Showing posts with label USA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label USA. Show all posts

Monday, 11 May 2020

5G Remote Surgery and Telehealth Solutions


One of the most controversial 5G use cases is the remote surgery. In this post I want to quickly look at the history and what is possible. Before I go to that, here is a short summary video that I am embedding upfront.



As far as I can recall, Ericsson was the first vendor that started talking about remote surgery. This is a tweet from back in 2017.


Huawei didn't want to be far behind so they did one at MWC Shanghai in 2018. Their tweet with video is embedded below.


In January 2019, South China Morning Post (SCMP) showed a video of a remote surgery on an animal. While the video and the article didn't provide many details, I am assuming this was done by Huawei as detailed here. The video of the surgery below.



This was followed by Mobile World Congress 2019 demo where a doctor used 5G to direct surgery live from a stage at MWC to Hospital Clinic Barcelona over 3 miles away. The team of doctors was removing a cancerous tumor from a patient's colon. This video from that is embedded below.



Vodafone New Zealand had a silly remote surgery of a dog video but looks like they have removed it.  Nothing can beat this Telecom Italia ad embedded below.



There are some realistic use cases. One of them being that with 5G the number of cables / wires in a hospital can be reduced saving on the disinfection.
NTT Docomo showcased 5G Mobile SCOT (Smart Cyber Operating Theater) which is an Innovative solution to enable advanced medical treatment in diverse environments. You can read more details here.

There are lots of other things going on. Here is a short list:
  • April 2020: Because of Coronavirus COVID-19, NT Times has an article on Telemedicine Arrives in the U.K.: ‘10 Years of Change in One Week’ - even though this does not involve 5G, it just shows that we are moving in that direction.
  • February 2020: 5G-aided remote CT scans used to diagnose COVID-19 patients in China (link)
  • February 2020: Verizon teamed with Emory Healthcare to test new 5G use cases for the medical industry at the latter’s Innovation Hub in Atlanta, in a bid to discover how the technology can be used to improve patient care. The collaboration will explore applications including connected ambulances; remote physical therapy; medical imaging; and use of AR and VR for training. (link)
  • February 2020: Vodafone 5G Healthcare – Conference & Experience Day (link)
  • November 2019: TIM enables first live remote-surgery consultation using 5G immersive reality (link)
  • October 2019: Along with a hospital in Malaga, Telefónica has presented what it claims is the first expert assistance system for medical interventions that runs on 5G. (link and video)
  • September 2019: Mobile Future Forward 2019 - World's First Remote VR Surgery Demo conducted on Sept 4th, 2019 in Seattle by Chetan Sharma, James Youngquist, Evie Powell, Nissim Hadar, David Colmenares, and Gabe Jones. (link)

Finally, a nice video on Benefits of 5G for Healthcare Technology by T-Mobile



Related Posts:

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Mobile Voice Communications is neither Dying, nor Dead!

If you have been following the mobile industry for a long time, you could be forgiven for thinking that voice communications is dead. This 2013 article for example talks about the impending death of voice and this 2018 article talks about how smartphones have killed the art of conversation. These are just examples and I have read many similar articles in the last 5-10 years.

The thing is that a lot of unnecessary calls became SMS and messages once the price of SMS and data went down. Similarly, voice ceased to be a differentiator in many markets so they started offering unlimited voice and/or SMS locally. This does not necessarily solve my requirements for international calling so I moved on to Viber, WeChat and WhatsApp.

The annual TeleGeography Report and Database update (just released) estimates that international over-the-top (OTT) voice traffic reached 1 trillion minutes in 2019, compared to just 432 billion minutes of international carrier traffic.

Anyway, with the lockdown in many countries because of coronavirus COVID-19, people have re-discovered the use of voice communications again. While I prefer having meetings on the internet, sometimes it's just simpler to call using your phone. A friend discovered that while she has some 40 GB data allowance that was generally more than enough, working from home means that she is having to use her device as a hotspot that is using up all her data. Switching from OTT calling to unlimited voice calling in her package means that she doesn't have to worry about voice calls eating her data package.

