Archive for March, 2014

Interview: Online Director at FOX International Channels, Brazil: “The rise of LTE is driving the move to video on demand.”

Marcel Della Negra, FOXMarcel Della Negra, Online Director at FOX International Channels is taking part in a panel discussion entitled, “Strategic Partnerships for the Market Development”, on Day Two of the LTE LATAM conference, taking place on the 28th-30th April 2014, at the Windsor Barra Hotel, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

With the rise of mobile data, how are customer expectations of content changing?

Customers are now increasingly starting to watch full TV episodes on mobile and it is my expectation that this will increase even further with 4G.

What impact is the rise of LTE having on your decisions?

The rise of LTE is driving the move to video on demand, and watching live transmissions over IP.


Make the most out of your 4G network investment

This post is by Jorgen Trank, signaling expert and product manager, Tieto

Most mobile operators world-wide are currently expanding their networks to provide 4G services and coverage. This includes building up a whole new set of infrastructure network elements that uses Diameter signaling to exchange information. Diameter signaling is replacing the legacy SS7 signaling that was the blood and veins of the 2G/3G systems.


Being Streetwise – Urban Small Cells for LTE

Sue Monahan, CEO, Small Cell Forum

Sue Monahan, CEO, Small Cell Forum

This post is by Sue Monahan, CEO, Small Cell Forum

In the eyes of many consumers, 4G/LTE is no longer a next-gen technology. Numerous operators around the globe have rolled out their networks, are in the process of doing so or are planning to in the near future. Similarly, the latest and most desirable devices being launched boast 4G capability; something that will become less a feature, more of a standard as the year goes on.

But as more of the population migrate to 4G, taking advantage of the faster data speeds available to them, there is a risk networks will face similar bottlenecks to those of 3G. It is of the utmost importance operators can deliver the headline speeds that make 4G so attractive. (more…)


Why small cells will make a big difference: INFOGRAPHIC

small cells infographic

This year’s LTE World Summit, which takes place at the RAI in Amsterdam, includes a dedicated small cells session on the 24th June, featuring presentations and panel discussions addressing the key opportunities and challenges around the technology. Taking part will be expert speakers from many companies such as Vodafone, Three, PT Telekomunikasi, Telus, SpiderCloud Wireless, Actix, Huawei, Gemalto and Comba Telecom International.

World Summit 2014


Diameter–SS7 IWF: Bridging the Signals between New and Old Worlds

Ohad Ramot, F5

Ohad Ramot, Principal Software Engineer, F5

F5’s Ohad Ramot explains the challenges of translating signals between a 4G network using Diameter signaling and 3G networks using legacy SS7.

It’s widely known that LTE (4G) networks are spreading rapidly and are being deployed all over the globe. However, while 4G networks are growing, 2G/3G networks still serve most of the subscribers as they have been doing successfully for the last decades, and it seems these legacy networks are here to stay for a while. This requires operators and roaming mediators (IPX) to face the challenge of maintaining and interacting with both network architectures in parallel.

4G and 2G/3G network architectures differ in many aspects. One of the major differences is the signals mechanism that enables network nodes to interact with each other for authentication, billing, subscriber profile provisioning and more. While 2G/3G signaling mechanism is based on SS7 protocol stack, 4G networks use the relatively modern Diameter protocol on top of TCP/SCTP/IP stacks. Although both signaling methods provide solution to the same set of problems, they stem from different architectures and design philosophies.


Saving Thumbs with Charging Offload for LTE

2-bad-traffic-in-spThis post is by Robert Morrison, Director, Product Management, CSG Internationa


On my last trip to Brazil I was surprised when my taxi driver fired up Waze to beat the Sao Paulo traffic and I immediately downloaded it to do the same for me in London’s heavy congestion. He proved to me that consumers there have developed an unquenchable thirst—like they have in every country—for fast mobile data speeds and services. CSPs in Brazil are working hard to satisfy that demand by rolling out 4G data services over LTE networks. And frankly they seem a long way ahead of the mobile data service that I experience at home.  On a recent two-hour train journey across the UK from the capital to Bristol—a major population centre—the best my provider could do was GPRS and iffy 3G at the stations.  GPRS is not very helpful with today’s bandwidth-hungry apps using pictures and video.  Believe me, having to constantly refresh apps can result in very sore thumbs!



