Saturday, 23 May 2009

LTE World Summit: Day 3 roundup

I started the third day with my Breakfast briefing. You can see the details here. The third and final day was the deployment day so there were lots of operators speaking.

Pierrre Lescuyer from SFR, France talked about the Spectrum challenges for LTE. SFR is by the way, second largest operator in France with nearly 20 million customers. The key factors for success of LTE would be to have 2.6GHz and UHF band to be bundled together. Also the backhaul has to be improved. The Digital Dividend band in France will be available end 2011 and there is going to be protection of broadcasting below 790MHz. The French goverment has announced the auction of remaining 2.1GHz band and started consultation in 2.6GHz band. In the 900MHz band, there is not enough spectrum for everyone to co-exist. The 2.6GHz band is good for hotspots giving 2x20MHz bands and LTE could also be deployed in the 1800 band with 2x10MHz bands. LTE 800 is another alternative but the existing antennas will have to be replaced.

Franz Seiser from T-Mobile Germany, VoLGA (Voice over LTE Generic Access). The main reason for VoLGA is because the current solutions for voice do not meet all LTE requirements. CS fallback is not good enough because of the time it takes for establishing the call and has lots more impact then originally envisaged. Also the MSC would have to be upgraded to Rel-4 for this feature to work. IMS solution is again not good enough because of high complexity; availibility and stability not feasible in time for rollout. Also what happens in case like Femtocell where CS fallback is required and no 2G/3G network is available? To overcome this VoLGA was proposed. Its the best compromise and elegant approach to solve Voice and SMS problems in LTE early.

Prof. Patrick Marsch, Technical Project Leader EASY-C, Vodafone Chair Mobile Communications, Germany spoke about the Easy-C project. Apparently, Easy-C has already been doing the things identified by the LTE-Advanced comittee. Their requirements were mentioned in slightly different terms then the standards one. For example, "Click and Bang", "Click and Wow", etc. The main aim being Inexpensive throughput, anytime, anywhere. I will look into the details later.

Thierry Maupile, VP, Starent Networks spoke about the readiness of the Core for high amounts of data traffic predicted. The main growth for mobile broadband will come by having higher bandwidth true multimedia devices, friendly devices and easy access to applications, payments, etc. By 2014, more than 4 petabyte data will be flowing through some operators. This can cause major challenges in the multimedia core as there will be a massive increase in the signalling. To overcome these challenges, simplified All-IP architecture will be required. Voice grade reliability is another important factor and so is security. Starent claims to be a leader with support for multiple technologies in the same platform. It concentrates only on the PS core and has 95+ operator deployments in 40+ countries. Its core is used by 8 of top 10 3G operators and its #1 in UMTS PS cores.

Rodrigo Cárdenas, Deputy Director of Technological Evolution, Entel PCS, Chile spoke about Deploying Next Generation Technologies such as LTE in Latin America. Chile, surprisingly ranks #9 in the number of facebook users. Since the landlines connectivity is quite limited in Latin America, mobile has good chances of growth if the pricing is correct. With some clever pricing, the mobile broadbank uptake has grown 249% recently. Even high quality mobile TV encoded at 240kbps is being delivered. In Chile, HSPA is good enough for the time being with migration to HSPA+ in near future. LTE will be useful for Corporate broadband or for HDTV on mobile. It can also be used as main broadband connection at home and can complement satellite. 2.6GHz is the main band for South America with other possibilities being 1700/2100MHz or even 700MHz.

Rick Keith, Director of Global Strategy, Motorola spoke about LTE for the Operator in an Emerging Market. There were lots of facts and stats to mention right now but the main point being that LTE can address digital divide in rural areas (developed as well as developing countries) and an early launch of LTE will open possibilities for new revenue.

Javier Sanchez, from Zain, Kuwait soke on similar topic of LTE for the Operator in an Emerging Market. Zain is present in 24 markets. It has got 62 million customers. Recently they have started the "One Network" which allows users from any of their countries to roam to other country and use the phone as local. That means the price of international calls is still local and they can even top-up using vouchers locally. '3' in UK have done something similar even though its not exactly the same. One of the thing Zain has done is that rather than subsidising devices, they have subsidised bundles. The main criteria for success according to them is to make mobile broadband more affordable for everyone. This means to create possibility of low entry price

Please note that all the details I mentioned are from my notes or memory. I havent dived into the presentations yet. When I do, I will mention things in more detail and may correct myself. In the meantime if you spot something wrong please feel free to comment.

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