Showing posts with label HSPA+. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HSPA+. Show all posts

Friday 27 July 2007

HSPA in Latin America

In the past few weeks, operators Personal and Movistar in Argentina, Movistar in Mexico as well as Movistar and Ancel in Uruguay have all launched UMTS/HSDPA commercial service in their respective markets in Latin America. In addition to the operators listed above, in the past seven months, UMTS/HSDPA has been launched by AT&T in Puerto Rico and Entel PCS in Chile, making a total of seven operators that offer UMTS/HSDPA in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The number of operator deployments of HSDPA has increased by 200% in the last year, from 42 HSDPA networks to 130 commercial HSDPA networks today in 61 countries. Today, there are 177 total deployments of UMTS technology in 74 countries and nearly 300 commercial HSDPA devices available worldwide. Informa Telecoms & Media estimates that there will be 190 million UMTS or HSDPA customers worldwide by the end of 2007.
Latin America has become one of the worlds’ fastest-growing regions for GSM wireless service, as many operators have migrated their networks from other technologies (such as CDMA and TDMA) to the GSM evolution to take advantage of the tremendous scope and scale, as well as technology benefits, offered by EDGE, UMTS and HSDPA. There are an estimated 255 million GSM subscribers in Latin America and the Caribbean as of June 30, 2007, representing a 75% share of market. In addition, many operators in the region have deployed EDGE high speed wireless data services; in fact, there are 38 commercial EDGE networks in 21 countries today.

Erasmo Rojas, Director of Latin America and the Caribbean for 3G Americas commented, “EDGE delivers an excellent customer experience for wireless data, serving as a foundation for customer uptake of wireless data services and increasing revenues for all GSM operators. The next move is to UMTS/HSDPA mobile broadband. We expect many more launches of HSDPA in 2007 and 2008 throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.”

As GSM customers push for speed and applications to satisfy their demands for services such as web browsing, email, mobile payments, interactive gaming and video sharing, UMTS/HSDPA provides the solution with average downlink throughput data rates over 1 Mbps in favorable conditions and latency measuring at 70-100 milliseconds. +

Many more operators throughout Latin America and the Caribbean are planning their move to mobile broadband with HSDPA. Rojas continued, “However, some carriers need additional spectrum allocations before UMTS/HSDPA networks can be launched.”

Tuesday 12 June 2007

Will WiMAX compete with 3G+

Various reports and discussions have started trying to compare WiMAX and HSPA/LTE and also justifying why WiMAX is better or vice versa. so will WiMAX compete with 3G+? To answer this problem lets go back to the beginning of 3G.

NTT DoComo launched the worlds first 3G system which it called as FOMA. Infact before FOMA it already had i-Mode available which was a revolutionary technology of its time. So instead of being so great and revolutionary, why was it not adopted by everyone. The answer is that it was a closed technology and not an open standard.

WiMAX is comparatively an open standard. Its Specifications are not available freely as is 3G. This gives 3G a definite advantage over WiMAX. Also 3G+ (which includes HSPA, HSPA+, LTE, MIMO, etc) has evolved from 3G which has in turn evolved from GSM. There is an inbuilt facility to move between 3G/GSM and perform Handovers, etc. This would be missing in WiMAX.

You may argue that once IMS is there, these problems wont be big as IMS would allow these handovers to take place. IMS is access agnostic. The problem is that it will take time for IMS to be adopted and for it to be completely functional. When this happens, by that time LTE would already be available. LTE uses the same Radio Technology as WiMAX and since it has evolved ffrom 3G/GSM, it would definitely be preferrred over WiMAX.

