking more time to sign up to wifi networks when they present themselves and recently that seems to have been happening more often.

I’m not sure if it’s because I’m now being forced to pay more attention to wifi hotspots because of my data cap, or if BT has recently got its finger out, but I’ve found BT wifi hotspots seemingly pop up quite a lot. As EE’s data packages offer from access to BT wifi hotspots this is a Good Thing.


Barclays Bank recently announced a deal with BT to offer free wifi and other places dotted around such as restaurants offer it. That said, somewhat irritatingly there’s no hotspot or indeed EE coverage at the gym I recently joined, and their combined absence puts a rather large dent in my ability to stream music to my phone. Having to cache tracks ahead of time seems a rather dated approach to take.

BT has recently rebranded its BT Openzone hotspots as BT wifi, which makes things a little confusing but it does makes things easier to understand, so it’s a sensible move from a consumer perspective.

The point though is that having that any operator offering a data cap needs to have a solid wifi proposition to go along with it, in order to ensure its users can get a good data experience without worrying about their caps and to act as a backhaul channel to offload data from the core network. It makes sense for the user, and it makes sense for the operator.

The issue is that sometimes the EE app picks up the hotspot and enables access seamlessly – and sometimes it doesn’t, making the process far more clunky – firing up the browser, enter a phone number and passcode in to a launch page and then correcting mistakes and then waiting for it to connect blah, blah, blah. Too slow. Hotspot 2.0 can’t come soon enough.

The LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, is taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a flyer for the event.

Interview: Technical Sales Manager,Mobile Services, Telenor: “It is important to measure the QoS experience.”

Torbjorn A Petterson_documents

Torbjorn Pettersson, Technical Sales Manager – Mobile Services, Telenor, Sweden

What major developments have there been with regards to the LTE industry in your region this past year?

The main developments this past year have been the operators launching their LTE projects as well as LTE roaming projects. A major development was the establishing of Diameter Routing Agents (DRA) to enhance interoperability, enable global roaming coverage and to greatly improve network security.

What are the chief technical challenges you are facing?

The main challenges are to ensure DRA is correctly implemented, dealing with Circuit Switched fall-back issues and to enable operators to connect to an LTE signalling partner (such as Telenor Global Services).

What are the key techniques for network optimisation in LTE and what effect can it have on the customer experience?

In our experience it is important to measure the QoS experience in order to improve the customer experience of downloading, uploading and using new LTE handsets.

Do you believe that RCS services can genuinely help the industry compete with OTT?

RCS will bring great opportunities since it will bridge the gaps between the islands of different OTT applications. It is also important that operators put great effort into launching RCS globally on new smartphones and handsets.

Pricing for LTE is a controversial subject. Are operators getting it right?

This is a challenging area with operators competing with each other locally and also for roaming pricing. In European countries pricing is driven by the EU regulation but outside EU it is up to the operators to agree on pricing that is affordable for customers.

What do you think will be the most exciting new development in LTE in 2013?

For me it will be operators launching global roaming LTE data services.

What impact does LTE have on your backhaul strategy and technology choices?

It requires greater planning in terms of security, diameter routing and GTP2 (Global Tunnelling Protocol data traffic version 2) traffic, capacity and QoS.

The LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, is taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a flyer for the event.

Interview: Head Innovation and Trends, ENTEL, Chile: “Speed itself has no intrinsic value to the user – it is apps that create value”

Eduardo Duran, Head Innovation and Trends,ENTEL, Chile

Eduardo Duran, Head Innovation and Trends,ENTEL, Chile

Eduardo Duran, Head Innovation and Trends,ENTEL, Chile, is speaking on Day Two of the LTE LATAM conference, taking place on the 16th-17th April 2013 at the Windsor Barra Hotel, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Ahead of the show we speak to him about the latest LTE developments in the region and the difference LTE will make to its customers.

What major developments have there been with regards to the LTE industry in your region this past year?

The most important development has been the allocation of new frequency bands in the region, such as the 2.6GHz band and the future allocation of the 700 MHz band as part of the Tele Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT) band plan. In Chile, the official journal of the technical standard for the 700 MHz band was published in February 2013, and the basis for the LTE auction will complete mid-2013. This will be welcome, as the exponential growth of mobile users in Chile will require the advent of new technologies such as LTE.

What effect can LTE have on the customer experience?

The low latency of LTE along with QoS management and speed make LTE key to the business sectors and enterprise. It enables a new range of high-speed mobile services that require QoS management with low latency, such as real-time video, video surveillance and M2M.

Where do small cells fit into your plans, and what benefits will they bring to you and to customers?

From a technological perspective, small cells are necessary to cover densely populated areas where data capacity is critical and where we are spectrum restricted, such as  areas where we will only have access to the 2.6GHz band. Small cells can also open a lot of opportunities for high accuracy applications, such as location-based services.

The most important reasons to deploy small cells are to provide

• Increased coverage (indoor coverage)
• Fill-in coverage for areas of high-traffic
• Network off-load

LTE and smartphones make for a powerful combination. What new opportunities and innovations do you foresee in the next few years?

