Showing posts with label Rollouts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rollouts. Show all posts

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

AI and Analytics Based Network Designing & Planning

Recently I blogged about how Deutsche Telekom is using AI for variety of things. The most interesting being (from this blog point of view), fiber-optic roll-out. According to their press release (shortened for easy reading):

"The shortest route to the customer is not always the most economical. By using artificial intelligence in the planning phase we can speed up our fiber-optic roll-out. This enables us to offer our customers broadband lines faster and, above all, more efficiently," says Walter Goldenits, head of Technology at Telekom Deutschland. It is often more economical to lay a few extra feet of cable. That is what the new software-based technology evaluates using digitally-collected environmental data. Where would cobblestones have to be dug up and laid again? Where is there a risk of damaging tree roots?

The effort and thus costs involved in laying cable depend on the existing structure. First, civil engineers open the ground and lay the conduits and fiber-optic cables. Then they have to restore the surface to its previous condition. Of course, the process takes longer with large paving stones than with dirt roads.

"Such huge amounts of data are both a blessing and a curse," says Prof. Dr. Alexander Reiterer, who heads the project at the Fraunhofer IPM. "We need as many details as possible. At the same time, the whole endeavour is only efficient if you can avoid laboriously combing through the data to find the information you need. For the planning process to be efficient the evaluation of these enormous amounts of data must be automated." Fraunhofer IPM has developed software that automatically recognizes, localizes and classifies relevant objects in the measurement data.

The neural network used for this recognizes a total of approximately 30 different categories through deep learning algorithms. This includes trees, street lights, asphalt and cobblestones. Right down to the smallest detail: Do the pavements feature large pavement slabs or small cobblestones? Are the trees deciduous or coniferous? The trees' root structure also has a decisive impact on civil engineering decisions.

Once the data has been collected, a specially-trained artificial intelligence is used to make all vehicles and individuals unidentifiable. The automated preparation phase then follows in a number of stages. The existing infrastructure is assessed to determine the optimal route. A Deutsche Telekom planner then double-checks and approves it.


In the recent TIP Summit 2018, Facebook talked about ‘Building Better Networks with Analytics’ and showed off their analytics platform. Vincent Gonguet, Product Manager, Connectivity Analytics, Facebook talked about how Facebook is using a three-pronged approach of accelerating fiber deployment, expanding 4G coverage and planning 5G networks. The video from the summit as follows:

TIP Summit 2018 Day 1 Presentation - Building Better Networks with Analytics from Telecom Infra Project on Vimeo.

Some of the points highlighted in the video:
  • Educating people to connect requires three main focus areas, Access, Affordability and Awareness – One of the main focus areas of TIP is access. 
  • 4G coverage went from 20% to 80% of world population in the last 5 years. The coverage growth is plateauing because the last 20% is becoming more and more uneconomical to connect.
  • Demand is outpacing supply is many parts of the world (indicating that networks has to be designed for capacity, not just coverage)
  • 19% of 4G traffic can’t support high quality videos today at about 1.5 Mbps
  • Facebook has a nice aggregated map of percentage of Facebook traffic across the world that is experiencing very low speeds, less than 0.5 Mbps
  • Talk looks at three approaches in which Facebook works with TIP members to accelerate fiber deployment, expand 4G coverage and plan 5G networks.
  • A joint fiber deployment project with Airtel and BCS in Uganda was announced at MWC 2018
  • 700 km of fiber deployment was planned to serve over 3 million people (Uganda’s population is roughly 43 million)
  • The real challenge was not just collecting data about roads, infrastructure, etc. New cities would emerge over the period of months with tens of thousands of people 
  • In such situations it would be difficult for human planners to go through all the roads and select the most economical route. Also, different human planners do thing in different ways and hence there is no consistency. In addition, its very hard to iterate. 
  • To make deployments simpler and easier, it was decided to first provide coverage to people who need less km of fiber. The savings from finding optimal path for these people can go in connecting more people.
  • It is also important for the fiber networks to have redundancy but it’s difficult to do this at scale
  • An example and simulation of how fiber networks are created is available in the video  from 07:45 – 11:00.
  • Another example is that of prioritizing 4G deployments based on user experience, current network availability and presence of 4G capable devices in partnership with XL Axiata is available in the video from 11:00 – 14:13. Over 1000 sites were deployed and more than 2 million people experienced significant improvement in their speeds and the quality of videos. 
  • The final example is planning of 5G mmWave networks. This was done in partnership with Deutsche Telekom, trying to bring high speeds to 25,000 apartment homes in a sq. km in the center of Berlin. The goal was to achieve over 1Gbps connection using a mixture of fiber and wireless. The video looks at the simulation of Lidar data where the wireless infrastructure can be deployed. Relevant part is from 14:13 – 20:25.
Finally, you may remember my blog post on Automated 4G / 5G Hetnet Design by Keima. Some of the work they do overlaps with both examples above. I reached out to Iris Barcia to see if they have any comments on the two different approaches above. Below is her response:

“It is very encouraging that DT and Facebook are seeing the benefits of data and automation for design. I think that is the only way we’re going to be able to plan modern communication networks. We approach it from the RAN planning perspective: 8 years ago our clients could already reduce cost by automatically selecting locations with good RF performance and close to fibre nodes, alternatively locations close to existing fibre routes or from particular providers. Now the range of variables that we are capable of computing is vast and it includes aspects such as accessibility rules, available spectrum, regulations, etc. This could be easily extended to account for capability/cost of deploying fibre per type of road. 

But also, we believe in the benefit of a holistic business strategy, and over the years our algorithms have evolved to prioritise cost and consumers more precisely. For example, based on the deployment needs we can identify areas where it would be beneficial to deploy fibre: the study presented at CWTEC showed a 5G Fixed Wireless analysis per address, allowing fibre deployments to be prioritised for those addresses characterised by poor RF connectivity.”

There is no doubt in my mind that more and more of these kinds of tools that relies on Analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be required to design and plan the networks. By this I don’t just mean 5G and other future networks but also the existing 2G, 3G & 4G networks and Hetnets. We will have to wait and see what’s next.


Related Blog Posts:

Monday, 22 April 2013

eMBMS rollouts gathering steam in 2013

Its been a while since I last posted something on eMBMS. Its been even longer that we saw anything official from 3GPP on eMBMS. Recently I have seen some operators again starting to wonder if eMBMS makes business sense, while the vendors and standards are still working hard on the technology.

Not so long back, HEVC/H.265 codec was standardised. This codec helps transmission of the video using half the bandwidth. This means that it would be economical to use this for broadcast technologies. No wonder Nokia, Thompson and NTT Docomo are excited.

Interesting picture from a Qualcomm presentation (embedded in the end) shows how different protocols fit in the eMBMS architecture. My guess would be that the HEVC  may be part of the Codecs.



On the operators front, Korea Telecom (KT) has intentions for countrywide rollout. Korea is one of the very few countries where end users have embraced watching video on small form factors. Verizon wireless has already signalled the intention to rollout eMBMS in 2014; its working out a business case. Telenor Sweden is another player to join the band with the intention of adopting Ericsson's Multi screen technology.

One of the main reasons for the lack of support for the 3G MBMS technology was not a compelling business case. Qualcomm has a whitepaper that outlines some of the potential of LTE Broadcast technology here. A picture from this whitepaper on the business case below:

Finally, a presentation from Qualcomm research on eMBMS embedded below:



Wednesday, 12 September 2012

UK: Spectrum, Operators, Vendors and LTE

So LTE (or '4G') is about to be launched in the UK as announced yesterday. Its going to be branded as 4GEE.

Here is a summary of the Spectrum in the UK that will be used for LTE and would be auctioned by Ofcom.


Here is the current allocation of Spectrum in the UK

The above pics are from a presentation by Ofcom in LTE World Summit 2012 in Barcelona, available here.