There was an article in Financial Express last week comparing WiMAX and 3G. Some important points from that:

But from what we do know, 3G/HSPA has several clear advantages vis-à-vis mobile WiMAX in terms of backward compatibility, standardisation, use of licensed spectrum and availability of infrastructure and terminals giving it an edge over WiMAX in terms of large scale economies leading to better affordability, availability, scalability and overall ruggedness of the 3G/HSPA standard. Further, the pace of adoption of HSPA has been remarkable. HSPA is already commercially available in Africa, America, Asia, Australia, the European Union and the Middle East. There is thus already a large ecosystem of global suppliers of components, subsystems, equipment and network design and implementation services in place for 3G/HSPA.

WiMAX on the other hand faces a number of challenges. Mobile WiMAX standards are still under evaluation. The capex for deploying WiMAX is upto 5-10 times higher than HSDPA because the size of mobile WiMax cells is upto 16 times smaller than the cells in an HSPA system, which would necessitate a larger number of base stations to cover the same geography.

Further, the prices of mobile WiMAX handsets as and when available, will be significantly higher than the cellular terminals, which are being developed in much higher volumes and offered at increasingly lower costs. Also WiMax has fragmented frequency bands. In Europe and the United States, WiMAX operates in 3.5GHz and 5.8GHz while in Asia Pacific it operates in 2.3, 2.5, 3.33 and 5.8GHz. This makes global or even pan-regional roaming rather difficult. Users visiting different countries will have to either hope that the visited country uses the same band or have their devices equipped with multiple modes to enable connectivity to other WiMAX based broadband networks. WiMAX systems also have a lower capacity for voice vis-à-vis 3G/HSPA networks, which will limit the potential market size that WiMAX can cater to.

Arthur D. Little and Altran Telecoms & Media have also produced a report for GSM Association comparing HSPA and Mobile WiMax for Mobile Broadband Wireless Access (MBWA). According to them:

HSPA is likely to account for the majority of investment in global mobile broadband networks over the next five years, finds a new study by Arthur D. Little. By comparison mobile WiMax will be a niche technology within the overall
global mobile broadband wireless access market, likely to account for at most 15% of this network equipment market and perhaps 10% of mobile broadband wireless subscribers by 2011-2012.

HSDPA (including HSUPA and HSPA+) is taking the lead as it is a natural migration path for a large number of GSM and UMTS operators already operating commercial networks in 3G spectrum. This will give rise to significant economies
of scale on handsets and user devices and a large ecosystem of global suppliers of components, subsystems, equipment and network design and implementation services. Hence this is the least risky and best understood route to offering broadband mobile services which can offer speeds comparable to first generation fixed DSL services.

According to a report in Broadband Wireless Exchange Magazine:

The results of Arthur D. Little's modeling work shows that WiMax systems are expected to achieve significantly greater theoretical peak data transfer rates when deployed than today's commercial HSPA networks deliver now, such as theoretical speeds of e.g. 16.8 Mbps in urban areas vs 2-3 Mbps for HSPA. However, the coverage a WiMax base station can achieve, is substantially lower than HSPA, hence HSPA operators will be able to deploy a smaller number of base stations and sites to cover the same geography. Indications are that radio access network capex for current WiMax technology can significantly exceed HSDPA capex.

Another consequence of this characteristic of these two technologies is that an HSPA operator will be able to match its growing investment more clearly to the development of demand than mobile WiMax operators who will have to install more cell sites at the beginning to ensure coverage.

Arthur D. Little acknowledges that in the longer term, well into the second decade of this century, mobile broadband wireless systems will be characterized by technologies such as OFDMA and MIMO. Development of these technologies is being pursued by the 3G/HSPA ecosystem within the framework of 3G LTE as well as by WiMax. The long term future relative roles of 3G LTE and mobile WiMax, both of which face major development hurdles before they achieve the full promise of new, so-called 4G systems, is uncertain and will be influenced by continuing expected shifts in the priorities and competitive alignments of major players in the wireless industry which has undergone a number of consolidations in recent months.

In contrast to many other reports on HSPA, mobile WiMax and other broadband wireless technologies, the Arthur D. Little study highlights and assesses all the factors - strategic, competitive, commercial, regulatory and political as well as technological that influence operators' choices of wireless network technology.

