Showing posts with label UK. Show all posts
Showing posts with label UK. Show all posts

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

'License-exempt' bands in the UK


Monday, 12 March 2012

Problems with 800MHz in UK and Spectrum to be auctioned


Even though 800MHz provides far better coverage than 2.1GHz (as shown above), it is going to be difficult to rollout LTE on 800MHz in the short term. The main reason being that there are quite a few other devices that use the frequencies or the frequencies neighbouring the 800MHz band and the interference may stop them working. A chart of the users is shown below.


It would be interesting to see when the rollouts in 800MHz would happen.

According to Ofcom, the following spectrum will be available in the UK:


• 250MHz of spectrum:
    • 2x30MHz paired at 800MHz
    • 2x70MHz paired at 2.6GHz
    • 50MHz unpaired at 2.6GHz
• (Also 2x15MHz of 1800MHz spectrum to be divested by EE)
• Starts to become available from Jan 2013
    • 800MHz expected to be available across whole of the UK by end of 2013
    • 2.6GHz across majority of UK by end of 2013 with remaining areas asap thereafter



All these topics were recently covered in a Cambridge Wireless event on Mobile Broadband SIG: Mobile Broadband in Rural Areas. The presentations are available here to view and download.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Against the Limited "Unlimited" data plans

Once upon a time the Mobile Operators had loads of bandwidth and not enough data users. So they decided to lure the poor users into buying the 'unlimited' data plans. They were sure that the devices are quite rubbish and no one can use enough data. Just for the precaution some clever operators added a small print where unlimited meant 1 or 2GB. The operators thought that the users will never reach this amount.

Then came the iPhone and changed the whole world. People actually started using the data on their devices. The operators started panicking. Android just compunded this problem. So the operators now have started advocating against these unlimited plans.



The CEO of Vodafone , Vittorio Colao , has told attendees at this year's Nokia World 2010 event that he welcomes the end of "unlimited" Mobile Broadband data plans. Colao also warned consumers that "data pricing has to adjust", thus signalling a greater focus on tiered pricing models.

He added: "The principle here must be that, a bit like motorways or hotels, every class of service needs to have its own price and customers must be able to pay for the level of service [they want]. Pricing should be adjusted to reflect the usage and load. We are approaching the end of the free era."

The cowboy salesmen are still fooling the average Joe when it comes to unlimited plans. People sue the operators but dont succeed.

We are begging to see the return of those bad old days when WiFi was the only option in conferences, etc and they were really expensive. Now instead of WiFi we have got our dongles that may not work well anyway inside the conferences or hotels due to the structure or location but when they do, you again have to think about the costs.

In Korea, KT Telecom had to introduce unlimited plans because the other rival introduced one. This is probably because they still have spare bandwith available. Once that gets used up then they will either be running for caps or advocating against the unlimited plans.

I have been against the unlimited plans from the beginning but I advocate that the operators become a bit wise in the way they charge us, the end users.

If I have 4 devices I dont want limited data on all devices because I dont want to keep track of which devices use how much data or have an allowance. Maybe what I need is a data bundle that I can use across devices and maybe share with my family members. Wallmart has recently come up with something similar in US. Wallmart is a MVNO using T-Mobile network. Though their data plans are expensive compared to T-Mobiles plans just because they allow data sharing and rollover, people may go for them.

Rollovers are available on Pay as you go plans but not on Pay monthly which makes the pay monthly (generally on contract) people seem stupid. Operators should encourage this, maybe keep a maximum that can be rolled over.

Finally, there is this net neutrality and QoS discussions are going on. Eventually some kind of QoS or destination based speeds, etc will come but for the end user they will go where they will get what they want. The operators should remember this.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Mobile Payments to be mainstream in 2011

With some much talk (and hype) surrounding NFC and Mobile payments, it looks quite possible that m-payments will enter mainstream in the Western world in the forthcoming year. Though mobile payments have become norm in developing countries like Kenya, Senegal and India, its yet to catch on in UK and the USA.

