Showing posts with label Japan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Japan. Show all posts

Friday, 4 March 2011

Friday, 3 December 2010

Presentation: IMS for 3G Voice Services and Migration Strategies

Very interesting presentation from NTT DoCoMo in the IMS workshop I blogged about yesterday. It shows their strategy to move from legacy core network to an All IP Network (AIPN).


Thursday, 19 August 2010

KDDI Vision on FMBC (Fixed Mobile Broadband Convergence)

The following is from KDDI Annual report which is available to download here.


FMC (Fixed and Mobile Convergence) enables a variety of services and contents anywhere, any time, regardless of different communication methods and access means, be it fixed or mobile. KDDI’s next-generation infrastructure concept, “Ultra 3G,” takes this convergence one step further, to FMBC (Fixed Mobile and Broadcast Convergence). This is an area where only KDDI, which has various access lines, can pursue potentials.

The following is an article and half from the same report on FMBC:

Monday, 12 July 2010

HSPA+ rollout updates, July 2010



Its been a while since we talked about HSPA+ rollouts. In between we did hear about the data rates bumping upto 84Mbps and even 168Mbps.

The good news is that now there are actual rollouts happening with 42Mbps HSPA+ and others in pipeline.

According to The Register:

In Japan this week, the smallest operator, eMobile, 'soft launched' Japan's fastest network. Using Ericsson kit, the fourth cellco made its new HSPA+ (high speed packet access) services available to select users, promising theoretical download speeds of 42Mbps. This iteration of HSPA+ has only been adopted by a few carriers so far, notably Australia's Telstra.

The full commercial launch of eMobile's data-driven network, in metropolitan areas such as Tokyo, Tokai and Osaka, will take place by year end.

According to Wireless Intelligence, the small player has 2.5 million subscribers - just 2.3 per cent market share - but enjoyed a high year-on-year growth rate of 52.5 per cent to mid-2010. It originally relied on an MVNO model but started rolling out its HSPA network, offering flat rate data services, in 2007. It upgraded to 21Mbps last summer using equipment from Huawei and promises LTE by 2012.

Bulgarian mobile carrier M-Tel demonstrated download speeds of 42 Mbps reached via Dual Carrier HSPA+. The technology will be introduced in Sofia by the end of this year, doubling the current maximum download speed of 21 Mbps. Thanks to the 42 Mbps download speed, the customers of M-Tel will be able not only to surf the internet at high speeds, but also watch 3D and HD TV channels through the mobile network. With the new Dual Carrier HSPA+, it will take about two and a half minutes to download a 750 MB movie, compared to four hours and 45 minutes via UMTS. With the HSPA+ technology, a movie of the same size would be downloaded in five minutes and 16 seconds. M-Tel introduced the HSPA+ technology which provides speed for data transfer up to 21 Mbps last year in Sofia. By the end of August, HSPA+ will also be available in Varna, Plovdiv and Burgas.

In Saudi Arabia, Mobily successfully completed trials for the coming upgrade of its state-of-the- art evolved high-speed packet access (HSPA+) network testing speeds of 42 megabits per second (Mbps), according to a statement issued by the company. The 42 Mbps speed, expected to be rolled out in major cities in the interim, will be the first major speed upgrade since Mobily became the first operator in the region to launch HSPA+ towards the end of 2009 at speeds of 21 Mbps, and closed the year with one million customers subscribed to its high-usage bundles, and an overall base of 18.2 million.

Mobily’s HSPA network has given a much needed boost to household Internet usage in the Kingdom with household penetration rates more than doubling from around 14 percent for end of 2008 results to 32 percent for yearend 2009, according to the Communications and Information Regulatory Commission’s annual report.

According to the same report, wireless broadband grew 488 percent to 1.41 million wireless broadband subscriptions and representing 51 percent of all broadband connections in the country, as compared to a 47 percent share for ADSL. Of those 1.41 million wireless broadband subscriptions, one million were on Mobily’s network, giving the company a market share of 70 percent market of all wireless subscriptions and 36 percent of all broadband connections in the Kingdom.

Etisalat, Egypt, in partnership with Hawei Technologies Co Ltd, has launched its HSPA+ Phase 2 network in EGYPT. This new technology has already been deployed in the Etisalat Misr network. The existing network has reached an average download speed at 41.73 Mbps. HSPA+ Phase 2 increases Etisalat mobile broadband network capacity to support speeds of up to 42Mbps, from 21Mbps previously.

Indosat just launch fast Internet access service DC-HSPA+ 42 Mbps in Surabaya, Indonesia. Indosat claim the DC-HSPA+ services could provide download speeds of up to 42 Mbps for customers Indosat Mobile Broadband and IM2. Previously, these service has only presented to Indosat customers in Jakarta.

There are rumours that in USA while everyone is concentrating on LTE, T-Mobile has been planning to upgrade to HSPA+ to improve its speed. We will have to wait

Thursday, 8 July 2010

My crazy ideas and Softbank's free Femtocell (+ ADSL and maybe Femtocalls)


Couple of years back I blogged about end users making money by allowing operators to deploy Femtocells. I cant remember but someone did say that it was a crazy idea. Well Softbank, the Japanese operator is doing something similar.

Rather than giving cashback, they are giving in free ADSL connection. The customers will have to sign a 2 years contract though. With free ADSL connection and a Femtocell, surely the end users are winners. They only have to invest in electricity which would not be a lot. The operator can end up as a winner as well as they get a better coverage by deploying open access Femtocells.

According to Will Franks, CTO of Ubiquisys, Softbank can afford to do this because femtocells are cheap and the IMS based architecture used by Softbank allows easy scalability. They are expecting upto 200,000 femtos to be rolled out in this scheme this year.