Evidence for the potential complementary nature of HSPA and WiMax can be seen in the increased interest in multi-mode user devices and roaming capabilities across the technologies. This development, which reflects the widespread anticipation of the central role of OFDMA and other technologies involved in WiMax and 3G LTE in all eventual future broadband wireless networks, is a welcome change from the provocative and misleading headlines that have appeared over the past two years which imply that mobile WiMax threatens the viability of today's HSPA and related technologies

With Intel promising WiMAX chips on all its laptops in future, only time will tell how far WiMAX will and if this comparison holds true.

Friday 25 May 2007



117 Million 3G Customers use UMTS/HSDPA

Bellevue, WA, May 24, 2007 -
The GSM technology global coverage footprint has provided the foundation for UMTS/HSDPA to become the most widely deployed 3G technology and market leader, with 167 operators in 69 countries offering UMTS services, 115 of whom have enhanced service with HSDPA. 3G Americas reports today that according to Informa‘s World Cellular Information Service quarterly subscriber reports, UMTS/HSDPA, with 117 million subscribers, is commercially available through twice as many operators as other 3G technologies – 167 operators in 69 countries, compared to 71 operators in 44 countries with CDMA EV-DO. Of the 172 million true mobile broadband 3G subscribers worldwide as of 1Q 2007, 68% use UMTS/HSDPA.

The GSM family of technologies currently provides service to 2.4 billion users worldwide, and comprises 85% of the total global wireless mobile market. GSM is the most widely deployed technology in the Western Hemisphere and the only technology present in every country of the region, encompassing 58% of all mobile wireless customers in the Western Hemisphere. Worldwide, the greatest quarterly growth of UMTS/HSDPA took place in the US and Canada, where UMTS experienced an unprecedented 614% growth, rocketing from 350,000 subscribers to 2.5 million subscribers in three months ending March 2007.

Chris Pearson, President of 3G Americas stated, "UMTS/HSDPA technology in North America will continue its steady growth as subscribers become aware of the tremendous applications and devices that make full use of these high speed wireless data networks.” Pearson continued. “The anticipated launch of T-Mobile’s UMTS network in 2007 will continue the 3G momentum in the Americas.”

In the twelve months from March 2006 to March 2007, there were 538 million new GSM/UMTS subscriptions worldwide, compared to 49 million total net additions for CDMA. For the same time period, GSM grew its subscriber base in Latin America and the Caribbean by 80 million new customers for a total of over 231 million GSM users in the region. GSM's regional share of the Latin America market has continued its steady momentum, increasing from 59% in March 2006 to almost 71% in March 2007. The Latin American and Caribbean subscriber base for CDMA concurrently declined by 826,000 customers during the first quarter of 2007.

"2006 was the year we saw HSDPA become widely available across North America, and 2007 will be the year it starts to make its way across Latin America," commented Erasmo Rojas, Director of Latin America and the Caribbean. "Operators in Brazil have announced plans to deploy HSDPA in 850 MHz; Telefonica recently launched HSDPA in Mexico, and the technology has already been launched commercially by AT&T Puerto Rico, Entel Chile and Telecom Personal in Argentina. “

HSPA (HSDPA/HSUPA) is the set of technology enhancements for UMTS standardized by 3GPP that helps define the migration path for GSM operators worldwide to mobile broadband. There are more than 250 HSDPA devices in the market today including smartphones, PDA’s, PC cards USB drives, embedded notebooks and even desktop modems. Announcements have already begun for commercial HSDPA/HSUPA devices that provide peak theoretical throughput rates up to 7.2 Mbps on the downlink. It is expected that virtually all UMTS operators will upgrade to HSDPA, followed by HSUPA, providing them with a significant increase in capacity and data throughput and a reduced network cost for data services.

Subscriber data is based upon information from Informa Telecoms & Media. For charts on GSM growth, visit the 3G Americas website at: