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Showing posts with label China Mobile. Show all posts
Showing posts with label China Mobile. Show all posts

Sunday, 7 February 2016

The Art of Disguising Cellular Antennas

When I did a blog post 'Disguising Small Cells in Rural areas' last year, many people were surprised to see these things. So here is another post showing how the antennas looks like and how they have to be disguised to blend in with the environment.


The above pictures shows fake date trees (with dates) near Koutoubia mosque, Marrakech, designed to blend in with the surroundings. In fact I have been told that these fake date trees are common in the Middle East and North African countries.


The above picture is from Dubai, showing similar palm tree. Source unknown.


The above picture, courtesy of Andy Sutton on Twitter shows a cell site near Blandford Forum. I hope you can spot the fake tree on top right.


Another one, courtesy of Andy Sutton on Twitter shows a cell site between motorway M56, J10 & 11 in Cheshire. Single operator but could be shared, single frequency band, x-pole with 3 cell sectors. Only two of the possible 3 cell sectors connected here. Pointing up and down motorway hence 4 feeders.







Another one courtesy of Andy Sutton on Twitter. Its been disguised to not look out of place unless someone is observing very carefully.
All three are fake trees and each is a separate cellular installation. The location is Lancashire, off the A6 between Slyne and Bolton-le-Sands. They are all different operators, left to right, O2, T-Mobile, Orange - although two will become one as part of EE of course.


Modern Art and Cellular Antenna, courtesy of Andy Sutton on Twitter.

What will happen when we transition to 5G, where we will have a lot more antennas because of MIMO (massive or not). China Mobile is researching into Smart Tiles, which are antennas that can be hidden inside Chinese characters. See the following for example:

With more antennas becoming commonplace in the urban environment, operators and vendors will have to keep up coming with innovative ways to disguise the antennas and hope no one notices.

See Also:


Thursday, 21 January 2016

IET Lecture: 5G – Getting Closer to Answers?


I was fortunate to be able to hear the IET Appleton lecture last week. The good thing about these lectures are that the speakers get plenty of time to talk about the subject of interest and as a result they can cover the topic in much greater depth.

Some interesting tweets from the evening:




Here is the video:



As I was sitting in the front, I managed to ask a question - "5G is going to be evolution and revolution. Will it be revolution first then evolution or vice versa". If you cant wait to hear the answer, you can jump to 1:21:30 in the video.

The answer also ties in nicely with my Linkedin post on '5G: Mine is bigger than yours'. 

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Quick Summary of LTE Voice Summit 2015 (#LTEVoice)

Last year's summary of the LTE voice summit was very much appreciated so I have created one this year too.

The status of VoLTE can be very well summarised as can be seen in the image above.
‘VoLTE network deployment is the one of the most difficult project ever, the implementation complexity and workload is unparalleled in history’ - China Mobile group vice-president Mr.Liu Aili
Surprisingly, not many presentations were shared so I have gone back to the tweets and the pictures I took to compile this report. You may want to download the PDF from slideshare to be able to see the links. Hope you find it useful.



Related links:

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

TDD-FDD Joint Carrier Aggregation deployed


As per Analysis Mason, of the 413 commercial LTE networks that have been launched worldwide by the end of 2Q 2015, FD-LTE accounts for 348 (or 84%) of them, while TD-LTE accounts for only 55 (or 13%). Having said that, TD-LTE will be growing in market share, thanks to the unpaired spectrum that many operators secured during the auctions. This, combined with LTE-A Small Cells (as recently demoed by Nokia Networks) can help offload traffic from hotspots.

Light Reading had an interesting summary of TD-LTE rollouts and status that is further summarised below:
  • China Mobile has managed to sign up more than 200 million subscribers in just 19 months, making it the fastest-growing operator in the world today. It has now deployed 900,000 basestations in more than 300 cities. From next year, it is also planning to upgrade to TDD+ which combines carrier aggregation and MIMO to deliver download speeds of up to 5 Gbit/s and a fivefold improvement in spectrum efficiency. TDD+ will be commercially available next year and while it is not an industry standard executives say several elements have been accepted by 3GPP. 
  • SoftBank Japan has revealed plans to trial LTE-TDD Massive MIMO, a likely 5G technology as well as an important 4G enhancement, from the end of the year. Even though it was one of the world's first operators to go live with LTE-TDD, it has until now focused mainly on its LTE-FDD network. It has rolled out 70,000 FDD basestations, compared with 50,000 TDD units. But TDD is playing a sharply increasing role. The operator expects to add another 10,000 TDD basestations this year to deliver additional capacity to Japan's data-hungry consumers. By 2019 at least half of SoftBank's traffic to run over the TDD network.

According to the Analysis Mason article, Operators consider TD-LTE to be an attractive BWA (broadband wireless access) replacement for WiMAX because:

  • most WiMAX deployments use unpaired, TD spectrum in the 2.5GHz and3.5GHz bands, and these bands have since been designated by the 3GPP as being suitable for TD-LTE
  • TD-LTE is 'future-proof' – it has a reasonably long evolution roadmap and should remain a relevant and supported technology throughout the next decade
  • TD-LTE enables operators to reserve paired FD spectrum for mobile services, which mitigates against congestion in the spectrum from fixed–mobile substitution usage profiles.

For people who may be interested in looking further into migrating from WiMAX to TD-LTE, may want to read this case study here.


I have looked at the joint FDD-TDD CA earlier here. The following is from the 4G Americas whitepaper on Carrier Aggregation embedded here.