She is not alone. Operators all over are reporting the rise in voice communications:

  • 27 Mar 2020 - O2 UK reported, "Since March 16th we have seen approximately 57% more voice traffic at the busiest point of the day. Typically voice traffic increases 5% year on year, and in a week we have experienced an increase of voice traffic comparable to nine years of regular demand." (link)
  • 26 Mar 2020 - Official numbers reported by CTIA from Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and U.S. Cellular stated that mobile voice traffic was up 24.3% while mobile data traffic was up 9.2% (see photo above - link)
  • 24 Mar 2020 - Telenor Norwar tweeted, "Traffic has increased sharply since the coronary smith was seriously registered in this country. 50% increase in mobile voice, 25% increase in mobile data and 30-40% increase in fixed broadband"
  • 24 Mar 2020 - T-Mobile USA released some interesting stats including gaming, etc. With regards to voice, their announcement said, "People are talking and texting more. Messaging is up dramatically, with a 26% increase in SMS (texting) and a 77% increase in MMS (pictures, multi-party texts, etc.). And, the amount of time people spend on calls has increased 17% nationwide." (link)
  • 20 Mar 2020 - Telia in Denmark reported, "Thursday, March 12, the volume of speech in the network thus increased by 24% compared to the day before. Over the weekend 50% more was spoken - obviously due to a need to gain status on family and friends in the new situation. In the past working week, about 60% more has been spoken on the phone than on a normal week in March." (translated from original)
Is voice important for an operator? Probably not very much in the developed markets where users pay a good amount for data packages. In developing countries, voice is still a good source of revenue. At the TIP summit last year, Malaysian telecom giant Axiata said that ""every gigabyte costs about $1.40 to manufacture...generates only 80 cents in revenue...The 2G voice business currently funds any losses". This is not a long term sustainable model for these operators.


Funnily I just remembered that in a survey of over 1000 people in the USA regarding what they want from 5G, the third most important thing was "clearer voice quality". If you want to understand how voice quality is measured that see this tweet below


We may keep on seeing a boom in voice traffic as more lockdowns occur and they are even stricter. We will have to wait and see of this habit of talking sticks or it's just for this unusual situation.

Related Posts:

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Private 4G / 5G Cellular Networks and Bring Your Own Spectrum


With 4G maturing, private cellular networks are finally getting the attention that they deserve and has been promised for quite a while. In a Industry Analyst event, Nokia announced that they are running 120+ private networks including transportation, Energy, Public sector, Smart cities, manufacturing and logistics, etc. (tweet below). The Enterprise Business division is now accounting for 5% of the revenue.
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief at Light Reading, in an opinion on Telecoms.com pointed out:

One of the more immediate revenue stream opportunities right now is wireless private networks, and the good news is that this opportunity doesn’t require 5G. Instead, the potential looks set to be enhanced by the availability of a full set of 5G standards (including the yet-to-be concluded core network specs) and the maturity of associated technology.

In the meantime, 4G/LTE has already been the cellular foundation for an increasingly thriving wireless private networks sector that, according to ABI Research, will be worth $16.3 billion by 2025

Another market sizing prediction, this time by SNS Telecom & IT, pitches annual spending on private 4G and 5G networks at $4.7 billion by the end of 2020 and almost $8 billion by 2023. 

However this plays out, there’s clear anticipation of growing investment. What’s particularly interesting, though, is which organizations might pocket that investment. That’s because enterprises and/or organizations looking to benefit from having a private wireless network have a number of options once they decide to move ahead with a private network – here are three permutations that look most likely to me:
  1. Build and run it themselves – technology vendors get some sales in this instance
  2. Outsource the network planning, construction and possibly even the day-to-day. management of the network to a systems integrator (SI) – the SI and some vendors get the spoils. It’s possible here, of course, that the SI could be a technology vendor.
  3. Outsource to a mobile network operator – the operator and some vendors will get some greenbacks.
For sure there will be other permutations, but it shows how many different parts of the ecosystem have some skin in the game, which is what makes this sector so interesting.

What’s also interesting, of course, is what the enterprises do with their private networks: Does it enhance operations? Help reduce costs? Create new business opportunities? All of the above?