Update: Classy HTC One M8 impresses but eschews VoLTE and LTE-A

HTC unveiled its latest flagship phone at the Olympia in London at an event tonight that in terms of scale was reminiscent of Apple’s best handset launches. The AV presentation was certainly big, bold and brash, though with the best will in the world, HTC’s execs do not have quite the same flair as Apple’s.


It has less to worry about with the handset itself though – the HTC One M8, is a fine device. HTC clearly has an obsession with metal and its global head of design Scott Croyle boasted that 90 per cent of the handset consisted a a unibody metal construction, up from 70 per cent on last year’s HTC One M7. The finish is certainly polished and refined, and very premium in feel. This makes it slightly ironic that the case that HTC is touting covers all of that up.


How small cells will boost operator networks in 2014 and set them on the path to HetNets

Dominie Roberts

Senior Conference Researcher for the LTE World Summit, Informa Telecoms & Media

With more and more of us using our smartphone on the move, demand on LTE networks is growing rapidly and operators are coming under increasing pressure to both increase network capacity and ensure QoS.

MWC 2014 gave us a sneak-peek into the future possibilities of the mobile space with exhibitors showcasing their solutions and technologies, paving the way towards 5G, IoT, wearables, M2M, LTE Broadcast, VoLTE and so on.

Despite the future looking bright in terms of these advanced technologies, it is important that operators don’t run before they can walk and overlook the impact on the network from increasing consumer demand.

For consumers, the networks’ shortcomings become evident in densely-populated situations, such as sporting events, festivals and large conferences/exhibitions, where the networks experience huge challenges in providing fast and reliable mobile communications services.

These shortcomings need to be addressed before mobile network operators are able to move forwards and meet standards, and for MNOs, creating HetNets and implementing LTE Advanced are crucial steps towards increasing capacity in the networks, particularly at these busy locations.

HetNets are now perceived as key drivers in ensuring the ongoing success of LTE and LTE-A, and towards the development of 5G.

In the more advanced markets, building out the Heterogenous Networks will be high on many operators’ agenda for 2014. Vodafone has already deployed SpiderCloud’s enterprise small cells in the Netherlands and is now looking at rolling out small cells in the UK to support enhanced, in-building mobile coverage.

AT&T has spent 2013 trialling small cells to find the optimum locations and is planning to deploy these this year. AT&T is so serious about improving its network that it has even rolled out a new advertising campaign called “Better Network”, which illustrates exactly how AT&T is improving coverage and capacity.

HetNets will in the future play a pivotal role in addressing the capacity needs for high traffic surges and small cells will be an important focus for many operators in 2014.

At this year’s LTE World Summit, which takes place at the RAI in Amsterdam, we are including a dedicated small cells session on the 24th June featuring presentations and panel discussions addressing the key opportunities and challenges around the technology. With expert speakers from many companies such as Vodafone, Three, PT Telekomunikasi, Telus, SpiderCloud Wireless, Actix, Huawei, Gemalto and Comba Telecom International, this event is not to be missed and will provide a necessary platform showcasing the key developments in today’s HetNet’s ecosystem.


Hyper-dense small cells – If they can work here, they can work anywhere!

Prakash Sangam Director, Technical Marketing, Qualcomm

This post is by Prakash Sangam Director, Technical Marketing, Qualcomm

On March 1st and 2nd 2014, the eyes and ears of NASCAR fans were on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race being held at Phoenix International Raceway in Arizona (PIR). While fans were nervously biting their nails during the race and cheering ecstatically when their favorite driver pulled off a pass, we at Qualcomm joined them. Admittedly, we were not there only to see the spectacle of NASCAR. Phoenix International Raceway was the venue for the joint trial among Sprint, NASCAR and Qualcomm Technologies. The companies were stress-testing and validating the “hyper-dense small cells” concept and our “UltraSON” suite of features. And when the results were in, we were as ecstatic—perhaps more so than the fans of the winning car and driver.