My take is that this is going to be the case but there will always be people who would be reluctant to get the Free Femtos + ADSL deal. They could instead be tempted with cashback if someone makes or receives call by accessesing their femto or instead free calls can be offered to the owner while he is camped onto his residential femto. A combination of both would be a good business case as well.

Anyway, Softbank is setting a good bar for other operators to compete with.

Picture Source: Femtocell Pioneer.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

NTT DoCoMo for LTE Femtocells next year


Its been nearly couple of years since I blogged about starting LTE with femtocells initially and then moving onto Macro network. It had initial momentum but didnt take off for one reason or another. In the ongoing Femtocells World Summit, Yoshiyuki Yasuda, NTT DoCoMo's managing director said that they plan to roll out LTE Femtocells next year mainly to fill the coverage gaps in the LTE Network they will be rolling out later this year.

Those who read this blog regularly would have noticed my recent post about NTT DoCOMo's LTE initiatives here. I have also been promoting LTE femtocells idea as can be seen in my blogs here, here and here. My belief is that femtocells could be very valuable to iron out the problems present in devices, networks or the technology. Also they provide seamless coverage and offer better data security.

Light Reading has interesting analysis on this topic:

Which vendors can serve up the LTE femtos in time? NEC Corp., which is already one of DoCoMo's LTE vendors, has revealed plans for an LTE home base station that will be available for friendly user trials at the end of 2011, and a commercial product is expected in 2012.

Other vendors that are involved in DoCoMo's LTE rollout that could have a shot at meeting the carrier's next-gen femto demands are Fujitsu Ltd., Ericsson AB, and Nokia Siemens Networks, and Stoke Inc. , which supplies an LTE base station aggregation gateway to the Japanese operator.

DoCoMo's current femto vendor is Mitsubishi, which supplies little 3G home base stations to DoCoMo for its MyArea service that launched in November 2009.

DoCoMo's Yasuda said that when the carrier wants to deploy LTE femtos in the 2011-2012 timeframe, it will have deployed 1,500 LTE macrocell base stations during 2010 and 2011. By 2013, it plans to cover 30 percent of the population with LTE. By 2014, DoCoMo plans to cover 70 percent of the population with 15,000 LTE base stations.


Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Softbank and Ericsson for TD-LTE as well

Last week I blogged about TD-LTE in India and China, today I found out that there is more interest in TD-LTE:

From Fierce Wireless:

Ericsson, the world's largest wireless infrastructure vendor, is looking to gain more expertise is the area, and this week signed an MoU to create a strategic cooperation with Datang Telecom in China to develop TDD solutions and likely gain a foothold in China Mobile's planned TD-LTE network.

As part of the deal, Ericsson will begin integrating Datang's TD-SCDMA radio access network equipment into its own 3G offering. TD-SCDMA is China's homegrown 3G standard that China Mobile and others are using. TD-LTE is seen as the next generation of TD-SCDMA.

From Telecom Asia:

Japanese cellco Softbank Mobile is considering deploying the Chinese-developed TD-LTE standard as a 4G network.

Senior executive vice president Ted Matsumoto told telecomasia.net the company could deploy it in the 2.5GHz spectrum it gained access to when it
bought a stake in failing PHS operator Willcom last month.

But he said
Willcom’s next-gen PHS technology, XGP, and mobile Wimax were also under consideration.

“We’re going to have 2.5GHz TDD spectrum, so we will seriously explore TD-LTE,” he said.

The XGP technology was “very much like TD, or at least is compatible with TD-LTE.”

Softbank is also focused on winning access to the key 700MHz or 900MHz frequencies, the “golden spectrum” with a much higher propagation range already that is used by both of its competitors.

“We’re fighting the handicap game [without those frequencies],” Matsumoto said. “There’s no 100% assurance, but we definitely will seek a 700/900MHz license.”

Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs & Communications plans to allocate 40MHz of spectrum in the 700/900MHz ranges for LTE and is now conducting a review.

For the time being, Softbank has put LTE plans on the backburner in favor of HSPA+.

It shut down its 2G network last month and is looking to reap the cost benefits of running a single 3G/3.5G network with up to 42Mbps download speeds.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Ringtones to help you in your daily life..

