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Showing posts with label Motorola. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Motorola. Show all posts

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.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Renewed focus on TD-LTE

Last year I blogged about the 3G Americas report on TD-LTE and Motorola's gamble on TD-LTE.





The following is from daily wireless blog:

Industry momentum behind Time Division LTE continues to grow with news that a number of major operators and vendors are working with the 3GPP to allow the standard to be deployed in the USA, using the 2.6GHz spectrum band. Clearwire and its partners own the majority of that spectrum. Most of Clear’s 2.6 GHz spectrum goes unused.

Light Reading Mobile notes that China Mobile, Clearwire, Sprint Nextel, Motorola, Huawei, Nokia Siemens Networks, Alcatel-Lucent and Cisco Systems are asking for the 2.6GHz spectrum (2496MHz to 2690MHz) to be defined as a TDD band for LTE.

Outside the United States, part of the band (2570MHz to 2620MHz) is already specified for TDD. The new work will extend this compliance. The report adds that specifications for the US 2.6GHz band for TD-LTE is scheduled to be completed by March 2011.

LTE pioneers TeliaSonera, NTT DoCoMo and Verizon Wireless, will all use different frequency bands for their respective LTE networks, explains TechWorld. So for roaming in the U.S, Japan and Europe to work, modems will have to support 700MHz, 2100MHz and 2600MHz, with more bands to be used in the future. That will be a challenge for roaming, says Light Reading.


The following is from fierce broadband wireless:

The appeal of TD-LTE has widened well beyond China. The recent announcement of Qualcomm to bid for TDD spectrum in India to support a TD-LTE deployment confirms--although it was not required to validate--the emergence of TD-LTE as global technology, likely to command a substantial market share.


Why the sudden interest in TD-LTE?

There are four main factors driving a growth in support for TD-LTE:

  • The FDD LTE and TD-LTE versions of the 3GPP standard are very similar. As a result, devices can support both the FDD and TDD interfaces through a single chipset--i.e., without any additional cost. This is a hugely important new development: TD-LTE will benefit from the wide availability of FDD LTE devices that will be able to support TD-LTE as well. Unlike WiMAX, TD-LTE does not need to prove to have a substantial market share to convince vendors to develop devices. Vendors do not need to develop new devices, they simply need to add TD-LTE support to the existing ones.
  • There is a lot of TDD spectrum available, and in most cases it is cheaper and under-utilized. 3G licenses frequently have TDD allocations and upcoming 2.5 GHz auction in most cases contemplate TDD bands.
  • The increasing availability of base stations that can be cost-effectively upgraded will make it possible and relatively inexpensive for WiMAX operators to transition to TD‑LTE using the same spectrum allocation. The transition will still require substantial efforts and be justified only in some cases, but it will make it easier for WiMAX operators to have roaming deals and to have access to the same devices that LTE operators have.
  • Industry commitment to WiMAX 16m, the ITU-Advanced version of WiMAX and successor to the current WiMAX 16e, is still limited.


What's next?

In the near term very little will change. TD-LTE is still being developed and it will take time before it gets deployed beyond core markets like China and possibly a few others like China. In Europe, for instance, mobile operators will deploy LTE in the FDD spectrum and only when they will need additional capacity they are likely to move to TDD. Unlike FDD LTE, TD-LTE will move from initial deployments in developing countries, with a later introduction as a mature technology in developed countries--a quite interesting trend reversal.


WiMAX operators will also be barely affected by TD-LTE in the short term. WiMAX is years ahead in terms of technological maturity, devices and ecosystem. This gives them a strong advantage in comparison to TD-LTE operators: They know the technology already, they have a network, and they have customers. They also have the choice whether to switch to TD-LTE or not--and, more importantly, they have no pressure to do so before TD-LTE has reached the maturity they feel comfortable with or until the WiMAX 16m prospects become clearer.



Friday, 12 March 2010

Motorola (Concept) Phone that will help capture memories


A bit old new but new for me.

The idea, known as the Motorola 2033 Concept Series, was based around what mobile phones might look like in the year 2033.

The 2033 concept would allow for the device to capture memories directly from the user’s brain, through a process Motorola calls "organic memory capture". And if that wasn't enough, the 2033 concept would also allow users' to completely augment their eyesight through a process called Second Sight.

More concept phones 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, 1 November 2009

30 years for the first commercial mobile network in Dec.

