Thursday, 31 May 2007

HSUPA - Ready for Rollout

There were two news items on HSUPA this month that caught my attention. The first was about SK Telecom in Korea.

SK Telecom Co. is preparing to launch a high-speed uplink packet access (HSUPA) service, according to a report from The Korea Herald. This mobile technology has enhanced data upload capabilities, theoretically allowing up to 5.76Mbps in upload and 14.4Mbps in download speeds. Its predecessor can only carry an upload rate of up to 2Mbps.

The South Korean carrier will launch the HSUPA service in selected areas in Busan next month (June), the report said, with expansion planned for Seoul and satellite cities early next year. SK Telecom plans to retail 2Mbps-level HSUPA USB modems as early as October.


Nearly 237,065 subscribers have signed up for the 3G+ service out of the carrier's 20.66 million cellphone users as of May 13 this year.

The other was HSUPA tested by Orange Romania:

Orange Romania says that it has successfully conducted its first HSUPA tests, a technology providing high speed for data uplink, up to 1.92 Mbps. The first tests with Huawei technology were carried out in Slatina and enabled the first data call using HSUPA technology (High Speed Uplink Packet Access). The average uplink speed for sending 10 MB files 10 times, with a single user and good radio conditions, was 1.1 Mbps. Similar test results were produced when working with two users and good radio conditions.

Orange Romania has already announced the launch of the HSUPA technology before the end of this year.

In June, Orange customers from 10 cities shall have access to high speed mobile internet through HSDPA, with a downloading speed of up to 3.6 Mbps. By the end of the year, the speed for internet connection and mobile data transfer through HSDPA shall be increased to 7.2 Mbps. Orange has deployed HSDPA networks in France, UK, Spain and Slovakia.

Lets hope that when HSUPA is rolled out, the phones are ready and more important the Application Developers and the users are ready.

3G -> 3.9G

There seems to be confusion when people discuss terms like 3.5G, 3.75G so i decided to define them. I am sure people who have objections will comment.
Lets first start with 2G systems:
2G = GSM
2.5G = GPRS
2.75G = EDGE
Then moving onto 3G systems:
3G = WCDMA, R99 (i am not looking at other technologies but similar mapping will apply)
3.5G = HSDPA
3.75G = HSUPA
3.8G = HSPA+ (HSPA Enhancements)
3.85G = 'HSPA+' + MIMO
3.9G = LTE

Monday, 28 May 2007

More 4G and WiMax

In a recent article in EE Times, the author is stressing that "Mobile WiMax opportunities will be the next big growth engine for personal broadband and next-generation cell phone networking equipment vendors and for the communications industry in general". A good point raised though is that there are many people who have comitted to WiMax:

In US, global communications carriers like Sprint have announced plans to deploy large-scale mobile WiMax services by mid-2008. In some cases, entire countries have committed to WiMax as their fourth-generation standard of choice. Two such examples are Korea, with the early WiBro predecessor to mobile WiMax, and Taiwan, with the "M-Taiwan" national initiative.

What other thing the author is trying to stress is that WiMax is 4G but i do not agree.

Sony Ericsson is another high profile name that recently announced joining of WiMax forum. According to MacNN, no hardware updates or new products have been announced, but it's likely that Sony-Ericsson will begin to upgrade their products to take advantage of faster speeds.

According to another article in ARN today:

Unlike 3G, no specific standards spell out what a 4G service, network or technology is today. Analysts say these specifications are to come, but today "4G is more of a marketing idea," says Phil Redman, a research vice president at Gartner.

There is a mobile WiMAX standard -- the IEEE's 802.16e standard -- on which Sprint Nextel is basing its US$3 billion investment. But Redman says mobile WiMAX is not 4G, "although the WiMAX folks would love for that label to catch on."
Still, WiMAX and other technologies may be part of a forthcoming 4G specification. "There's no doubt that existing technologies like WiMax and other technologies such as [Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access] and [multiple input multiple output] will be included in 4G," Redman says. "But no one technology will be 4G."

"These things tend to run in 10-year cycles," Redman says. "2G came out in 1995, 3G in 2004. There will not be a 4G standard before 2015."
In the meantime, a number of players have attempted to spell out what 4G should look like. The World Wireless Research Forum (WWRF) says 4G will run over an IP infrastructure, interoperate with Wi-Fi and WiMAX, and support fast speeds from 100Mbps to as high as 1Gbps.

It's also key that next-generation wireless includes QoS metrics and the ability to prioritize traffic, says Lisa Pierce, a vice president at consulting firm Forrester Research. "Lack of prioritization is preventing businesses from using current EV-DO services as their primary data connection."

