Archive for the ‘LTE Advanced’ Category

The Most Important LTE Markets in the World…

The pocket sized Bolt! streams 4G to smartphones, tablets or laptops – making high speed LTE accessible on the move.

The pocket sized Bolt! streams 4G to smartphones, tablets or laptops – making high speed LTE accessible on the move.

The emerging markets of Asia (EMAP) could soon be the most important LTE markets in the World.

All eyes are on the emerging markets of Asia Pacific; countries including Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Thailand and Vietnam among others, as they begin to deploy and expand their LTE networks.

Studies show that EMAP is set to outstrip the developing markets of Asia Pacific (Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Australia) in terms of LTE subscribers by 2017, creating a tremendous opportunity for LTE players across the region. As demand grows, users will require connectivity throughout the region, meaning more complex networks, better service and competitive rates across the board. (more…)

Apple and iPhone 6 gently raise the LTE bar

iPhone6_34FR_SpGry_iPhone6plus_34FL_SpGry_Homescreen_HEROAs you probably have noticed Apple, the company famous for making computers, among other things, did something remarkable yesterday. Yes, it killed off the ‘Classic’ iPod. You know the one with the click wheel and the 50 trillion songs on your pocket slogan. I know, I can hardly believe it either. This is a great shame of course, especially as I was thinking of upgrading my 2005 model as just last week my iTunes library exceeded its 60GB capacity for the first time meaning I can’t just hook it up and sync. Ah, cruel world.

In the context of this blog though, I’m misdirecting you (in case you hadn’t noticed), as Apple also released three new devices in the shape of two new iPhones and a Watch, its first ‘wearable’. The latter, in all likelihood, marks the official start of the ‘IoT’, as previously ‘dumb’ devices become smart and connected. Yes, others have got their first, but no tech party can really begin till Apple arrives. (Then again, some people hate it).

In terms of LTE though, the new iPhones raise the bar, albeit relatively modestly. The phones now offer LTE support on 20 different bands, though not at once. As with the 5c/s there are three skews, with multiple variations for Europe, Asia and the US. TD-LTE support has also been slightly expanded with the addition of Band 41 – 2.5GHz.

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Interview: Marketing Manager Singtel: “Premium pricing for LTE will simply hinder customer adoption of LTE services.”

Sean Aw, Marketing Manager, Singtel

Sean Aw, Marketing Manager, Singtel

Sean Aw is Marketing Manager for Singapore operator Singtel, who have been nominated for two awards at the LTE Asia Awards, taking place at the Marina Bay Sands on the 24th September. Here we find out more about Singtel’s network development and its plans for the future.


You’ve been nominated at the inaugural LTE Asia awards for two awards. Why do you think your products have attracted the attention of the judges?

Singapore’s vibrant economy necessitates a fast and reliable mobile connectivity. SingTel has more than 130 years of operating experience and has played a pivotal role in the country’s development as a major communications hub. We are Singapore’s leading mobile operator with the largest customer base and share of mobile revenue and SingTel continues to serve its customers with the best that technology has to offer. The latest LTE technology is one such example. SingTel was the first to bring in LTE service to the Singapore market in Dec 2011 and was the first to launch LTE with speeds of up to 150Mbps through cutting edge MIMO technology.

Recently, SingTel also pushed the boundaries further by working closely with our handset partner, Samsung and network vendor, Ericsson to introduce two of the world’s first commercial service, fully featured VoLTE service with a full suite of telephony services, and also a 300Mbps smartphone service based on LTE-Advanced technology.

What are the main challenges you expect to face over the next 12-18 months?

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Interview: SVP, Head of Network R&D Center, SK Telecom: “It is imperative that operators keep developing innovative technologies.”

Jin-Hyo Park, SVP, Head of Network R&D Center, SK Telecom

Jin-Hyo Park, SVP, Head of Network R&D Center, SK Telecom

Jin-Hyo Park, SVP, Head of Network R&D Center, SK Telecom is delivering a keynote speech on SK Telecoms LTE Advanced innovations on Day One of the 9th annual LTE Asia conference, taking place on the 23rd-25th September 2014 at the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. Here he gives us an overview of SK Telekom’s latest innovation on its cutting-edge LTE network.

What was the original thinking behind the creation of your winning entry?

SK Telecom’s LTE and LTE-Advanced subscribers have already surpassed 55 per cent of the company’s total subscriber base, and the company holds more than 47 per cent of market share for LTE and LTE-Advanced market in Korea. To provide more advanced and faster LTE services to customers, SK Telecom has continuously upgraded its LTE and LTE-Advanced networks by commercializing carrier aggregation technology, adding more frequency channels, and expanding network coverage.