I am sure you must have heard of Music being used to torture terrorists or hardened crminals. Now you can have complete different use of music or ringtones in this case. “Well . . . I can definitely feel a bit of adrenalin,” says Yukari Sendo, savouring the mobile phone ringtone like a fine wine, “but it really doesn’t make me want to do any housework.” She flicks through a menu of alternative tunes and settles on one that offers to improve her skin tone through the power of alpha-waves. Ms Sendo and her friend Ayaka Wakabayashi are among an army of young Japanese drawn to the allure of “therapeutic ringtones” — a genre of melodies that promises to ease a range of day-to-day gripes, from chronic insomnia to a rotten hangover. Japan is no stranger to bizarre phone fads but the popularity of the ringtones is perhaps surprising given the flimsiness of the science behind them. Much of the tones’ credibility rests in the solid reputation of Matsumi Suzuki, the head of the Japan Ringing Tone Laboratory, an eight-year-old subsidiary of the Japan Acoustic Laboratory.
Mr Suzuki’s adventures in the realm of mood-altering ringtones follow a career at the National Research Institute of Police Science, where he made award-winning advances in the field of voiceprints. One of his proudest achievements was the development of a synthetic mosquito noise that is inaudible to Japan’s over-60s but supposedly discourages teenagers from “congregating in parks at midnight”.
A spokesman for Index, the giant Japanese mobile phone content provider that sells Mr Suzuki’s ringtones, explains that while there is a shortage of actual experimentation, “the number of downloads suggests the ringtones must be working to a certain extent”. Index’s other innovations include an iPhone application that translates your dog’s bark; the “Bowlingual” automatic canine interpreter draws on an database of woofs from dozens of species.
The first therapeutic tone, a high-energy rhythm, tested for The Times by Ms Sendo and Ms Wakabayashi, was supposed to provide a sudden burst of impetus to sluggardly housewives. Yukari and Ayaka had their doubts.
The tone that is said to improve skin mixes a burst of electro-Schubert with woodland noises such as birdsong and streams. “I suppose it might subconsciously make you think of washing your face, and that is good for the skin,” said Ayaka. “At least, it would certainly send you towards the bathroom.”
Ms Sendo and Ms Wakabayashi were marginally more impressed by the sleep-inducing and sleep-preventing tones, suspiciously akin to a lullaby and a dance track. The one with most practical use, they concluded, was the tone that scares away crows — the sinister jungle ravens that terrorise the dawn streets of Tokyo by pecking at bags of rubbish.
Mr Suzuki’s latest ringtone has been timed to coincide with the Japanese hay fever season. The Ohana Sukkiri Melody emits a series of sounds at different frequencies “so that people can choose the sound that resonates most to their sinus and causes pollen lodged there to fall from the nasal cavity”.
Index admitted that it had not conducted any research on how great a pollen deluge would be induced by the ringtone but said that it was “generally understood” that resonance would help hayfever sufferers if they brought the phone close to their noses.
When it came to testing the hangover chaser ringtone, Yukari and Ayaka were relieved from experimental duties. This popular application works through what Index describes as a careful selection of “pulse-melodies” chosen for their astonishing atunement to the body’s “medical rhythms”. Testers concluded that a fried breakfast, though less portable, still had the edge.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

WiMAX gaining foothold in Japan

Photo Source


The current state of the mobile network environment such as public wireless LAN and the cellular phone lines and those problems were considered last time. This time, the focus is applied to “Mobility WiMAX” of the new service that solves these problems, and it introduces the difference with an existing mobile network. The 2nd explains the point of the IEEE standard by which the specification of mobile WiMAX has been decided.

Mobile WiMAX that the business service started in July, 2009 is a new mobile network that did “Cousin removing” of public wireless LAN and the cellular phone line. It becomes “Communication method of the world standard using the micro wave (frequency band of 3GHz-30GHz)” with WiMAX if it translates literally by the one that “World Interoperability for Microwave Access” was abbreviated.

It is a word “Communication (Access)” the hope of you attention here. “Line from the telephone office to the terminal” is indicated if it is said, “Access line” in the world on the network. In a word, WiMAX is a method to achieve the same role as the accomplishment of “[Furettsu] light” of ADSL and NTT on a wireless network.

Actually, there is details of having started WiMAX as a network for not the mobile network but fixed wireless telecommunications (FWA: Fixed Wireless Access). FWA is a method to send and receive data to the antenna set up in the rooftop in the communication tower and the building between terminals. FWA up to maximum transmission speed 156Mbps is an opening in Japan in December, 1998.

WiMAX is wireless MAN(Metropolitan Area Network) standard to achieve this FWA. Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) has approved WiMAX as “IEEE 802.16″ in December, 2001.

The bandwidth of 2GHz-11GHz was added back though WiMAX used the bandwidth of improving named 10GHz-66GHz at first. And, the specification named maximum transmission speed 134.4Mbps (occupation bandwidth 28MHz time) or 74.81Mbps (occupation bandwidth 20MHz time) was fixed by the maximum in “IEEE 802.16-2004″ that had been approved in June, 2004 communication distance 48km.

It has corresponded to the handover at 120km per hour.
It reaches up to 4.8km at the speed of 40Mbps or less.

Mobile WiMAX equipped in mobile PC is a wireless network method settled on as derivation standard “IEEE 802.16e” of IEEE 802.16.

Mobility WiMAX is that the maximum difference point of fixation WiMAX of IEEE 802.16 and mobile WiMAX corresponds to the handover (succession) that assumes the movable body of 120km per hour.

In a word, mobile WiMAX is to be able to use it in the train and the car running just like the cellular phone because a surrounding base station communicates one after another in “Hand over” according to the communication situation. There is especially no inconvenience if it thinks the communication distance of the cellular phone is several km though the maximum communication distance of mobile WiMAX is 4.8km and fixation WiMAX 1/10.

It differs according to the occupation bandwidth, and if it is 32Mbps, and it is 20MHz if it is 15Mbps, and 10MHz if the occupation bandwidth is 5MHz, the maximum transmission speed of mobile WiMAX is 75Mbps. In UQ communications that develop mobile WiMAX service domestically, it is sung, “It is 40Mbps or less, and is up-loading, and it is download and 10Mbps or less”. It may be expected that the same degree of the speed as wireless LAN in the office will be obtained as long as the condition is avoided.

Another difference between fixation WiMAX and mobile WiMAX is in the size of the terminal side transmitter-receiver. In fixation WiMAX where long distance/high speed has been achieved by a big transmission output, a considerably big as for terminal side device is needed. On the other hand, the transmitter-receiver of mobile WiMAX is being put in several LSI chips small. An external type is the same degree of the size as USB thumb drive.

Moreover, note PC with built-in controller for mobile WiMAX has been released by each vender since the summer of 2009. The “Let’snote S8/N8″ series of Panasonic especially supports WiMAX by the standard in the consumer model (A corporate model is for subject).