Here are some interesting facts from MobileBeyond:
  • The mobile transaction market is so huge it offers room for multiple players. Yearly worldwide electronic transactions total $7-$10 TRILLION
  • Competitors are generally local to each country or region leaving plenty of open territory for mobile payment service and technology companies. Companies that win in their markets will be those that understand customer needs.
  • PayPal in the U.S., which has traditionally catered to merchant accounts, most likely will adopt a similar mobile strategy. (Both Obopay and PayPal are service providers–not technology companies like Fundamo in South Africa that provides software solutions for service companies.)
  • “The competition is cash”–not the other players in this market space
  • In five to ten years, mobile payments will achieve high adoption among consumers in developing and developed countries.
  • Brazil, Russia, China and Mexico offer growth opportunities for players that understand these markets
  • According to Portio Research, by 2011 mobile commerce payments are estimated to climb to $86.6 billion
  • Nielsen predicts 27% of all U.S. payments by 2012 will still be cash
To get an idea, there are already multiple m-payments providers in Kenya. Leaving out the gians like Google and Paypal, there are other local providers like M-pesa, Pay-Zunguka, Pesapal and Zynde.

The following are the developments in UK from Computer weekly:

Some forms of mobile payments already exist. Phone applications like PayPal Mobile support person-to-person (P2P) payments. SMS-based transactions are used for car parking tickets and mobile commerce allows online shopping through mobile phone browsers.

Contactless cards are also in circulation for credit cards, transport tickets and are used in some food stores. The industry is looking next at near-field communication (NFC) mobile handsets. NFC allows 'tap-and-go' style payments using mobile phones at in-store terminals by incorporating contactless card technology into handsets. Alternatively, micro-SD cards with NFC-enabled chips can be inserted into mobile phones.

The Global System for Mobile Association (GSMA) has launched a Pay-Buy-Mobile project to enable consumers to pay for goods and services via their mobile phones. "By storing a consumer's credit or debit card within the SIM card and employing NFC technology, the mobile phone can be passed near a contactless Point Of Sale (POS) terminal to complete transactions," said Nav Bains, GSMA's senior director of mobile money.

GSMA has been collaborating with standardisation bodies; the European Payments Council, EMVCo, which manages card specifications and smartcard infrastructure standards body, Global Platform. The consortium is developing the Trusted Service Manager requirements document and a certification process to accelerate the commercialisation of mobile NFC services. But some experts believe NFC is a long way from a mass market roll-out in the UK.

The biggest breakthrough in the mobile payment market have been in developing countries, providing bank services via mobile phones for people who have traditionally not had bank accounts. Visa Europe recently launched Europe's first micro-SD based mobile payment systems in Turkey. But it is unclear when such a system will be introduced in the UK. says Juniper Research senior analyst, Howard Wilcox.

The number of contactless terminals in the UK is approximately 26,500 and the UK Card Association predict 14 million contactless cards will have been issued with contactless functionality by the end of 2010. "We're not expecting to give a launch date any time soon," continues Swain. "Globally, there's a lot of discussion but the UK is one of the only areas where we already have the infrastructure that would accept contactless mobile payments," he adds.
UK-based mobile banking firm, Monitise, has also recently launched a joint venture with Visa in India to accelerate the delivery of mobile financial services such as banking, bill payments, mass transit ticketing and mobile top-up to Indian customers. More than infrastructure, Monitise group strategy director, Richard Johnson, believes banks and mobile network operators need to work together. "Banks are where most people keep their money. It's about mobilising bank accounts rather than creating new accounts with network operators. Tap-and-go really requires collaboration," he says.


Industry expert consortium, Mobey Forum, hopes to bring banks, mobile network operators, acquirers and merchants together to build the relationships needed to progress the mobile payments industry.

Gerhard Romen, Mobey Forum marketing chair and director of mobile financial services at Nokia, believes the NFC trials have proved the consumer demand and, by 2011, all of Nokia's new smartphones will be NFC-enabled. "Once people work together, it'll provide simplicity for the user" he says. "A phone with NFC can do more than just behave like a card - it has a display, keyboard and internet connection - and becomes more interactive," he adds.

Today we have credit, debit and, perhaps, contactless cards. Tomorrow banks and mobile network operators hope to provide a mobile wallet. The next step will be introducing tap-and-go into the mainstream market and, despite slow progress, industry experts are increasingly certain it will happen "soon".

From eWeek:

Google and Apple are both making moves to ensure smooth financial transactions on their mobile platforms.

Last week news bubbled up that Google and PayPal were brokering a deal to let the search engine use the e-commerce service as a payment option for applications purchased through Google's Android Market.