The last table is from an Ofcom document here. Its very interesting read. For example I didnt know that The L-band was the first major part of Ofcom spectrum awards programme relevant to mobile services. It consists of 40MHz between 1452MHz and 1492MHz. The auction took place in May 2008, in which Qualcomm won the entirety of the available spectrum.

Here is the summary of the operators working on LTE:


Everything Everywhere (EE = Orange + T-Mobile) - They are calling their '4G' service as EE, covering up to 70% of the UK by the end of 2013. Network kit provided by Huawei.

Three - Samsung will provide the Radio Access Network, and the core infrastructure, for Three's LTE (4G) network. That includes the base stations, and radio core. 3 UK has agreed to purchase 2 x 15 MHz of 1800 MHz spectrum from Everything everywhere, and plans commercial launch of LTE service in 2013.

Telefonica (O2) trial network - Equipment supplied by Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) for both the Radio and Core network elements. Backhaul for the 4G trial network has been provided using Microwave Radio Equipment from Cambridge Broadband Networks Limited, NEC and Nokia Siemens Networks.

Updated 13/09/12 - 11:25

UK Broadband rolled out the first commercial TD-LTE network in London back in February (available to customers since May 2012). The equipment is provided by Huawei. They have 40MHz in Band 42 (3.5GHz) and 84MHz in band 43 (3.6GHz).

Vodafone - No news.


Anything else I missed?

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Softbank Japan's Ultra Wifi 4G (a.k.a AXGP)


In Japan, they love to re-brand the standard technologies into something more interesting to attract people's attention. In a way they are right as they want to offer a service rather than a technology. Couple of years back NTT Docomo launched its Crossy service, that was offering LTE with upto 75Mbps dl speeds. Yesterday, I read about Softbank launching their 4G service that is based on AXGP format.

I did blog about XGP many years back but AGXP, which stands for Advanced XGP may not be very well related to XGP. According to ZTE Technologies magazine:

In November 2011, Japan’s third largest mobile operator, Softbank, made AXGP commercially available. AXGP is similar to TD-LTE, and has been deployed in Japan in conjunction with ZTE and Huawei. Two thousand base stations were built in the fi rst phase, and there will be up to 10,000 base stations built in the second phase. Ninety-nine percent of the Japanese population will be covered by 2012. So far, the Softbank network is the largest commercial TD-LTE network in the world. Wang Jianzhou, chairman of China Mobile, said, “If in the past the TD-LTE network was just a stratagem on paper, now it has turned into a reality.”

The following are some more details edited from a Japanese website (translation via Chrome):


High-speed data communication service Wireless City Planning of the SOFTBANK Group (Wireless City Planning, WCP) will be scheduled after February 2012, adopted a new communication method AXGP is, in excess of up to 100Mbps downlink high-speed communication is a feature . It was an opportunity to use the test machine prior to the start of service for general users, to report a sense of its use. 


 "AXGP" was developed inherit the "PHS" next generation of Willcom

 "AXGP" high-speed data transmission technology WCP employs a technology that was originally planned to use the 2.5GHz band has been assigned from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications Willcom to deploy as "PHS" next generation. Had to expand the limited service area and some intended for users under the name of "WILLCOM CORE XGP" PHS is then the next generation, business is XGP is "Wireless City Planning" of Softbank subsidiary company under the reorganization proceedings of Willcom inheritance. Provide the service as "AXGP" form of communication is an evolved version of XGP in WCP.


 AXGP, in addition to the XGP also hand while inheriting the "micro cell" was characteristic of PHS, PHS has been developed as the next generation, that have become compatible with the method of TD-LTE. Including China and India, that are compatible with the TD-LTE system is expected to expand in many parts of the world, the benefits can be expected that international expansion is expected. 

 Service is initially started up to 76Mbps. The first bullet is the mobile router products

 AXGP is at present, but services have been provided for users in a small part had been using the service test XGP Willcom old, since the February 2012 service "SoftBank 4G for general users as MVNO Softbank Mobile plans to start ". The communication speed up to 110Mbps downstream and 15Mbps and maximum upstream and downstream speeds in excess of 100Mbps for speed has become a feature.


