Ahead of the LTE LATAM show in April we catch up with the director of 4G Americas for the Latin America and Caribbean region, Bob Calaff. He will be speaking on a regulator panel at the LTE LATAM conference taking place on the on the 28th-30th April 2014, at the Windsor Barra Hotel, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
In this interview, he explains the work that 4G Americas is doing in helping to meet the challenges of freeing up licensed spectrum for use by operators in the region and tells us more about its work integrating cellular and Wi-Fi to improve the user experience. Check out the links to the white papers below for more information.
How much of a challenge is spectrum for the LATAM region?
As in other regions around the world, freeing up spectrum is a critical, and challenging, effort for policymakers. While making spectrum available for exclusive licensed use has historically been the most effective way to facilitate mobile broadband deployment and quality of service, 4G Americas recognises that we should be considering other ways of licensing spectrum in the absence of vacant frequency bands. An important part of what 4G Americas tries to do is present new and innovative ways to free up licensed spectrum for mobile broadband, such as the proposals being discussed regionally to explore Authorized Shared Access mechanisms. Our recent 4G Americas white paper Meeting the 1000X Challenge goes into, among other things, considerable detail on the drivers for and specifics of these proposals.
How much impact will 3G HSPA continue to have and will it slow down LTE investment in the region?
HSPA/HSPA+ will continue to be the dominant technology used for mobile broadband in the region in the next several years. There is no evidence however that this factor will slow down LTE investment, as the industry is aligned on the fact that LTE is the natural and sensible evolution of HSPA/HSPA+. LTE investment in deployments have shown major progress in the last year and now number 32 commercial LTE networks in 15 countries in Latin America.
The LTE Latin America conference is taking place on the 28th-30th April 2014, at the Windsor Barra Hotel, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Click here to download a brochure for the event.
Is enough progress being made in integrating cellular and Wi-Fi for an improved user experience?
4G Americas recently published a white paper on the integration of cellular and Wi-Fi networks. Wi-Fi is uniquely positioned to add to existing cellular network capacity, given its harmonised global spectrum allocation and widely adopted technology standard. Operators are already using Wi-Fi as an increasingly critical tool to meet capacity demands in standalone networks. To provide enhanced end user experience, improved Wi-Fi/cellular interworking is a tool for carriers to provide ubiquitous mobile broadband access. The 4G Americas document makes recommendations on some of the main aspects of integration between Wi-Fi and Cellular networks using the Access Network Discovery and Selection Function (ANDSF) functionality being advanced within the 3GPP specifications. Wi-Fi will continue to be a complementary access technology for mobile broadband operators throughout the Americas region.
What are you most looking forward to about attending the LTE LATAM conference?
The opportunity to meet and reconnect with people and to discuss how LTE is progressing in the region. 2014 is a significant year in Latin America, whether we are talking about spectrum auctions, the World Cup, or the implementation of new regulatory structures such as in Mexico. I very much look forward to participating in this valuable event.