The pain of living without 4G

Mobile World Congress may have ended a month ago but am only now getting ‘closure’ on the event. The reason – I’ve just been reunited with my iPhone that I thought had been stolen at the event. What happened, in case you were interested, is that I had placed my iPhone in one of the many charging lockers around the venue only to find that it wasn’t there when I returned. I couldn’t believe it. The locker was locked when I left it – but when I returned, to my amazement the phone wasn’t there.

A search using the ‘Find My iPhone’ feature did not help – as I had put the device in ‘Airplane mode’ before placing it in the locker in order for it to charge quicker. (A handy tip for you there – as long as you don’t need to try and locate your phone shortly after).

The incident rather put a damper of the show and I returned home rather forlornly.


Happy days then when I got an email from staff at the venue saying that my phone had been found! While I was pleased, I was very confused by what had happened. Where had it gone? Had I done something stupid and simply looked in the wrong locker? As such, I decided I would keep it to myself and not tell anyone what happened. Apart from my colleagues. And my friends. And family. And this blog post.

After two weeks of some frustrating failed courier pickups later the phone was sent back to me safe and sound by regular post. 

What came of the experience is that for nearly three weeks I had to borrow a phone, kindly lent to me by a friend. It was a two-year old HTC One X. This was noteworthy as it would be the first time that I would be using an Android phone for any length of time since I reviewed the second Android phone ever released, in a previous job.

In those days Android and the iPhone were still light-years apart – can you believe that there was no multi-touch on Android, but these days it’s Android that’s ahead in terms of feature.

Initial impressions using the phone were good. Compared to last time I used it there’s an Android app for nearly everything – though my favourite iOS Podcast app Downcast isn’t there and the interface for BeyondPod, the Android equivalent had me scratching my head somewhat.

But widgets! That’s a feature that I really enjoyed that isn’t present in iOS. You can place a small version of your app on the phone ‘desktop’ – so you can, for example, play or pause a podcast with one tap, or see live train timetable information, without having to launch the app, and then search within in it. It’s great.

However, once past the widgets the experience soon palled. The phone felt very plastickly, apps were slow to respond, while the touch screen seem oversensitive.


The biggest issue though, was network speed. This was a 3G phone, and while I expected things to be less speedy compared to 4G I was surprised by how unresponsive everything felt. As Joni Mitchell once sang that: “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”

What once seemed easy – checking Facebook or Twitter, downloading a podcast, or just reading a web page now was an almost painful experience. Apps didn’t seem to respond, and the spinning download circle was permanently on screen, either when checking web pages or waiting for the bike hire app to update with some useful information.

Speed tests revealed that despite the ‘H’ insisting I was in an HSDPA area most of the time I was getting less than half a meg of speed. Combined with the high latency inherent in 3G it all made for a frankly poor experience. Rubbish.

However all was finally restored to normal yesterday when I finally was reunited with my iPhone. It was something of process getting it back to working order – charging it up, backing it up, watching it automatically erase when it went online, restoring it from a backup, and then physically cutting down my replacement combi-SIM to an iPhone 5 friendly nano SIM – with all the attendant will it work drama that this entails. That was a fun evening.

Now I have it back to working order, it really struck home that 4G really does enable smartphones to live up to their billing as smart devices and I really appreciated being able to do the things I had taken for granted.

I’m now back at my desk streaming hi-res FLAC music files from my NAS box at home, something that would be completely impossible with standard 3G. But while that might be an extreme use, even for more conventional use 3G simply doesn’t cut it. Yes you can use smartphones at speed on Wi-Fi, but real mobility and freedom comes from being able to able to use the power in your device when and wherever you are.

4G then is now no longer to my mind a next-gen technology– it simply enables you to use your phone as it should be.

Now, where my 5G?

5G Already?

Some interesting thoughts here on what 5G could become. As is pointed out, spectrum, antenna design, proximity to the cell tower and device chipset size will all come into play.