 At the start of service, the mobile router will "101SI" made of (SII) will be released at the same time Seiko Instruments. However, 101SI has become a maximum 76Mbps to 110Mbps falling down is the theoretical value of the service, at the start of the service is not provided in the full spec. Terminal is planned to also provide support AXGP Then, in the year 2012 is also powered smartphone will be compatible with AXGP. In addition, "101SI" to support (42Mbps maximum downlink, 5.7Mbps uplink maximum) "ULTRASPEED" Softbank mobile. 




Ultra-high speed in the area. Hope to plan area at the time of service and rates

 Although a measurement with the outdoor area was limited, with respect to communication speed was very good results with the results fit. Most favorable conditions and even the user does not exist before the start of the service say that already provide services as high-speed data communication, "Xi" of NTT DoCoMo, Inc., or UQ Communications 37.5Mbps, which is the maximum theoretical value of outdoor (Kurosshi~i) It was also a number greater than the maximum 40Mbps "UQ WiMAX" of is very encouraging.


 However, the decisive factor in mobile data communications is not only communication speed, three elements of the communication charge is important and easy-to-use, deployment area, including "ease of connection." In the area at the moment of some are very fast and are limited in the Yamanote Line, but is a matter of course in order before the service, ease of connection of the fact there are many parts of the still unknown. Also, I'd be anxious and services are provided in the fee structure what.


 SoftBank is to introduce a flat-rate voice among their users ahead of any other mobile phone operators so far, campaigns expand the iPhone however any inexpensive flat-rate packet. Further has a track record of just made me started to increase subscribers by the "straight-line with anyone" WILLCOM has also continued to decline in subscribers. Softbank Mobile also be deployed as a MVNO, at the time of release of the service that you want to use the AXGP expect a bold expansion of unique services and Softbank WCP, which is the same group Softbank.


Softbank's website is billing this as 'Ultra Wifi 4G' and will be launched to public this Friday, just in time for MWC12.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

New 4G Americas whitepaper on HSPA evolution in 3GPP standards

Some forecasts put HSPA at over 3.5 billion subscribers by the end of 2016. Operators with HSPA and LTE infrastructure and users with HSPA and LTE multi-mode devices will be commonplace. There are 412 commercial deployments of HSPA in 157 countries, including 165 HSPA+ networks. Thus, with the continued deployment of LTE throughout the world, and the existing ubiquitous coverage of HSPA in the world, HSPA+ will continue to be enhanced through the 3GPP standards process to provide a seamless solution for operators as they upgrade their networks. While LTE, with 33 commercial deployments to date and over 250 commitments worldwide, will be the mobile broadband next generation technology of choice for HSPA, EV-DO, WiMAX and new wireless operators, HSPA will continue to be a pivotal technology in providing mobile broadband to subscribers.

The white paper explains that as 3GPP specifications evolve, their advanced features help to further the capabilities of today’s modern mobile broadband networks. With each release there have been improvements such as better cell edge performance, increased system efficiencies, higher peak data rates and an overall improved end-user experience. 3GPP feature evolution from Rel-7 to Rel-10 has pushed possible HSPA peak data rates from 14 Mbps to 168 Mbps. Continued enhancements in 3GPP Rel-11 will again double this capability to a possible peak data rate of 336 Mbps:
  • Rel-7: 64QAM or 2X2 MIMO => 21 or 28 Mbps
  • Rel-8: DC + 64QAM or 2X2 MIMO + 64QAM => 42 Mbps
  • Rel-9: DC + 2X2 MIMO + 64QAM => 84 Mbps
  • Rel-10: 4C + 2X2 MIMO + 64QAM => 168 Mbps
  • Rel-11: (8C or 4X4 MIMO) + 64QAM => 336 Mbps
“If operators are able to gain new additional harmonized spectrum from governments, they will no doubt deploy LTE, However, it is clear that HSPA+ technology is still exceptionally strong and will continue to provide operators with the capability to meet the exploding data usage demands of their customers in existing spectrum holdings,” Pearson said.

The paper is embedded as follows:

This paper and other similar papers are available to download from the 3G4G website here.

Monday, 3 October 2011

LTE Survey from Telecom Asia and Maravedis

Click on the pic. to enlarge

Interesting survey results. As seen in Fig. 2 above if Video and P2P is the main drivers for LTE for some operators, soon they may end up in trouble as the users will consume as much as allowed and given opportunity. An interesting thing though is that the operators are thinking of a fallback strategy that includes Wifi, Femtocells and Picocells (Fig. 3). Finally (Fig. 4), interesting to see that operators believe in launching Smartphones for LTE, I guess CS Fallback is the only possible option for the time being (and maybe for some time to come).

You can read the complete report below:
If its too difficult to read the embed, go to Slideshare here and download presentation.

Monday, 12 September 2011

LTE Rollouts and Deployment Scenarios

According to GSA report, as of August 2011, 26 commercial LTE networks in 18 countries are already rolled out as below:
As of Aug. 2011, 237 operators in 85 countries are investing in LTE:

* 174 LTE network commitments in 64 countries
* 63 pre-commitment trials in 21 more countries
* 26 commercial LTE networks launched
* At least 93 LTE networks are expected to be in commercial service by end 2012

The following is from the 4G Americas whitepaper:

There are many different scenarios that operators will use to migrate from their current networks to future technologies such as LTE. Figure 10 presents various scenarios including operators who today are using CDMA2000, UMTS, GSM and WiMAX. For example, as shown in the first bar, a CMDA2000 operator in scenario A could defer LTE deployment to the longer term. In scenario B, in the medium term, the operator could deploy a combination of 1xRTT, EV-DO Rev A/B and LTE and, in the long term, could migrate EV-DO data traffic to LTE. In scenario C, a CDMA2000 operator with just 1xRTT could introduce LTE as a broadband service and, in the long term, could migrate 1xRTT users to LTE including voice service.


3GPP and 3GPP2 both have specified detailed migration options for current 3G systems (UMTS-HSPA and EV-DO) to LTE. Due to economies of scale for infrastructure and devices, 3GPP operators are likely to have a competitive cost advantage over Third Generation Partnership Project 2 (3GPP2) operators. One option for GSM operators that have not yet committed to UMTS, and do not have an immediate pressing need to do so, is to migrate directly from GSM/EDGE or Evolved EDGE to LTE with networks and devices supporting dual-mode GSM-EDGE/LTE operation.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Femtocell Interference Management in real life

Couple of years back we blogged about the Femtocell Inteference in Macro network. Since then things have moved on a long way. There are commercial rollouts happening with Vodafone leading the way. Yesterday, I was reading Prof. Simon Saunders article on Femtocell and the following struck me.

A major technical challenge that femtocell designers initially faced was the need to manage potential interference. It takes up to two years to install conventional base stations, during which time radio engineers meticulously plan a station’s position and radio characteristics to avoid interference. However, such an approach is not viable in the case of femtocells, deployed potentially in their millions at random. Automating a process conducted by radio engineers was no mean feat and simply would not have been possible a few years ago.

Fortunately, the fact that the walls of buildings keep 3G signals out and keep the femtocell’s signals in provides strong inherent interference mitigation for indoor femtocells. Extensive studies have shown that proper implementation of a few key techniques to reduce interference can take advantage of this attenuation in an intelligent manner. Such techniques include frequent monitoring of the cell’s surrounding radio environment combined with adaptive power control. Indoor users gain faster data rates, as do outdoor users who now operate on less congested cells, while it costs less for operators to deliver higher overall network capacity. Large-scale, real-world deployments are demonstrating that these techniques work in practice and even allow new approaches, such as operating 3G networks in the same spectrum as 2G networks.

AT&T has deployed femtocells on the same frequencies as both the hopping channels for GSM macrocells and with UMTS macrocells. They have tested thousands of femtocells, and found that the mitigation techniques implemented successfully minimise and avoid interference. The more femtocells are deployed, the more uplink interference is reduced.

It is very interesting to see that the interference is not causing any problems in real life.


Back in Feb, Femto Forum released a new report on "Interference Management in UMTS Femtocells". A similar report was released in Dec. 08. Then in March they released a similar report for OFDMA (covering both LTE and WiMAX) femtocells. They are interesting reading for those who are interested in this area.


European Union is having a similar program called FREEDOM (Femtocell-based network enhancement by interference management and coordination of information for seamless connectivity ). FREEDOM focuses on:
  • Advanced interference-aware cooperative PHY techniques,
  • Improvement of the control plane procedures for seamless connectivity, and
  • System-level evaluation and hardware demonstrator of the proposed femto-based network architecture.

More info on their website (http://www.ict-freedom.eu/). You can see their scenario document that shows different interference scenarios and also compares different approaches including those of Femto Forum, 3GPP and WiMAX.

Monday, 30 August 2010

100+ LTE Commitments, 22 commercial networks planned for 2010


The Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) has published an update to its Evolution to LTE report which confirms that 101 firm LTE network deployments are in progress or planned in 41 countries. The number of network commitments is 71% higher than GSA reported in a similar survey six months ago.

This figure includes three LTE systems which have launched commercial service – in Sweden, Norway, and Uzbekistan. GSA anticipates up to 22 LTE networks will be in commercial service by end 2010.

Another 31 operators are engaged in various LTE pilot trials and technology tests (these are referred to as pre-commitment trials). Taken together, it means that 132 operators are now investing in LTE in 56 countries.

The GSA Evolution to LTE report covers both LTE FDD and LTE TDD modes, and provides a summary of the market situation in each country, including operator activities and plans, spectrum requirements and developments, information on the growing eco-system including device and platforms availability, performance and interoperability trials results, key industry trends and forecasts.

LTE networks are now being deployed for commercial service or planned in Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Latvia, Libya, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, The Philippines, UAE, UK, USA, and Uzbekistan.

Governments around the world are preparing the way to ensure the availability of spectrum to support delivery of next generation mobile broadband services for the mass market, by allocating or preparing for the release of new spectrum such as 2.6 GHz, and in the digital dividend (700 MHz, 800 MHz) bands, or re-farming existing spectrum e.g. 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, etc. or facilitating a combination of new and re-farmed bands. The report notes that several trials licenses have been granted in many countries to allow operators to familiarize with the technology, capabilities and performance aspects. A number of tenders for spectrum licenses have been announced or confirmed in recent weeks for the granting of spectrum suitable for LTE deployments, including in Australia, Brazil, Chile, Poland, and the UK. Several auctions are scheduled for completion in the next few months.

LTE is the next generation mobile broadband technology of choice and the natural evolutionary step for GSM/WCDMA-HSPA operators and also for many leading CDMA operators around the world. A leading WiMAX operator has also recently announced the company has decided to shift to LTE.

While the majority of LTE deployments today are using the FDD mode, the report confirms significant operator interest in the TDD mode. LTE FDD and LTE TDD are complementary technologies and standardized by 3GPP. A number of key technology milestones have been demonstrated in recent weeks which confirm how the LTE TDD system is maturing towards commercialization. The recently concluded BWA spectrum auction in India has paved the way for early and large scale introduction of TDD LTE into the world’s fastest developing market.

Alan Hadden, President, GSA said: “Our latest Evolution to LTE report shows how the pace towards LTE has quickened, which is easy to see from the increasing numbers of operator trials and announcements, and positive actions by several regulatory bodies around the world”.

