Posts tagged ‘TD-LTE’

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: CTO, MobinNet, Iran: “Customers won’t tolerate service quality downgrades even for a short period of time.”

Nima PourNejatian, CTO, MobinNet

Nima PourNejatian, CTO, MobinNet

Nima PourNejatian, CTO, MobinNet will be talking about the challenges of migrating from WiMAX to TD-LTE at the 4th annual LTE MENA conference, taking place on the 11th-13th May 2014 at the Conrad, Dubai, UAE.

What is the status of your transition from WiMAX to LTE and what challenges is it throwing up?

MobinNet has made some tangible progress since we decided to migrate to TD-LTE technology according to the roadmap of the WiMAX Advanced published by the WiMAX Forum. MobinNet could secure some bandwidth on a new frequency band—2.6 GHz. Meanwhile, the infrastructure needed to completely cover one of our existing markets will be supplied. We estimate that by the end of the year, MobinNet’s first TD-LTE-based market will be launched.

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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.

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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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Interview: CEO of Sazz, Azerbaijan: “We expect the most significant development of 2014 to be the maturity of LTE-Advanced technology and its features”.

Jayhun Mollazande, Sazz

Jayhun Mollazade is CEO of WiMAX carrier Sazz

Jayhun Mollazade is the CEO of Sazz, the Azerbaijani broadband provider owned by local telecoms operator Azqtel. He is delivering a case study on the operators Wimax to LTE migration strategy on Day Two of the 4th annual LTE MENA conference, taking place on the 11th-13th May 2014 at the Conrad, Dubai, UAE. In the interview we get an update on Sazz’s plans, and Mollazade’s view of the TD-LTE eco-system, and what he thinks will have an impact on the LTE industry in 2014.

What’s the latest update on your deployment of an LTE network?

We have recently spent time attending seminars, technical presentations and webinars to gain deep knowledge about the LTE technology, its technical applications and benefits and how we can apply it to our company and customers. We have also spent some time planning the possible deployment of LTE and our migration path from Wimax. Have completed discussions with several vendors and we expect to make a selection sometime soon.

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

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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: Senior Systems Engineer, Sprint: “We expect that small cells will be key to 2500MHz network densification.”

Patrick Urgento, Senior Systems Engineer, Sprint

Patrick Urgento, Senior Systems Engineer, Sprint

Patrick Urgento, Senior Systems Engineer, Sprint is speaking in the “Future of LTE” track 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 its progressing with deploying LTE at three frequencies at once. 

What are the biggest challenges involved in integrating the Clearwire TD-LTE spectrum you recently acquired with Sprint’s existing LTE network?

There really hasn’t been a major challenge with Integrating Clearwire’s spectrum.  Before the acquisition, there was a plan in to integrate more than 5000 Clearwire TD-LTE sites by the end of the year, and that is on track to be completed. We are in the process of selecting several thousand more Clearwire sites for the first half of 2014. Clearwire had done an amazing job operating a low cost network and we have been working on interoperability with Clearwire site vendors and Sprint EPC core vendors for a while.  As these sites come online and customers access them, we expect they can see speeds in the tens of Mbps.

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Interview: Vice president of Sprint Technology development and corporate strategy: “The three largest economies in the world all embrace Band 41 and represent nearly two billion potential subscribers.”

Ron Marquardt, vice president of Sprint Technology development and corporate strategy

Ron Marquardt, vice president of Sprint Technology development and corporate strategy

Ron Marquardt, vice president of Sprint Technology development and corporate strategy is delivering a keynote address of Day Two of the Broadband World Forum, taking place on the 22nd – 24th October 2013 at the RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre, Amsterdam. Ahead of the show we speak to him about how China’s adoption of Band 41 affects the TD-LTE eco-system, and find out how Sprint responds to rival claims that its support of unlimited data is untenable.

What is the current road map for competing with the LTE network of the other major telcos in the US?

