Tuesday 19 May 2009

LTE World Summit - Day 1 roundup

Before we start, I should mention that there have been no discussions showing LTE is better than WiMAX, etc. It is now assumed that WiMAX is no longer a threat and a competitor. There is also missing a discussion on Femtocells. I suppose that some Femto related discussions are planned for day 3.

I am going to cover the discussions in detail in the coming days (months) but here are some interesting tidbits.

It started with a presentation from Marc Fossier, France Telecom. An interesting fact about France he mentioned is that 40% of voice traffic is VoIP. They are present in 30 countries (generally by the name Orange) and they have 128 million customers. LTE rollout is planned for post 2011. They will be deploying WiMAX in some markets like Romania and some African countries. The main reason being that there is no 3G network there. Another key point of his presentation was that Mobile TV should be independent of the technology being considered and TDD works fine for that. Also SON (Self Organising Networks) will be very important feature that is needed when LTE is rolled out.

Klaus-Jurgen Krath from T-Mobile Germany gave T-Mobile statistics of 148 million customers and revenue of 9.2 Billion Euros. One of the things he mentioned is that at 2.6GHz, the cell radius is 0.3Km but if we move to 800MHz then the cell radius is around 3Km. Personally I am not sure if the frequency is something we should worry too much about. WiBro in Korea is I think using 2.3GHz and is working fine. Another thing mentioned is that the Backhaul is generally quite bandwidth limited so that needs to be improved. The operators should use Microwave or Fiber to overcome this backhaul problem. LTE Migration will also take time and initially it would be the third layer on top of GSM and 3G/HSPA but by 2020 it should be dominant technology. Right now Voice and SMS problem has to be solved asap. Personally I think SMS is not much of a problem and SMS can work on CS as well as PS. Operators can use SMS over PS for the moment. Femtocell according to Klaus is very important for LTE but Femtos will be successful only if they are Plug and Play for both operator and the consumer. His final point was that we should not dissapoint the customer by showing the peak rates, rather we should focus on average rate.

Ulf Ewaldsson from Ericsson mentioned that 80% of broadband subscribers by 2014 will be mobile. Another thing he said is that for LTE, it is possible to deliver 1GB for < 1 euro. (Capex only). Ericsson vision is that by 2020 there will be 50 Billion mobile broadband connections. Ericsson will be ready with LTE soon and by the year end peak rate of 42Mbps will be possible.

Alex Sinclair from GSMA talked on expanding the LTE ecosystem. There were lots of interesting facts and figures that I will have to mention seperately. There was also an intersting mention of the GRX (GPRS Roaming Exchange) that will need a completely new discussion.

In the Panel Discussion, Marc mentioned that Orange is not considering Femtocells for Residential market because of many unsolved technical problems like Price, Security, Spectrum Management, etc. On the business side they may have Femto, Pico or Micro depending on the need. Ed Candy from '3' mentioned that operators should focus on Macro rather than Femto because lots of spare capacity available. He mentioned that there is a business problem because somebody has to subsidise Femto, also too many Femtos can cause RF blackspots and operational dynamics are yet to be worked out.

Elio Florina from Telecom Italia (TiM) talked about LTE and HSPA deployment in Brasil. The main point being that initially they want to have complete 3G/HSPA coverage and then in future think about LTE.

Alan Hadden from GSA mentioned about GSA activities. I was surprised to hear that only 55,000 people view their website annually. This is because a simple blog like mine regularly gets between 20,000 and 25,000 views per month. Again there were lots of stats that I will write about later. Interesting point from his discussion was about the Digital Dividend band that can be used by LTE to increase the coverage.

Dave Marutiak, Microsoft spoke about Bearer Aware Applications. Dean has blogged in detail about this.

Ed Candy from '3' in his presentation highlighted an important point about the user experience. He said that for any service, user experience should be memorable so even after 2-3 years if the user has to use the same application than he should remember how it works. I think that there are hardly any services like this except those that are intutive to use. In Dec. 08, '3' saw people using 34million skype minutes and 68 million Facebook page views. It should be remembered that Facebook phone was launched in Dec itself. His message was that '3' will not be moving to LTE anytime soon because the current network is delivering whatever is required.

Roberto Di Pietro from Qualcomm spoke about the challenges faced by the chipset manufacturers. The main challenges is due to the fact that there are millions of combinations of different bands that the UE may need to support which is not practical and possible. They are focussing mainly on 2.6GHz at the moment and when the Digital Dividend band is available then they will implement chipset in that band as well.

Jorgen Lantto from ST-Ericsson and Sami Jokinen from Nokia gave their views on chipsets and handsets implementation respectively. According to Nokia, LTE handsets will be available by 2010. Initial deployments will be in FDD but later in TDD-FDD both.

Liesbet Van der Perre from IMEC discussed about the SDR implementation for LTE devices. Her presentation was more of updates on the previous IMEC info I have covered here.

Finally, I managed to squeeze myself into an Agilent workshop called 'LTE at the movies'. There were two parts to that 'MIMO MIA' and 'Honey who shrunk my mega bits'. The workshop lated 2.5 hours and I got a free Agilent LTE book. Lots of technical details that I will post seperately.

Please feel free to comment or correct me if I made any mistakes. You can also read Dean Bubley's take on the first day here.

I shouldnt finish without thanking the organisers who have done a good job in organising the event and for such wonderful hospitality (and food :).

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