WWRF expects 4G will be a collection of technologies and protocols, not just one single standard. That's similar to 3G, which today includes many technologies such as GSM and CDMA that meet specific criteria.

To help move the standards process along, WWRE -- whose members include Ericsson, Huawei Technologies and Motorola -- contributes to standards work done within groups such as the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the group that defined 3G wireless specifications, and the IETF.

4G's predecessor, 3G wireless, is still taking off. The fourth-largest wireless-service provider, T-Mobile,launched its 3G network this year. So if 3G is just getting going, what does that mean for 4G?

Opinions on when 4G services might be available differ. The Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) group says commercial services beyond 3G could launch as early as 2010. KPN Mobile, Orange, Sprint, T-Mobile International, Vodafone, China Mobile and NTT DoCoMo make up NGMN. The goal of the group, similar to the WWRF, is to work with standards bodies in developing next-generation specifications.

But if standards don't come before 2015, as Gartner's Redman predicts, true 4G services could come only after 2015.

Qualcomm and Healthcare

Qualcomm is diversifying its portfolio by starting a MVNO focussed on healthcare. An article that appeared on Wireless Week has some interesting information on this.
Qualcomm is preparing to launch a standalone mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) company focused on healthcare, although designed to have a broad consumer appeal.

The new company, which was incorporated recently under the name LifeComm, was created by Qualcomm and several other, unnamed, partners. Don Jones, who is vice president of business development for QUALCOMM's' health and life sciences unit, says the MVNO likely will launch commercially sometime in the second half of 2008.

Although the MVNO will have a healthcare focus, Jones says it plans to have applications and services designed to help consumers maintain their personal health as well as more specialized medical uses.
"We don't see it as just health care," he says, because the MVNO also will offer services for wellness, fitness, and health maintenance.

The specific applications and services the MVNO will offer have not been determined, but Jones says the company wants to establish a brand known to provide services for anyone interested in his or her health. The target audience, he says, is predominantly going to be women ages 40 to 65 because they are "influencers" when it comes to health.

Services could involve fitness, weight management or reduction, diabetes management, and monitoring heart health, including hypertension and congestive heart disease.

LifeComm already is talking to handset manufacturers about designing phones with consumer appeal but with the capability of linking to the MVNO's special applications and services, Jones says. One of the plans is to have handsets that would create a personal area network that could communicate with medical devices such as heart and blood pressure monitors. They also could connect to consumer devices like pedometers. Some of Qualcomm's partners in the MVNO are medical device manufacturers.

Jones also talks about using innovative devices like "wireless Band-Aids," which stick to the skin and monitor some bodily functions. Such devices are in use now for mobile health care, as well as wireless pacemakers, remote electrocardiograms and wireless blood glucose meters.

LifeComm expects to close on a bridge loan in the next few weeks to provide initial funding as a separate company. Jones says the company will then start pulling together an executive team and will do additional market research.

LifeComm has an agreement with a CDMA wireless carrier to provide network services for the MVNO, although Jones says he cannot announce which carrier. He did say the MVNO expects to use Qualcomm's BREW platform, which is the platform used by Verizon Wireless. The MVNO also will use assisted-GPS for location services.

This isn't the first time that Qualcomm has spun off a separate company to take advantage of technology it has developed. The latest example was MediaFLO USA , which is building a nationwide network for mobile broadcast TV services.

Friday, 25 May 2007

China getting serious with TD-SCDMA

China is getting serious with its TD-SCDMA standards and would like some major players in 3G to signup and appreciate the standards. The Chinese government is keen to have a standard made in China to be used (atleast in China). The government is holding off the auctoning of 3G spectrum untill they are sure that TD-SCDMA is ready and there are enough handsets available for the people.
'Foreign companies need to get serious about TD-SCDMA as they are less likely to get anywhere with WCDMA and CDMA 2000 in the near future,' warned Haofei.
This is despite the fact that 2 weeks back Bloomberg had an article stating that China has adopted WCDMA and CDMA2000 as two other official 3G technologies except TD-SCDMA. The popularity of these two would depend on the success of TD-SCDMA.
China's 3G handset sales are projected at 22 mln units by 2010, Zhao Hong, a senior official with the TD-SCDMA Industry Alliance and an executive director with Lenovo Mobile Communications said at a conference.

Zhao said that handsets configured for China's homegrown TD-SCDMA standard are expected to account for 50 pct of 3G sales, while WCDMA handsets will hold 40 pct and CDMA2000 handsets will account for 10 pct.