All major carriers in the US have been deploying LTE aggressively across multiple frequency bands. We have been and continue to deploy LTE across three different frequency bands within the Sprint network, including 800MHz, 1900MHz and 2.5GHz. This provides customers with a great combination of 4G coverage and capacity.  We are deploying both FDD-LTE and TDD-LTE, and with the combination of the bands provide a benefit which is greater than the sum of the parts.

Last year China chose Band 41 for TD-LTE.  What impact did that news have on the TD-LTE eco-system and specifically for Clearwire?

The Chinese government indeed adopted Band 41, specifying the 2.5 GHz spectrum allocation via the MIIT, the Chinese equivalent of the U.S. FCC, and this was announced by the MIIT’s vice minister at the ITU meeting in Dubai, October, 2012.  Sprint, SoftBank and Clearwire have all been very strong advocates for TDD-LTE for some time and now the three largest economies in the world all embrace Band 41 and represent nearly two billion potential subscribers.   We are working very closely with SoftBank to drive the ecosystem.

You have a lot of high frequency capacity spectrum. How will you be using other technologies, such as small cells, to supplement the network to enable greater coverage?

Small cells are just one tool, which we have as part of our network deployment and we will use whatever tools are available and cost effective to meet the needs of our customers. We have been deploying small cells for some time, ranging from residential femto-cells, enterprise femto-cells and pico-cells. The primary focus has been to address in-door coverage and capacity needs.

The Broadband World Forum is taking place on the 22nd – 24th October 2013 at the RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre, Amsterdam. Click here to download a brochure for the event and here to register for a conference pass.

You have shut down iDEN to reduce network complexity but now operate both TD-LTE and FDD LTE networks.  To what extent does that increase complexity once again, and what is your roadmap for CDMA?

Having both FDD and TDD LTE does not complicate Sprint’s network the way iDEN did.  iDEN was a completely separate network with duplicate costs and management needs. We are repurposing the 800MHz spectrum that was being used for the Nextel Network to support CDMA and LTE.

How do you respond to rival’s claims that sticking with unlimited data plans will impact quality of experience?

Some people believe the ability to support unlimited is somehow related to physics. It is not clear which school of physics they believe is related to offering customers a better experience.  However, it is very clear our competitors are setting up toll booths and charging customers for their usage, while watching the meter and their cash registers turn over. I guess as their customer you can always choose to avoid the LTE toll roads they are building and stay on Wi-Fi. We take a very different approach.  We are focused on the needs of our customers and we listen to our customers. We actually encourage our customers to use our LTE network – unlimited is all about simplicity and convenience.

Interview: CEO of Malaysian communications provider YTL: “we believe the ecosystem for TD-LTE will soon cross the tipping point.”

Wing Lee, CEO of Malaysian communications provider YTL

Wing Lee, CEO of Malaysian communications provider YTL

Wing Lee, CEO of Malaysian communications provider YTL is speaking on the subject of Managed Service and Cloud Platforms on Day Two of the LTE LTE Asia conference taking place on the 18th-19th September 2013 at the Suntec, Singapore. Ahead of the show we speak to him about the state of YTL’s 4G networks and Lee’s view on TD-LTE technology.

What the current situation with regards LTE in terms of spectrum allocation and launch plans?

We have been a good steward of the spectrum allocated to us by the government and have used that to build the largest 4G footprint in Malaysia. With the addition of LTE to our 4G network, that will only serve to give us additional competitive advantage. We are actively working toward that and will be ready to make announcements when the time is right. Granted, having more spectrum allocation will only enable us to do more for the benefit of our customers.

What are your thoughts on the current state of the TD-LTE eco-system?

We like TD spectrum as it is more flexible and efficient compared to FD spectrum and we are particularly pleased that our spectrum holding positions us very well for that. We think TD-LTE is tracking to be an important global standard. With China and India both preparing toward TD-LTE launches, we believe the ecosystem for TD-LTE will soon cross the tipping point.

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Interview: CEO of AzQtel, Azerbaijan: “It’s our goal that TD-LTE will become a worldwide standard.”