How do you plan to improve it even further?

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LTE World Summit 2014 – Day Two Round-up

Day Two of the LTE World Summit was introduced by Adrian Scrase, CTO, ETSI; Head of Mobile Competence Centre, 3GPP, who got everyone going with a rousing run through of the work that the 3GPP is currently doing on LTE standards. In all seriousness it was useful to get an update, and the stand out item was that 3GPP is indeed starting to own on standards for operating LTE in unlicensed spectrum bands at 5.8GHz. It is also beginning a study on the use of NFV in a mobile environment and expects that to finished by the beginning of 2016.

As for 5G, Scrase seemed surprised by the background noise of 5G discussions and said that standardization work won’t even start until 2016, so wouldn’t expect that any live 5G services would be running before the end of the decade.

Tell that to SK Telekom who is planning a 5G, or at least ‘pre-5G’ launch in South Korea in time for the Winter Olympics. I first heard this from SK Telecom at the Mobile World Conference in February, and it was reiterated here by Park Jin-Hyo, SVP & Head of Network Technology R&D Center for SK Telecom.

There seemed a genuine buzz from the floor to hear JinHyo’s presentation, and by the end of it you felt SK Telecom’s reputation as a telecoms leader was justified. The operator has 99 per cent coverage in its home market, (OK, I suppose!) and it has introduced Category 6 handsets (up to 300Mbps). What was great to hear was the description of its VoLTE service, with calls established on one second, and LTE Advanced – where it was touting the new services it could offer on it, including UHD 3480×2160 4K streaming, – which does beg the question – how big are its data packages?

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Interview: Head of Network Strategy, EE: “NFV is an enabler for service evolution including some ideas being discussed for 5G.”

Paul Ceely, head of network strategy, EE

Paul Ceely, head of network strategy, EE

Want to find out more about what comes after 4G? Paul Ceely, head of network strategy at EE is speaking on the subject of evolving beyond LTE on Day One of the 10th annual LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, taking place on the 23rd-26th June 2014, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. In this interview we find out his views on the impact new technology such as NFV will make and how the carrier plans to maintain its 4G leadership.

Do you feel any pressure for EE to be leaders in terms of network technology?

Our ambition and vision is to build the best network and best service so our customers trust us with their digital lives.  And to this end we see network technology and more specifically LTE and LTE-A as a way to maintain network leadership.  Technology is evolving increasingly quickly, both on the user device side and the network, and so to maintain network leadership we must maintain technology leadership.

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Interview: CTO, Vodafone Netherlands: “We clearly see a potential for LTE broadcast and we are convinced that it can be commercialized!”

Mallikarjun Rao, CTO of Vodafone Netherlands

Mallikarjun Rao, CTO of Vodafone Netherlands

We have a brief chat with Mallikarjun Rao, CTO of Vodafone Netherlands, to find out what’s next in store for the network in the country where the LTE World Summit 2014 is being hosted, which is taking place on the 23rd-26th June 2014, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Rao will be delivering one of the Keynote addresses on Day One of the conference.

Now that you’ve launched LTE what is the next step for Vodafone Netherlands in terms of network development?

Our plans revolve around three things:

a)     Delivering outstanding customer performance

b)    Offering nationwide LTE coverage, whilst also focusing on delivering the right speed and capacity that our customers need

c)     Enhancing the network buy introducing LTE-Advanced, small cells and VoLTE

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Interview: SVP & Head of Network Technology, R&D Center, SK Telecom: “SK Telecom believes that NFV technology will become a key enabler in its mid-to-long term network structure innovation.”

Park Jin-Hyo, SVP & Head of Network Technology at the R&D Center, SK Telecom

Park Jin-Hyo, SVP & Head of Network Technology at the R&D Center, SK Telecom

In this interview ahead of the LTE World Summit, Park Jin-Hyo, SVP & Head of Network Technology at the R&D Center, SK Telecom, tells us how the Korean operator is taking a lead on virtualization and gives us a glimpse of what benefits a fully-fledged VoLTE and LTE Advanced network can bring end-users.

Do you feel any pressure for SK Telecom to be leaders in the network technology space?

With the world’s first commercialization of CDMA, multi-carrier, VoLTE, and LTE-Advanced, SK Telecom has been a pioneer in developing mobile network technologies. Rather than pressure, we feel pride for pursuing the best customer experience through providing leading and differentiated technologies.

To what extent have you virtualised your network and how important will NFV be in the future?