Previously, CA has been possible only between FDD and FDD spectrum or between TDD and TDD spectrum. 3GPP has finalized the work on TDD-FDD CA, which offers the possibility to aggregate FDD and TDD carriers jointly. The main target with introducing the support for TDD-FDD CA is to allow the network to boost the user throughput by aggregating both TDD and FDD toward the same UE. This will allow the network to boost the UE throughput independently from where the UE is in the cell (at least for DL CA).

TDD and FDD CA would also allow dividing the load more quickly between the TDD and FDD frequencies. In short, TDD-FDD CA extends CA to be applicable also in cases where an operator has spectrum allocation in both TDD and FDD bands. The typical benefits of CA – more flexible and efficient utilization of spectrum resources – are also made available for a combination of TDD and FDD spectrum resources. The Rel-12 TDD-FDD CA design supports either a TDD or FDD cell as the primary cell.

There are several different target scenarios in 3GPP for TDD-FDD CA, but there are two main scenarios that 3GPP aims to support. The first scenario assumes that the TDD-FDD CA is done from the same physical site that is typically a macro eNB. In the second scenario, the macro eNB provides either a TDD and FDD frequency, and the other frequency is provided from a Remote Radio Head (RRH) deployed at another physical location. The typical use case for the second scenario is that the macro eNB provides the FDD frequency and the TDD frequency from the RRH.

Nokia Networks were the first in the world with TDD-FDD CA demo, back in Feb 2014. In fact they also have a nice video here. Surprisingly there wasnt much news since then. Recently Ericsson announced the first commercial implementation of FDD/TDD carrier aggregation (CA) on Vodafone’s network in Portugal. Vodafone’s current trial in its Portuguese network uses 15 MHz of band 3 (FDD 1800) and 20 MHz of band 38 (TDD 2600). Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 SoC was used for measurement and testing.

3 Hong Kong is another operator that has revealed its plans to launch FDD-TDD LTE-Advanced in early 2016 after demonstrating the technology on its live network.

The operator used equipment supplied by Huawei to aggregate an FDD carrier in either of the 1800 MHz or 2.6 GHz bands with a TDD carrier in the 2.3 GHz band. 3 Hong Kong also used terminals equipped with Qualcomm's Snapdragon X12 LTE processor.

3 Hong Kong already offers FDD LTE-A using its 1800-MHz and 2.6-GHz spectrum, and is in the midst of deploying TD-LTE with a view to launching later this year.

The company said it expects devices that can support hybrid FDD-TDD LTE-A to be available early next year "and 3 Hong Kong is expected to launch the respective network around that time."

3 Hong Kong also revealed it plans to commercially launch tri-carrier LTE-A in the second half of 2016, and is working to aggregate no fewer than five carriers by refarming its 900-MHz and 2.1-GHz spectrum.

TDD-FDD CA is another tool in the network operators toolbox to help plan the network and make it better. Lets hope more operators take the opportunity to deploy one.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Using 8T8R Antennas for TD-LTE


People often ask at various conferences if TD-LTE is a fad or is it something that will continue to exist along with the FDD networks. TDD networks were a bit tricky to implement in the past due to the necessity for the whole network to be time synchronised to make sure there is no interference. Also, if there was another TDD network in an adjacent band, it would have to be time synchronised with the first network too. In the areas bordering another country where they might have had their own TDD network in this band, it would have to be time synchronised too. This complexity meant that most networks were happy to live with FDD networks.

In 5G networks, at higher frequencies it would also make much more sense to use TDD to estimate the channel accurately. This is because the same channel would be used in downlink and uplink so the downlink channel can be estimated accurately based on the uplink channel condition. Due to small transmit time intervals (TTI's), these channel condition estimation would be quite good. Another advantage of this is that the beam could be formed and directed exactly at the user and it would appear as a null to other users.

This is where 8T8R or 8 Transmit and 8 Receive antennas in the base station can help. The more the antennas, the better and narrower the beam they can create. This can help send more energy to users at the cell edge and hence provide better and more reliable coverage there.  

SONWav Operator Solution

How do these antennas look like? 8T8R needs 8x Antennas at the Base Station Cell, and this is typically delivered using four X-Polar columns about half wavelength apart. I found the above picture on antenna specialist Quintel's page here, where the four column example is shown right. At spectrum bands such as 2.3GHz, 2.6GHz and 3.5GHz where TD-LTE networks are currently deployed, the antenna width is still practical. Quintel’s webpage also indicates how their technology allows 8T8R to be effectively emulated using only two X-Polar columns thus promising Slimline antenna solutions at lower frequency bands. China Mobile and Huawei have claimed to be the first ones to deploy these four X-Pol column 8T8R antennas. Sprint, USA is another network that has been actively deploying these 8T8R antennas.

There are couple of interesting tweets that show their kit below:

In fact Sprint has very ambitious plans. The following is from a report in Fierce Wireless:

Sprint's deployment of 8T8R (eight-branch transmit and eight-branch receive) radios in its 2.5 GHz TDD LTE spectrum is resulting in increased data throughput as well as coverage according to a new report from Signals Research. "Thanks to TM8 [transmission mode 8] and 8T8R, we observed meaningful increases in coverage and spectral efficiency, not to mention overall device throughput," Signals said in its executive summary of the report.

The firm said it extensively tested Sprint's network in the Chicago market using Band 41 (2.5 GHz) and Band 25 (1.9 GHz) in April using Accuver's drive test tools and two Galaxy Note Edge smartphones. Signals tested TM8 vs. non-TM8 performance, Band 41 and Band 25 coverage and performance as well as 8T8R receive vs. 2T2R coverage/performance and stand-alone carrier aggregation.