Jayhun Mollazade is CEO of WiMAX carrier AzQtel

Jayhun Mollazade is CEO of WiMAX carrier AzQtel

Jayhun Mollazade is CEO of WiMAX carrier AzQtel, which goes to market in Azerbaijan with the brand ‘Sazz’. He is speaking about the transition from WiMAX to LTE on Day One of the LTE Asia conference, taking place on the 18 September 2013 at the Suntec, Singapore. 

You are transitioning your network from WiMAX. How is your LTE network deployment progressing?

We are still in the initial planning stages for the transition to TD-LTE.  We have attended a number of forums to understand what other operators are doing but especially to understand the development of the TD-LTE ecosystem and the planned vendor support.  We now feel comfortable that we are on the right path in our evolution to LTE.  Currently, we are in the process of evaluating vendors and we expect that process to complete shortly.

What have been the biggest challenges you are facing as you make this transition?

There is a lot of excitement about LTE as a technology and its benefits to 2G/3G operators especially.  With WiMAX as our technology, we are already providing 4G services and speed to customers.  Therefore, we wanted to make sure that we do not rush to change our technology but that our decision is based on our particular circumstances and need.

What progress has been made in terms of TD-LTE deployments becoming a worldwide standard?

It’s our goal that TD-LTE will become a worldwide standard.  Since we use WiMAX technology and WiMAX technology is based on time division multiplexing it’s therefore a natural evolution for us to evolve to TD-LTE technology. There are several operators throughout the world who share our particular circumstance.  Globally, there are a number of operators who have deployed and/or are thinking of deploying TD-LTE.  From our vantage point, we certainly support all efforts in turning TD-LTE into the global standard technology.

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.

Some operators are looking to deploy LTE Advanced? What do you think will be the most exciting development for LTE in the next 12-18 months?

I think the commercialisation of LTE Advanced features will be the most exciting development in the next 12-18 months.  In particular, the commercialisation of RCS services, such as Joyn, VoLTE, and e-ICIC.  These features will enable network operators to offer OTT-like services and therefore the ability to compete effectively with OTTs.

What is your overall pricing strategy? Will your LTE pricing plans differ in any way from WiMAX

We expect to perform a detailed evaluation of our current pricing strategy, its alignment with the capabilities offered by LTE to develop a final LTE pricing strategy.  Our current pricing strategy was developed three and a half years ago based on an evaluation of the broadband market in Azerbaijan at the time. The broadband market has changed significantly since then. Therefore, we now have the opportunity to develop new pricing strategy based on current market conditions.

Will you be looking to move into voice with VoLTE?

We currently offer wireless broadband services to our customers. We expect to be able to create a mobile broadband network with LTE and we will continue initially focus our business strategy on offering the best-in-class mobile broadband services. We will only implement VoLTE when the technology has matured and when there is a proven market demand for this service.

What are you most looking forward to in attending the LTE Asia conference?

We look forward to continued dialogue with other WiMAX and LTE operators and vendors to better understand the direction of the TD-LTE ecosystem and how it can benefit us in our markets.

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.

A year in LTE – the top 10 news stories of the year

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Merry Christmas to all our readers!

As the year draws to a close its natural that we take stock and look back at what has happened in the LTE industry over the past year.

The US market took off in a big way as AT&T and Verizon competed to beef up their LTE networks, while South Korea and Japan saw a large influx of LTE subscribers boosting numbers worldwide.

VoLTE services also became a reality as MetroPCS and SKT launched the technology. As LTE networks began to spring up across Europe even the UK got its LTE act together and launched a live service towards the end of the year.

TD-LTE is also expanding its reach, with networks staring to deploy in China and areas such as Malaysia. This will be looked at in more depth at the brand new TD-LTE Summit, taking place on the 23rd-24th April 2013 at the Fairmont Singapore Hotel, Singapore.

A great way of gauging the events of the last year is to take a look at the top ten news articles that have appeared on our sister publication Telecoms.com.

It’s exclusive revelation that Apple vets LTE networks was not only the top LTE story of the year, it was the most read Telecoms.com news story ever, despite only going up two weeks ago!