Our ultimate goal is to virtualize all telecommunications equipment in implementing software. However, considering the possible impact on the existing network, in 2014 we plan to start with IMS, telecommunications infrastructure to provide HD Voice, as it is based on a general-purpose hardware server and therefore easier to apply virtualization technology.

After validating performance and stability of IT virtualization, we will continue to virtualize other network equipment as well. Going beyond virtualization of core network functions, we plan to apply the technology on base stations, the access point with customer, eventually aiming to innovate the whole structure of telecommunications infrastructure.

By applying NFV technology, a MNO can efficiently cope with ever-increasing data traffic by securing flexible network structure, apply new services at an incomparably faster pace and, as hardware and software will be separated also provide more business opportunities to SMEs. As such, SK Telecom believes that NFV technology will become a key enabler in its mid-to-long term network structure innovation.

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Interview: VP Marketing, Du: “The race to connect the ‘next billion’ has never been so intense.”

Vikram Chadha, VP Marketing

Vikram Chadha, VP Marketing

In this interview Vikram Chadha, VP Marketing for du gives his passionate views on the ways that operators can look forward to a rosy future where they can use their smart pipe know-how to monetize new services. Catch Vikram in person speaking on the topic of “Moving to a data centric world”, on Day Two of the 10th annual LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, taking place on the 23rd-26th June 2014, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands.

In your view what are the best ways the operators can market themselves as more than just a “pipe”?

The value-add that telecom service providers are capable of goes well beyond the realm of services they currently offer – it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to say that the potential is virtually limitless. The telecommunications industry is currently at a crossroads, and as a result it is undergoing an upheaval as more and more people access the Internet across multiple devices and platforms, driving up data traffic growth. The race to connect the ‘next billion’ has never been so intense, and therein lies the opportunity. As per industry research figures, we will have soon have 20 billion connected devices and as if that’s not enough, the prediction is that there will be 50 billion connected devices by 2020!

The laws of economics kick in as more and more people adopt the smartphone/devices wave – enabled by telecom service providers. In a nutshell, the key factors enabling this growth are:

1) Better affordability of increasingly-fast mobile broadband;

2) The battle of the screens: Availability of intensely feature-rich smartphones with super high resolution screens puts the power of high-end computing power in the palms of users. This battle of one-upmanship among the device manufacturers is driving down prices leading to increased adoption of smart devices and bandwidth consumption.

3) As more and more people go online to access their banking services and conduct e-commerce transactions – fuelled by the easy availability of plastic money, there is a tectonic shift in banking and the way people conduct monetary transactions. This in turn further leads to growth of the Internet and related ecosystems.

4) Shift in mindset of an average user and the need to be ‘always connected’ has led to a proliferation of smart apps, data and video.

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Interview: SVP Technology Europe for Deutsche Telekom: “Deutsche Telekom strongly believes in the benefits of NFV, therefore we are strongly pushing it forward.”

Kerstin Günther is SVP Technology Europe for Deutsche Telekom.

Kerstin Günther is SVP Technology Europe for Deutsche Telekom.

Kerstin Günther is SVP Technology Europe for Deutsche Telekom. To hear her deliver more insights, come to the LTE World Summit, which is taking place on the 23 – 25 June 2014, at the RAI, Amsterdam. Hear her take part in a panel discussion with other leading CTOs discussing network innovations such as NFV and 5G.

What sort of changes have you seen on the network in terms of usage since you launched LTE?

When LTE networks were initially launched, the main target was to provide higher data throughput compared to HSPA+. At that point, initial bit rates were 75Mbps on the downlink with 10MHz channel spacing. Gradually, LTE networks have been upgraded to LTE+ providing 150Mbps downlink bit-rates, while last year we have seen the first introduction of carrier aggregation technologies with maximum downlink bitrates around 300Mbps and this year DTAG Group demonstrated in a live environment the introduction of 600Mbps downlink over-the-air achieving 580Mbps downlink bit-rate. Of course, the relevant terminal evolution is essential for the end-user to take advantage of this enhanced throughput.

What are the next steps you are focusing on in terms of network development and what impact will these steps have on your customers?
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Interview: CTO, Telstra: “While the wearable’s space has thrown up some interesting opportunities the consumer proposition has yet to mature.”

Hugh Bradlow, CTO, Telstra

Hugh Bradlow, CTO, Telstra

Telstra is one of the world leaders when it comes to leading edge network technology. We hear from its CTO Hugh Bradlow on what it’s been doing on LTE Advanced and what its plans for the future are in technologies such as LTE Broadcast. To hear more from Hugh Bradlow on this subject, sign up to the LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, taking place on the 23rd-26th June 2014, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands.