Tomi recently posted a blog on Birthdays and how the first commercial network will complete 30 years. It was first of December 1979, that the world's first commercial cellular automated (and 'modern') mobile telecoms network went live in Tokyo Japan, launched by NTT.ANd yes the mobile phone subscriber count will hit 4.6 billion by the end of the year. We passed a billion users in 2002, so it only took 23 years to hit a billion mobile phones on the planet.


While looking for the photo of the original phone, I came across one of the earliest phones used by Martin Cooper of Motorola. He is known to have made the first public call in USA over36 years back. Wikipedia has a section on the Motorola DynaTAC in the picture above.

Here is the comparison of DynaTAC with the earlier model of iPhone.

And last but by no means least, the mobile internet is 10 years old. Launched by NTT DoCoMo of Japan in 1999, its iconic iMode mobile internet was the first mobile-optimized internet service and spawned countless copies and today counting all the WAP users etc, has over a billion users. That in only ten years.. Domo Arigato, NTT DoCoMo, you have invented the fastest technology to spread to a billion users.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Q2 Mobile sales: No surprises but lots of good news


Nokia, the world's largest maker of mobile phones, reported Thursday that its second-quarter operating profit fell 71 percent to 427 million euros ($600 million) from 1.47 billion euros during the same quarter a year earlier.

The company also reported that sales fell about 25 percent to 9.9 billion euros in the second quarter. But sales were up 7 percent sequentially from the first quarter of 2008.

Nokia shipped 103.2 million units during the quarter, which was down about 15 percent compared with a year earlier. But shipments were up 11 percent sequentially compared with the first quarter of this year.

Nokia said that it increased its market share sequentially for global sales of mobile phones to an estimated 38 percent. And its smartphone market share grew sequentially to 41 percent.

Toward the end of the second quarter, Nokia brought its N97 smartphone to the U.S. market.

It was bound to happen, but we didn’t think the Nokia N97 would outsell the Nokia 5800 quite as quickly as it has. However, from sales figures that have just been released, it looks like the big fight of the summer is going to be between Nokia’s two touchscreen smartphones.

The top ten phones currently being sold by Vodafone looks something like this:

1. Nokia N97 32GB
2. Nokia 5800
3. Sony Ericsson W595
4. Sony Ericsson C510
5. Samsung Jet
6. Samsung Tocco Ultra Edition
7. Samsung Steel L810
8. Nokia 6300
9. BlackBerry Storm
10. HTC Magic

South Korean company Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd recently announced the earnings results for the second quarter of the ongoing year. Globally, the company registered an 11.7 percent increase in revenues during the quarter on a yearly basis, reaching 32.51 trillion Korean won, and posted 2.52 trillion won operating profit, up 436 percent compared to the previous quarter of the year.

Samsung’s Telecommunications business also went up compared to the same time frame last year, reaching 10.04 trillion won in revenue, or a 27.4 percent increase, while the operating profit was of 1.00 trillion won, with a 10 percent margin. During the three-month period, the company says, its mobile phones sales reached 52.3 million units, marking a 14 percent increase compared to the previous quarter.

LG Electronics posted a record quarterly profit on strong mobile phone and TV sales, helping it win market share from rivals Nokia and Motorola today. However concerns over weaker margins may stall a rally in its shares.

LG, which trails Nokia and Samsung in mobile phones, sold a record 29.8 million handsets in the second quarter, up from 22.6 million units in January to March.

It posted an 11 per cent operating profit margin in handsets, compared with 6.7 per cent in the first quarter, a figure Choi said was "pretty remarkable."

The company's operating profit margin was 7.8 per cent in the second quarter and was at 4.3 per cent for all of 2008.

Fourth ranked Motorola is working to narrow losses through cost cuts in the face of sharp drops in sales, while world fifth maker Sony Ericsson is also braced for a tough second half of 2009 as a demand slump hits its stronghold mid-range products focused on camera and music features.

Apple's quarterly results were better than forecast, thanks to strong iPhone sales, including its new 3GS model.

Net profits hit $1.23bn (£953m), or $1.35 a share, in the fiscal third quarter to 27 June, from $1.07bn, or $1.19 a share, a year earlier.

The US technology giant sold more than 5.2 million iPhones in the quarter, seven times more than a year earlier.

Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer said: "We are very proud of this result, particularly given the economic climate around us."

He also admitted that Apple was "currently unable to make enough iPhone 3GS to meet high demand and we are working to improve that".

Apple also hopes to make the iPhone available in more countries than the current 18, including China "within a year".