Further enhanced LTE mobile connectivity will not only provide more speed but also QoS and low latency. There will be an explosion of mobile connectivity not only in the number of people using devices, but also by “things” – [M2M]. The development of IPv6 will generate significant opportunities associated with mobility. An additional innovation that I think will gain traction in the next few years is that you will be able to use your smartphone as a secure and safe means of payment.

Is the raw speed of LTE enough to attract new customers or are value added services necessary to make packages attractive?

Definitely speed is not enough. In fact, speed itself has no intrinsic value to the user – it is the applications that create value around speed.

The LTE Latin America conference is taking place on the 16th-17th April 2013 Windsor Barra Hotel, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Click here to find out more about the event.

LTE at MWC 2013 round-up

Not so long ago LTE related news at MWC used to be something of a stand-out feature, but with the technology now mainstream in many leading markets round the world it’s now mainstream. Nevertheless there was still plenty of interesting LTE related things happening.

News wise there was an announcement from vendor Ericsson that it was still the number one in 4G and highlighted a major infrastructure deal with Telefonica UK, which operates under the brand O2. O2 has won 2x 10MHz of 800MHz spectrum, and has the taken on the UK regulator Ofcom’s requirement that it provide 98 per cent coverage of 4G in the country by 2017. Which gives Ericsson lots to do.

Small cells are going to soon play an increasingly important part of the LTE landscape. At MWC Aricent and Mindspeed announced that they have joined forces to create a small cell reference design. It features the Transcede T3300 Baseband Processor that supports 20MHz LTE FDD and throughput up to 150Mbps.

Sequans announced its LTE-Advanced chip: the SQN3220. This is part of Sequans’s Cassiopeia platform and adheres to Release 10 of 3GPP specifications, and as such meets the requirements to be considered ‘true’ 4G by the 3GPP.

The Novatel Mifi 2 to be launched first on Bell's LTE  network in Canada.

The Novatel Mifi 2 to be launched first on Bell’s LTE network in Canada.

On the device side Novatel Wireless, the company that introduced the original wireless hotspot device announced the Mifi 2. it features a funky touch-screen display and it will launch first in Canada on Bell’s 4G LTE network in March where it will be known as the Mifi Liberate. Having recently had to use the original, very dated, unit, a screen that enables you to see what it’s doing easily would be much appreciated especially as claims an 11 hour battery life.

Huawei launched a global flagship phone the Ascend P2. As an A.N Other flagship Android phone it’s not that interesting really, but what is interesting is that according to Huawei it can support speeds of up to 150Mbit/s, which makes it faster than other major LTE phones such as the iPhone 5 and the Galaxy SIII. That said, you’d have to have that whole base station to yourself to get that kind of speed and if you do, you’d be spoiling it for everybody else. The other downside is that if that does that person would be pretty easy to spot – they’d be the ones holding the Huawei Ascend P2. How to win friends etc…

The Huawei Ascent P2 is fast. This is not your grandma's LTE phone.

The Huawei Ascent P2 is fast. This is not your grandma’s LTE phone.

In terms of future technology SK Telecom, the South Korean operator and one of the world leaders for LTE demonstrated LTE Advanced at the show. It used carrier aggregation techniques to reach speeds double that of current LTE, which is impressive. Unless you’re already using an Huawei Ascend P2 of course.

TD-LTE also seemed to gain real traction at MWC this year, showing that it is a technology that will be a force to be reckoned with. The GTI summit, which took place at MWC was packed out and there were keynote speech from members Bharti Airtel, Clearwire, China Mobile and the GSMA. Notably on the handset side there was support announced by Samsung and Nokia as well as from chip vendors Qualcomm and Marvell. Ericsson and NSN made up the vendors present.

Packed out at the TDD-LTe GTI summit at MWC 2013

Packed out at the TDD-LTe GTI summit at MWC 2013

At the event, the GTI said that new testing had been done between operators globally. Of note was a completed trial between China Mobile in Hong Kong and KT in Korea and with Clearwire in Hong Kong and in China

At MWC China Mobile revealed a multi-mode, multi-band TD-LTE devices, while LG demoed an Optimus G, it’s first TD-LTE ready handset.

All good news for TD-LTE. But will there be one device to rule them all. There will be according to Qualcomm.

Qualcommm announced the RF360 chip, which it says will be the first in the world able to handle every LTE frequency out there, making a handset using it a one-world LTE roaming phone. In total it support LTE-FDD, LTE-TDD, WCDMA, EV-DO, CDMA 1x, TD-SCDMA and GSM/EDGE. The press release also says it contains, “the industry’s first envelope power tracker for 3G/4G LTE mobile devices, a dynamic antenna matching tuner, an integrated power amplifier-antenna switch, and an innovative 3D-RF packaging solution incorporating key front end components.” To be honest I’m not sure what any of those things are, but it certainly seems as if progress is being made. Even more than the Huawei Ascend P2.

We can expect the RF360 to appear in devices towards the end of 2013, hopefully bringing an end to the pain of LTE spectrum fragmentation.

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