Sprint has been deploying 8T8R radios in its 2.5 GHz footprint, which the company has said will allow its cell sites to send multiple data streams, achieve better signal strength and increase data throughput and coverage without requiring more bandwidth.

The company also has said it will use carrier aggregation technology to combine TD-LTE and FDD-LTE transmission across all of its spectrum bands. In its fourth quarter 2014 earnings call with investors in February, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said implementing carrier aggregation across all Sprint spectrum bands means Sprint eventually will be able to deploy 1900 MHz FDD-LTE for uplink and 2.5 GHz TD-LTE for downlink, and ultimately improve the coverage of 2.5 GHz LTE to levels that its 1900 MHz spectrum currently achieves. Carrier aggregation, which is the most well-known and widely used technique of the LTE Advanced standard, bonds together disparate bands of spectrum to create wider channels and produce more capacity and faster speeds.

Alcatel-Lucent has a good article in their TECHzine, an extract from that below:

Field tests on base stations equipped with beamforming and 8T8R technologies confirm the sustainability of the solution. Operators can make the most of transmission (Tx) and receiving (Rx) diversity by adding in Tx and Rx paths at the eNodeB level, and beamforming delivers a direct impact on uplink and downlink performance at the cell edge.

By using 8 receiver paths instead of 2, cell range is increased by a factor of 1.5 – and this difference is emphasized by the fact that the number of sites needed is reduced by nearly 50 per cent. Furthermore, using the beamforming approach in transmission mode generates a specific beam per user which improves the quality of the signal received by the end-user’s device, or user equipment (UE). In fact, steering the radiated energy in a specific direction can reduce interference and improves the radio link, helping enable a better throughput. The orientation of the beam is decided by shifting the phases of the Tx paths based on signal feedback from the UE. This approach can deliver double the cell edge downlink throughput and can increase global average throughput by 65 per cent.

These types of deployments are made possible by using innovative radio heads and antenna solutions.  In traditional deployments, it would require the installation of multiple remote radio heads (RRH) and multiple antennas at the site to reach the same level of performance. The use of an 8T8R RRH and a smart antenna array, comprising 4 cross-polar antennas in a radome, means an 8T8R sector deployment can be done within the same footprint as traditional systems.



Anyone interested in seeing pictures of different 8T8R antennas like the one above, see here. While this page shows Samsung's antennas, you can navigate to equipment from other vendors.

Finally, if you can provide any additional info or feel there is something incorrect, please feel free to let me know via comments below.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

China Mobile: A peek at 5G


I was hoping to draw a line under 5G for the time being after a prolonged discussion on my earlier post here and then after clarifying about MSA here. Then this CMCC lecture was brought to my attention and I thought this is a good lecture to listen to so I have embedded the video and slides below. Let me know what you think in the comments below.





Friday, 5 October 2012

3D-Beamforming and 3D-MIMO

When I did the summary from Rel-12 workshop, one of the feature proposed by many companies was the feature on 3D MIMO/Beamforming. Here is a quick introduction from different presentations.




A presentation by China mobile lists the motivations and Challenges is embedded below:





Friday, 16 July 2010

Mobile TV in China not as successful as initially thought


A wise consultant once told me that when the analysts were asking people if they would be interested in Mobile TV, nearly everyone said yes. What they didnt ask is what those people understood by Mobile TV. From a lot of users perspective, Mobile TV meant Youtube which is not what mobile community understands it to be.

Not long back we talked about Mobile and IP TV becoming popular in China. According to recent news in InformationWeek, it falling much short of expectations:

Commercial development of China's mobile TV service is falling far short of expectations. Of the 1.5 million users of China multimedia mobile broadcasting (CMMB), less than 3% are actually paying for the service, creating something of an embarrassment for China Mobile, the main backer of the standard.
CMMB was developed by the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT) based on Satellite and Terrestrial Interactive Multiservice Infrastructure (STiMi) developed by TiMiTech, a company belonging to the Chinese Academy of Broadcasting Science. The standard was announced in October 2006 and is similar to Europe's Digital Video Broadcast-Handheld (DVB-H) broadcasting standard. Since then CMMB has been rigorously promoted by China Mobile and is bundled with its 3G network.
Sources say that by the end of the second quarter, 2010 domestic sales of CMMB handsets were around 1.5 million, approximately 30% of total 3G mobile phone sales at China Mobile, and much lower than the 50% target set by the operators. The service has been operational for more than a year but formal fees have only recently been introduced, which range from $1 to $3 per month. The small take-up of the service since fees were introduced does not bode well for the future of mobile television in China.
China Mobile was hoping to attract more paying customers with its World Cup offering, but this may have been wishful thinking. Analysts believe that the company's broadcasting and mobile communications divisions are lacking in unified policy and have no clear development path.
With widespread proliferation of cheaper "shanzhai" -- or copycat -- handsets, it is difficult to reach all potential customers. The CMMB technology is expensive and can only be found in specific dedicated smartphones.

Furthermore, there are more attractive and diverse streaming packages available from third parties. A clear advantage needs to be provided in order to entice users to use CMMB. China Mobile insiders say that they need to be following the advertising model used by mobile broadcasters in other countries because people are unlikely to pay for content, especially if they can find that content for free from a regular TV or desktop computer.

Monday, 19 April 2010

All eyes on TD-LTE in India and China


The TD-SCDMA and Long Term Evolution (TD-LTE) network will be massively deployed in China, the world's largest telecommunications country by number of telecoms users, in 2010, globally premier international market research and consulting firm Infonetics Research said in a forecast report.
More and more mobile carriers have started developing the LTE, including Verizon Communications Inc., China Mobile Ltd., and China Telecom Corporation Ltd., Infonetics noted. There will be no more than twenty LTE networks in the world at the end of 2010.