While 2012 was big for LTE, 2013 is set to be even bigger as the technology consolidates itself in Europe and begins to spread to new markets such as Africa, and we’ll be celebrating this at the LTE Africa conference, taking place on the 16th-17th July 2013 in Cape Town, South Africa.

We look forward to continuing to bring you all the latest exciting LTE developments in 2013 and all of these hot topics will be covered in depth across our LTE events series in 2013.

Happy holidays and see you all next year!

1. Apple vetting operators on LTE network performance –  November 30, 2012:

A little snippet in a Swisscom press release and an unwitting confirmation from said company was all it took to reveal that Apple calls the shots when it comes to which LTE networks the iPhone 5 can run on. One leading industry consultant was “shocked” by the revelations but really we all already knew where the power now lies in the industry. World’s Most Valuable Company 1 – Telecoms Industry 0.

2. Samsung deploys Three UK’s LTE network – August 24, 2012:

Samsung has already become a major force in handsets, so it makes sense that the Korean firm wants to do the same as a network equipment vendor. It has already done deals in the US, Japan and Middle-East and a deal with 3UK to supply it with LTE RAN equipment gives it an important foothold in Europe too.

3. Middle East operators facing problems over LTE spectrum, devices and pricing – May 1 2012:

Devices and prices. These are two core elements that hold back the take up of any new network and this post LTE MENA conference analysis from Informa principal analyst Matthew Reed showed that it was proving no different for LTE in the Middle-East.

4. New LTE devices to shake up smartphone market – January 10, 2012:

Speaking of devices, the LTE market got a shot in the arm right at the beginning of the year when Sony, Nokia and Huawei all announced LTE handsets: the Xperia S, the Lumia 900 and Ascend P1 S respectively. A handset released at the other end of the year had greater impact, but these got there first

5. Vodafone seethes as Ofcom clears UK LTE1800 launch – August 21, 2012:

The backwards and forwards appeal process between the four big UK networks related to the 4G spectrum auction was getting so farcical it could well have been set to a Benny Hill soundtrack. UK regulator Ofcom clearly felt it had had enough of all this silliness and decided to let EE refarm its 1800 spectrum and launch LTE. Vodafone was not pleased. Cue Benny Hill music.

6. First LTE phone coming to Vodafone Germany – February 9, 2012:

It’s all very well having an LTE network, but to go mainstream you need phones. Lots of phones. Cue much excitement then in February when the first LTE handset for the European market turned up on Vodafone D2 in Germany. It might actually have been a Samsung Galaxy S2 on Tele2 that beat it to the punch, but either way the LTE ball had started rolling.

7. Brazilian operators select LTE provider – October 11, 2012:

As a worldwide technology, LTE benefits from an expansive eco-system and the resultant economies of scale. Telefonica Brazil and local incumbent Oi both announced their LTE plays in Brazil in October, with Ericsson the main beneficiary on the vendor side

8. UK welcomes new LTE brand; now rivals must step up – September 11, 2012:

Once Ofcom got the aforementioned Benny Hill music to finally stop, EE, the new 4G brand from France Telecom and Deutsche Telecom’s joint UK play Everything Everywhere, was finally able to launch its LTE network in the UK. As the dust settled Telecoms.com’s managing editor James Middleton analysed the fallout from EE’s disruptive move.

9. LTE and the backhaul challenge – January 12, 2012:

With so much attention placed in the RAN, it’s important to remember the importance of backhaul in ensuring the performance of the network remains strong. Back in January Dawinderpal Sahota took a closer look at the various technologies involved.

10. Rogers lights up Canadian LTE network – July 8, 2012:

Not wanting to let the US have all the fun, Canadian operator Rogers lit up its LTE network in July. We were amused that as it had already dubbed its HSPA+ services as 4G, it was forced to market its LTE network as “Beyond 4G”. Blame Canada.

LTE’s virtuous circle: LTE to go mass market in 2012?

Arne Schälicke, LTE Product Marketing, Nokia Siemens Networks

This is a guest post from Arne Schälicke, LTE Product Marketing, Nokia Siemens Networks on the growth of the LTE eco-system and the work that NSN is putting it to make it happen.

