Showing posts with label South Korea. Show all posts
Showing posts with label South Korea. Show all posts

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, 10 June 2009

VoLGA: Bringing Voice to LTE

Voice is becoming an Important issue for seamless introduction of LTE services. Even though most people think that LTE will start with the Broadband Dongles, it is important to resolve the issue sooner rather than later.

VoLGA Forum is one such body proposing a solution and its backed by quite a few well known industry players.

In the LTE World Summit, Franz Seiser of T-Mobile Germany spoke about VoLGA. Here is a summary from his presentation:

In order to ensure LTE will be used as much as possible, voice-and messaging services need to be supported on LTE networks in high quality asearly as possible.

The main Drivers being:
  • Ensure acceptance of LTE as an possible next generation PLMN
  • Shift traffic to new network as fast as possible
  • Avoid price competition with DSL
The industry needs a stable, scalable voice and SMS solution forLTE:
  • delivering a seamless user experience (voice hand-over to existing 2G/3G networks)
  • with proven, commercial quality
  • availability in 2010 (SMS) /2011 (voice) latest

In a post earlier, I discussed about the possible voice options for LTE and that generated quite a discussion relating to GAN. Recently Dean Bubley and Martin Sauter have covered this VoLGA issue and in general Voice over LTE in far more detail than I have earlier or even in this post. Please see the links at the bottom to read their post details.

Specified 3GPP solutions for Voice/SMS in LTE do not meet all requirements because:

CS Fallback ruled out due to customer experience and non-LTE usage

  • issues with customer experience (call set-up time increase >1.5sec., no parallel voice/data if legacy network is 2G w/o DTM)
  • not using LTE radio for voice
  • requires changes to Rel-4 architecture MSC-Servers
  • has much more impacts than originally envisaged

IMS based solution has very high complexity; availability and stability notfeasible in time, roaming eco-system is not yet existent

  • solution would consist of IMS platform, various application servers and a major upgrade/change to Rel-4 architecture MSC-Servers
  • no eco-system in place yet for IMS voice/SMS roaming and interconnect (only GPRS data or CS eco-systems are available today)
  • solution requires updates/changes to quite many IT systems and processes as well

Key Objectives for Voice/SMS over LTE Solution is to Re-use as much as possible of existing systems, mechanism and eco-system while avoiding proprietary extensions to 3GPP nodes

  • build upon existing Rel-4 CS network and investments
  • “do not touch the MSC”
  • build upon fully 3GPP compliant Rel-8 EPC/LTE network
  • re-use existing CS roaming/inter-connect regime
  • minimise impact on UE, especially on user-interface

As a result, the simplest solution is “Voice over LTE Generic Access” or VoLGA

What is VoLGA?
  • A technological approach for delivering voice and SMS services over LTE access networks
  • Leverages a mobile operator’s existing core voice network
  • Derived from the existing 3GPP GAN standard

What is the VoLGA Forum?

A group of companies working to…

  • Leverage collective technical skills to define VoLGA specifications
  • Publish proposed specifications via the VoLGA Forum web site (coming soon)
  • Facilitate the easy adoption of VoLGA technology by other vendors and operators

The group is open to interested parties in the mobile community

The main Highlights of VoLGA are:

  • Full service transparency
  • Supports all circuit services over LTE
  • Supports IMS RCS and combinational services (CS+IMS) over LTE
  • Supports handover of active calls between LTE and GSM/UMTS
  • Supports expected LTE femtocell deployments
    • Low risk, low investment
    • Based on well proven 3GPP GAN standard
    • Requires no change to existing MSCs and operational systems
    • Conserves existing, extensive voice interconnection regime

    To keep things simple, VoLGA is the best option available at the moment.

    Further Reading:

    You can search multiple blogs (including mine) in a single search via the 3G4G search here. (Search at the bottom of the page).

    Thursday, 20 March 2008

    Japanese (and Koreans) only want 3G+

    According to this news on Yahoo, Japanese stores took delivery of no second-generation mobile telephones in January for the first time since their launch as shipments of advanced handsets soared, an industry group said Tuesday.

    Japan and South Korea are at the forefront of third-generation (3G) phones, which offer high-speed Internet access and other interactive features and have not even entered the market in many developing nations.

    Manufacturers sent 4.08 million cellphones to Japanese stores in January, the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association said.

    "For the first time, the number of second-generation models was zero," it said.
    Japan becomes the second country to be virtually finished with second-generation following South Korea, according to Nomura Research.

    Japanese stores continue to offer a small number of second-generation phones, but it is almost impossible for new users to start fresh subscriptions.