China Mobile Communications, the largest mobile telecom carrier in China, will establish three experimental TD-LTE (time division-long term evolution) networks separately in three coastal cities - Qingdao, Xiamen and Zhuhai - beginning the third quarter of 2010, according to the China-based China Business News Daily.

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), the carrier, handset and component makers, and handset solution suppliers in China in late 2008 began to cooperate for the development of TD-LTE in three phases, the report said.

The first-phase trial of technological concepts completed in June 2009, and the ongoing R&D and experiments in the second phase will be finished at the end of June 2010, the report indicated, adding the third phase will begin with China Mobile setting up three trial networks in the third quarter.

China Mobile Communications, the largest mobile telecom carrier in China, on April 15 inaugurated its first experimental TD-LTE network at the site of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.

The trial network consists of 17 outdoor TD-LTE base stations made by Huawei Technologies completely covering the 5.28km square site and will be used to provide mobile high-definition multimedia services.

ZTE and Datang Mobile Communications Equipment as well as Motorola and Alcatel-Lucent have also set up TD-LTE access points inside a number of pavilions.

Motorola, Inc.'s Networks business has already announced in February that it has successfully deployed a TD-LTE network at the Expo Center for World Expo 2010 Shanghai China, and completed the first indoor over-the-air (OTA) TD-LTE data sessions at the site. These advancements demonstrate another milestone of collaborative industry efforts on TD-LTE commercialization, reaffirming Motorola's commitment to address the future needs of TDD spectrum operators in China and around the world.

These milestones follow the announcement by China Mobile Communications Corporation (CMCC) in 2009, that Motorola was selected as main equipment supplier to provide indoor TD-LTE coverage for pavilions at Shanghai Expo. During the Shanghai Expo, Motorola will provide an advanced end-to-end TD-LTE solution and the world's first TD-LTE USB dongles. Motorola will also leverage its orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) expertise with professional services to deploy, maintain and optimize these leading-edge networks. Visitors will be able to experience applications such as high-definition video on demand, remote monitoring and high-speed Internet access services.

Motorola, Inc.'s Networks business announced on April 16th that it showcased an end-to-end TD-LTE demonstration via the world's first TD-LTE USB dongle at the Shanghai Expo site to support the "TD-LTE Showcase Network Opening Ceremony" hosted in Shanghai on April 15. Delegates at the ceremony experienced applications that run over a TD-LTE network via USB dongles, including high-definition video wall (simultaneous 24 video streams), remote monitoring and high-speed Internet browsing applications. This latest advancement demonstrates a major milestone of the collaborative industry efforts in building a healthy TD-LTE device ecosystem, reaffirming Motorola's commitment to TDD spectrum operators around the world.

Motorola, a leading provider of TD-LTE technology, and China Mobile share the same commitment to accelerating TD-LTE commercialization and globalization. "We are very excited to support China Mobile in bringing the world's first TD-LTE USB dongle demonstration enabled by our TD-LTE system," said Dr. Mohammad Akhtar, corporate vice president and general manager, Motorola Networks business in Asia Pacific. "A healthy devices ecosystem has always been critical to the development, commercialization and success of wireless network technologies. We are working closely with partners to drive this ecosystem as demonstrated by the advancement announced today. TD-LTE is now a commercial reality and we are very pleased to see that industry players are joining forces to accelerate TD-LTE globalization."

Interest in TD-LTE continues to grow because of several key factors: the low cost of TDD spectrum that is particularly attractive to emerging and developing markets; operators' continuing need for more capacity and spectrum; and the ability to hand-off between TD-LTE and LTE FDD networks. In effect, this ability to roam between LTE FDD and TD-LTE means operators can use TD-LTE networks to augment their FDD LTE network for more capacity or other applications such as video broadcasting, while operators choosing to use TD-LTE as their "main" network can still offer their subscribers the ability to roam to other operators' FDD LTE networks in different countries. Motorola is one of the few vendors in the industry that has expertise in, and is committed to investing in both FDD-LTE and TD-LTE, as well as WiMAX. By leveraging its orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) expertise and WiMAX legacy, Motorola has built up its leadership position in TD-LTE with a number of industry-firsts.

Nokia Siemens Networks has inaugurated a TD-LTE Open Lab at its Chinese Hangzhou R&D facility. TD-LTE smartphone and terminal manufacturers will be able to use the lab to test the interoperability and functionality of their devices across TD-LTE networks.

"The development of terminals and devices has always been a bottleneck in the roll-out of new mobile technology," said Mr. Sha Yuejia, vice president of China Mobile. "We are thus more than happy to see that Nokia Siemens Networks has established a cutting-edge terminal testing environment, an initiative that we support wholeheartedly. After all, a healthy ecosystem needs efforts from all stakeholders."

Nokia Siemens Networks' Open Lab will provide an end-to-end testing environment for verifying the compatibility of terminals and devices with the company's TD-LTE network products and solutions. The lab will also provide consultancy and testing services to device manufacturers. Nokia Siemens Networks' TD-LTE R&D center in Hangzhou is fully integrated into the company's global network of LTE Centers of Competence.

Providing a live TD-LTE experience to operators in the region, Nokia Siemens Networks also recently kicked off a nationwide TD-LTE road show in China. Beginning in Beijing, the road show will cover more than ten provinces in three months, demonstrating the most advanced TD-LTE technology and applications.

In India, Even as the government hopes to raise around $9 billion from the 3G and BWA auctions, foreign telcos waiting in the wings are eager to unfurl a new technology — TD-LTE —which is akin to 4G technology.