Let’s not forget the role of the regulators in all of this. In the US the private wireless sector has been given a shot in the arm by the availability of CBRS (Citizens Broadband Radio Service) shared spectrum in the currently unlicensed 3.5 GHz band: This has given rise to numerous trials and deployments in locations such as sports stadiums, Times Square and even prisons.

In Germany, the regulator has set aside 100MHz of 5G spectrum for private, industrial networks has caused a storm and even led to accusations from the mobile operators that the move ramped up the cost of licenses in the spectrum auction held earlier this year.

In the UK, Ofcom is making spectrum available in four bands:
  • the 1800 MHz and 2300 MHz shared spectrum bands, which are currently used for mobile services;
  • the 3.8-4.2 GHz band, which supports 5G services, and
  • the 26 GHz band, which has also been identified as one of the main bands for 5G in the future.
Slide shared by Mansoor Hanif, CTO, Ofcom at TIP Summit 2019

The process to enable companies and organizations (Ofcom has identified manufacturers, business parks, holiday/theme parks and farms as potential users) in the UK to apply for spectrum will go live before the end of this year, with Ofcom believing that thousands of private networks could be up and running in the coming years.

Dean Bubley from Disruptive Analysis recently spoke about BYOSpectrum – Why private cellular is a game-changer at TAD Summit. The talk is embedded below and is definitely worth listening:



TelecomPaper reported:

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy said that companies can start to apply to use 5G frequencies in the 3.7-3.8 GHz range on industrial campuses. Local frequencies enable firms to build their own private networks, rather than rely on telecommunications providers to build networks. 

The Automotive Industry Association (VDA) and other industry associations including the VCI, VDMA and ZVEI have welcomed the allocation of frequencies for industrial campuses. According to VDA, several dozen companies have already registered their interest in such frequencies with the Federal Network Agency. 

The firms believe that 5G can replace existing networks, including WLAN, provide improved coverage of entire company premises, enable full control over company data and reduce disruption to public mobile networks.

The spectrum licences will be allocated based on the applicant's geographic footprint and use of a certain area. Prices also take account the area covered by the network, as well as the amount of bandwidth used and duration of the licence.

The formula for the prices is very interesting as shown in the tweet below



In Japan, NTT Docomo is working in co-operation with industry partners to help them to create their own private 5G networks. More announcements on this are expected at MWC next year.



Finally, I am running an Introduction to Private 4G /5G Networks Workshop with Dean Bubley on 04 Feb 2020. If this is an area of interest, consider attending it.



Related Posts:

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Update on UK's Emergency Services Network (ESN) from #BAPCO2019


I have discussed about the UK's Emergency Services Network (ESN) multiple times but I manged to hear about the progress first hand this week. Bryan Clark, ESN Programme Director, Home Office gave a keynote address at BAPCO on Day 2 and the title of his presentation was "2019: The year vision becomes reality"

British APCO or BAPCO Annual Conference and Exhibition 2019 was going to be a big launchpad for the ESN network. The ESN LinkedIn post said "Representatives from ESN and EE will be on hand to discuss coverage and ESN Assure. See an installation of the ESN Gateway solution within a police car, plus a live demonstration showing how ESN coverage can be extended from a vehicle into a building. We’ll also have a ‘Motorola Zone’ where you can watch demos of Kodiak and the ESN self-service portal – and a large touchscreen demo of the Samsung ESN Galaxy"


Bryan started by cracking a joke about people referring to 'ESN' as 'ES When' programme because it has been delayed multiple times. He said straight in the beginning that he going to talk about what the ESN programme is doing now and what comes next.

