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.

Friday 9 March 2012

'Blue Tick' for better RF performance

Last year I blogged about 'Antennagate'. From what I hear, iPhone 4S has left this problem far behind and have a much better RF performance than other rivals.

The Australian operator Telstra operates a scheme where it gives a 'blue tick' to all mobiles that have superior RF performance than other average mobiles.

The following is an interesting comment from their Crowdsupport site:

Telstra offers three classes of coverage, A B and C.

C Class coverage is Blue Tick coverage. These phones are designed in such a way that they will outperform other phones in coverage. That is ,they will hold onto a signal further than B or A class phones

Most smartphones due to the way they are manufactures are B class, because of their thinness and materials (such as glass and plastic)

The Atrix and Defy are Blue Tick because the plastic chassis that houses the antenna stops your hand from attenuating the signal.

The iPhone 4S is Blue Tick because the dual antenna design intelligently switches antennas if one gets attenuated.

Blue Tick phones do not assist with high traffic areas. They only assist users in low coverage areas. So a phone in the Melbourne CBD would behave much like any other Telstra phone. Whereas a Blue Tick phone out in rural areas would have better signal coverage than a B or A class phone.

Telstra empirically tests all it's phones because we reach more of the population and many rural people rely on mobile phones with each passing year.

It may be a good idea that operators in other countries start supporting a similar scheme so users who get very little reception in their houses or places of work can get a phone with better RF capabilities.

Any similar schemes operating in other countries?

Heterogeneous network deployments in LTE: The soft-cell approach

Heterogeneous network deployments in LTE
View more documents from Zahid Ghadialy

Available to download from here.

Wednesday 7 March 2012

Mobile Broadband: The Future Vision Document 2

Vision Paper incorporating comments and opinion from the online discusions on #MBBFuture

Available to download from slideshare here.

Tuesday 6 March 2012

Small Cells Market Forecast - Feb 2012

• Informa Telecoms & Media expects the small market to experience significant growth over the next few years, reaching just under 60 million femtocell access points in the market by 2015. The following chart illustrates Informa’s forecasts (February 2012) for femtocell access point shipments.

• Mobile Experts published a new forecast claiming that 70 million small cells will be shipped by 2017, including femtocells deployed by mobile operators and picocells used for high-capacity urban networks. LTE small cells are a major part of the forecasted growth over the next five years, with more than 2/3 of small cells deployed in 2017 devoted to LTE-FDD or TD-LTE (Mobile Experts, February 2012).
• In-Stat predicts that due to skyrocketing demand for mobile data services the sale of small cell devices will hit $14 billion in retail value by 2015. These devices will include femtocells, picocells and microcells in areas where “macrocells would be overkill”. (In-Stat, January 2012)
• Mobile Experts published a report on small cell backhaul, claiming that more than 1.8 million small cell wireless backhaul unit shipments during 2016. (Mobile Experts – October 2011)
• IDate estimates that worldwide femtocell access point market will reach a cumulative total of 39.4 million deployed units by 2015, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 71% between 2011 and 2015. (IDate – September 2011)
• Infonetics anticipates that femtocells will gain mass-scale traction in 2012, at which point the year-over-year unit growth rate will jump to over 100%, and will stay at tripledigit levels in 2013. (Infonetics – September 2011)
• ABI Research estimates that Enterprise femtocells are to make up 36% of shipments by 2016 which relates to 50% of security gateway revenues (ABI Research – August 2011)
• Infonetics estimates that total global revenue from femtocells used in consumer, enterprise, rural and public spaces grew 45% during the past 4 quarters. (Infonetics – June 2011).
• Visiongain expects femtocell revenues will reach US $27 Billion in 2016 and that femtocells have entered into the growth stage of their lifecycle during 2011 (Visiongain – May 2011).
• Juniper Research predicts that Wi-Fi and femtocell networks will play a significant role in easing data traffic by carrying 63 percent of data traffic, or almost 9,000 petabytes by 2015 (Juniper Research – April 2011).
• Infonetics Research predicts that rapid acceleration in the market will happen during 2012, when femtocell shipments should exceed 5 million worldwide, driven by a diversification from the consumer and enterprise segments to rural and public spaces. (Infonetics Research – March 2011).
• Cisco expects that by 2015, over 800 million terabytes of mobile data traffic will be offloaded to the fixed network by means of dual-mode devices and femtocells. Without dual-mode and femtocell offload of smartphone and tablet traffic, total mobile data traffic would reach 7.1 exabytes per month in 2015, growing at a CAGR of 95 percent. (Cisco – February 2011)

Source: Small Cells Market Status from Small Cell Forum.