Apple, meanwhile, hired an expert in near field communication (NFC) technology as its new product manager for mobile commerce and has published a number of NFC-related patents in recent months.

Google's e-commerce infrastructure is poor compared with that of Apple. Users may only purchase applications for their Android smartphones from the Android Market in 13 countries.

By way of comparison, consumers may purchase apps from iPhone's App Store in 90 countries all over the world. PayPal would be a welcome addition to Google Checkout and credit cards as payment options in the Android Market.

Gartner has said the market for mobile apps will be $6.2 billion this year, making it an obvious sector for Google and Apple to attack with gusto.

From San Fansisco Chronicle:

Bay Area businesses like Bling Nation and eBay Inc.'s PayPal division are rolling out products that allow people to hand over money to stores, restaurants, coffee shops or friends with the tap of a mobile device. No credit cards, checks or cash are necessary.

Meanwhile, reports suggest that other major companies, including Apple Inc., AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless are planning or negotiating to provide similar services.

"What I see is all these distinct initiatives coming together and merging at some point in the not-too-distant future," said Aaron McPherson, practice director at IDC Financial Insights. "All together, they add up to significant change."

Bling Nation, a Palo Alto startup founded in 2007, is among the furthest along in this emerging field, with more than 1,000 retailers nationwide accepting its payment system. The company provides so-called Bling tags, or small stickers, that affix to the back of a mobile phone and transmit data using a wireless standard known as Near Field Communication.

When users tap the tag on a proprietary reader at participating retailers, it pulls money from their PayPal account. For security, users have to enter a personal identification number for purchases over a certain amount, or when transactions occur at an unusual frequency or location.

Merchants pay for or rent the reader and are charged 1.5 percent of the total of every transaction, which is well below the average transaction rate for accepting credit cards. The additional advantage for merchants is that they can analyze customer data in a more fine-grained manner than is permitted through the credit card system. This allows them, for instance, to target sales offers to regular customers or those who haven't been into the shop in a while.

"They enjoy cheaper fees and analytics that can help them issue coupons and make more money," said co-founder Meyer Malka, adding that the advantages are turning businesses into proselytizers on Bling's behalf.

A little more than a month ago, the company began an aggressive push in partnership with PayPal to expand its footprint in downtown Palo Alto. It included giving away thousands of tags preloaded with $20 in credit to customers. There are now more than 50 retailers in the city accepting the payments.

As I mentioned last week, with heavyweights like Nokia, Apple and Google all coming closer to NFC and M-Payments, it should be a winning formula for the end consumers. We will possibly see more use of m-payments in the developed world. Lets not mention about security just yet.

Friday, 23 April 2010

GPS to become commonplace and far more accurate


First it was Nokia that started giving away the Satnav software for free. Now Google is offering free Satnav software for Android phones in UK. Its already been available in US for quite some time and the response is generally positive.

According to comScore, the use cellphones for Satellite Navigation is becoming more common in Europe. According to them, in February, 21.1 million consumers in five large European markets -- Britain, France, Germany, Spain and Italy -- used their cellphones for navigation, 68 percent more than a year ago. This compares to 20.4 million personal navigation devices sold in those markets in 2008 and 2009 in total, according to research firm GfK.

I talked about Satellite based Internet before but today we will focus on satellite based GPS systems.

The GPS system, which was developed way back in 1989 for and by the military has been used by general public since the year 2000. Its has become very common in the last few years.

The GPS we know and love is part of a larger family of systems called Global Navigational Satellite Systems or GNSS. The following are the members of the GNSS; GPS is the USA system, GLONASS is the Russian system, Galileo is the European system and Compass is the Chinese system

The following is from the IET Magazine:

Satellite navigation systems take their location cues from 30 GPS satellites that circle the Earth twice a day transmitting status, date and time, and orbital information. Soon there will be around 100 satellites to lock on to as GPS is joined by global constellations from Europe (Galileo), Russia (GLONASS), and China (Compass).

GPS wasn't built to help us find our way to the shops - it was a Cold War project funded by the US Department of Defense to ensure that nuclear submarines could surface and target their missiles accurately. There are strategic rumblings about the new satellite constellations too, but the current consensus is that civilians have most to gain from more accurate and reliable location and tracking applications. That's if receiver designers can get the power consumption under control.