Monday, 27 July 2009

Wow: Motorola AURA Luxury mobile


Last weekend, I saw this phone in someone's hand. I wasnt able to ask about this phone but I was sure of being able to dig this out.

Motorola AURA luxury phone. Inspired by luxury watches and handcrafted design, Motorola AURA is a unique handset that breaks convention and re-establishes artistry in mobile device design and manufacturing. Combining superb craftsmanship and a distinctive interface, AURA delivers a sensory experience that is second to none for those with refined tastes. From the moment AURA owners pick up their devices, they elevate their own experience in luxury and unmatched quality.

Motorola AURA luxury phone comes with a quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900 MHz), a 2 megapixel camera, stereo Bluetooth support, web browser, CrystalTalk Technology, 2GB of internal memory, media player. Unfortunately it lacks 3G connectivity.

Motorola AURA Features:
+ World’s first 16 million color, circular display with 300 dpi resolution
+ Created from Grade 1 62-carat sapphire crystal, one of the most scratch-resistant materials on earth
+ Stainless steel housing with chemically etched textures and patterns
+ Swiss-made main bearing, which serves as the foundation allowing the blade to rotate with seamless precision
+ Custom-engineered rotating mechanism which has 130 precision ball bearings that drive the assisted-opening blade
+ Gears composed of Rockwell 50-55 hardened steel, protected with the same coating used in high-performance racing engines
+ In total, 700
+ individual components comprised of features including up-scaled, nickel-chrome-plated exposed screws
+ CrystalTalk Technology. delivers supreme clarity and deep resonance to every single conversation an AURA owner has, even in noisy environments
+ Mirror polish finish with PVD coating, the same used when making luxury watches
+ Aluminum keypad. Individual aluminum keys are formed, anodized, spin-finish applied and assembled

Motorola AURA costs $2,000. More information is available from Motorola’s website here.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Motorola's Digital Butler: Personal assistant with VIP services



Motorola is out with another conceptual device called the Digital Butler, a personal assistant device for the luxury market. This highly mobile device will work on advance 4G networks with GPS, giving you a full-time network connection to VIP services. The device will also include a circular touch-screen interface, accelerometer technology, PDA phone, squeeze buttons on the perimeter, and full-resolution built-in multimedia LED projector. Let’s just hope it will come into production soon.

More Info at Yanko Design.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Recession is affecting Mobile giants big time.


In November 2008, Nokia cut 600 jobs in Finland, Britain, the United States, and Singapore. According to its final quarter trading statement of last year, Nokia’s operating profits slumped 80% to €492m on the back of a 19 per cent fall in sales to €12.7bn.

As a result, Nokia is cutting another 1,700 jobs around the world, including an undisclosed number in the UK and China. The handset group plans to shed staff across its divisions, including sales and marketing, research and development and its corporate offices. Nokia, which runs UK offices in London, Farnborough and Cambridge, said it was determined to cut costs to weather the recession.

In China, the company has put forward a voluntary resignation plan in February 2009, encouraging employees to resign on a voluntary basis. It was learned that Nokia China would make termination payments to the first 1,000 employees who are willing to resign between March 1 and May 31, 2009. The company says it hopes to reduce human resource costs and avoid involuntary redundancy through this measure. In addition, Nokia is also encouraging its staff to take unpaid leave this year.

Last week, Sony Ericsson plunged the mobile phone industry into crisis , issuing a disastrous profits warning as it revealed that it expected the world to buy 10 per cent fewer handsets this year. This quarter, it is expected to ship about 14 million mobile phones, for sale at, on average, €120 (£113) each. By contrast, it shipped 24.2 million phones at €121 in the previous three months. Sony Ericsson warned that weak demand from consumers, as well as destocking, meant it would lose up to €390m in the first three months of its financial year.

It will be the company's fourth consecutive quarterly loss. The company, which has already announced plans to cut 2,000 staff has so far refused to rule out further job losses. A spokeswoman said 1,000 employees have already left the business, with 1,000 more to follow soon in an attempt to achieve €300m in cost savings by the second-half of this year. However, at the end of January the company announced a further €180m cost-cutting drive, which "will have an additional impact on jobs". The business employs about 500 staff in the UK. One site in Manchester is already earmarked for closure.

Now, Vodafone, the mobile phone giant which is set to post profits of nearly £12bn for the year to March, has scrapped pay rises for all its 10,000 UK staff, ditched bonuses and told its sales reps to keep their cars for longer, as it attempts to trim £1bn from the firm's costs.