117 Million 3G Customers use UMTS/HSDPA

Bellevue, WA, May 24, 2007 -
The GSM technology global coverage footprint has provided the foundation for UMTS/HSDPA to become the most widely deployed 3G technology and market leader, with 167 operators in 69 countries offering UMTS services, 115 of whom have enhanced service with HSDPA. 3G Americas reports today that according to Informa‘s World Cellular Information Service quarterly subscriber reports, UMTS/HSDPA, with 117 million subscribers, is commercially available through twice as many operators as other 3G technologies – 167 operators in 69 countries, compared to 71 operators in 44 countries with CDMA EV-DO. Of the 172 million true mobile broadband 3G subscribers worldwide as of 1Q 2007, 68% use UMTS/HSDPA.

The GSM family of technologies currently provides service to 2.4 billion users worldwide, and comprises 85% of the total global wireless mobile market. GSM is the most widely deployed technology in the Western Hemisphere and the only technology present in every country of the region, encompassing 58% of all mobile wireless customers in the Western Hemisphere. Worldwide, the greatest quarterly growth of UMTS/HSDPA took place in the US and Canada, where UMTS experienced an unprecedented 614% growth, rocketing from 350,000 subscribers to 2.5 million subscribers in three months ending March 2007.

Chris Pearson, President of 3G Americas stated, "UMTS/HSDPA technology in North America will continue its steady growth as subscribers become aware of the tremendous applications and devices that make full use of these high speed wireless data networks.” Pearson continued. “The anticipated launch of T-Mobile’s UMTS network in 2007 will continue the 3G momentum in the Americas.”

In the twelve months from March 2006 to March 2007, there were 538 million new GSM/UMTS subscriptions worldwide, compared to 49 million total net additions for CDMA. For the same time period, GSM grew its subscriber base in Latin America and the Caribbean by 80 million new customers for a total of over 231 million GSM users in the region. GSM's regional share of the Latin America market has continued its steady momentum, increasing from 59% in March 2006 to almost 71% in March 2007. The Latin American and Caribbean subscriber base for CDMA concurrently declined by 826,000 customers during the first quarter of 2007.

"2006 was the year we saw HSDPA become widely available across North America, and 2007 will be the year it starts to make its way across Latin America," commented Erasmo Rojas, Director of Latin America and the Caribbean. "Operators in Brazil have announced plans to deploy HSDPA in 850 MHz; Telefonica recently launched HSDPA in Mexico, and the technology has already been launched commercially by AT&T Puerto Rico, Entel Chile and Telecom Personal in Argentina. “

HSPA (HSDPA/HSUPA) is the set of technology enhancements for UMTS standardized by 3GPP that helps define the migration path for GSM operators worldwide to mobile broadband. There are more than 250 HSDPA devices in the market today including smartphones, PDA’s, PC cards USB drives, embedded notebooks and even desktop modems. Announcements have already begun for commercial HSDPA/HSUPA devices that provide peak theoretical throughput rates up to 7.2 Mbps on the downlink. It is expected that virtually all UMTS operators will upgrade to HSDPA, followed by HSUPA, providing them with a significant increase in capacity and data throughput and a reduced network cost for data services.

Subscriber data is based upon information from Informa Telecoms & Media. For charts on GSM growth, visit the 3G Americas website at:

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Almost 300,000 LTE Base Transceiver Stations by 2014

Nearly 300,000 LTE Base Transceiver Stations will be installed by 2014, according to a new study from ABI Research. While LTE will encounter competition from other mobile broadband technologies, its supporters extol its potential to unify the mobile infrastructure market.

LTE brings to the market 25 years of operating experience using TDM and CDMA technology. It aims to use that, combined with OFDM, and other techniques, to provide the best of both worlds, perhaps stealing WiMAX’s thunder. This also takes the industry from the current two-network approach of circuit switching for voice, and packet switching for data to a single IP network for both services.

“LTE faces competition from other broadband wireless technologies and it will need to demonstrate clear technical and economic advantages to convince network operators,” says ABI Research analyst Ian Cox. “The mobile variant of WiMAX will start to appear in 2007 as the WiMAX Forum Certification program ramps up. The industry is also working on HSPA+, which could offer the same performance in a 5 MHz bandwidth. Without additional spectrum, operators could face a difficult choice.”
Cox further comments that, “LTE is the NGN for the mobile industry and is being standardized by 3GPP with the full support of operators via the NGMN Group.”