Russia's GLONASS system used to be famous for its satellites failing faster than they were launched, but since last month it has had 24 functioning satellites in orbit. Meanwhile, Europe's much-delayed Galileo system will have 14 satellites operating by 2014, according to the European Commission, with the full 30 available by 2017. The US GPS system is being modernised to become GPS III by 2013, with additional navigation signals for both civilian and military use. Information about China's Compass system is sketchier - it was going to be a regional system but is now understood to be global.

'All this activity is great news because whatever the application, there will potentially be multiple constellations to get a position fix from, which will help with signal integrity in safety-critical environments such as maritime, aviation or rail, and accuracy for mobile phone users in urban areas,' says Andrew Sage, director of Helios, a consultancy specialising in satellite navigation.

A GPS receiver should be able to 'see' at least four GPS satellites anytime, anywhere on the globe and establish three position coordinates (latitude, longitude, and altitude). But in city streets hemmed in by tall buildings, a receiver is unlikely to be able detect more than two satellites and the signals will often have bounced off structures.

'For the average pedestrian, the position fix can be a long way out and very unpredictable,' says Sage. 'Most users don't see that today because GPS receivers match us to maps and smooth the errors out. But if you are walking around a city and not on a road in a car, multi-path reflections are a problem.'

The more satellites visible from within these 'urban canyons', the easier it is to carry out consistency checks on the received signals. 'Even when you can't isolate the multipath-contaminated signals, the more signals you have, the more your errors average out,' says Dr Paul Groves, lecturer in global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), navigation and location technology at UCL.

Better GNSS integrity would enable new applications, such as road-user charging, enforcing bail conditions and pay-as-you-drive insurance. 'Clearly, if position information might be used as legal evidence, it has to be reliable,' says Groves.

The delayed arrival of Galileo and the resurrection of GLONASS have complicated matters for receiver makers. Galileo was designed to offer the simplest possible upgrade path from GPS to a dual-constellation system. Agreements were made to put the carrier frequencies of the main open services in the same part of the spectrum as GPS, at around 1575MHz, so receivers could share the same radio, analogue components and antenna. Both systems also send their signals using a spread-spectrum code-division multiple-access (CDMA) approach. GLONASS uses a frequency-division multiple-access coding technique (FDMA) and a main open-service carrier frequency of 1602.2MHz.

The complete IET Magazine article can be read here.

There is another interesting article titled 'GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Compass: What GNSS Race? What Competition' here. Interesting analysis.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

SMS for Emergency Services

I blogged few months back about SMS for emergency services in USA now the same is being tried in UK.

Ofcom is trialling a new system to let deaf people access 999 services using text messaging.

The system lets users who can’t speak send a text message to emergency services. Their text is received by 999 assistants and read out to fire, police or other emergency service. A reply is also sent back via SMS.

The trial kicked off earlier this month, with Ofcom asking people to register to test the service. As the trial will use actual emergency messages, it needs enough people to register to get a good feel for how the system is working as most won’t actually have cause to use it.

To register, text “register” to 999; anyone not registered will not be able to use the service.
Ofcom noted that users shouldn’t assume their message has been received until they’ve received a reply, and that anyone sending hoax messages will be prosecuted.


If the trial goes well, the texting system could be in place as early as next year, Ofcom said. It’s being supported by the major telecoms companies, as well as emergency services and the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID).

SMS to the emergency website here.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Mobile Phones to replace Alarm Clocks


More than half of Brits are now using their mobile phones as alarm clocks, an alarming development for clock traditionalists.

They fear it could mean the end for dedicated alarm clocks, which have sat dutifully on our bedside tables for 150 years.

A survey of 1,500 people found that 52% had used their mobile as an alarm clock with 21% using it to get them up in the morning each day. Of course it also means you are likely to be woken up in the early hours when your do-it-all phone starts beeping because you've received an email about viagra.

A spokesperson for Rightmobilephone.co.uk - who commissioned the study - said: "The mobile phone now plays a larger more important role in our lives. "Handsets now provide us a wealth of information on the go, schedule our social occasions and as we found for many simply ensure we get out of bed each morning.



"The mobile phone is no longer for communication only, our independent handset reviews show signs of this with consumers often praising or berating the handsets camera or music quality, discounting its ability to make calls or text."