Less than one month after Vodafone said it was axing 500 jobs in Britain, a confidential email from Guy Laurence, the chief executive of the firm's UK business, was sent to everyone in Vodafone UK detailing the pay freeze, described by Laurence as a "tough decision to make, but a responsible one".

In the memo, Mr Laurence says: "If we had agreed to a salary rise it would have forced us to increase the number of redundancies in the recent announcement." Vodafone would be "asking company car drivers and those with job requirement cars to keep their cars for longer," he said.

Changes would also be made to "bonus plans for the next financial year", with the incorporation of new targets based on profit shares.

Vodafone said last month that job cuts at the telecoms group were necessary to allow it "to compete more effectively in the UK market". Retail staff were unaffected by the cuts, which largely fell on staff at the firm's Newbury headquarters, with 170 being made redundant.

By the way, According to Telegraph, Motorola, the fifth biggest player, is thought to be on the verge of bankruptcy.

Friday, 21 November 2008

LTE Roll out updates from the 4th LTE World Summit in London


As I mentioned in an earlier post, I got the opportunity to attend and meet with the industry experts in the 4th LTE world summit. There were some very interesting discussions and debates and some announcements about the rollout of LTE. Here is a quick summary of the announcements and news. I am sure to have missed some and will expand on some of the topics in later posts.

Karri Mikkonen, Director, Corporate Strategy, TeliaSonera in his presentation said that TeliaSonera to be an early LTE adopter with rollout planned Mid 2010. They have already bought licenses in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Baltics. According to them LTE enables very convenient mobile data usage scenarios, and is one tool to win battle in mobile data, among others.

Bill Huang, General Manager, China Mobile Research Institute gave a very interesting perspective on mobiles in China which I will expand in a later post. According to his presentation, China Mobile will be deploying TDD based LTE (TD-LTE) option probably around 400Mhz spectrum. Trails will start by Mid 2009 and pre-commercial launch will happen around end of 2009. By Q2, 2010 there will be large scale commercial trials involving around 15,000 base stations.

Remi Thomas, Director of NGMN project and head of Network Strategy, France Telecom, France said FT plans to introduce HSPA+ and opt for 'wait and see' approach for LTE. The earliest they want to even think about LTE is after 2010 and if practical the rollout may occur in 2012. Even with HSPA+ they will opt for all the software changes only and not go for any hardware changes. So we wont see MIMO anytime soon with HSPA+ according to them. They also have plans to rollout LTE Femtocells when available to check the technology and iron out the problems with LTE technology.

Erik Ekudden, Vice President, Group Function Technology, Ericsson, Sweden in his presentation said that E\\\ will be commercially releasing equipment in 2009. Terminal HW including support FDD and TDD modeof LTE. For FDD, initial support will be for IMT core band of 2.1GHz and also IMT extension band of 2.6GHz and US 700MHz spectrum. For TDD the initial support will be for IMT extension center gap in 2.6GHz spectrum and 2.3 TDD band in 2.3GHz band.

In a question answer session, Dr Howard Benn, Director of Cellular Standards, Motorola Mobile Devices mentioned that Motorola already has a working LTE UE but not in Form factor (probably development board). He did not expand on the details.

Nick (Norikazu) Yamasaki, Manager Standards Strategy section, Emerging Technologies and Spectrum Division, KDDI Corp. in his presentation said that KDDI is a CDMA2000 operator but since with UMB nearly dead (my words) they have decided to eveolve to LTE. LTE deployment willbe started around 2012 but will co-exist with the CDMA 2000 network which they will support for another 10 years. Right now they have EV-DO Rev.A but they may also opt for Rev.B

One of the big problems that was discussed many times in the conference was that Release 8 LTE standards have no solution for the normal CS voice call. There are some hacks around it but voice part will only be solved in time for Release 9. This could delay decisions by some operators to roll out LTE networks untill after Release 9. I will write a post on this later.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Motorola's loss, whose gain?

In an earlier post, I mentioned about Motorola closing down its handset business. In a news item couple of weeks back, there was an announcement that the company will be breaking into two:

Motorola announced plans to separate its struggling handset business from other operations forming two separate publicly traded companies after months of agitation from frustrated investors. The suburban Chicago-based cell phone maker has been under pressure from billionaire investor Carl Icahn for changes meant to revitalize its cell-phone business. The cell phone unit has seen its sales and stock price plummet with the company unable to produce second act to the once-popular Razr phone.

Motorola said the handset business will operate separately from another company that will encompass its home and networks business, which sells TV set-top boxes and modems, and its enterprise mobility solutions, which sells computing and communications equipment to businesses.