That fact that the annual LTE World Summit has recently established itself among the top events in the sector has really underlined the importance of LTE in our industry. It’s also a good opportunity to reflect about the LTE market development that we have seen over the recent years.

By April 2012 there were 64 commercially launched LTE networks, 70 per cent more than a year earlier. The last year has also seen the commercial launches of the first TD-LTE networks. The global adoption of both FDD LTE and TD-LTE is not a vision anymore, it’s a fact. Global scale fosters the development of the device ecosystem, which in turn drives subscriber figures. The LTE virtuous circle has accelerated.

The arrival of multiband/multimode USB dongles has enabled operators to migrate their mobile broadband large screen customers to LTE. Subscribers benefit from faster average throughputs and shorter latency times, while the operators can offload their 3G networks, apply new tariffs and hence optimise their ARPU.

For all the aforementioned reasons, LTE data services have started to expand from the premium high-price segment to mid- and entry-level segments, with some operators having already introduced prepaid packages. Also, some international data roaming packages have been introduced, e.g. by TeliaSonera, who launched commercial LTE services more than three years and now provides LTE in many Northern European and Baltic countries.

The launch of LTE smartphones and tablets has since then accelerated subscriber growth tremendously. The publicly available data from NTT DoCoMo, Japan, shows an acceleration of roughly 300 per cent in monthly subscriber uptake following the introduction of LTE smartphones and tablets in autumn 2011. By April 2012, three operators in the US, Japan and Korea had reported more than two million LTE subscribers. LG U+ in Korea has reached an LTE penetration of more than 20 per cent of its total subscriber base.

In short, in 2012 LTE is becoming mass market.

What does the market success of LTE mean for Nokia Siemens Networks? As specialist in mobile broadband, we have been at the forefront of the LTE and TD-LTE commercialisation since the very beginning. Through our partnerships with the leading LTE operators in advanced markets like Northern Europe, Japan and Korea, we have continuously evolved our commercial LTE network systems to deliver superior throughput and lowest latency times in networks.

With a TD-LTE end-to-end solution, including the complete network infrastructure, services and TD-LTE data devices, we have enabled SKY, the largest satellite pay-TV operator in Brazil, to not only enter the local wireless broadband market, but to also be the first to launch commercial 4G services in Latin America. For operators with existing 1800MHz GSM networks we have commercially introduced concurrent operation of GSM and LTE on the same base station hardware module. Telia Denmark uses our concurrent-mode GSM/LTE technology nationwide and has repeatedly been praised for having the best 4G network in the country.

As the LTE market evolves further so are the LTE offerings of Nokia Siemens Networks. Pushing speeds ever higher we have demonstrated LTE-Advanced with data rates exceeding 1.4Gbps using aggregated spectrum of 100MHz on the commercial Flexi Multiradio 10 base station platform.

With increasing LTE smartphone penetration rates and growing LTE network coverage 2012 is also a significant year of VoLTE, with operators like LG U+, Korea, having already announced their VoLTE plans for this year.

And then, as the LTE World Summit 2012 agenda underlines nicely, small cells will play a key role in complementing macro networks to bring better coverage and capacity boost to areas of high demands. Clusters of small cells can provide the capacity needed in mobile broadband network hot zones. With our highly acclaimed Flexi Zone small cell solution, we are proposing a revolutionary new small cell cluster architecture that ensures  small cell capacity really adds to the macro network and does not “tax” the operator’s TCO.

LTE World Summit Speaker Interview – UK Broadband

Philip Marnick, CTO of UK Broadband is speaking at the LTE World Summit 2012, taking place on the 23-24 May 2012 CCIB, Barcelona, Spain. UKB will be the first operator to launch a commercial LTE service in the UK. Ahead of the conference we speak to him about why UK Broadband’s extensive spectrum holdings and wholesale model will make it significant player in the UK LTE market.

Tell us a bit about UK Broadband and what are you about.

UK Broadband (UKB) is a subsidiary of PCCW Hong Kong. We are the largest holders of commercial spectrum in the UK with 124MHz of LTE spectrum in TDD bands 42 and 43 at 3.5GHz and 3.6GHz. We’ve got 6 x 20MHz channels there; which makes us one of the largest holders in the world. We have started to switch on our networks in London in Southwark on the South Bank and in Reading, where we are providing TD-LTE. We thought these were a good mix of buildings and customer demographic that could really show what this technology could deliver. We will offer commercial services in May of this year (2012).

How were you able to acquire that much spectrum?

We first acquired the spectrum in 2003, and we were able to gain some more in 2010 when we acquired another company. We’ve been offering WiMAX services in various parts of the country since 2003 and since then we’ve been doing lots of R&D for our parent company in Hong Kong because we had lot of spectrum here. We’ve been seeing how the technologies performed.

You’re operating LTE at different frequencies to the rest of Europe. Are you concerned about your eco-system?

We been recently established as part of the Global TD-LTE Initiative (GTI) group to further enhance and push the ecosystem for 3.5/3.6. As you may know there is an awful lot of TD-LTE spectrum held across the world:  operators from Canada, in Europe the Middle East and Asia. Up until now it’s been used for WiMAX and various other things but now it’s part of the LTE bands which were put in release 10.

There’s now an emphasis to push forward [with TD-LTE] and we were the first to do it. We already have some devices here and we’re expecting mobile devices to come later this year. As we go into next year we’re expecting mobile phones too. We are expecting a MiFi device available to us in September of this year that will be commercially available. The MiFi device is quite interesting as it effectively enables people to get the full benefit of high speed broadband without having to change out all their devices. Most devices people have today have wifi in them, from cameras to computers, to tablets. The use of wifi means that they can use mobile services wherever they happen to be. It gives the people the ability to use almost any device they’ve got and use it on a 4G network.

What will be the primary customers for your network?

That’s one of the things that we’re looking to do so to make sure that we can offer wholesale services to [operators, so] when they have got capacity hotspots, [they can] offload traffic to us. One of the devices we have is a home modem device – a fixed line replacement. In London I think its 1.5million people who don’t use fixed line broadband but use broadband at home by other means. There’s students, those who come to the UK for a short time, and don’t want to pay for fixed broadband. There will be customers available through a variety of channels. [The first announced is its deal with Swindon council]. And one the things we could offer them are home broadband services provided by very, very high-speed mobile. And the speeds we’re achieving are higher than you’ll get from your typical ADSL2 line.

What sorts of speeds are you seeing?

The system can connect at up to 100Mb/s and that’s the sorts of things that you see in marketing. In reality, when we’ve been testing in buildings we’re seeing speeds of 50Mb/s. On drive tests we’re sustaining average speeds of over 30Mb/s across the cell.

How are you achieving these speeds compared to the US operators operating on lower frequencies?

In the real world they’ve not actually got much spectrum. They are using 10Mz channels, whereas I’m using 20MHz channels. And my cell sites are actually using 20MHz per sector. So each of my cell sites is actually using three 20MHz channels. Other operators have interference issues or other limitations with regard to spectrum, but because of the amount of spectrum we have we can deliver these sorts of speeds.

So what you’re saying amount of spectrum rather frequency is more important

As data demand increases the effective size of the cell site decreases anyway. If you look in places like London cells are going to have to be smaller. For indoor penetration yes, low frequencies are very good but when you get smaller cell sites the higher frequencies are actually no disadvantage. And in fact, if you want to have fewer interference issues with their neighbours, you’ll get more out of higher frequencies. It is really enabling us to deliver the sort of promise that people talk about for LTE Advanced. Effectively LTE Advanced is using 20MHz channels, which is effectively what we’re doing.

Why have the big four operators not gone for TD-LTE spectrum?