Another strong point is a base station. Wide, mobile WiMAX covers the range where the electric wave reaches and even if the number of base stations is not increased too much, can cover the large range at the cellular phone level. Because it is possible to communicate while it moves by in the train and car, it will be able to be said that it will be a very profitable network for the business user who frequently uses the Web application.

The maintenance of the base station is advanced in domestic various places with steady steps now. I hear that it became possible to use in the government-designated major city and major cities across the country at the end of fiscal year 2009 according to UQ communications.

Note, this is machine translation so ignore the errors.


Saturday, 21 November 2009

Updates from GSMA Asia Mobile Congress 09 - Day 2


Summary of interesting facts from the GSMA Mobile Asia Congress 09, Via Tomi Ahonen's, Communities Dominate Brands:

  • 55% of Japan has migrated past 3G to 3.5G
  • Japanese mobile content industry is worth 14 Billion dollars annually
  • 50% of mobile data in Japan is consumed in the home, the peak time for mobile data consumption is between 9 PM and 10 PM; and smartphone users consume 10 times more data than non-smartphone users.
  • Japan's Softbank will turn off their 2G network already in March of next year, 2010.
  • Allen Lew, Singtel's CEO, said that in Singapore almost 50% of smartphone owners are shifting web surfing activity away from PCs.
  • Jon Fredrik Baksaas, Telenor's President and CEO, spoke about the eco-friendly initiatives they have, such as solar powered cellular network base stations etc, but an interesting tidbit that came out, is that in Europe, Telenor has installed 870,000 household electricity meters that are remote digital meters and operate on the GSM cellular network, in Sweden. As Sweden's population is only about 7 million people that is probably a third of all households.
  • Rajat Mukarji of Idea (one of India's largest mobile operators), told us of the Indian market, where the average price of a voice minute is 1 cent (US). He Mr Mukarji also said that in India mobile is the first screen, not the fourth screen; and mobile is the first internet connectivity opportunity for most people of India.
  • Tony Warren, GM of Regulatory Affairs at Telstra, told that 60% of phones in Australia are 3G already, and over half of mobile data is now non-SMS type of more advanced mobile data. And he said that MMS is experiencing enormous growth, grew 300% in the past year.

You can read the summary of first day here.

Read the complete report here.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Updates from GSMA Asia Mobile Congress 09 - Day 1

Summary of interesting facts from the GSMA Mobile Asia Congress 09, Via Tomi Ahonen's, Communities Dominate Brands:
  • According to Rob Conway, CEO of the GSM Association, the number of subscribers will grow to 8 Billion (not sure when though).
  • China Unicom, China's second largest mobile operator with 142 million subscribers - bigger than AT&T and Sprint put together.
  • Bharti Telecom of India has over 110 million subscribers
  • According to Manoj Kohli, the CEO of Bharti Telecom, India already 20% of all mobile phone owners have 2 or more subscriptions. He also told us that as India will add 500 million new subscribers by the time frame of 2014-2015. India is currently adding 10 million new mobile subscribers every month. And most revealingly, he said that in India the customers will go from 'no internet' directly to 'mobile internet'.
  • According to Wang Jianzhou the Chairman and CEO of China Mobile, the world's biggest mobile operator with over 500 million subscribers, on the Chinese 3G standard of TD-SCDMA, they already have 3G phones being sold that cost about 1,000 Yuan, or about 130 US dollars. The average China Mobile customer spends 1 minute per day on voice calls, but sends on average 3.6 SMS text messages per day.
  • According to Yamada-san, the President and CEO of Japan's NTT DoCoMo, on NTT DoCoMo's network, today already 42% of their total revenues come from non-voice data services. NTT DoCoMo is so far in its migration of its customer base from 2G to 3G, they will terminate 2G in March of 2011.
  • Yamada-san also told of their new 3G video TV service, they call BeeTV. BeeTV is special in that it is optimized for the small screen, not re-purposed video content from TV and the internet. BeeTV in only six months has achieved 800,000 paying subscribers - who pay 315 Yen per month (about 3 USD).
  • Yamada-San's 20 minute presentation also mentioned that NTT DoCoMo's i-Consierge service (yes, think of it as your personal butler, the phone learns your habits and starts to help you with your life, this is like magic) has 2.3 million paying subscribers one year from launch. Their i-Channel idle screen invention is spreading and they have launched it also with their partner in India, Tata, who offer Cricket game updates via the idle screen using i-Channel.
  • Japan's mobile advertising market in 2008 was worth 900 million dollars.
  • Grameenphone and Huawei won the 'Green Mobile' award for their 'green' network initiatives.

Read the complete blog here.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

LTE definitely needed and coming next year...dont mention Voice and SMS please


The unremitting growth in data traffic will bring about a 3G network capacity crisis for some mobile network operators as early as 2010. This dire scenario, according to a new study from Unwired Insight, will only be avoided by the early deployment of LTE, and the acceptance that additional LTE spectrum will be required to satisfy this demand.

With 3G traffic volumes set to increase by a factor of 20 by 2015--driven by many technology factors and also dramatic reductions in mobile data pricing--Alastair Brydon, co-author of the new study, points to the example of mobile broadband pricing that has fallen as low as US$2 per gigabyte, "which is nearly half a million times smaller than the price per gigabyte of an SMS message."