"Our priorities have not changed with today's announcement," Chief Executive Greg Brown said in a statement. "We remain committed to improving the performance of our Mobile Devices business by delivering compelling products that meet the needs of customers and consumers around the world."

Schaumburg-based Motorola said it hopes the transaction will be tax-free, allowing shareholders to own stock in both of the new companies. If the deal is approved, the two units would be separated in 2009.

Brown said Motorola will launch a search for a new chief executive of the Mobile Device business as it works to regain favor with customers and its No. 2 position in the cell phone market.

Motorola lost that spot last year to rival Samsung Electronics Co.
Finland's Nokia Corp. is the industry leader.

"We believe strongly in our brand, our people and our intellectual property, and expect that the Mobile Devices business will be well-positioned to regain market leadership as a focused, independent company," Brown said.

Wednesday's announcement was just the latest shake-up at Motorola, which rode the success of the iconic Razr phone from 2005 to 2006, but has stumbled since amid stiff competition.


Motorola Inc. is laying off 2,600 employees across the company, resulting in a pretax charge of $104 million for the first quarter, the Schaumburg-based telecommunications equipment-maker disclosed in a regulatory filing Thursday. In a separate statement, Motorola said the layoffs are part of a previously announced plan to cut costs by $500 million this year. Executives had disclosed the cost-reducing program at the beginning of 2008 and warned that it could mean job losses. Motorola's employee head count totaled 66,000 at the end of 2007, according to the annual report it filed in February.

There are rumors linking Dell and ZTE to a buyout of the handset business part but we dont know for sure.

So who will gain from this?

There are many upcoming handset manufacturers who may benefit directly from this. Apple, ZTE, RIM and HTC are the obvious candidates that come to my mind. A somewhat old (Feb) news item from my Inbox can give us some clues:

RIM and ZTE took places among the world's top ten largest mobile phone makers in 2007, new research from Gartner claims.

Despite only being available in four markets: US, UK, Germany and France, the iPhone transformed Apple into the tenth largest handset maker in the fourth quarter of 2007, the analysts informed.

RIM took sixth place while low-cost handset manufacturer ZTE, which specialises in delivering devices to emerging markets, took seventh place.

Apple holds 0.6 per cent of the market while sixth-place RIM has 1.2 per cent. Motorola saw its share fall to 11.9 per cent from 21.5 per cent. Nokia (40.4 per cent) and Samsung (13.4 per cent) continue to dominate global handset sales.

Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi observed: "The global mobile devices market will remain relatively immune to a recession in the US and Western European economies as the majority of growth in 2008 will come from emerging markets. The mature Western Europe and North America markets are driven by operator contract terms and replacement cycles and will account for just 30 per cent of the global mobile devices market in 2008.”

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Bye Bye Moto...



Well its nearly time to say Bye to Motorola as they are planning to sell off (or merge perhaps) their Cell Phone business.

Guardian has an interesting peice on this:

Such a move could reshape the global mobile phones industry, leaving the rump of Motorola to concentrate on radios, networking equipment and household electronics such as television set-top boxes.

Although renowned for its ultra-thin Razr phones, Motorola has been losing market share; it slipped from second to third place in the world last year, behind Samsung and the industry leader, Nokia.

Motorola has been facing break-up calls for more than a year from the billionaire shareholder activist Carl Icahn, who owns 3.3% of the stock and sought boardroom representation last year.

Icahn greeted the announcement with satisfaction: "For many months I have been publicly advocating the separation of mobile devices from Motorola's other business and I am pleased to see that Motorola is finally exploring that proposal."

He warned, however, that he intends to try to unseat four or five of Motorola's 13 board members again at this year's annual meeting: "We believe Motorola is finally moving in the right direction but certainly still has a long way to go."

Motorola's profits slumped by 84% to $100m (£50m) in the final quarter of 2007. Although the Razr has surpassed 50m sales worldwide, the company has failed to follow up the model's success with a broader range of popular handsets.

Analysts have suggested that its technology neither suits burgeoning demand for multimedia functions in Europe and America nor the pressure for low prices which prevails in developing countries.

Motorola's announcement followed speculation of a sale of its phones division in a note published by an analyst at Nomura, who suggested that a Chinese buyer may be interested in the business.

Motorola's mobile phones division accounts for about half of its $36bn global sales. But its 12% share of the phones market is just half of its level at the peak of the Razr's success in 2006.