US-based Qualcomm and Sweden's Ericcson aim to piggyback on TD-LTE, hoping that it will help them gain a toe-hold in India, the world's fastest growing mobile market. Qualcomm is to participate in the broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum auction. If it does secure its bid in the auction, India could well become the first country after China to roll out TD-LTE.

TD-LTE, or Time Division Long Term Evolution, caters to peak download speeds of 100 Mbps on mobile phones, compared to the 20 Mbps for 3G and 40 Mbps for Wimax. LTE brings to the table additional spectrum, more capacity, lower cost, and is essential to take mobile broadband to the mass market.

The government has slotted the sale of two 2.3 GHz blocks of spectrum on April 11, providing 20 MHz spectrum in each of the country's 22 telecom circles. The base price has been set at $ 385 million. However, Qualcomm will need an Indian partner for its TD-LTE foray in the country since foreign direct investment is limited to 74%.

The US telco aims to use the 2.3 GHz spectrum band offered for TD-LTE-based BWA services. Sources in the know told TOI that the company would bid aggressively to corner one of the two BWA slots up for sale. There are 11 bidders for the BWA auction.

Asked to comment on the market dynamics, Sandeep Ladda, executive director, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), said: "Though the Indian market is huge, it won't be smooth sailing post auction. We are adding 1 crore customers a month and in January, we added 1.9 crore customers, but the implementation of the new technology has its own cost. And India is a very cost conscious market."

Eager to play by the rules in India, Qualcomm has notified that it would enter into a joint venture with an Indian partner to launch its services and later exit from the joint venture after the network becomes operable.
Meanwhile, The WiMAX Forum has gone on the defensive during the WiMAX Forum Congress Asia in Taipei, Taiwan. The group is speeding up its time table to deliver the next generation of WiMAX--a reaction to heavy data use among WiMAX subscribers as well as the looming threat posed by Qualcomm and Ericsson's lobbying for TD-LTE in India.

Recently, the forum launched a global initiative to accelerate advanced WiMAX features that would double peak data rates and increase average and cell edge end user performance by 50 percent.

Mo Shakouri, vice president with the WiMAX Forum, said enhancements to the current generation of WiMAX weren't on the forum's roadmap, but were brought to the forefront at the urging of several WiMAX operators already facing capacity crunches. The forum reports that the average usage of data on WiMAX networks is close to 10 GB. Clearwire recently reported that mobile users average more than 7 GB of usage per month. In Russia, mobile WiMAX operator Yota sees more than 1 GB per month in data traffic from subscribers using its HTC smartphone. For laptops, it's 13 GB per month.

"Demand for data is moving so fast that we were pushed by many people to add this functionality," Shakouri said.

The WiMAX Forum has also been prodded to announce more detailed plans for 802.16m, and step up the timeline for its development via a new group called the WiMAX 2 Collaboration Initiative, which is made up of vendors Samsung, Alvarion, Motorola, ZTE, Sequans, Beceem, GCT Semiconductor and XRONet. The companies will work in tandem with the WiMAX Forum and WiMAX operators to accelerate the next-generation standard. WiMAX 2, the marketing name for the 802.16m standard, is expected to expand capacity to 300 Mbps peak rates via advances in antennas, channel stacking and frequency re-use.

The forum previously forecast 802.16m would hit in 2012 or 2013. But increasing demands for data--coupled with Qualcomm and Ericsson urging Indian mobile broadband license bidders to go with TD-LTE--motivated the forum to put some stakes in the ground and declare that WiMAX 2 equipment will meet certification by the end of 2011.

"There has been a lot of noise about TD-LTE, and the WiMAX Forum had not specifically given dates regarding timelines for 802.16m," Shakouri said. "Basically our announcement around 802.16m came about because of the noise in India."

The formation of the WiMAX 2 Collaboration Initiative is a marked change from the way the first generation of WiMAX was developed. Sprint Nextel was the entity driving the majority of the standards work as it was eager to get to market and begin building an ecosystem. Vendors are now taking the lead and driving equipment readiness before the 802.16m standard is finalized by the end of this year. Shakouri said the standard is 95 percent finished.

"Those companies are going to take a more active role inside the forum," Shakouri said. "They have all come together to speed up the process."

The group of vendors plans to collaborate on interoperability testing, performance benchmarking and application development before the WiMAX Forum establishes its certification program to narrow the gap between the finalized standard and commercial rollouts.
So how much of a threat is TD-LTE to WiMAX? Shakouri said the answer depends on spectrum decisions. "At this moment, the spectrum we are focusing on is separate, aside from what Qualcomm announced in India," Shakouri said. He also said that a TD-LTE ecosystem is at least two to three years behind WiMAX.

Many analysts speculate that TD-LTE will become the crossover technology that will prompt WiMAX operators to flip to LTE. Clearwire was part of a group of operators and vendors that last month asked the 3GPP standards body to begin working on specifications that would enable TD-LTE to be deployed in the 2.6 GHz band, which Clearwire uses for WiMAX. During the CTIA Wireless 2010 trade show last month, Clearwire CEO Bill Morrow reiterated the company's interest in deploying LTE when the technology catches up to WIMAX. He also called for one standard down the road.
Another initiative the forum is announcing this week is the launch of its Open Retail Initiative, a global program aimed at driving WiMAX into consumer devices sold directly or through retail channels that can be activated by the consumer over the air on the network. If you remember the evangelism of early WiMAX advocates like Barry West, this capability was supposed to be the Holy Grail of the technology.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

World Largest Operator helping transform China


Chinese operators have been spending Billions of Dollars building their 3G Infrastructure

China Mobile, the largest wireless carrier in the world with roughly 518 million customers, recently revealed that it has so far invested approximately RMB80 billion (US$11.7 billion) for 3G network construction. The carrier has completed the third phase of the 3G network (based on the home-grown TD-SCDMA standard) deployment in 2009 having covered approximately 70% of the Chinese cities.