Brydon believes that early LTE will be necessary for the following reasons:

  • As 2G users continue to migrate to 3G services, the available capacity per 3G user will decline rapidly in networks utilising HSPA, to less than 100MB per user per month in some cases. LTE will be essential to counter this decline.
  • While LTE promises peak data rates of over 100Mbps, this is only possible with wide allocations of spectrum, and particularly good radio conditions. Average data rates from practical LTE networks will be nowhere near the peak values.
  • Network operators will have an insatiable appetite for LTE spectrum, to stand any chance of keeping up with forecast traffic demand. For some operators, 10MHz of spectrum will be able to support forecast traffic levels only until 2011. A further 10MHz will be needed by 2012 and another 10MHz in 2013.
Unwired Insight claims LTE's ability to relieve the capacity constraints of HSPA networks will be limited initially, until operators can acquire additional spectrum and seed a sufficient number of LTE devices in the market place. "But, we don't expect to see LTE handsets until 2011," the company warns.

Fourteen operators have committed to LTE rollouts next year, up from 10 in March, the research firm said. It predicts the LTE network gear market will be worth more than $5 billion by 2013, dominated by E-UTRAN macrocell (eNodeB) deployments.

It also expects the LTE customer base to top 72 million by 2013, mostly users with laptops, netbooks or dongles, with the first smartphones expected to hit the market after 2011.

In another forecast, Informa Telecoms and Media said Japan would account for more than half of Asia's 14.4 million LTE subscribers by 2015.

NTT DoCoMo, Japanese rival eMobile and China Mobile will be the first to launch LTE in the region, Informa said, with Hong Kong's CSL likely to follow soon after.

But rollouts in the region may be hindered by delays, as Japan and Hong Kong are so far the only Asian countries to have awarded spectrum for LTE.

Regulators in other nations are scrambling to free up enough spectrum, Informa added. Even in Japan, there is not enough 2100MHz spectrum available to support DoCoMo's full LTE plans, so it will use its newly allocated 1.5GHz for LTE from 2010.

According to news sources in South Korea, LG Telecom (LGT) quietly revealed their intention to migrate to LTE for 4G service in South Korea. LG-Nortel and Samsung will provide the multi-mode base stations which are part of the company's green network upgrade. SKT and KTF (now part of KT), the other two mobile operators in the country, have already announced their LTE migration path for 4G previously. Unlike SKT and KTF who will migrate from HSPA to LTE, LGT will go from EV-DO to LTE, similar to the case of Verizon Wireless.

It was probably a matter of time for LGT to announce the LTE migration plan since it was only running EV-DO network, and this officially puts LGT on the LTE camp. Now, my speculation is that other major EV-DO operators (noticeably, Sprint) who haven't announced such plans will follow the same path down the road since WiMAX does not seem to be a viable migration path for the FDD part of the network.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

HSPA+ is everywhere...



EMobile Ltd. , Japan's smallest mobile operator, has deployed HSPA+, also known as HSPA Evolved, in the country's major cities, including Tokyo, Osaka, Yokohama, and Nagoya.

This deployment is based on equipment from Ericsson AB, which supplied the core network and core systems integration services as well as the majority of the radio access network. It builds out the geographical coverage for HSPA+ that EMobile has already established using Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. equipment in a number of Japan's other cities, including Hokkaido, Sendai, Niigata, Hiroshima, Fukuoka, and Nagasaki.

Japan is a market with a reputation for being first with new technology, but HSPA+ has been passed over, most notably by market leader NTT DoCoMo Inc., which has focused on moving to Long-Term Evolution (LTE) as fast as possible.

The No. 2 player, KDDI Corp. , is similarly pushing toward LTE, although from a CDMA base that takes HSPA out of the equation, while Softbank Mobile Corp. is known to have run HSPA+ lab trials and has also said it will move to LTE when it gets the necessary spectrum.

EMobile is by far the smallest of Japan's operators, with just 1.67 million subscribers at the end of the second quarter, compared to DoCoMo's 54.86 million, KDDI's 31 million, and Softbank's 20.96 million customers, according to Wireless Intelligence .

You can check out the HSPA+ features in Rel-7 and Rel-8 here.

Zapp, mobile operator of Romania, has launched the first stage of its HSPA+, the upgraded mobile broadband service in the capital city of Bucharest. With this service, the subscribers can enjoy peak download speeds of 21.6Mbps, while upload speeds will increase by up to 15 times, from 384Kbps to 5.8Mbps. According to a report, Zapp contracted Chinese firm ZTE to deploy the network, which will run parallel to the cellco’s second phase 3G rollout, expanding its UMTS services to 63 cities nationwide.


O2 Germany is currently running a friendly user test in Munich where O2 Germany's technology partner is Huawei. Beside being O2's network partner for the overall HSPA-network upgrade, Huawei is also O2 Germany's major vendor for UMTS sticks and therefore O2 Germany is using Huawei equipment for the HSPA+ test as well. The used Huawei E182E stick is a slide-out USB stick, supporting quadband GSM/GPRS/EDGE as well as quadband UMTS/HSDPA up to 21.6 Mbps and HSUPA up to 5.76 Mbps. Furthermore the stick is MIMO ready.

Spanish mobile network operator Vodafone Spain has announced it will begin deploying HSPA+ technology across its network in the autumn of 2009. The cellco says the upgrade will allow its infrastructure to achieve theoretical download speeds of up to 21.6Mbps, while uplink speeds would increase to up to 5.7Mbps. Initially Vodafone expects to launch the increased speeds in seven unnamed ‘major’ cities, with further expansion to follow. In addition, Francisco Roman, president and CEO of Vodafone Spain, has announced that the operator plans to further extend its provision of ADSL services across the country, although it has not given any specifics for areas it plans to extend its reach to.