He started with this short video, embedded below but detailed info available on this LinkedIn post

x

So here is a short summary of the talk:
  • There are roughly 350,000 customers of this service
  • There are 137 separate organizations that will take advantage of this new this new technology. 
  • There are couple of vehicles in the display area (pic on the top and video below) and roughly 50,000 vehicles that need to have a kit
  • Over 100 aircraft need to have an air network access that currently isn't there. 
  • There are nearly 30 direct suppliers to the program and that doesn't include the whole supply chain through each of those suppliers.
  • Looking at the coverage, there is a commitment to providing a signal along half a million (0.5 million) kilometers of roads in England, Scotland & Wales. It extends 12 nautical miles out to sea and 10,000 feet in the air right across England, Scotland & Wales.
  • In London alone there are over 400 kilometres of tunnels that were actually almost finished cabling out.
  • 300 masts are being built as part of the ESN programme to extend services into remote areas.
  • EE has extended their network by adding 700 additional masts. 
  • Thousands of special locations will need to have effective access to ESN network
  • ESN is a large programme so it's hardly surprising that it's very late. It's Bryan's job over the past 10 months to work out how to get it back on track. 
  • People are going through quite a detailed review of where ESN has got to in terms of next steps. 
  • The programme now has a very clear and approved plan to complete the technical element of the work, most of it should be done by late summer next year.
  • One of the first products, Assure, is a way of testing the effectiveness of the network in the field. 
  • A demonstration of Push-To-Talk (PTT) on a 4G network will be demoed within 3 weeks.
  • This is the first generation end-to-end solution
  • Emergency services is critical national infrastructure so any new solution can only replace the legacy once we are absolutely confident that we've got an effective replacement
  • Even though the technical piece is quite challenging, when you compare it to the business change that follows, the technical part looks pretty simple. 
  • To ensure that everything works effectively operationally, plans are in place but more detailed plans are going to follow in the coming three to four months.
  • Individual components are already being tested in the field
  • Programme deployment should start by the end of 2019 in terms of having basically completed laying the core components and a clear plan will be in place for how to test in an operational context. 
  • The ESN programme is not only responsible for the replacement solution but also for operations to date based on the Airwave contract with Motorola currently
  • The number one priority is to provide critical voice communications of sufficient quality that people can rely on in the field and enable them to move away from the TETRA technology that served them so well. So we aren't going anywhere until we've got rock solid critical voice communications. It's our number one priority, simply because people's lives depend on it.
The following are various videos from the ESN demo area. The Gateway device (which is a mobile small cell) is supplied by Parallel Wireless*.



In case you missed BAPCO, Ken Rehbehn, a very well known Industry Analyst who works as a Principal Analyst at Critical Communications Insights and is also Montgomery County Firefighter/EMT, shared his observations and reflections from conference. Very grateful for his interview which is embedded below



Further Reading:




Related posts:

*Full Disclosure: I work for Parallel Wireless as a Senior Director in Strategic Marketing. This blog is maintained in my personal capacity and expresses my own views, not the views of my employer or anyone else. Anyone who knows me well would know this.

Monday, 27 November 2017

5G and CBRS Hype?

The dissenting voices on 5G and CBRS are getting louder. While there are many analysts & operators who have been cautioning against 5G, its still moving ahead with a rapid pace. In the recent Huawei Mobile Broadband forum for example, BT's boss admitted that making case for 5G is hard. Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, CTO of Deutsche Telekom on the other hand is sitting on the fence. Dean Bubley's LinkedIn post is interesting too.



Anyway, we have storified most of the tweets from Huawei Mobile Broadband Forum here.


Signals Research Group recently published their Signals Flash report, which is different from the more detailed Signals Ahead reports looking at 5G and CBRS, in addition to other topics. I have embedded the report below (with permission - thanks Mike) but you can download your own copy from here.

The summary from their website will give a good idea of what that is about:

CBRS – Much Ado About Not Very Much.  The FCC is heading in the right direction with how it might regulate the spectrum. However, unless you are a WISP or a private entity looking to deploy a localized BWA service, we don’t see too many reasons to get excited.

Handicapping the 5G Race.  Millimeter wave networks will be geographically challenged, 600 MHz won’t scale or differentiate from LTE, Band 41 may be the most promising, but this isn’t saying much. Can network virtualization make a winner?

It makes no Cents! Contrary to widespread belief,  5G won’t be a new revenue opportunity for operators – at least in the near term. The vertical markets need to get on board while URLLC will lag eMBB and prove far more difficult to deploy.

This Fierce Wireless article summarises the issues with CBRS well.