What’s the latest on Telstra’s LTE network? For example, at what stage are your plans for LTE Advanced and VoLTE?

Telstra has been amongst the world leaders in pushing LTE-Advanced. We have done a number of trials on our network of carrier aggregation, including a world first in May this year in aggregating three 2x20MHz FDD bands between 1,800MHz (1 band) and 2,600MHz (2 bands) to achieve live network speeds of 450Mbps. We have also tested carrier aggregation across the 700MHz and 1,800MHz bands. We continue to evaluate the use of VoLTE in our network but at this stage, do not see any compelling reason to deploy it urgently.

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Interview: Transmission Senior Manager, Mobinnet Telecom Company: “LTE-A shows a secure and future-proof investment path for LTE.”

Senior IP Transmission Manager, Mobinnet, Iran

Senior IP Transmission Manager, Mobinnet, Iran

Mobinnet, Iran’s countries only national broadband operator, has started the pilot phase of its TD-LTE deployment. Come and hear more from Ali Tahmasebi, its Transmission Senior Manager, who is speaking on how Mobinnet is handling the coming data explosion on Day Two of the 10th annual LTE World Summit, taking place on the 23rd-26th June 2014, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands.

Please give us an overview of what stage your LTE deployment is at?

Mobinnet Telecom Co. (MTC) is the only nationwide wireless broadband (4G-WiMAX) operator in the country with services ranging from broadband internet access, VoIP, and VPN. The company is the largest WiMAX Operator in the Middle East. While we at Mobinnet are planning to upgrade the network to new technology, at the same time we are expanding the existing network to cover new locations and add new capacity to congested areas.

Regarding the future broadband experience for Mobinnet’s customers, a peer review of subscriber demand and an analysis of global deployment of LTE led us to select TD-LTE technology. We have finalised all the technical considerations for both LTE and the EPC domain. Most of the jobs in the network planning domain is done and we have started the pilot phase.

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Interview: Senior Manager Data Experience, du: “The key is to win the customer’s confidence with regards to data charging, to prevent bill shock and deliver superior data experience.”

Khalid Siddique, Senior Manager Data Experience, du

Khalid Siddique, Senior Manager Data Experience, du

Khalid Siddique, Senior Manager Data Experience, du is taking part in a panel discussion entitled, “Competing through service differentiation”, on the Day One of the 4th annual LTE MENA conference, taking place on the 11th-13th May 2014 at the Conrad, Dubai, UAE. Ahead of the show he tells us a little about what Du is doing to attract and retain customers.

What carriers around the world have impressed you when it comes to innovative data packages and service propositions?

I believe Verizon Wireless has been at the forefront of LTE offerings. It has dominated America well with its LTE coverage and has impressive data and handset offers such as shareable data and cloud storage.

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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.

IMG_0399

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.

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LTE Advanced inspires different approaches

If you were in attendance at last week’s Mobile World Congress by now you’ve hopefully recovered from the experience. Hopefully. Even for the initiated, MWC is a daunting prospect: a sprawling mass of buzzing, active halls, along with many sections of somewhat less travelled areas. It’s a small moon of a show. No wonder the brands such as Fitbit were all over it – the miles you are a likely to walk each day are prime way of demonstrating their fitness tracking technologies. If there’s was one motto your likely to take away from the show it’s that ‘there is no such thing as lunch’.

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Is Samsung leading the way for LTE handset technology?

The ‘gadgetosphere’*, the fetishist tech blogs and sites obsessed with the minutiae of the latest hardware, have been fairly harsh on the Samsung Galaxy S5. While Apple has previously the one to take flack for failing to reinvent the smartphone wheel, as it used to seem to do so effortlessly, it’s now Samsung that is getting grief.

Its latest flagship phone, the S5, is bigger, fatter, heavier and just too sameier* compared to the Galaxy S4, which itself wasn’t that much of a leap compared to the S3. Oh noes.

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Sprint looking to live up to its name with 1.3GHz TD-LTE demo

1300MHz_Sprint_TDDLTE

Sprint has demoed speeds of over 1.3Gbps in tests with its infrastructure partner NSN

Despite its name, Sprint, the US carrier, was for the past couple of years, left in the slow lane for data as it saw its rivals Verizon Wirelesss, and AT&T streak ahead and launch LTE. However, in recent months it has gone through a large amount of network evolution, retiring its iDEN network, and acquiring Clearwire, giving it access to a large swathe of spectrum, enabling it to complete with the big guys.