­Swiss network operator, Swisscom says that it is deploying a HSPA+ (HSPA Evolution) upgrade, with the first areas completed in time for the ITU Telecom World 2009 in Geneva. The upgrade will offer a peak rate data transfer rate of 28.8 Mbps - although the more realistic average is no higher than 8Mbps. The network has launched a HSPA 14.4Mbps service at the beginning of this year.

Chunghwa Telecom, the Taiwanese mobile operator has reportedly selected Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) to upgrade its wireless infrastructure with HSPA+ technology. The operator intends to launch its HSPA+ and 3G services by 2010, boosting mobile broadband download speeds to up to 21Mbps. Initially, devices able to utilise the HSPA+ service will include data network cards, USB dongles and wireless modules before it is extended to cover smartphones, netbooks and notebooks.

ZTE Corp has completed the interoperability test (IOT) of its 3GPP R7-based HSPA+ MIMO (multiple-input multiple-output) solution, conducted in conjunction with mainstream terminal chip platform manufacturers, in July 2009.

The MIMO solution, realized with its SDR-based next-generation base station, has reached a theoretical speed limit of 28.8Mbps in both cable connection and wireless environment tests. The trials included data download services for UDP (User Datagram Protocol) and FTP (File Transfer Protocol), as well as various IOT item tests.

All the test results indicated stable and fast data download performance. The successful IOT testing confirms that ZTE's MIMO solution is now ready for large-scale commercial deployment worldwide.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

DoCoMo and Verizon on track for LTE

Verizon Wireless said Friday afternoon that it has completed "successful data calls" at its Long Term Evolution (LTE) test sites in Boston and Seattle.

The data transfers were made over the 700 MHz LTE networks in Verizon's first two major city test sites. Boston and Seattle are expected to be the first two cities that will go live commercially with the pre-4G technology early in 2010. Those cities each now have 10 LTE 4G cell sites up and running on the 700 MHz spectrum.

Verizon isn't yet talking about the data connection speeds. "Everything is as the team expected... But because this is a very controlled environment we don't want to put a number out on the market yet," says company spokesman, Jeff Nelson.

This has pretty much been Verizon's stance throughout -- it doesn't want to talk about test numbers that might not have much relevance on the real networks. Tests have shown connections at anything between 50 Mbit/s to 8 Mbit/s.


NTT DoCoMo has been under intense competitive pressure in recent quarters, as the Japanese market saturates and new players enter the game. Its quarterly results showed a 15.1% decline in net profit to ¥147.4bn ($1.56bn), on revenue down 7.3% to ¥1,085 trillion ($11.46bn), even as rival Softbank enjoyed a 41.4% increase in profits on a slight revenue increase.

The main problem for DoCoMo was lower voice revenue amid increased competition and low cost tariffs - from KDDI and Softbank and also new entrant eMobile, which focuses on flat rate data services. The cellcos are engaged in a price war, which has forced all of them, especially Softbank, to launch cost cutting programs.

DoCoMo reiterated plans to launch LTE services next year, though it is pushing the deadline as far as possible - to December 2010 - determined not to have to rely on pre-standard equipment as it did for 3G with its FOMA platform. Its first roll-out will be targeted at PC cards, said CEO Ryuji Yamada, and will be extended to dual-mode 3G/LTE handsets in 2011. By 2014 it plans to provide LTE service to 50% of the population from around 20,000 base stations at a cost of between ¥300bn and ¥400bn ($3.2bn to $4.2bn).

The Japanese service will initially be aimed at PC users, with DoCoMo offering card-type terminals for laptops, said Ryuji Yamada, president and CEO of NTT DoCoMo at a Tokyo news conference. It will be expanded to include handset terminals from 2011, he said. Those terminals will be dual-mode devices that use LTE networks where available and fall back to 3G networks to provide nationwide coverage.

By 2014 the carrier plans to provide LTE service to 50 percent of Japan from around 20,000 base stations.

DoCoMo plans to invest between ¥300 billion and ¥400 billion (US$3.2 billion to $4.2 billion) during the first five years of the roll-out, said Yamada.

NTT DoCoMo was the first carrier in the world to launch a commercial 3G wireless service based on WCDMA but based on its LTE roll-out it will likely be beaten this time around by carriers in other countries.

Verizon Wireless has said it plans to launch a 60Mbps trial LTE service in two U.S. cities in late 2009, to be followed by a commercial service in 2010. European carriers are also getting behind the technology with several tests under way or planned on the continent. TeliaSonera has said it will build a commercial LTE network in Stockholm, Sweden, and in Oslo, Norway.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

August 2009: Mobile TV Roundup



Qualcomm is slowly building content for its Flo TV mobile service for cell phones with the recent announcement that Discovery Communications launched a Shark Week Mobile Channel.
Discovery Channel’s Shark Week programs are scheduled to air on the
Flo TV service through Aug. 14.

Flo TV uses the analog spectrum previously occupied by television broadcasters, and offers programming from several of the large network brands. Flo TV President Bill Stone says he envisions expanding the service from cell phones to cars and other consumer electronics products.

Flo TV, however, is not the only mobile TV service. AT&T CruiseCast launched a satellite-based television service in cars June 1.

CruiseCast, which is really an AT&T logo slapped onto RaySat Broadcasting equipment and services, offers 22 TV channels and 20 satellite radio channels. Its satellite antenna is a fat disc the size of a Bundt cake affixed to the roof of a vehicle.

The service costs $28 a month, plus $1,300 for equipment, which requires certified installers who charge an additional $200-$300, says Jim Llewellyn, who demonstrated the service July 31 in San Diego.


If you feell you're missing out on The Ashes action, you can now watch the Ashes for free on your W995.

A 3-month pass for the Sky Mobile TV service now comes bundled with the device exclusively on the 3 Network.