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.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

UK: Ofcom releases 3G coverage maps

Ofcom has just released (or as The Register puts it; found under the sofa) 3G coverage maps for UK. Its useful for people who dont live in big towns but planning to take out contracts on dongles/data services. They can now quickly check which operator to go for.

These 3G coverage maps by mobile operator were prepared in January 2009. They represent the area where we have assessed the mobile operators met a minimum coverage threshold set by Ofcom (see technical notes below). The shaded areas on the maps indicate areas where customers have the possibility of making and receiving a call outside over a 3G network (but with no guarantee of being able to do so). They do not indicate areas where customers are able to access higher data rate services.

All operators produce their own coverage indicators on their websites which are likely to provide more reliable guidance to network availability in any given area. The accuracy and detail of the maps are not to the same level as the mobile operators publish. These maps show UK-wide general coverage and are not suitable for zooming in to see specific locations i.e. a particular house or street. Also they are not suitable for assessing the quality or depth of coverage within the indicated areas (e.g. different operators may be able to offer better or worse data rate services or support a smaller or greater number of users).

You can see the PDF of the coverage maps here.

Monday, 6 July 2009

LTE activity gathering pace


Wireless internet access is going to be a better, richer experience than fixed link access Professor Michael Walker, group R&D director at Vodafone told Wireless 2.0 conference in Bristol, organised by Silicon South-West.

“People think wireless can’t compete with fixed link, but it can”, said Walker, pointing out that the 100Mbit/s of FTTH is the same as the theoretical maximum throughput of LTE.

“LTE capacity on 20MHz is an order of magnitude higher than HSPA,” said Walker. He said that, “in the first real field trials,” average downlink speeds of 15Mbit/s, with 4.5 spectral efficiency, were achieved. “Wimax takes three times more spectrum”, he said.

“We decided with LTE that we would make sure the technology works before we buy spectrum,” said Walker.

To that end, Vodafone has been working with China Mobile and Verizon to make sure LTE has compatible standards.

Walker regards talk of a killer app as silly for LTE as it was for 3G. “LTE is just about access,” he said.

He predicted the gradual relative demise of the person-to-person phone calls, referencing data that showed 11 times more wireless traffic is being generated by community chatting than by person-to-person calls.

Ericsson, one of the world’s leading suppliers of mobile phones and related network solutions, has warned that it could be 2012 before the first true next generation Mobile Broadband networks gain a good foothold in the UK. The deployment of Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology (aka - 4G), which could deliver download speeds of 150 to 1000Mbps, is being hampered by problems with releasing the needed 900Mhz spectrum.

Presently both O2 and Vodafone own some of the older 2G (900MHz) spectrum, which Ofcom is seeking to have redistributed to rival operators ( Orange , T-Mobile and Three (3) ). This could then be converted for use by 3G/4G voice and Mobile Broadband technologies, such as HSPA and LTE .
Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), although providing WiMAX solutions for Taiwan operators, plans to launch commercialized LTE (Long Term Evolution) solutions in 2010, Mike Wang, NSN's general manager for Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.

NSN has already received LTE solution orders from Japan-based NTT DoCoMo, which is expected to start offering LTE-based services in 2010, Wang stated.

In addition, NSN has also landed orders for the installment of LTE trial networks for T-Mobile and Singapore-based service provider Mobile One, he added.

LTE-enabled chipsets are expected to hit the market starting in the second half of 2009, followed by LTE USB modems and network cards in 2010 and other LTE CPE such as handsets, PDAs, tablet PCs in 2012, Wang predicted.

Japan's DoCoMo is reported to be planning an investment of ¥ 343 billion (US$3.4 billion) for the investment, while KDDI and Softbank Mobile have budgeted ¥ 515 billion and ¥207.3 billion, respectively. According to the Nikkei newspaper, among the four, LTE services are forecast to attract around 36 million subscribers, with DoCoMo projecting 17.74 million LTE customers.
The total investment will top ¥1 trillion (US$10 billion)

DoCoMo, KDDI and Softbank Mobile expect roughly 30% of their existing customers to switch to 3.9G services. DoCoMo is also reported to be expecting to upgrade or deploy some 20,000 LTE enabled base stations by 2014. The network should cover 50% of the population and commercial services will start in 2010.