The GSA Evolution to LTE report (August 26, 2010) is available as a free download to registered site users at http://www.gsacom.com/gsm_3g/info_papers.php4 and is embedded below



Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Over 100 HSPA+ Network commitments

From Mobile Business Briefing, via Wireless Intelligence:

Over a hundred global operators have now committed to rolling out HSPA+ networks, according to new Wireless Intelligence research. Our study shows that there were 58 live HSPA+ networks in operation at the beginning of August (see graphic) with a further 43 local operators having made commitments to migrate to the technology soon. There have been 19 HSPA+ network launches to date in 2010. The latest number of live networks means that HSPA+ now accounts for around 15-20 percent of the over 300 total HSPA network deployments worldwide. Significant new operators due to launch HSPA+ soon include AT&T in the US (due to launch by year-end with 250 million population coverage); Chunghwa and Far EasTone in Taiwan; Singapore's SingTel; Japan's SoftBank; and Germany's T-Mobile, O2 and E-Plus.

The growth in the number of HSPA+ networks comes just 18 months after Australian market-leader Telstra launched the world's first HSPA+ network in February 2009. The most recent operator to complete its HSPA+ upgrade was Qatar's Qtel, which switched on its new network in its home market this week, offering peak download speeds of 21Mb/s and 5.8Mb/s in the uplink.

The most common version of HSPA+ (64QAM) offers theoretical top speeds of around 21Mb/s though some operator deployments are aiming for HSPA+ speeds up to four times faster using dual-carrier and MIMO technology. Those already to have done so include Qtel's Indosat subsidiary in Indonesia, Etisalat in Egypt and
Japan's EMOBILE, which have all introduced the dual-carrier version this year.

Australia's Telstra has still to complete its
upgrade to 42Mb/s (due in 2H10) despite last year claiming that it had become the first operator in the world to test HSPA+ dual-carrier technology outside of laboratory conditions. Nevertheless, Telstra has been the most high-profile pioneer of HSPA technology to date, launching its HSPA-based 'Next G' network back in October 2006. The network initially offered top speeds of 3.6Mb/s but was subsequently upgraded to 14.4Mb/s and then – following the HSPA+ upgrade in February 2009 – to 21Mb/s. However, as is the case with most of the speeds advertised by operators, real world speeds on the network are significantly lower. A GSMA-backed study by Signals Research Group in December last year found that Next G's HSPA+ network only delivered downlink data rates above 5Mb/s around 50 percent of the time, with peak speeds of around 17Mb/s. It noted that this made HSPA+ broadly comparable with mobile WiMAX.

Complete article here.

Related Links:

Saturday, 31 July 2010

NTT DoCoMo announces 'Crossy'

NTT DoCoMo unveiled the brand name and logo of its forthcoming LTE next-generation mobile service for the Japanese market, which is scheduled to launch in December. The brand name is written Xi™ and read “crossy.” The logo is shown below.


The “X” denotes both “connection” and “infinite possibility,” and the “i” both “individual user” and “innovation.” The logo, which resembles the infinity symbol, aligns the letters in a single stream to embody the bonds that organically link people, goods and information, and lead to new innovation.

DOCOMO’s Xi LTE service will offer downlinks of up to 75 Mbps, approximately 10 times faster than the company’s current FOMA™ 3G service. Initially, Xi will be available in the Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka areas, but coverage eventually will be expanded to other major cities and then additional areas of the nation. Xi users will be seamlessly handed over to the FOMA network whenever they leave a Xi service area.

Xi handsets, billing plans and other details will be announced later.

Meanwhile the world got its fourth commercial LTE network this week, and its first outside the Nordic region - in the unlikely telecoms hotspot of Uzbekistan.

The Uzbek launch came from Russian giant MTS, and shows how some emerging global telecoms players plan to leapfrog rivals by deploying LTE or WiMAX in markets where 3G is under-developed, and then harness that experience for their mainstream territories. MTS follows TeliaSonera's three LTE commercial switch-ons (in Sweden and Norway plus a soft launch in Finland).

MTS calls its new network "the first fully operational 4G network in the CIS and Central Asia" and is it initially available in the central zone of capital Tashkent, boasting theoretical peak speeds of up to 100Mbps using dongles. The network runs in the 2.5-2.7GHz band and the equipment comes from Huawei.

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.