With the service, you can watch eight made-for-mobile channels that use highlights content from the Sky Sports 1, 2, 3 and Xtra channels. You’ll also be able to watch live matches right on your W995 too.

Australian cricketers Glenn McGrath and Matthew Hoggard appeared at the launch of the new bundle, and McGrath expressed his thoughts on the new bundle, saying ”the Sony Ericsson W995 on 3 is a real must for any dedicated cricket fan. To be able to access crucial games via Sky Mobile TV on the go, especially when a tournament like The Ashes is on is invaluable to me.”

After the initial 3-month period, Sky Mobile TV will cost you £5 a month. So, while the savings aren’t amazing, amounting to a whopping £15 in total, it’s still a great feature to have right now if you’re a cricket fan.



Testing of free mobile digital TV for cell phones, netbooks and other on-the-go devices is ramping up in the weeks ahead, and the first devices that can provide such broadcasts should be on store shelves by next year, according to the broadcaster-based group behind the effort.
"Just like you turn on your TV today at home and watch live and local broadcast television, you will turn on your handset and be able to watch live and local broadcast television," said Anne Schelle, executive director of the Open Mobile Video Coalition.

Trials are underway around the country in cities such as Chicago, New York and Raleigh, N.C. The biggest test pond will be Washington, D.C., where broadcasters have the attention of what may be the nation's most powerful audience — politicians. "We already have two stations on the air there, and we'll have the rest of our stations on air by next week," said Schelle.

Cell phones are probably the largest single group of devices that could receive local TV programming.

"There are 250 million of them out there," said Schelle. It's not clear whether wireless carriers are as enthusiastic.


MobileCrunch has picked up an interesting story from AV Watch - who themselves have spotted a USB tuner that plugs in to your TV, and then streams out 1-Seg (that’s a Japanese TV standard) formatted TV that your iPhone/iPod Touch can pick up via an App running over WiFi. Nice.

The iPhone has been at somewhat of a disadvantage for a time, because unlike a lot of other phones in Japan, it can’t natively pick up a TV signal - Japan is one of the places where Mobile TV has worked (but there are a number of specific reasons for that….), so this little bit of kit solves an issue for people who need their TV fix.

The USB device is called the SEG Clip, and is sold by I-O data it follows a previous device that was more of a standalone unit from Softbank Mobile - that one was it’s own receiver, transmitted the data by WiFi, but also double as an extra battery if you plugged it in to an iPhone.



WISH-TV today announced the expansion of its mobile offerings to include a new application for BlackBerry smartphones. This mobile application is the latest addition to 24-Hour News 8’s fully synchronized television and digital offerings that are available free of charge at www.wishtv.com .

WISH-TV unveiled its iPhone custom application with great popularity and much success in May 2009. In addition to these specialized applications, 24-Hour News 8 is also available via any web-enabled mobile device.

LIN TV , WISH-TV’s parent company, in conjunction with News Over Wireless (NOW) has developed the custom BlackBerry smartphone and iPhone applications for each of its 27 local television stations. Six LIN TV stations, including WISH-TV, launch the BlackBerry smartphone service today. LIN TV is the first in its local markets to provide instantaneous and on-demand access to its local news, sports and entertainment, as well as video, weather forecasts and traffic reports to BlackBerry smartphone subscribers.

Six LIN TV stations launched the BlackBerry service last week, including WISH-TV, WAVY-TV, KRQE-TV, WANE-TV, WALA-TV and KXAN-TV. LIN has been among the more aggressive broadcasters in the deployment of its content over nontraditional platforms.

Media Content and Communications Services (MCCS) has made its Hindi, Marathi and Bengali news channels -- STAR News, STAR Majha and STAR Ananda -- available on the mobile TV platform.

The content of all three channels will be streamed live, including the ads that appear during the news programmes. The content will be available on the 3G networks of MTNL and BSNL. However, the company claims that their mobile TV option will also be made accessible to subscribers of other telecom operators, who offer 2.5G services.

Currently, only two mobile operators -- BSNL and MTNL -- offer 3G services in India. The video content delivery process is faster on 3G mobile networks, as compared to 2.5G.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

LTE Subscribers forecast and market movements



A report last year mentioned that the number of LTE subscribers by 2013 will be 85 million but a new report from research firm Forward Concepts, which looks at trends including 3G evolution and handset shipment growth, claims that the number of LTE users will be 56 million by 2013.

According to the report, HSPA+ will begin to displace W-CDMA and HSDPA technologies, and the first LTE devices to hit the market in 2010 will be data cards and dongles.

The Forward Concepts study also takes a look at some other trends in the industry. The firm predicts that global handset shipments will be down this year, and forecasts a 4.4 percent contraction. The report predicts a resurgence in unit shipments in 2010, however, and calls for a 12.8 percent growth in shipments. The one bright spot for 2009 is smartphones: Forward Concepts predicts a 25 percent jump in smartphone sales.

LCD display technology also will come under pressure from other technologies, including OLED, ePaper, Qualcomm's Mirasol and Liquavista, according to the report. The market for these "post-LCD" displays will grow to over $3 billion in 2013, the report said.

On the operator front, NTT DoCoMo is sticking to its plan to be a first stage deployer, with first roll-out in 2010, while work has begun on outdoor testing of the TD-LTE technology that all three Chinese carriers will use.