LTE provides downlink peak rates of at least 100Mbit/s, 50 Mbit/s in the uplink and RAN round-trip times of less than 10ms. Fujitsu recently announced that, in collaboration with NTT DoCoMo, they had successfully completed field testing for LTE, using 4x4 MIMO technology, which resulted in data transmission speeds in the range of 120 Mbps (using 10 MHz bandwidth) in Sapporo's urban environment.

NTT DOCOMO has selected Alcatel-Lucent' Ethernet transmission solution to provide the backhaul network of its Long Term Evolution (LTE) service. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Alcatel-Lucent said its packet optical gear will provide NTT DOCOMO with cost-effective and flexible Ethernet-based aggregation and transport from the base stations to the core network. Specifically, the Alcatel-Lucent solution, based on the 1850 Transport Service Switch (TSS) and its universal switching technology, will provide multipoint Ethernet connections between cell sites supported by strong operations, administration and maintenance capabilities, as well as carrier-class protection and network management.

China Mobile Ltd., recognizing that future growth of its 3G services is not yet certain, is looking to secure its future with a nearly parallel development of Long Term Evolution (LTE) capabilities, according to its annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently.

High on the list of limitations TD-SCDMA imposes are the availability, functionality, and price of terminals, and the support for international roaming. The latter particularly impacts China Mobile's high-end and business customers.

China Mobile remains committed to TD-SCDMA, but at the same time it's going all out to develop converged time division duplex (TDD) and frequency division duplex (FDD) products for LTE, the proto-4G wireless technology set to be deployed by mobile operators worldwide.
Developing a simultaneous LTE strategy will enable China Mobile to limit the time it is dependent on TD-SCDMA, and also help it counter the constraints it's currently experiencing as a result of the TD-SCDMA sector's limited ecosystem.

The Chinese vendors have labored too long under the market perception that they deliver low cost equipment, but can't do cutting edge. To fight this image and enhance their position among tier one carriers, Huawei and ZTE are throwing everything - including their huge credit lines for vendor financing - at gaining early LTE trials, which puts them in the spotlight even if commercial roll-outs are often two years or more away. The latest points go to ZTE, which has won field trial contracts with Telefónica in Spain and CSL in Hong Kong.

This comes shortly after Huawei highlighted its LTE deal with Netcom of Norway, and the Chinese duo are, early market estimates indicate, coming close to Ericsson in terms of their penetration of stage one LTE trials - and ahead of Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia Siemens.

Telefónica confirmed reports by Light Reading that ZTE's trial will take place in the third quarter. While success at the Spanish firm may not translate into meaningful revenue any time soon (and Ericsson has already conducted LTE trials with Telefónica too), it will still be a major boost for the vendor. It has not been as successful in getting tier one western carrier deals as its compatriot - although its overall wireless equipment market share grew at a similar rate to that of Huawei in the past 12 months, its base is far more concentrated on the lower margin developing markets.

By contrast with Telefónica, CSL is already a major customer for ZTE and one of the first commercial users of its software defined base station platform, which it is currently rolling out in an IP-based HSPA+ network across Hong Kong. In a recent interview with Telecoms.com, Tarek Robbiati, CEO of the Telstra subsidiary, said: "Further consolidation will come in the next three to five years. In the end there will be only three [infrastructure vendors] left, and two of them will be Chinese. The European vendors are just too slow."

With LTE firmly at the top of the hype curve in 2009, WiMAX is somewhat overshadowed in the headlines, but did make a strong impression at last week's CommunicAsia show in Singapore, highlighting how the technology has gained a higher profile in Asia than in Europe - because of the importance of the Taiwanese ODMs and vendors like Samsung, as well as a large number of deployments in countries like Japan, Vietnam, Korea and Taiwan.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Firefly for British Kids



A new mobile designed for kids, the Firefly phone, is set to launch in Britain later this year, but the four year-old target audience already has adults in uproar.

The Firefly phone, a tiny handset for toddlers which packs just five buttons including “Mum” and “Dad” keys, and extensive parental controls, has been a hit in Ireland, and it set to go on sale in the UK later this year.

But the phone has caused concern amongst parental groups, with Aine Lynch, chief executive of the National Parents Council going so far as to question “where parental responsibility is going”.
“Why would kids need to be contacted by mobile phone? Why are they not in the care of their parents, teachers or supervisors?”, she said.