The Chinese are becoming more and more mobile savvy.

In a news release Friday, China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) announced that China's mobile phone Internet users reached 233 million in December 2009, a growth of 120 million users from 2008. Among these users, 30.7 million accessed the Internet exclusively on their mobile phones.

China's online population reached 384 million as of December 2009, growing 28.9 percent from figures recorded in 2008, said CNNIC in the report.

The country surpassed the United States in 2008 to become home to the world's largest Internet user community.

There is a very interesting piece in The Guardian:


Until just over a year ago, Gong Kangshun spent much of his life trekking over the mountains around his remote village in south-west China. It isn't easy to make a living in Xiuxi, a tiny settlement of 58 families deep in Aba county, Sichuan. Gong grows crops on a small plot and sells rare fungi found on the steep slopes nearby. Many young people, including his brother, leave to find work in the factories and shops of China's east.
But a single purchase has shortened his working hours and sent his income soaring – by helping him to find buyers for his fungi. It has even improved his relationships with family and friends. "I'd panic without my mobile phone," the 35-year-old admits.
Across China, tens of millions have similar tales to tell. Many had never enjoyed phone access until recently. Now, for as little as £20, they can buy a handset, slot in a pre-paid sim card, start calling – and change their lives.
Most, like Gong, can thank one firm: China Mobile. With more than 70% of the domestic market it has 518 million subscribers; more than any other mobile carrier on the planet.
It is the world's largest phone operator by market value and the largest Chinese company listed overseas. Its work on 4G technology and its interest in foreign acquisitions suggest its international profile may soon grow.
Already the company's influence is rippling out across the world, almost unnoticed. The rapid spread of mobiles facilitated by the company's high-speed network roll-out, is both a product of China's aggressive development and a contributor to it – accelerating the pace of life and business, shrinking distances.
Some activists are enthusiastic about the potential for mobiles and the internet to expand the flow of information in a country with heavy censorship. They point to cases where camera phones have captured and shared images of unrest or official abuse.
The authorities certainly seem to be aware of the potential – Chinese social networking sites are strictly controlled and overseas services such as YouTube are blocked. In restive Xinjiang text messaging was turned off after vicious ethnic violence. The authorities also use mobiles for everything from political education to monitoring individuals.
The social and political effects of new technology are rarely straightforward, but for most people, mobiles are simply a part of their life. Whether a highly-paid Shanghai executive, or an independent farmer-cum-trader such as Gong, no one can afford to be without a phone – or a signal. China Mobile's 500,000 base stations now cover 98% of the population. You can call home from city subway trains, distant fields, or the peak of Mount Everest.
"If you have a requirement, we will have coverage," pledged the firm's chairman and chief executive Wang Jianzhou, who has more than three decades of experience in the sector.
"When we started this business we thought very few people would usemobile phones – only the rich," he said. Now he is dissatisfied with a penetration rate of 57%. "I think every adult should have at least one mobile … they are an extension of human ears, eyes and mouths."
Before the network reached Xiuxi, in late 2008, Gong used the phone perhaps twice a month. Each time he would walk for an hour to the nearest landline to call traders interested in buying the valuable "caterpillar" and "sheep stomach" fungi used in Chinese medicine.
"Now, on a busy day, I might make 20 calls," he said. "I can contact buyers in Chengdu and Shanghai. I can do business sitting at home and buyers can reach me, too."
His income has risen 50%, to 20,000 yuan (£1,820). And instead of walking seven hours a day to find the fungi collectors, he can call and ask them to deliver.
In his spare time, he chats to his younger brother, a chef in Zhejiang province who comes home at most once a year. Villagers hear a lot more news from the outside world these days – even Gong's 14-year-old son has his own phone. In 1997, there were just 10 million mobile users in China; by 2005, China Mobile had 240 million. Since then it has more than doubled.
The government pushes all carriers to serve the poorest. But since taking charge at China Mobile in 2004, Wang has shown sceptics that focusing on rural areas is a viable business strategy.
"Many analysts and investment bankers told me: never go to rural areas because they are low revenue. You will not make a profit," Wang said, in an interview at his spacious but low-key office in the company's headquarters on Beijing's Financial Street.
"I didn't believe that … with fixed lines, providing rural services is very, very difficult and expensive. [We have] low average revenue per user – but also low costs."
With a penetration rate of just 37%, there is plenty of room for growth among China's 700 million rural population. And there is plenty of demand. In Yangcun county, close to Beijing, Chen Fengmei anxiously scrolls through her latest text message: advice from officials on how the day's weather will affect her tomato crop. Another villager, Li Chunyu, checks the latest market prices for his pigs, no longer needing to trust middlemen or to give them a cut of his profits. "I never need to go anywhere. I can stay on the farm and find out everything," he said.
Continue reading the complete article here.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Motorola believes in TD-LTE


According to Fierce Broadband Wireless:

Motorola is being very strategic about the contracts it goes after, said Bruce Brda, senior vice president and general manager of the vendor's wireless networks business, in an interview with FierceBroadbandWireless.

"We are not trying to go head to head in every part of the globe. We've been selective in our engagements, focusing on the customers that we think we have a higher advantage with," Brda said. "Our initial thrust is in places in Asia where we have a significant competitive advantage." That's why it won an LTE contract with Japan's KDDI, he said, despite the fact 10 vendors in all competed for that business.