Most operators are based on voice networks so they’ve gone for FDD. But in a world of data people will always download more than they upload. We’re going to see ratios of 9:1 which is where TDD will come into its own. I think the world is in a transition phase where we’re moving from a voice world into a voice of data. You’ll see both TDD and FDD being used to service the markets that they are most appropriate for. For me, it’s about designing networks for tomorrow, not yesterday’s network. We have to design networks that are designed for data, not for voice.

Why do you feel your wholesale model will be successful?

We are moving into a world where people need to collaborate. If you look at the forecasts, data is growing rapidly. Ofcom has suggested by 2016 the UK will have spectrum limits even after the auction. So there’s a requirement to use more spectrum bands to deliver what they customers are starting to expect; and that is high speed [mobile broadband]. We are moving to a world that when you are moving from inside to outside, wherever you happen to be, there has to be the capacity to be able to deliver the user experience that people have come to expect.

What’s your view on unlimited data and bandwidth caps?

What we need to do is deliver package that meets user expectations and does not make them feel uncomfortable using data. The problem today is that a lot of users feel that if they use too much it costs them too much. We’ve been pushing for years for people to start using data and now we’re saying, please don’t use so much of it – it’s seems a bit odd doesn’t it. For us it will be a case of optimising the packages as they go along, making sure that the price is right for the data usage.

The LTE World Summit is taking place on the 23-24 May 2012 CCIB, Barcelona, Spain.

To download the event brochure click here

To register for your FREE exhibition visitor pass click here

MWC: FDD vs TDD. Who wins? There’s only one way to find out. Fight!

MWC 2012. A bit crazy.

So that was the week that was. I managed to make it to Mobile World Congress this week for the first time, and though I was only able to do so for a little over one day it was a pretty interesting experience.

If you’ve ever been to any kind of large industry trade show you’ll know that they can be pretty intense affairs. MWC though has to be on another level – it’s nuts and probably only outdone by CES – but then that’s in Las Vegas so there you go.

Everyone who is everyone is there at MWC, so much so that to really make a statement, you have to not be there – but be big enough for people to notice. So that’s Apple then.

In terms of LTE MWC afforded me the opportunity to actually pick up and hold my first LTE enabled phone: and would you believe it, they feel much the same as 3G phones. That said the phone in question was the Samsung Galaxy Note, which is about the size of a small Galaxy, so well named in that regard.

LTE wise one of the most interesting things I heard was a comparison between the performance of FDD LTE and TD-LTE (Frequency Division Duplex vs Time-Divison). This was conducted in the field by 3 Sweden, which has just launched its LTE service. Jorgen Askeroth, CTO of 3 Sweden said that as a company they had no religious bias towards one technology or another, it was more a case of spectrum availability. It just wanted to offer the best service to its customers – which is refreshing to hear. But some operators might be ‘afraid’ of bidding for the more affordable and more widely available TDD spectrum, when it fact it would be a great choice, as Sweden UK’s testing proves.

Askeroth said that every site had both LTE and TD and has separate antennas for LTE on order to maintain a good 3G experience for its customers. In its comparison tests, FDD was better in 28 locations but TDD was better in 20 locations. Latency in particular was comparable. When you take into account the fact that TD-LTE spectrum used was 20MHz compared to 40MHz for the FDD, Askeroth said that there was no doubt that, as often assumed but not often proven, TDD offers much greater spectrum efficiency than FDD. Askeroth was happy to state that with an equal amount of spectrum to throw at it, TDD would be “materially better”.

In the same session, the rather quirky chief strategist of Dutch operator KPN, Erik Hooving stepped up to say that LTE was being marketed entirely wrong – starting with the name as it was entirely meaningless to most consumers. However, his argument would be negated by the fact that in reality LTE will simply be sold at ‘4G’, which is a clear enough message for most. Hooving admitted that in Holland, KPN’s HSPA network would be sufficient to deliver what its customers actually needed in terms of bandwidth, but said that it was important to get on the LTE bus now, simply to be ready. His key message to operators – don’t build for coverage – build for capacity. There’s little point having 99 per cent coverage is 99 per cent of the time no one can adequately use the network.

It’s a good point, and one I hope to hear more of at the LTE World Summit in May.

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