POTs and PANs

Cell-Tower We knew it was coming and the wireless industry is already bantering about the term 5G. Nobody knows exactly what it is going to be, but the consensus is that it’s going to be fast. The South Koreans are devoting $1.5 billion in research to develop the next generation wireless. And there are vendors like Samsung who are already starting to claim that the upgrades in their labs today are 5G.

And of course, all of this is hype. There is still not any broadband anywhere that complies to the original 4G specifications. This all got out of hand when the marketing groups started to tout 3G performance for networks that were not yet at the 3G specs. And then came 3.5 G and 4G, and now I guess 5G.

But let’s look at the one claim that it seems 5G is going to have, which is blistering fast speeds…

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Interview: Partner, Head of India and South Asia, Analysys Mason: “Rather the future would be one where both TD and FD LTE co-exist in a complimentary fashion.”


Rohan Dhamija, Partner, Head of India and South Asia, Analysys Mason

Rohan Dhamija, Partner, Head of India and South Asia, Analysys Mason is speaking on a panel discussion entitled, “Battleground of the Standards: TD-LTE vs FD-LTE”, at the TD-LTE summit taking place on the 8th-9th April 2014 at the Fairmont Singapore Hotel, Singapore.  

How do the challenges of the TD-LTE focussed operators differ from that of the FD-LTE?

I would say that the ecosystem challenges for TD operator are more significant than that of FD operators.

The TD-LTE eco-system grew significantly in 2013 but a disparity with FD LTE remains. Will TD-LTE always play ‘second fiddle’ to FDD?

I think it’s less about ‘second fiddle’ but rather the future would be one where both TD and FD LTE co-exist in a complimentary fashion (even potentially within the same network). So, for example, FD could be the coverage layer, whereas TD would play the role of the capacity layer.


Interview: Head of Radio Access Network, Qubee Bangladesh: “The major challenge is terminal price. It has to reduce faster and significantly to make our business case feasible.”

Adnan Imtiaz Halim Qubee Bangladesh

Adnan Imtiaz Halim, Head of Radio Access Network, Qubee Bangladesh

Adnan Imtiaz Halim, the head of the Radio Access Network for Qubee, Bangladesh, is speaking on Day One of the 2nd annual TD-LTE Summit is taking place on the 8th-9th April 2014 at the Fairmont Singapore Hotel, Singapore. Here we find out about the major challenges facing an operator trying to transition from WiMAX to LTE.

In what time-scale will it become absolutely necessary for you to have transitioned to LTE?

It has already become important to migrate to LTE but it will be mandatory by 2015 as the WiMAX eco-system will be broken up. Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) will not be available from the manufacturers and equipment vendors have already issued WiMAX product EOM notices.

Are you excited by the prospects of the TD-LTE eco-system?

Yes, obviously excited but it’s been delaying in meeting our threshold over time. However, we still believe that the exponential growth rate of TD-LTE that we are currently observing will push itself to the right track by end of this year.


Why today’s signaling challenges require a radical approach

Kim Gibbons, Chief Marketing Officer, NetNumber

Kim Gibbons, Chief Marketing Officer, NetNumber

Signaling has become the hot buzzword in telecom networks. Managing signaling traffic, combined with the requirement for dynamic provisioning, is fast becoming one of the biggest challenges for operators – and one of the most written about topics by reporters, analysts and bloggers. That’s understandable given signaling control is critical to enabling user authentication and authorization, charging and billing.

Today, vendors and bloggers alike are touting the exponential growth rates of LTE Diameter signaling. One vendor has shared research showing Diameter signaling growing more than twice the rate of mobile data. What’s causing this signaling surge? Much has been written about the increasing number of smartphones and tablets joining the network, in addition to the increasing use of applications that require constant updates and authentications – Twitter, Facebook, Angry Birds and the like.