Recently it announced Sprint Spark, which it dubs an ‘ultra-fast’ LTE service delivering speeds of 50-60Mbps. In a recent interview with the LTE World Series, Dr. John Saw, SVP, Technical Architecture, of Sprint said it plans to do this using a bunch of LTE Advanced technologies, specifically carrier aggregation to make 40, 60 and 80MHz bandwidth pipes, and MIMO techniques.

It hasn’t happened quite yet though, and according to this test in early November 2013 from the Wall Street Times, Walt Mossberg, who performed LTE 20 speed tests in three locations, AT&T is the fastest overall network. However, it does vary greatly by region, and if you look at 2min 54 in the video on the page you’ll see that in Silicon Valley, the heartland of all things tech, Sprint easily wins with average speeds of over 20Mbps, nearly double of AT&T.

However, it’s not content with stopping there. As demonstrated in the video below it has conducted tests with its new partner NSN, where, in test conditions, it has achieved a heady 1.3Gbps on the downlink in a single sector, around 10 times the throughput of today’s commercial networks. This is using its TDD spectrum on 2.5GHz band. TD-LTE is of course particularly efficient use of spectrum and the high frequency enables the faster speeds.

As impressive as that sounds, it’s worth stepping back and observing that this is only slightly faster than the speeds that up until just a few years ago, the ITU officially designated at 4G. True 4G was originally only meant to be used for networks that could deliver 100Mbps on the move, and 1Gbps when stationary. Anything below that was really an enhancement of 3G, until the US networks starting marketing 4G as basically anything. Anyway, semantics aside, it’s impressive that LTE is moving forward at a rapid pace.

The video is presented by Steven Bye, Chief Technical Officer for Sprint. While Steven is a regular at Informa’s LTE events he isn’t at LTE North America, but the aforementioned John Saw, SVP, Technical Architecture is appearing, and will be giving a keynote speech on Day One of the LTE North America 2013 conference, taking place on Thursday 21st November 2013.

Interview: CEO, Net America Alliance: “With our hosted solution and operational tool set, our members can be generating revenue within an hour of a tower going live.”

Roger Hutton, CEO, Net America Alliance

Roger Hutton, CEO, Net America Alliance

Roger Hutton, CEO, Net America Alliance is delivering a keynote address on Day Two of the LTE North America conference, taking place on the 21st-22nd November 2013, in Dallas, Texas, USA. Ahead of the show we speak to him about how the rural carrier collective is progressing.

How is the NetAmerica Alliance project going?

It has been a busy and a great year for the NetAmerica Alliance and for our members. As we enter the last quarter of 2014 we have doubled the number of alliance members since the end of 2013. Many networks are entering their second year of commercial service, and all members are seeing growth in consumer demand for 4G LTE service. We are delivering on our fundamental belief that just because you live in rural America does not mean to have to compromise in terms of the the type of communication services available to you.

The LTE North America conference is taking place on the 21st-22nd November 2013, in Dallas, Texas, USA. Click here NOW to download a brochure for the event.

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Interview: Vice President, Advanced Technology & Strategy, U.S. Cellular: “Carrier aggregation and small cells are two features of LTE Advanced that provide an immediate benefit.”

Narothum Saxena, Vice President, Advanced Technology & Strategy US Cellular

Narothum Saxena, Vice President, Advanced Technology & Strategy US Cellular

Narothum Saxena, Vice President, Advanced Technology & Strategy US Cellular, USA is taking part in a keynote panel discussion on LTE Advanced on Day One of the LTE North America conference, taking place on the 21st-22nd November 2013, in Dallas, Texas, USA. Ahead of the show he explains what the key aspects of LTE Advanced are and why the technology is so important to operators.

What are operators getting so excited about LTE-Advanced, and in particular Carrier Aggregation?

Carrier aggregation allows the operators to increase the bandwidth by aggregating different blocks and sizes of contiguous or non-contiguous spectrum which could be intra-band or inter-band. It allows for efficient management and utilisation of spectrum. For example, if a carrier has 10MHz of AWS (Band 4) and 10MHz of lower 700MHz (Band 12) spectrum they can operate two independent LTE networks, but with carrier aggregation these two different bands can be aggregated into one 20MHz downlink pipe. It’s a more effective use of spectrum that potentially increases throughput. From an operator’s perspective, this provides many benefits such as supporting higher number of users and apps of the future that demand increased bandwidth.

The LTE North America conference is taking place on the 21st-22nd November 2013, in Dallas, Texas, USA. Click here NOW to download a brochure for the event.

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Interview: Principle Member, Technical Staff, Verizon: “Verizon is pushing hard for VoLTE deployments.”

Michael Freiberger, Principle Member, Technical Staff, Verizon

Michael Freiberger, Principle Member, Technical Staff, Verizon

Michael Freiberger, Principle Member, Technical Staff, Verizon is speaking on the subject of LTE’s backhaul design on Day One of the LTE North America conference, taking place on the 21st-22nd November 2013, in Dallas, Texas, USA. 

How is data usage continuing to develop on your network, and how much of your data usage now goes over LTE?

Verizon’s 4G LTE network now covers 95 per cent of the U.S. population with speeds in the 10 to 12 megabit range. At last count, we have close to 50 LTE-enabled smartphones, tablets and Internet devices. Considering that voice calls currently reside in a separate band, the 10-12 megabit capacity capability of LTE is being used for data and video. Verizon is pushing hard for VoLTE deployments.

The LTE North America conference is taking place on the 21st-22nd November 2013, in Dallas, Texas, USA. Click here NOW to download a brochure for the event.

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Interview: CTO, StarHub, Singapore: We are looking at carrier-aggregation sometime in 2014.

Mock Pak Lum, CTO, StarHub, Singapore

Mock Pak Lum, CTO, StarHub, Singapore

Mock Pak Lum, CTO, StarHub, Singapore is delivering the opening keynote on Day One of the LTE Asia conference, taking place on the 18th-19th September 2013 at the Suntec, Singapore.

How has your LTE network developed over the past year?

We have gone from no coverage to almost nation-wide coverage in Singapore in the past year.

What is your timeline for implementing LTE Advanced technologies?

We are looking at carrier-aggregation sometime in 2014.

Where do innovative technologies such as Hetnets fit into your plan?

We will be looking at small cells and also Wi-Fi to supplement our macro cells.

When are you looking at introducing VoLTE and what will the benefits be?

The introduction of VoLTE will depend on the availability of handsets which can receive VoLTE, this is likely to happen in 2014.  It will provide high quality voice, almost instantaneous set up time and easier integration to apps.

What are you hoping to get out of attending and speaking at the LTE Asia conference?

To meet and learn from other mobile operators.

The LTE Asia conference is taking place on the 18th-19th September 2013 at the Suntec, Singapore. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

Carrier aggregation for LTE-Advanced – revealed

This post is by Ashok Kumar, assistant vice president of technology for LTE Advanced carrier aggregation technology at Aricent.

LTE Advanced as a technology offers many new critical features. These include 8X8 MIMO in the downlink direction and 4×4 MIMO in the uplink direction, co-ordinate multi-point operation (COMP), multi-cluster transmission support in the uplink direction, carrier aggregation (CA), support of relay node, enhanced PDCCH channel, and enhanced ICIC.

In practice, some features of any new upcoming technology always get deployed much ahead of the other features, and in my opinion, carrier aggregation is going to be one such feature of LTE Advanced. The rationale behind this is that the demand for data is increasing fast and the realisation of this feature is cost effective. This is because only software upgrade is required on the network side and new user equipment devices supporting this feature.

Now, some of you may be wondering what exactly carrier aggregation is but simply put, CA is a mechanism to increase channel bandwidth, or in other words, achieve higher data rates than standard LTE, as shown in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1

Figure 1

LTE as a technology supports up to 20MHz channel bandwidth, but with CA, the same can be enhanced to 100MHz as five such channels (called component carriers), up to 20 MHz each, can be combined.

To achieve this, CA introduces the concepts of Primary cell (PCell) and Secondary cells (SCell). The CA-capable UE selects a PCell, just like a non-CA capable UE, making this feature fully backward compatible. The SCells are allocated to the CA-capable UE by the RRC layer, after due evaluation that these cells can also serve that particular UE. The activation/deactivation of these SCells is controlled by the MAC layer. The SCells may operate on the same frequency band as the PCell, or on a different Band. There are no changes made to the RLC and PDCP layers, except for the support of larger buffer sizes.

There are three new user equipment (UE) categories (6-8), defined in LTE Advanced, which indicate the support of CA by the UE, while previous UE categories, from 2-5, may also support CA. In LTE Release 10 specifications, the UE only has support for two serving cells (1 PCell + 1 SCell ) operating in the same band . Later LTE Releases add the support for more serving cells.

Aricent will be at available to meet at Booth 1 of the LTE Asia conference, taking place on the 18th-19th September 2013 at the Suntec, Singapore. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

Australia debuts calls over combined LTE spectrum bands

This guest post is by Edwin Feldmann, a freelance journalist and blogger who is passionate about technology and the internet…

The Australian operator Telstra has successfully used LTE-Advanced by combining live traffic over the 1800MHz and the 900MHz spectrum bands. According to the operator it was the world’s first call on the two combined spectrum bands.

The LTE-Advanced test was carried out on July 31, when Telstra transferred data across its live network on a number of sites in Queensland carrying commercial traffic. Telstra was supported by Ericsson.

Håkan Eriksson, Head of Ericsson Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, thinks that many operators will be watching the Australian deployment of LTE-Advanced on multiple spectrum bands. “Because many operators have spectrum available in the 1800MHz and 900MHz bands as they migrate subscribers from 2G to 3G or 4G.”

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Interview: CTO of SK Telecom: “LTE has become the global mainstream service.”

SKT_CTO_PHOTO_s

Jae W. Byun, CTO of SK Telecom

Following the successful LTE Awards 2013, we speak to Jae W. Byun, CTO of SK Telecom, regarding the company’s award for winning the ‘Most Significant Development of a Commercial LTE Network’ award.

Tell us more about your LTE Awards 2013 entry.

SK Telecom has continuously developed and commercialised diverse innovative network technologies to provide the best LTE service to customers. Since launching Korea’s first LTE network using the 800MHz frequency band in July 2011, SK Telecom completed its nationwide LTE rollout in June 2012. It is now providing seamless LTE service in underground and in-building areas as well as mountainous regions and coastal/island areas through the world’s first commercialisation of LTE femtocells in June 2012. Furthermore, after acquiring 1.8GHz frequency band, SK Telecom developed and applied the world’s first Multi Carrier (MC) to offer faster and more reliable LTE service through effective operation of the two frequency bands (800MHz and 1.8GHz) in July 2012. Moreover, based on its strong network, SK Telecom achieved the world’s first commercialisation of nationwide VoLTE in August, 2012.

What do you think made your entry stand out from the crowd?

SK Telecom was able to differentiate itself from others by developing and applying breakthrough LTE technologies, securing the richest LTE smartphone line-up and providing a wide variety of mobile value-added services optimised for the LTE network. Based on such efforts, the number of SK Telecom’s LTE subscribers grew rapidly to reach about 11 million (as of the end of June 2013), taking it up to around 40 per cent of SK Telecom’s total mobile subscriber base.

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Interview: President, Network Group, Korea Telecom: “Carrier aggregation will enable us to compete with wired broadband and generate new business opportunities.”

Seong-Mook Oh, President, Network Group, Korea Telecom

Seong-Mook Oh, President, Network Group, Korea Telecom

Seong-Mook Oh, President, Network Group, Korea Telecom, South Korea is delivering an opening keynote speech on Day Two of the LTE World Summit, taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Ahead of the show we get a comprehensive update on KT’s cutting-edge LTE deployment and why its CCC architecture brings it a competitive advantage.

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

In the past year KT’s LTE network covered 99 per cent of the population in Korea. The traffic volume of our LTE networks has surpassed that of our 3G network, even though the only a quarter of KT’s subscribers are on LTE. This impressive deployment has been accomplished over the past year using the CCC (Cloud Communication Center) architecture, the most simple network deployment architecture, as far as I know. In the CCC architecture, all the RUs (Radio Unit) are connected to DU (Digital Unit) pools located in the centralisation center via through optic cores. The signals from multiple RUs are processed all together to optimise the radio performance and mitigate the inter-cell interference. To introduce more carriers in the near future, the optic cores and DU processing pools will be reused and RUs will be installed at a local cell site via the plug-in method. In addition, KT launched a VoLTE and PSVT (Packet Switched Video Telephony) service, which provides the HD-Voice and HD-Video service.

What are the chief technical challenges you are facing?

LTE is very sensitive to inter-cell interference due to the nature of OFDM-based systems. In a conventional architecture inter-cell interference control has limitations due to the delay and low speed between eNodeBs. KT’s CCC is a radical solution designed to resolve these inter-cell interference problems. However, the growing demand for higher data rates and the increase of LTE subscribers requires additional solutions such as carrier aggregation and femtocells. Through our close collaboration with several vendors we are trying to discover the optimal solutions. Our so-called “Connect & Development” method is focused on inter-eNodeB cooperation, which is the basis for carrier aggregation and HetNet technology.

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 brochure for the event.