DoCoMo chief Ryuji Yamada told the London Financial Times that the cellco has not gone cool on its 2010 timescale. The firm needs to enable new services to respond to UQ's aggressive launch of mobile broadband offerings based on WiMAX, and to stay ahead of established rivals KDDI and Softbank, and the disruptive and data-driven newcomer eMobile. Yamada said DoCoMo wants to be "in the leading group in this technology", and that he sees a move to LTE as a way to be fully compatible with global standards, which will improve device economics. In 3G, DoCoMo moved so early that it deployed a pre-standard implementation of W-CDMA, FOMA. This is now used by 91% of its base, with over 50m subscribers after almost eight years in commercial service, but it has two downsides that will drive DoCoMo to LTE early - over-dependence on Japanese handset makers, with the high costs of slightly off-standard devices; and networks that are older than those of newer cellcos and in areas are becoming obsolete.

The Chinese operators have similar dilemmas, especially China Mobile, which is stuck with an off-standard 3G technology, TD-SCDMA, and wants to move quickly to a platform that brings global economies of scale and allows it to be more cutting edge in services. While it may have virtually no opportunity to get ROI on its 3G spend, it aims also to be in the first group of LTE deployers, though it will be using the TDD strain of the standard.

Earlier this year, it took over the trial sites in Spain that had previously been used by Vodafone and Verizon Wireless for FDD-LTE, and is now reported to be moving this initial test program to China and towards more real world outdoor trials. Sources say these outdoor tests could also involve other Chinese operators, and will involve six vendors working in the Beijing area. Surprisingly, if the insiders are right, these vendors do not include Motorola, which has been the main supplier in the Spanish project, and claims it has a major headstart in TD-LTE because of its extensive experience with TDD mobile broadband, using WiMAX. But the new Chinese tests involve four homegrown vendors (Huawei, ZTE, Datang and Potevio, the latter a Nokia venture) plus Ericsson and Nokia Siemens. The inclusion of more CDMA-oriented suppliers, notably Motorola and Alcatel-Lucent, is likely to follow when CDMA carrier China Telecom starts its own TD-LTE tests.

The testing process determined by the TD-LTE Working Group has three stages - indoor, outdoor and large-scale outdoor testing, the last of these involving two or three major cities with at least 100 base stations each. The local vendors have already been working on indoor testing in China since the start of the year.

Japanese Mobiles suffering from Galápagos syndrome


Excellent article from NY Times:

At first glance, Japanese cellphones are a gadget lover’s dream: ready for Internet and e-mail, they double as credit cards, boarding passes and even body-fat calculators.

But it is hard to find anyone in Chicago or London using a Japanese phone like a Panasonic, a Sharp or an NEC. Despite years of dabbling in overseas markets, Japan’s handset makers have little presence beyond the country’s shores.

“Japan is years ahead in any innovation. But it hasn’t been able to get business out of it,” said Gerhard Fasol, president of the Tokyo-based IT consulting firm, Eurotechnology Japan.
The Japanese have a name for their problem: Galápagos syndrome.


Japan’s cellphones are like the endemic species that Darwin encountered on the Galápagos Islands — fantastically evolved and divergent from their mainland cousins — explains Takeshi Natsuno, who teaches at Tokyo’s Keio University.

This year, Mr. Natsuno, who developed a popular wireless Internet service called i-Mode, assembled some of the best minds in the field to debate how Japanese cellphones can go global.
The only Japanese handset maker with any meaningful global share is Sony Ericsson, and that company is a London-based joint venture between a Japanese electronics maker and a Swedish telecommunications firm.


And Sony Ericsson has been hit by big losses. Its market share was just 6.3 percent in the first quarter of 2009, behind Nokia of Finland, Samsung Electronics and LG of South Korea, and Motorola of Illinois.

Yet Japan’s lack of global clout is all the more surprising because its cellphones set the pace in almost every industry innovation: e-mail capabilities in 1999, camera phones in 2000, third-generation networks in 2001, full music downloads in 2002, electronic payments in 2004 and digital TV in 2005.

Japan has 100 million users of advanced third-generation smartphones, twice the number used in the United States, a much larger market. Many Japanese rely on their phones, not a PC, for Internet access.


Several Japanese companies are now considering a push into overseas markets, including NEC, which pulled the plug on its money-losing international cellphone efforts in 2006. Panasonic, Sharp, Toshiba and Fujitsu are said to be planning similar moves.

“Japanese cellphone makers need to either look overseas, or exit the business,” said Kenshi Tazaki, a managing vice president at the consulting firm Gartner Japan.

At a recent meeting of Mr. Natsuno’s group, 20 men and one woman crowded around a big conference table in a skyscraper in central Tokyo, examining market data, delivering diatribes and frequently shaking their heads.

The discussion then turned to the cellphones themselves. Despite their advanced hardware, handsets here often have primitive, clunky interfaces, some participants said. Most handsets have no way to easily synchronize data with PCs as the iPhone and other smartphones do.

Because each handset model is designed with a customized user interface, development is time-consuming and expensive, said Tetsuzo Matsumoto, senior executive vice president at Softbank Mobile, a leading carrier. “Japan’s phones are all ‘handmade’ from scratch,” he said. “That’s reaching the limit.”

Then there are the peculiarities of the Japanese market, like the almost universal clamshell design, which is not as popular overseas. Recent hardware innovations, like solar-powered batteries or waterproofing, have been incremental rather than groundbreaking.

The emphasis on hardware makes even the newest phones here surprisingly bulky. Some analysts say cellphone carriers stifle innovation by demanding so many peripheral hardware functions for phones.

The Sharp 912SH for Softbank, for example, comes with an LCD screen that swivels 90 degrees, GPS tracking, a bar-code reader, digital TV, credit card functions, video conferencing and a camera and is unlocked by face recognition.

Read the complete article here.

Follow discussion on this article at Forum Oxford here.