China Unicom finally rolls out 4G, but confusion reigns over dual LTE strategy

Cloud News Asia

China Unicom (NYSE:CHU; HKG:0762) punched above its weight in the 3G era, closely challenging the behemoth China Mobile in terms of 3G subscribers, But China Unicom has had a slower start to its 4G operations. Today Unicom rolled out 4G in 25 Chinese cities, a full three months after its rival. China Unicom unveiled its postpaid and prepaid 4G data plans today. Pay-as-you-go subscribers can get a 4G package for as low as RMB 78 (US$12.70) per month, which allows for 400MB of data. The price and (fairly measly) data allowance are in line with its 3G packages.

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Sprint poised to become ‘king of data speed’

Mark Cathey's Tech Site


The TDD spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band that Sprint acquired from Clearwire last summer is “a powerful resource for Sprint to catch up to its competitors” and can enable the United States’ third-largest mobile operator “to provide super high speed data connections,” according to a report from Strategy Analytics.

The report, written by Guang Yang, Strategy Analytics’ senior analyst for wireless networks and platforms, further notes that Sprint’s 2.5 GHz spectrum is key to enabling the operator to become the “king of data speed.”

In February, Sprint along with Nokia Solutions and Networks demonstrated that a single sector of a TD-LTE network can deliver data throughput of 2.6 Gbps. In the test, 120 MHz of Sprint’s 2.5 GHz TDD spectrum was aggregated to achieve what the companies claim is a TD-LTE speed record. Sprint has said it owns around 120 MHz of 2.5 GHz spectrum in 90 percent of…

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GE says micro-machinery is the key to more efficient smartphones and faster 4G connections


GE(s ge) wants to take a technology it developed for electrical lighting and stick it into our mobile phones and networks. It has developed micro-electrical-mechanical systems (MEMS) that GE says can replace the silicon switching elements in devices and mobile infrastructure, allowing them to produce stronger, distortion-free signals. Those amped-up signals would in turn power faster and more resilient mobile connections and reduce the radio’s impact on our phone batteries.

According to GE, future 4G technologies like LTE-Advanced will deliver unprecedented speeds — perhaps even in the multi-gigabit range – but in order to maintain those huge big bandwidth gains phones and networks will need highly efficient, low power radio frequency switches. GE believes its new micro-machinery fits the bill.

A die containing 400 MEMS switches on a U.S. dime (source: GE) A die containing 400 MEMS switches on a U.S. dime (source: GE)

GE wants to resurrect the mechanical relay, a technology that harks back to a time before the transistor

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Interview: CTO, TIM BRASIL: “The biggest challenge for sure is to find the right balance between investment, data growth and quality.”

Carlo Filangieri, CTO, TIM BRASIL

Carlo Filangieri, the CTO of TIM BRASIL

Carlo Filangieri, the CTO of TIM BRASIL is speaking in a panel session entitled, “How Operators Are Meeting Rural Areas Coverage Obligations in Brazil?”, taking place on Day Two of the LTE Latin America conference is taking place on the 28th-30th April 2014, at the Windsor Barra Hotel, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In this interview we find out a bit more about the challenges of connectivity in rural Brazil and if he is in favour on spectrum and infrastructure sharing. 

Brazil is such a large country – what are the main challenges in getting 4G out to rural areas?

For sure, the biggest problem in rural areas in Brazil is the lack of fibre optic that’s mandatory for a 4G site. However, another issue that we have is the frequency used for 4G, namely 2.5GHz. This frequency is more suitable for micro coverage than for wide coverage in as rural areas. In order to support rural coverage we are working to build fibre in the country, sharing the investment costs with other operators as much as possible.



LTE Diameter Signaling growth: INFOGRAPHIC


Kazam bringing LTE down a peg or two

Heard of Kazam? Until recently, neither had we – but there’s a chance that this handset brand could be make a big splash in 2014.

Kazam offers three different ranges in its handsets – the Trooper at the bottom, the Tornado at the top, and the Thunder in the middle, and each is differentiated by the number of processor cores it uses, two (Trooper), four (Thunder) and eight (Tornado). Within that each model is differentiated by screen size, as indicated in the name. Simples.


Right now LTE handset support is limited in the main to top-of-the-range models, but with the new Thunder2 4.5L, newcomer’s Kazam is taking a different approach.