“While (some) issues are being addressed, the FCC can’t solve how to carve up 150 MHz of spectrum between everyone that wants a piece of the pie, while also ensuring that everyone gets a sufficient amount of spectrum,” the market research firm said in a report. “The 150 MHz is already carved up into 7- MHz for PAL (Priority Access License) and 80 MHz for GAA (General Authorized Access). The pecking order for the spectrum is incumbents, followed by PAL, and then by GAA…. 40 MHz sounds like a lot of spectrum, but when it comes to 5G and eMBB, it is only somewhat interesting, in our opinion. Further, if there are multiple bidders going after the PAL licenses then even achieving 40 MHz could be challenging.”

Signals said that device compatibility will also be a significant speed bump for those looking to leverage CBRS. Manufacturers won’t invest heavily to build CBRS-compatible phones until operators deploy infrastructure “in a meaningful way,” but those operators will need handsets that support the spectrum for those network investments to pay dividends. So while CBRS should prove valuable for network operators, it may not hold as much value for those who don’t own wireless infrastructure.

“The device ecosystem will develop but it is likely the initial CBRS deployments will target the more mundane applications, like fixed wireless access and industrial IoT applications,” the firm said. “We believe infrastructure and devices will be able to span the entire range of frequencies—CBRS and C-Band—and the total amount of available spectrum, combined with the global interest in the C-Band for 5G services, will make CBRS more interesting and value to operators. Operators will just have to act now, and then wait patiently for everything to fall into place.”

While many parts of the world are focusing on using frequencies around and above 3.5GHz for 5G, USA would be the only country using it for 4G. I suspect that many popular devices may not support CBRS but could be good for Fixed Wireless Access (FWA). It remains to be seen if economy of scale would be achieved.


Sunday, 12 March 2017

High Power / Performance User Equipment (#HPUE)

3GPP refers to HPUE as High Power UE while the US operator Sprint prefers to use the term High Performance UE.

HPUE was initially defined for US Public Safety Band 14 (700MHz). The intention was that this high power UEs can increase the coverage range from 4km to 8km. This would mean larger coverage areas and less number of cells.

While the commercial UE's (class 3) transmit at +23dBm (max 200mW), the Public Safety people intend to use class 1 UE transmitting +31 dBm (max 1.25W). It was felt that this feature could be beneficial for some TDD bands that do not have to worry about backward compatibility. One such band, pushed by Sprint was TDD Band 41 (2500MHz). As this band is for the commercial UE's, instead of class 1, class 2 power at +26dBm (max 400mW) was proposed.

3GPP TS 36.886 provides the following justification:

Currently, 3GPP has defined only Power Class UE 3 as the type of UE supported for TDD LTE band 41 operations. This definition was based on aligning TDD LTE Band 41 UE power classes with prior work in 3GPP related to other bands. However, it should be mentioned that 3GPP UE Power Class 3 definition (i.e. 23dBm) was mainly driven to ensure backward compatibility with prior technologies (i.e. GSM/UMTS) [2] so that network deployment topologies remain similar. Furthermore, maintaining the same power class UE definition (i.e. Class 3) as previous technologies would maintaining compliance with various national regulatory rulings, particularly in terms of SAR, for FDD LTE duplexing mode. 

However, TDD LTE band 41 does not have any 3GPP legacy technologies associated with it, hence the backward compatibility consideration is not applicable in its case. Also, since band 41 is defined as a TDD LTE band, it is less susceptible to SAR levels that FDD LTE bands due to SAR definition. Therefore, defining a new UE power class with higher than 23dBm Tx power for TDD LTE Band 41 operations would not compromise any of 3GPP foundational work, while improving UE and network performance. It should also be mentioned that 3GPP has done similar work on other bands (i.e. band 14) when defining a higher power class UE, hence the concept presented in this document is a continuation of that process.

The present document carries out a feasibility analysis for defining a UE Power class 2 (i.e. 26dBm) for operation on TDD LTE band 41. The document analyses current and future technological advancements in the area of UE RF front-end components and architectures that enable such definition while maintaining 3GPP specification and other regulatory bodies' requirements. It should be emphasized that this proposal only relates to single carrier UL operations on TDD band 41 (i.e. TM-1/2 modes) without affecting current 3GPP definition for UL carrier aggregation on band 41.

As you can see from the tweet above, Sprint CEO is quite pleased with the HPUE. 

SourceDiana Goovaerts

Iain Gillott, iGR points out that HPUE applies to Sprint’s 2.5 GHz TDD network and associated spectrum, and the company claims up to 30 percent increase in cell cover from the new technology.  It should be noted that HPUE is a 3GPP standard that applies to the 2.5 GHz TDD band (Band 41) and is also to be used by China Mobile and Softbank.  HPUE was developed as part of the Global TDD LTE Initiative (GTI) which includes Qualcomm Technologies, Samsung, ZTE, Broadcom, MediaTek, Skyworks Solutions, Alcatel, Motorola, LG and Qorvo... The cool part: the improvement in coverage comes from simply improving the device uplink power.  So Sprint, China Mobile and Softbank will not have to visit their cell sites to make changes; they just need 2.5 GHz TDD devices with HPUE to get the benefit.


Milan Milanović recently wrote about Sprint’s Gigabit Class LTE network goes live in New Orleans. One of the questions I had was why is the uplink so rubbish as compared to downlink. He kindly pointed out to me that this is TDD config 2
If you are wondering what is TDD Config 2, see the pic below
Source: ShareTechNote

Sprint expects HPUE to appear in postpaid devices starting in 2017, including new devices from Samsung, LG, HTC, and Moto. It’s expected that all of Sprint’s new devices will have HPUE support within the next two years.

I think it would be interesting to see how this impacts when there are a lot more users and devices. I am quite sure there will be more requests for HPUE in further TDD bands.

Related Links:

Sunday, 12 June 2016

AT&T's 5G Trials


There was a news recently that "AT&T 5G trials expand, break 10 Gbps throughput". The article said:

Austin, Texas, where RCR Wireless News and Industrial IoT 5G Insights is headquartered, is where AT&T worked with the Federal Communications Commission to get an experimental license to conduct 5G technology trials using spectrum in the 3.4-3.6 GHz, 3.7-4.2 GHz, 14.5-15.35 GHz and 27.5-28.5 GHz bands. The carrier said the testing would be used for “experimental equipment” in support of “potential (5G) multi-gigabyte per second applications for fixed and mobile wireless communication networks at higher transmission rates and lower latency than is currently available,” and supporting voice, video and data.
...
“We’ve seen great results in our 5G lab trials, including reaching speeds above 10 gigabits per second in early tests with Ericsson,” said Tom Keathley, SVP of wireless network architecture and design at AT&T. “Nokia is joining to help us test millimeter wave, which we expect to play a key role in 5G development and deployment. The work coming out of AT&T Labs will pave the way toward future international 5G standards and allow us to deliver these fast 5G speeds and network performance across the U.S.”

While I have seen speed records being set, this will not be of much help in the final standards. Some of you may remember my earlier post where Huawei achieved over 100Gbps in their labs. See here.

A video from recent AT&T mmWave trials is below:

Sunday, 5 July 2015

A tale of two Smart Cities

Over the last few months I heard quite a few talks about Smart Cities. Here are two that I thought its worth posting and a very good TEDx talk at the bottom



I think we all agree that more and more people will move from rural to urban areas and the cities will not only grow in population but also in size. The infrastructure will have to grow to be able to cope with the influx of people and increased demand on services.



I guess in most developed nations we have the 1.0 Era Digital City which is long way away from the 3.0 Era Smart City.



To be a full fledged 3.0 Smart City, every aspect of our life may need to evolve into "Smart". Anyway, here is the complete presentation:





While IoT would be important, access, big data, applications, etc. all will have a role to play.



If you want to find out more about the Milton Keynes smart city, also see this video on Youtube. There are driverless pods and other autonomous cars which may be considered as initial step towards smart cities, see this interesting video here.

Finally here is the TEDx talk about designing these smart cities for future:


Saturday, 25 April 2015

Mobile Telecoms Technology & Market Disruptions

Sometimes its good to take a step back and look at the new applications and services that are already happening or may be happening sometime soon. Some of these have a possibility to disrupt the existing industries and markets, giving rise to not only new players but a completely new order.

Embedded below is a presentation from Dean Bubley of Disruptive Analysis. While there are a few things that I look at differently, there are many interesting points that the industry should already be looking at.


A good example of disruption would be the SIM card evolution that Apple introduced in iPadAir2 and iPadMini3. While they had great expectations, it didnt work out exactly as they had hoped due to the operators not letting Apple use the feature they wanted. In fact John Legere, T-Mobile US CEO, took to twitter to explain the problem. See here.

Another example is the new MVNO model by Google (Fi) in the USA. The problem in USA compared to Europe is that the operators have monopoly in many areas (fixed and mobile) and they can also get away with charging far higher amounts.




In addition, the problem that the operators have is that they focus on areas where they don't have issues; crying wolf if required. An example is taking advantage of 'data tsunami' and using it to hoard spectrum, as be seen from the tweet below:

Anyway, here is the presentation. Let me know what you think.



Friday, 12 December 2014

5G Spectrum and challenges

I was looking at the proposed spectrum for 5G last week. Anyone who follows me on Twitter would have seen the tweets from last weekend already. I think there is more to discuss then just tweet them so here it is.




Metis has the most comprehensive list of all the bands identified from 6GHz, all the way to 86GHz. I am not exactly sure but the slide also identifies who/what is currently occupying these bands in different parts of the world.


The FCC in the USA has opened a Notice of Inquiry (NoI) for using the bands above 24GHz for mobile broadband. The frequency bands above have a potential as there is a big contiguous chunk of spectrum available in each band.



Finally, the slides from ETRI, South Korea show that they want to have 500MHz bandwidth in frequencies above 6GHz.

As I am sure we all know, the higher the frequency, the lower the cell size and penetration indoors. The advantage on the other hand is smaller cell sizes, leading to higher data rates. The antennas also become smaller at higher frequencies thereby making it easier to have higher order MIMO (and massive MIMO). The only way to reliably be able to do mobile broadband is to use beamforming. The tricky part with that is the beam has to track the mobile user which may be an issue at higher speeds.

The ITU working party 5D, recently released a draft report on 'The technical feasibility of IMT in the bands above 6 GHz'. The document is embedded below.




xoxoxo Added Later (13/12/2014) xoxoxo
Here are some links on the related topic:


xoxoxo Added Later (18/12/2014) xoxoxo
Moray Rumney from Keysight (Agilent) gave a presentation on this topic in the Cambridge Wireless Mobile Broadband SIG event yesterday, his presentation is embedded below.



Friday, 4 July 2014

Cell capacity and Opportunistic Use of Unlicensed and Shared Spectrum

One very interesting presentation from the LTE World Summit was about Improving the cell capacity by using unlicensed and shared spectrum opportunistically. Kamran Etemad is a senior advisor to FCC & UCMP and even though he was presenting this in his personal capacity, it reflected some interesting views that are quite prevalent in the USA.

If you don't know about Dynamic Spectrum Access Schemes, I wrote a post on the Small Cells blog here. The slide above is quite interesting as it shows the possibility of a 'Generalized' Carrier Aggregation in 3GPP Release-13. Personally, we believe that LTE + WiFi working together will be far more successful than LTE + LTE-U (unlicensed). As the blog readers would be aware, we have been pushing our vision of LTE + Wi-Fi working together; which we are calling as 4.5G. In case if you have not seen, our whitepaper is here.

The presentation is embedded below for reference:


Sunday, 1 June 2014

Internet Trends 2014, by Mary Meeker



Its June, time for the Internet Trends update by Mary Meeker, KPCB. Last year's update has crossed 3 million views on Slideshare. So many interesting slides, difficult to pick up some of the best ones to add here. I have selected a few that I really liked. The first being the growth in Smartphones and Tablets, as compared to PC's and Television's.



The other very interesting point to highlight is that the number of SMS's are decreasing and the number of OTT messages are rising. Just two days back, BITKOM, Germany released the news that SMS's are declining drastically in Germany. OTT's are taking over, rightly so.



Finally, with people doing too much multi-tasking, the above slide highlights what people are doing while watching TV.