Motorola's other sweet spot is the TDD (unpaired spectrum) version of LTE, otherwise known as TD-LTE, a technology China Mobile is keen on deploying. Brda believes that Motorola's OFDM experience with WiMAX coupled with its TDD experience, again with WiMAX, will give Motorola an advantage in China.

TD-LTE, in fact, won't be a niche market, Brda said. "With the demand for data that exists around the world, it will be a solution set that solves the equation, not just FDD, but a series of solutions, and TD-LTE will play in increasingly large role, maybe coexisting in the same network as FDD LTE."


Brda noted that Motorola is talking to a number of European operators that envision TD-LTE and FDD LTE coexisting. "You could have one set of services carried over the TDD network and another set going over FDD," he said. "It's would create a more efficient use of the network, but I also think more and more TDD spectrum is going to be available. It's been kind of ignored around most of the world, but it's much easier to find un unpaired block of spectrum than a paired block."

Another aspect that has been largely ignored is the fact that experience in mobile WiMAX is highly transferable to the LTE world. Motorola, which has constructed about 20 WiMAX networks, and Samsung are now the two major vendors that have stuck with the mobile WiMAX game to a high degree. Many vendors such as Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks either shunned mobile WiMAX or significantly scaled back on their efforts in favor of LTE.

Picture source: ChinaByte

Sunday, 25 October 2009

All eyes on China Mobile TD-SCDMA network


China Mobile plans to spend more on 3G terminal subsidies in 2010.

The outfit has tripled the amount of subsidies from the current year level and is expected to spend $4.4 billion next year. The huge amounts of cash will enable the outfit to push into the 3G space in the worlds largest economy.

China Mobile has 70 per cent of the Chinese wireless market but has been taking a caning from China Unicom. The outfit uses its own TD-SCDMA 3G standard but with that sort of money to spend it is fairly clear that foreign salesmen will be showing up trying to flog the outfit shedloads of 3G gear.

The company recently launched a line of smartphones dubbed Ophones based on the TD-SCDMA technology which uses Google's Android mobile operating system.

All three carriers have commercially launched their 3G networks over the recent months, but take-up has been slow. Market leader Mobile has been hamstrung by the limited number of handsets for the new TD-SCDMA system.

But now with its device range expanding and the network expected to be rolled out to 238 cities by year-end, the market’s 800-pound gorilla appears ready to assert itself.

Analyst firm BDA says China Mobile plans to spend 120 billion yuan on handset subsidies this year, most of it on TD-SCDMA. It laid out 50 billion on subsidizing phones in the first half of the year, with less than 12% going to TD phones.

Now a China Mobile source told has told website C114 that the company would leverage its financial strengths “to stage a price war to resist Telecom’s and Unicom’s 3G” services.

China Mobile has 503 million users, Unicom 142 million and China Telecom 44 million customers. Of these 3G comprises a tiny fraction - China Mobile has 1.3 million using TD-SCDMA, Unicom 350,000 using W-CDMA and China Telecom 1.3 million on its CDMA EV-DO network.


TD-SCDMA is primed to evolve into a global standard: TD-LTE. Granted, TD-LTE's sales pitch is not all that different from its ancestors - i.e. making use of unpaired spectrum to boost capacity in urban environments where FDD macro networks get overloaded. What is different this time around is a bigger ecosystem of vendors developing it - admittedly for just a single market at the moment, but also the biggest single mobile market in the world.

The other key difference is that TDD has always been primarily a data play. But from 2001 up to 2008, 3G cellcos were still primarily in the voice business, and FDD allowed them to continue milking that cash cow. That worked fine when 3G data usage was still mostly ringtones, wallpapers and other walled-garden content.

Then the iPhone happened. Smartphones got smarter and data usage skyrocketed so high that E1 backhaul links became the new bottlenecks. If ABI Research is to be believed, by 2014 mobile users will be transmitting a total of 1.6 exabytes a month (compared to 1.3 exabytes for all of last year).

Hence all the interest in LTE, as well as related technological tricks to offload data traffic and maximize RAN capacity like spectrum refarming in the 900- and 1800-MHz bands and femtocells. TD-LTE is another tool in the toolbox, and by the time we start hitting monthly exabyte levels in five years, its predecessor in China will have been put through the ringer enough to qualify as "seasoned" if not "mature".

Of course, all that depends on a ton of factors over the next five years. Still, TDD is a lot closer to realizing its potential than it was at the start of the decade.

If nothing else, TD-LTE may have the novel distinction of being the quietest evolution the cellular world has yet seen. That will depend on how much progress Qualcomm and other chipset vendors make with dual-mode FDD/TDD chipsets, but once devices are capable of roaming seamlessly between both, TD-LTE may be the first RAN acronym that won't need to be marketed to end-users who don't give a toss what it's called anyway.

ST-Ericsson is creating a strong foothold in the evolving Chinese 3G market, and is powering the first modem for TD-HSPA, which can take advantage of the fastest speeds offered by China Mobile.

The silicon joint venture is working with Chinese partner Hojy Wireless on modules that will turn up in data cards and dongles early next year. China Mobile will hope these will boost uptake of its new network by heavy duty data users, a market where China Telecom's EV-DO system has so far shone more brightly. The M6718 modem could also be included in notebooks, netbooks and smartphones in future, as the market moves beyond data cards.