Indeed. Still it could be amusing to see nursery lessons interrupted by the Nokia ringtone, and we’ve seen tweens rocking iPhones before so perhaps a controlled environment is better than nothing at all. And certainly more appropriate than the Penis phone. We’ll let you know if the Firefly phone leads to the downfall of civilization or not.


Surprisingly this phone was announced couple of years back, I cant see why its taking so long.

The French have already said no to such phones but we Britishers are much more tolerant (in all aspects ;) so you may find children using them soon.

Tim Dowling from the Guardian argues against it:

There can be no earthly reason why a child of four would need a mobile phone, but there must be dozens of reasons why it shouldn't have a Firefly. Here are just a few:
  • It is not possible to conduct a fruitful phone conversation with a four year old, as you will know if you have ever tried.
  • Four-year-olds rarely, if ever, have information to impart of such significance that it cannot wait until they are five.
  • A Firefly costs £60. Without a sim card.
  • Your child should always be in the company of a responsible adult who has a phone you didn't have to pay for.
  • A four-year-old with its own phone will spend all day attempting to contact Pocoyo.
  • Four-year-olds never hang up.
  • 52% of children between the ages of five and nine already own a mobile. Chances are you will have to buy the child a phone next year anyway, and they won't want a pink toy that doesn't do YouTube.
  • If you don't know where your four-year-old is, there's no point in ringing him. He doesn't know where he is either.
  • For much less money you can get tiny T-shirts with your phone number and the word REWARD printed on them.
  • Four-year-olds are enough trouble as it is. The last thing we want to do is give them is the means to organise.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

ALU and Vodafone hit the first goal in Femtocell World Summit

We have been hearing this for over a year now about Alcatel-Lucent Femtocell being trialled by Vodafone and finally we had this good news in the Femtocell World Summit.

Vodafone has announced the Femtocell World Summit today that its launching the first commercial Femtocell based service on the 1st of July.

Many European and Asian operators have trialled the tiny indoor base stations, and have been forceful in driving standards, but commercial deployments have so far been confined to the US, where Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel are live with limited function CDMA devices and AT&T is to follow soon, using fully blown products from Cisco and the UK's ip.access. Now Vodafone, which has conducted a range of trials in various territories and with different suppliers, has delivered its always hefty endorsement by leapfrogging rival triallists like Telefonica/O2 with a live offering.

Vodafone 's move is important for the sector not because it is supporting any groundbreaking applications in the first stage - the launch is firmly focused on improved indoor signals - but because it quietens the major source of nervousness about femtos, that they are not sufficiently tried and tested for mass consumer roll-out. This has led some suppliers to argue that operators will not move beyond trials for at least another year and possibly longer, delaying the payback for vendors and other involved parties.

Vodafone is understood to be using femtocells from Alcatel-Lucent, probably the most prominent tier one wireless vendor to offer its own devices rather than badging those of a specialist supplier. ALU's products run on the architecture of UK-based picoChip, which also supplies the silicon for ip.access and others. Live roll-outs by Vodafone and AT&T will be valuable for the credibility of the whole segment, and for the sustainability of the specialist start-ups like picoChip.

I have been in the past been involved with IOT testing on ALU Femtocells so I am feeling quite pleased about this.

The Vodafone Access Gateway (VAG) as its being called will be sold for £160. Customers who pay £15 or more per month on contract will get it free.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Free Sim, Free Calls forever and no Topup needed - Welcome to '3'

Free Skype-to-Skype calls and instant messaging, free Windows Live messenger and free voice mail in the UK. Welcome to a new contract called SIM Zero from '3' UK.

A minimum contract period of 30 days and the ability to make free Skype calls, all for the princely amount of £0 per month is not bad at all. For the occasional one off calls or texts, 3 will charge users 20p per minute regardless of the networks and the time of call while texts will cost users 10p each. Furthermore, each MB of data will be charged at 30p which is fairly reasonable.

If you are likely to make more than 45 minutes worth of calls per month AND you'd like to stick to 3, then they've got a £9 price plan that gives you 100 anytime, any network minutes or texts, or any mix of the two plus free 300 minutes of 3-to-3 calls and a free mobile phone.

Users will not be coerced into topping up their mobile account regularly; 3 recommends using either theh INQ1 or the Skypephone S2 which are both available for £70 for the contract. Nevertheless, you should be able to plug any 3G phone to get the service.

Via: IT Portal