Kazam is the offspring of two ex-HTC execs and in a briefing last week they were keen to extol the virtues of this anti ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, though conversely it could be accused of taking a throwing everything out there and see what sticks approach.

The selling point of the brand is not the technology, but rather the service and support – with a one-year, one-time replacement programme for a smashed screen, (avoiding people using smashed screens for months on end) and ‘Kazam Rescue’, where one of its support staff will remote access your phone when requested to help fix problems.

Thunder 2 4.5L front

Curiously, the Thunder2 4.5L is the only LTE handset in the range – but the reason for this is simple. Kazam is a Mediatek chipset shop, but MT LTE chipsets are only now being readied. As such, the Thunder2 LTE is the only one in the range to use Qualcomm – a Snapdragon 400. The 4.5in screen has an unexceptional 854 x 480p resolution, a basic 8GB of internal memory and 1GB of RAM – all John Smith’s no nonsense stuff, enlivened purely by the tri-band 800MHz, 1800MHz, 2.6GHz LTE support.

Thunder 2 4.5L side

This though is exactly what could make it a winner. Aside from LTE the specs might be far from headline grabbing, and from our hands on, ‘thinnest and lightest’ will not be troubling the marketing campaign either – but what we have here is a phone that will do everything anyone could need to do right now – browse the web, take pictures and engage with social media, at a very low price (TBC).

LTE will make it all work smoothly and attractively so for anyone moving up form a feature phone, this will be a revelation, without the expense, and that has to be a good thing.

Signaling: at the top of the network food chain

Suzanne Rankine

Suzanne Rankine
Conference Researcher, LTE World Series,
Informa Telecoms & Media

In network ecosystems, signalling is top of the food chain. If your signaling solution malfunctions or cannot cope with traffic levels it will be catastrophic for the entire network. As traffic levels increase due to increasing subscriber numbers and the always-on nature of chatty-apps, browsing and video, there is even more pressure on existing signaling solutions. Networks have been known to temporarily shut down completely due to signaling storms – a failure of signaling solutions.



Evolution of telecoms: from 1G to 5G: Infographic

from 1G to 5G

The evolution of telecoms from 1G to 5G5G World Summit logo

LTE-U: Update from 3GPP

All About 4G

LTE-unlicensed or LTE-U was once again a major topic of discussion at the 3GPP RAN plenary meeting last week. Although no Study/Work Items were approved regarding the usage of LTE in unlicensed spectrum, a half-day workshop is planned for sharing ideas on LTE-U. It will be held after RAN #64 meeting on 13.06.2014.

An earlier workshop on the same topic was organised in Jan 2014, attended by 40-odd companies. A summary of that workshop is available in RP-140060. The key points are given below.

Possible use cases / scenarios Main discussion focused on Operator-deployed small cells

  • Indoor and outdoor hotspot
  • Primary cell on licensed spectrum aggregated with secondary cell on unlicensed spectrum
  • Dual connectivity and stand-alone operation were discussed as well

Other scenarios such as user-deployed small cells, Wireless backhaul were also discussed. Potential Technical Requirements

  • Multi-technology coexistence and fairness – Especially LTE – WiFi
  • Multi-operator coexistence and fairness –…

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New Audi A3 is going to have LTE connectivity and Future Ideas

The new technology of this world!

At CES they were more than one example of vehicles with 4G and LTE connectivity. Audi’s 2015 A3 is going to make this a reality and actually have LTE connectivity. But it comes at a pretty high price. Audi has partnered with AT&T for the service to run the LTE and it at least offers a six month free-trial for all new Audi A3’s with the Audi Connect System. The bad part about this is that once your six month trial is over you really gotta pay to keep this going. After the trial AT&T offers a $99 six month plan where you have 5GB of data spread over the 6 months. If you want even more than that they also offer a plan for $499 that gives you 30GB of data spread over a period of 30 months. If you already have AT&T for your phone provider you can put the…

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D-Link and Direct Beam Announce Revolutionary Fixed LTE Wireless Routers

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