Here is the complete set of slides:



Related news on the web:
  • Forbes: Are We In A Tech Bubble? Not Really, According To Mary Meeker's Latest Report
  • Business Insider: Mary Meeker's Stunning 2014 Presentation On The State Of The Web
  • Quartz: Mary Meeker’s 2014 internet trends report: all the slides plus highlights
  • Forbes: Mary Meeker's Web Video Love Affair
  • Guardian: Mary Meeker: 2015 will be about 'findable data' and mobile sensors
  • Business Insider, Australia: In 3 Big Slides, Here's Why Mary Meeker Is Optimistic About The Future Of American Healthcare
  • Tech2: What Mary Meeker’s 2014 trends report says about India’s Internet usage

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Internet Trends by Mary Meeker at #D11

The last time I posted the presentation by Mary Meeker was back in 2011 but the things have moved on and its amazing to see some of the things that have changed. I think the slide that summarises what I mean is as follows:

Nomophobia and FOMO are a big problem and I see this day in day out working in this industry.

The slide pack which was actually posted yesterday has already crossed 550K as I write this, in just 1 day. So you can understand how eagerly awaited event this has become every year.



To download the above, click on the Slideshare icon and then you can save from Slideshare site.

If you want to watch the video of her presentation, its available on All things digital website here.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Is the Global Mobile Roaming model broken?

Yesterday, I noticed some heavyweights discussing roaming prices on Twitter. It is embedded below using the new Twitter embed feature:


Those who follow me on Twitter may have noticed me ranting about the roaming prices recently so I thought that this is a perfect opportunity to put my thoughts down.

As being discussed above, I went on the websites of two UK operators and found out about their roaming rates to India and The USA and they are as follows:


 It should be noted that there is a better rate available with some kind of bundle opt-in from both the operators and I have not shown about the other UK operators but they offer a similar sort of rate so I am not trying to single out O2 and/or Vodafone.

Since LTE is 'All-IP' network my interest is more from Data point of view rather than the voice point of view. A colleague who went to India recently decided that enough is enough and he bought a SIM in India locally. Apparently is just a bit too difficult to get SIM in India if you are not an Indian resident, nevertheless he somehow managed it. The rates as shown below was INR 24 for 100 MB of data.


Rs. 24 is something like $0.50 or £0.35. You see my problem regarding the data rates? People may be quick to point out here that India has the cheapest data rates in the world. On the other hand we look at US, the rates are as follows:

Even if we assume $15 / 1GB data, its far cheaper than the roaming rate which may be something like,  £3/MB = £3000/GB or £6/MB = £6000/GB.

I blogged about all the interesting developments that have been happening in LTE World Summit regarding the roaming solutions but what is the point of having all these solutions if the operators cant work out a way to reduce these costs. Or is it that they do not want to reduce these costs as they are a good source of income?

The operators complain that the OTT services are taking business away from them and turning them into dumb data pipes but to a lot of extent its their fault. People like me who travel often dont want to spend loads of cash on data and have worked out a way around it. Most of the places I visit have WiFi, most of my work is not urgent enough and I can wait till I am in a WiFi coverage area. In some parts of the world, still I have to buy an expensive WiFi access but compared to the roaming rates, its still cheap so I have stopped complaining about it. My decision to book a hotel depends of reviews, free breakfast and free WiFi. Some of our clients who give us their phone to use abroad strictly inform us that data should not be turned on unless its a matter of life and death.

If the operators dont change their strategies and work out a better solution for the roaming rates I am afraid that their short term gains will only lead to long term pains.

Do you have an opinion? I am interested in hearing.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

10 Billion out of 50 Billion - The Connected World


Remember the mantra of 50 Billion connected devices (blogged here and here) but 202x, apparently 10Billion are already here. The above slide is from a latest presentation by Chetan Sharma Consulting (embedded below). There are already 7 Billion mobile devices (phones + dongles) and 3 Billion others. The number of others will increase with M2M being the main focus and is touted as the next big thing, especially with LTE. 3GPP is focussing very heavily on standardising the MTC and is working on new features in upcoming releases.

Coming back to the topic of connected world, the presentation is embedded below and is a good read.



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, 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.