Mobile broadband modules, for incorporation in a range of devices, are an important part of the broader ST-Ericsson portfolio, with co-parent Ericsson a key customer as it bolsters its module business in 3G and LTE. The M6718 is a dual-mode TD-HSPA/EDGE device, supporting 2.8Mbps downlink and 2.2Mbps uplink.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

TD-SCDMA Politics!


I posted sometime back about China Mobile standards ready to battle the 3G standards. I read this interesting piece in The IET Magazine:

The wait is over for millions of Chinese mobile phone users. Following several years of delays, the government has finally issued the licences that were necessary for the introduction of third-generation cellular services in the country.

As ordered by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, each of the nation’s three main operators will have to build and operate a network based on one of the three different standards that were vying for a share of the world’s largest cellular market.

China Mobile (by far the dominant carrier with over 460 million subscribers) will operate on TD-SCDMA, the 3G technology that was developed entirely in the People’s Republic by the Chinese Academy of Telecommunications Technology in collaboration with Datang and Siemens. China Telecom will run on W-CDMA, while China Unicom gets CDMA2000.

Considering how immature TD-SCDMA technology still is - and how discouraging its build-up trials have proved - China Mobile seems to have landed the worst possible deal.

Then again, that was the whole idea of this so-called reorganisation of the country’s telecoms industry. Let the incumbent cellco work on the many problems that will have to be ironed out before TD-SCDMA can be considered a credible 3G alternative, and that should give the two smaller operators enough time to catch up by taking advantage of proven technologies and an established pool of equipment suppliers.

The Chinese government wants a more balanced, more competitive telecoms market, and this should help do the trick. But the move is also likely to have some strange consequences in the relationship between mobile operators and phone makers.

China Mobile faces two different handset-related challenges when it comes to 3G. The first one is qualitative: existing TD-SCDMA phones are technically inferior to those that subscribers have been using in the rest of the world for well over eight years now. The second is quantitative: only 40 or so TD-SCDMA models exist, while China Mobile says it will need several hundred.

So the company is resorting to some unprecedented behaviour for a cellular operator. At the last Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Wang Jianzhou, the chairman of China Mobile, met with a group of handset vendors (including Nokia, LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and some of the Chinese manufacturers) and offered to pay them part of the R&D costs of developing better TD-SCDMA products.

Handset makers have rarely witnessed such generous attitudes from an operator. Even rarer is the fact that the offer is coming from what is now the world’s largest operator. Add to that the unfavourable financial conditions most of these OEMs are enduring and you could safely assume they’ll go and see what they can do to help China Mobile.

You can also read about what TD-SCDMA is here. More about the current status of TD-SCDMA here.

Monday, 7 September 2009

TD-SCDMA: Where are we


Interesting things are going on in the Chinese market.

A new mobile phone platform has been launched by China Mobile for it's TD-SCDMA 3G mobile phone network. In fact, it’s the first ever mobile phone operating system designed by a 3G mobile phone operator and is called Ophone. The OPhone is a linux-based terminal software platform for mobile internet.

In conjunction with the announcement for the Ophone, China Mobile announced a number of Ophone compatible handsets from Samsung, Lenovo, Phillips and Dell.

China Mobile stated that by introducing the Ophone operating system, significant savings will be made on TD-SCDMA handset design and development.

"Dopod CEO Dennis Chen said the Qilin handset is the first result of China Mobile's $7 million in subsidies to encourage TD-SCDMA handset development. Dopod has expanded investment in manpower and funding towards TD-SCDMA R&D and will release numerous high-end TD-SDCMA (sic) handsets next year."

The HTC Qilin has some pretty good genes: WM 6.5, 600MHz TI OMAP processor, 3.6" WVGA screen, GPS, 5MP camera, and CMMB Mobile TV and is apparently based on HTC's Whitestone design. The TD-SCDMA standard is China's home-grown 3G standard, which means that the Qilin won't have access to 3G networks outside of China. Having said that, HTC and China Mobile have just signed an MOU to partner up in R&D, market research, and product development, so the Qilin will be just the first in a series of handsets HTC will develop for China Mobile.

The Qilin is slated for release in December, which puts it just in time for runup to the Chinese New Year holidays.



China Mobile and LG have recently showcased the GW880, LG’s first smartphone to use the Android-based OMS (Open Mobile System) platform.

Featuring GSM and TD-SCDMA connectivity, the LG GW880 will be available via the largest Chinese mobile carrier later this year, for a price that was not announced.

The smartphone is a high-end one, as it comes with a 3.5 inch WVGA touchscreen display, 5MP camera with flash, Mobile TV, 512MB ROM and 256MB RAM.

We’re probably not going to see the LG GW880 outside China, but that’s OK, since LG is surely preparing some Android phones for other markets.

China Mobile saw its number of TD-SCDMA subscribers increase by 129,000 to 1.088 million in July. The first batch of handsets were released in May.

Nearly one half billion people subscribed to China Mobile cellular services last month, but the giant's efforts to promote a Chinese 3G standard have made little headway. The world's largest carrier grew to 498 million mobile subscribers last month, a number larger than the populations of the U.S. or the European Union. The number of subscribers using their mobile phones to play games, download music and surf the Internet also rose during the first half of the year, China Mobile said Thursday. But growth was slow for TD-SCDMA, a domestic 3G mobile standard that the government tapped China Mobile to market. Subscribers surpassed 1 million in July, continuing a slow climb upward from the launch of TD-SCDMA services in January.

China Mobile Communications Corp. aims to have as many as 80 million users of its homegrown third-generation mobile technology within two years of its initial rollout, Minister of Industry and Information Technology Li Yizhong said. Speaking at a news briefing, Li acknowledged the domestic standard isn't as developed as its more mature international rivals, but said he is confident in its commercial development.