Long Term Evolution (LTE) of 3G technologies is about to benefit from Release-8 of the 3GPP standard, planned for the third quarter of 2007. The potential rewards of LTE are simplicity of operation, a “flat” architecture offering low latency, and spectrum flexibility. Backwards compatibility and roaming with 2G and 3G networks are added bonuses, along with lower power consumption and improved performance, . LTE could also unite the W-CDMA and CDMA communities because of its spectral flexibility.

For vendors, LTE will allow development of a new market to replace declining 3G revenues.

For users, says Cox, LTE will enable broadband services, including VoIP, to be offered over SIP-enabled networks. Each service will be IP-based, offering high data rates and low latency, with on-line gaming becoming a reality along with mobile network data speeds comparable to those of fixed networks.

“UMTS Long Term Evolution”
( reviews the world market for LTE.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Sony Ericsson T650

The phone looks quite cool.

Sony Ericsson is also tossing out the T650, a cousin to that slim slider. A candybar, it packs a beefier 3.2-megapixel camera while remaining only 12.5-mm thick. It's also a 3G phone, making checking your email or RSS feeds a snappier affair than if you're using the S500. The 1.9-inch screen is covered with a layer of mineral glass, which will apparently make the colors pop, increase the viewing angle, and protect it from scratches when you put your phone in the same pocket as your keys.

We’re told the fresh-faced blower is the result of the designers love for materials and colours found in nature. Though the only earthy thing about it, so far as we can tell, is their lick of green paint.

The specs are not too interesting but there is a 3.2mp camera. Other features of note on the T650 include Bluetooth 2.0 stereo support, a 262k color QVGA display, and a Memory Stick Micro card slot for expansion. The T650 weighs around 95g (3.3oz) and is pretty thin in profile at 12.5mm thick. This phone can accommodate up to 1000 contacts in its phone book. Above all features, it also has a FM radio and has MP3/AAC music player.

The T650 will be lining shelves from the second half of 2007.

Dopod C730 (HTC Cavalier)

One of the first Dopod handhelds to run on the Windows Mobile 6 Standard edition, the C730 is powered by a 400MHz processor with 64MB RAM and 128MB ROM. The quadband (850/900/1,800/1,900MHz) phone comes with 3G, HSDPA, a 2-megapixel CMOS camera and an external memory card slot that supports microSD media up to 2GB.

The specs shows that it supports 3G, HSDPA, Bluetooth, USB, WLAN and it weighs just 120 grams. More detailed specs are also available here.

According to press release:

The C730 is also one of the first Smartphone in the market to deliver rich HTML E-Mail support. This is a key feature in Windows Mobile 6 and means that reading your E-Mails in HTML format on this device is just like reading them on your desktop PC - clear and uncut. The HTML E-Mail support works with any POP mail account and Exchange Server 2007 and really positions the C730 to be at the forefront of this advanced technology.

Dopod has targeted ultimate connectivity to consumers, with putting BlackBerry Connect v4.0 on the C730 comes with . This enables you to access popular BlackBerry services with support for both BlackBerry Enterprise Server and BlackBerry Internet Service. These include push-based wireless E-Mail access, wireless E-Mail reconciliation and attachment viewing. The BlackBerry Connect v4.0 will be made available via web download in end June.

The Dopod C730 will be available from early June in Singapore at a suggested price of S$ 898/US$ 590/435 Euro.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

3G Wireless Data Usage Set To Jump Nearly 10x By 2011

A report from iGR tells us what i have already suspected for long time.
The research from iGR shows that in 2006 all mobile data customers sent and received about 0.73 terabytes of data per month. iGR expects that number to climb to 6.94 terabytes in in the next four years. That's a lot of bytes flying through the air. Will the networks be able to handle it all?
iGR reached its conclusions by looking at several different types of users today. Light, medium, and heavy mobile data subscribers had their monthly data analyzed to show what their usage amounted to. Light users sent and received 5.92 megabytes per month, medium users 17.66 megabytes , and heavy users 44.4 megabytes. In examining my own wireless bills, I was surprised to see that I only consume about 12 megabytes per month surfing the mobile Web and sending/receiving mobile e-mail using my cell phone. These same two activities were the most common uses that iGR discovered during the course of its research, as well as virtual private network (VPN) logins and instant messaging.
"This study provides a frame of reference within which mobile operators can evaluate the future price of their mobile data packages as a result of IMS implementation and adoption," said Matt Vartabedian, research manager at iGR.

The report also noted that by implementing an IMS platform, service providers can gain a common, secure service development framework and architecture that operates across multiple network domains.
I hope the operators understand this as well and bring down the price of data bundles so we can easily access data from our phones.