Regarding a takeover, Businessweek says:

A big reminder of the difficulties is the collapse of the highest-profile attempt by an Asian company to acquire a struggling Western cellular brand. In 2005, the Taiwanese electronics group BenQ, which had won respect in the telecom and computer industries for its innovative design and was making headway establishing its brand worldwide, tried to jump-start its global push by buying the struggling handset unit of Siemens (SI). The deal proved far too big for the Taiwanese company, though, and in 2006 BenQ Siemens went bankrupt.

As BenQ's experience illustrates, in the fiercely cutthroat handset market, a misstep could push a manufacturer way behind rivals, and achieving synergies could take time. A foreign takeover would probably involve the headache of integrating vastly different operations and clashing cultures, which could discourage any potential buyer from courting Motorola, particularly when its existing strategies are working. "It could be a dangerous undertaking," says Michael Min, a specialist on information technology companies at fund manager Tempis Capital Management.

Tomi Ahonen wrote an interesting comment on forum oxford on this one:

I'd hate to see Motorola quit the handset business, but its a very difficult market to succeed in. The mobile phone handset is the most complex piece of consumer electronics, the market place tolerances are tiny - with a shelf life for a given model of under a year (often under 6 months) - you have to continue to deliver hit models several times a year, every year.

We've seen giants quit. Philips was the world's largest consumer electronics firm in the 1970s and 1980s and quit the phone business. Siemens was the world's largest engineering company, also made phones; no more. Ericsson was the biggest telecoms manufacturer and couldn't sustain the losses of its handset division to merge it with that of Sony - which at the time and since the 1990s was the world's largest consumer electronics company. It took them years to turn their joint venture around.

We have giants from all sides playing in this game. Motorola the inventor of the cellular phone is now quite seriously considered to be on the way out.

Then there is the paper and rubber maunfacturing company from Finland, Nokia that got into phones that is now the giant. And two other conglomerates from South Korea, Samsung and LG, that are gobbling up market share..

A very rough market place. I do love competition. Americans are good at competition. I also love history, and it seems like a cruel twist of fate, if Motorola were to exit. But they haven't done really anything impressive since the Razr. And for a giant of their size, that is pretty sad...

Lets see how it plays. I often hear the big investor analysts say when they look at our industry, that there are too many players, and the market has to consolidate. It seems surprising when the news arrives of the Alcatel-Lucents, Nokia-Siemens Networks, Sprint-Nextels and SonyEricssons etc.

Meanwhile on another front we also see Microsoft wanting to gobble up Yahoo..

Friday, 13 July 2007

Motorola sales decline, but still clueless


Motorola looks in danger of losing its position as the world's second-largest mobile phone maker after reporting a collapse in sales during the second quarter of the year. With the Korean manufacturer Samsung gaining ground on the American technology company, pressure is building on Motorola to develop a new hit phone to replicate the success of its wildly popular Razr handset. The company's decision to pull out of the race to sell low-end handsets in emerging markets has boosted its average selling price but hit its volumes.

Motorola sold up to 35 million handsets in the second quarter of the year, 21 per cent lower than the 45 million it sold in the previous three months and 31 per cent lower than a year ago. After missing its sales and profit targets over the period, the company said it no longer expects to make a profit from its mobile phones sales this year.
This makes me wonder, why is Motorola in such a situation? Some years back when it brought RAZR, its sales were up and they started getting recognition they have been looking for. 'But' poor interface design and very poor GUI has been always there to haunt them. Also, they do not seem to care too much of UE stability and Phones freezing and crashing have been common problems.
Combined with all of the above, there are too many political problems and their habit of looking for short term gains (laying off people so that the share prices dont go down too much) rather than long term aims is hurting their innovation.
Meanwhile, Nokia, the Finnish group that transformed itself from a forestry company and a producer of rubber boots into the world's largest handset maker, is thought to have taken substantial market share from its US rival over the past three months, with Sony Ericsson and Samsung also expected to gain ground. Amid the hype around Apple's entry into the mobile phone market with its top-end iPhone, Nokia has been forging ahead with a number of high-end handsets and a strong position in emerging markets.

The joint venture between Sweden's LM Ericsson and Japan's Sony Corp. said net profit rose 54% to 220 million euros ($303 million) from 143 million euros in the same period last year.

Sony Ericsson seems to have done well with its Walkman-branded music and camera phones, where Motorola had a bad time with the ROKR, famously produced in association with Apple. Motorola has also been the leading proponent of Linux-based phones, but there's no indication whether this helped or hindered either sales or profits.