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

Most of our customers’ dissatisfaction comes from cell-edge regions where the QoS is very low, due to the inter-cell interference, causing missed or dropped calls. In order to enhance cell-edge performance we have introduced new techniques named “JT (Joint Transmission)” and “CS (Coordinated Scheduling)”. These two technologies reduce inter-cell interference, but should be selectively used according to the network load. In the case of heavy traffic load, we should mainly focus on CS and in the case of low traffic, JT is beneficial as it improves throughput by increasing the signal strength. All these procedures come under the umbrella of SON (Self Optimized Network) technology.

Is VoLTE part of your plans and what benefits will it bring both to operators and consumers?

We have already commercialised VoLTE services. The “Idle to Active” time in 3G networks is about 2-3 seconds, and therefore the call set-up time for mobile-to-mobile is about 4-6 seconds. However, in LTE networks, the “Idle to Active” time is less than 100ms. Therefore, if you make a VoLTE call, the called party will respond within 1 second as well as it will make a connection to network within 100ms. In addition, the high voice quality of AMR-WB using 23kbps is very attractive to our customers. When using CSFB as an interim solution for voice service, PS calls also uses 3G networks during the voice calls causing user inconvenience due to the low 3G data speed. From the operator viewpoint, VoLTE will make it easy to reach an all-IP service, which will reduce the OPEX compared to conventional infrastructures.

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

ARPU of 3G smartphone users is $40. However, an ARPU of LTE user is about $50. That is, with LTE networks we can expect ARPU increase by 20 per cent. Recently, KT commercialised an LTE Unlimited price plan at $95 compared to the unlimited 3G data service tariffs that start from $54. However, there are many concerns regarding unlimited price plans on LTE. That policy was driven mainly by the competitive market situation in South Korea.

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

One opportunity for LTE is its high-data rate and low latency, which guarantees QoS for streaming and interactive services. Content is easily accessible with LTE smartphones and “virtual goods” can be monetised and delivered via LTE networks. For example, we can provide a better or guaranteed QoS for users viewing adverts. New LTE-based services such as eMBMS and RCS also offer an opportunity for monetisation. KT is preparing for eMBMS pre-commercial services within this year. However, if operators lose the right to control QoS due to the regulation issues, operators will face some challenges for sustainable growth and should make an effort to develop a new ICT (Information Communication Technology) business model.

In order to offer a more competitive service than the OTT players KT is leveraging CCC for ICT business. CCC is a kind of domain-specific cloud technology, based on virtualisation. By unifying the platform for radio and several application services into CCC, we can provide cross-layer optimised services between applications and radio. For example, we can utilise user contexts such as user ID, traffic content, QoS, location, and the radio environment to provide the most suitable service to our customers. I expect that all these services will offer a great monetisation opportunity to mobile network operators.

Where do small cells fit into your plans?

Most of KT’s mobile network infrastructure already consists of small cells. This is because the small cell is key to meeting capacity demands and removes coverage holes in a cost effective way. With the advent of smartphones and the exponential growth of data traffic, CCC-based small cells for 3G and 4G have been playing a significant role. The inter-site distance of these small cells is no more than 100m in Seoul, whereas the coverage of macro cell in rural areas is around 1-2km.

As an in-building solution KT has developed business femtocells, targeting both data offloading for capacity and in-building coverage. The business femtocells have been deployed at public places such as cafe and markets for public subscribers. We are currently developing a home femtocell and will introduce some calling plans for private subscribers. Following mass deployment, we expect more than 10 per cent of traffic will be off-loaded to femtocells in the near future, compared to the current data off-load of less than one per cent. In addition, the business and home femtocells will co-operate with CCC to reduce the inter-cell interference.

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

From the viewpoint of network development, KT plans to introduce inter-band carrier aggregation and expand the system bandwidth up to 20MHz from 10MHz. This will enable us to double the maximum date rate to compete with wired broadband and generate new business opportunities for all the mobile related industries such as M2M, streaming and cloud services.

 This year, our evolved CCC network (LTE WARP Advanced) will support advanced CoMP technology. A DM-RS (Demodulation Reference Signal) based on JT (Joint Transmission) technology will expand the JT areas into the cell edge using the different PCIs (Physical Cell ID). Furthermore, CS (Coordinated Scheduling) will be expanded into the heterogeneous network with the component of CCC-based small cell solutions such as picocell and femtocell through an X2 interface.

 From the viewpoint of service development, KT will introduce application and radio converged services provided in CCC. For example, accessed information is frequently kept in CCC that is physically and logically closer to the user side. By reducing the amount of traffic on EPC, WAN links, and overburdened Web servers, caching provides significant benefits to reduce TCO and service delays. I expect that more application services such as LBS based smart dialling and local community services will be accommodated in CCC in future.

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