    At the end of February, nearly 85 percent of Japanese mobile users were carrying third-generation or equivalent phones. Japan's top-ranked NTT DoCoMo Inc. in 2001 became the world's first company to offer 3G.

    Despite the success in Japan and South Korea, 3G has caught on more slowly in other countries amid questions over whether customers will pay much steeper prices for features they could find on their home computer.

    Third-generation or advanced second-generation accounts for about 50 percent of North American cellphones and 10 percent of Western European mobiles, according to industry surveys.

    In Japan, mobile operators have increasingly written off second-generation phones as a source of profit and have been developing more advanced features to woo customers.
    More than 60 percent of the phones delivered by manufacturers in January are equipped for digital television broadcasts.

    Japan began digital broadcasts in 2006 that allow mobile phone users to watch several hours of interrupted television on their phones without recharging the battery.
    "It's the third straight month that such phones make up more than half of the mobile phones," the industry association said.

    Some 20 million Japanese now have phones to watch digital broadcasts, which major networks offer for free.

    Tuesday, 16 October 2007

    Korea! The new leader of Digital World

    I didnt realise how big Korea (South Korea ofcourse ... also known as Republic of Korea) was in digital world untill it was brought to my attention by a post on Forum Oxford. Our friend Tomi Ahonen has also co-authored a book on the same topic titled 'Digital Korea'. (Excerpts from the book here). Recently he spoke on CNN and the video which you may find informative is available here. You may notice several stats in this post which have been extracted from ITU's Digital Life publication.

    Once considered an industrial backwater, Korea’s effort to reinvent itself as a high-tech powerhouse has seen the country notch up a broadband scorecard the rest of the world yearns to emulate. In 1995, Korea had less than one Internet connection per 100 inhabitants; today, this modest nation of 72 million people leads the world with a household broadband penetration of 89.4 percent.
    Korea’s avid belief in technology as a potent driver of economic development has taken it to the No. 1 spot worldwide in terms of digital opportunity, according to a comprehensive survey by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a United Nations agency.
    The ITU’s Digital Opportunity Index measures a wide range of indicators across four principal categories: coverage and affordability; access technology and device; infrastructure; and quality of service. Scoring 0.8 out of a possible perfect 1.0, Korea’s success in rolling out affordable high-speed services has helped position broadband as an everyday ubiquitous utility, much like power or water, rather than the premium service offered by operators in markets elsewhere. That’s in turn spurring new product and service innovation, as manufacturers and operators alike scramble to take advantage of higher speeds and more robust NGN-based network architectures.

    Some Stats which shows the potential and the progress of technology in Korea:

    • Korea’s impressive literacy rate—at more than 98 percent it’s one of the highest in Asia—and exceptionally high level of school enrollment also means young Koreans are motivated and empowered to embrace the online world.
    • Under the government’s commitment to what it terms "edutopia," 10,000 schools have been connected to the Internet and 330,000 teachers and 210,000 classrooms provided with PCs. At the same time, 50,000 high-achieving students from low-income families have been given free PCs with five-year broadband subscriptions.
    • The country’s highly urbanized population has made it a natural for WiFi. There are now more than 10,000 hotspots, from bars to local beaches, and most operators bundle WiFi with broadband for a small additional charge.
    • Triple-play services offering converged voice, data and video are already available or imminent from KT, Hanaro, Dacom, SK Telecom and some smaller service operators. One of the first to take the plunge, Hanaro says it already has 500,000 subscribers for its VoD HanaTV IPTV portal launched 12 months ago and is forecasting 1.4 million by the end of 2008.
    • The rise of bandwidth-hungry, triple-play services is also prompting a large-scale migration from DSL to FTTx. With 74 percent of Korean households already passed by fiber, UK consultancy Point Topic notes that Korea’s DSL subscriber base is falling steadily, while FTTx subscribers grew by 1.2 million in the second half of 2006.
    • 100% of South Korean internet access has migrated to broadband (the world, about 30%).
    • It is the first country where all internet connections were upgraded to broadband and today 100 mbit/s broadband speeds are offered and gigabit speeds are planned.
    • The first country to launch digital TV broadcasts to cellphones and cars, and where 100% ofcellphones sold are cameraphones and nearly three out of four cellphones is a high speed 3G phone.
    • The country where over half pay using the cellphone, 43% of the nation maintains personal profilesand blogs, and 25% of the whole population have participated in videogaming inside the same game.
      90% of South Korean homes have broadband internet access. The world average is about 20%.
    • 63% of South Koreans make payments using their cellphones, the world average is under 5%.