News From Telecom World

Archive for the ‘3G’ Category

Refarming 2G spectrum will be key to enabling mobile broadband coverage outside major population centres, according to Analysys Mason. Liberalising the usage of the 850/900MHz frequency bands, in which 2G GSM/CDMA services currently operate, to allow operators to evolve their networks in these bands to newer technologies such as UMTS/HSPA is a significant emerging trend, which will extend the reach of 3G services, such as mobile broadband, to suburban/rural areas not covered by operators’ existing 2100MHz 3G networks.

“Cost-effective coverage of large, thinly populated land masses is the key benefit of introducing UMTS in the 850MHz or 900MHz bands,” says Catherine Viola, author of the report and Senior Analyst at Analysys Mason.

“At lower frequencies, radio signals propagate further, meaning that fewer sites are needed for network roll-out. At 900MHz, for example, networks can be built and operated with cost savings of around 50–70% compared with networks deployed in 2100MHz core-band 3G spectrum.
These coverage and cost-saving benefits mean that operators can bring 3G services to less-densely populated areas that were previously uneconomical to cover.”

UMTS900 networks have already been launched successfully in Europe, the Asia–Pacific region and South America, for example by DNA and Elisa in Finland, Síminn in Iceland, Optus in Australia, Vodafone in New Zealand, AIS in Thailand and Digitel in Venezuela.

“Regulation has been a bottleneck in Europe, because the GSM Directive restricted the use of the 900MHz band to GSM technology. A recent EU decision to remove this technology constraint paves the way for national regulators throughout the region to introduce spectrum refarming measures, if they have not already done so,” says Viola.

“UMTS900 will allow operators to bring 3G services to many more customers than before and open up new revenue streams, especially from mobile broadband.”

Source: cellular news

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Probably against the grain compared to most people using Mobile devices, and possibly/probably much to the chagrin of the Mobile Operators who spent all that money on 3G licenses, but right now when I get a Mobile device, the first thing I do is see if I can turn the 3G network selection off.

My reasoning is as follows – firstly, 3G does kill the battery of a device quicker than 2G – this is due to the way the phone has to react to the network in terms of managing it’s connection. Secondly, most of my apps that might require a high-bandwidth connection at a given point in time are not that critical – I can wait an extra 30 secs or so for a webpage to download, or for my emails to come down over 2G. If I really can’t wait that long, I turn on WiFi!

In recent experiments with both the BlackBerry Bold and the Apple iPhone, I have found that I can draw out some extra (and very much desired) runtime of my device, if I stick firmly to 2G. And the downsides of longer time to pull down data are not that much worse.

Another benefit of staying on 2G is that I am less susceptible to poor coverage, and to call-dropping. At home I am unfortunate not to be in a strong 3G area – my outlook might be different if I were – but often I find I have to wait whilst my phone hands over from 3G to EDGE in order to continue my browsing/email/apps session.

So what is your view? Is 3G very/quite/not important to you? Do you proactively switch off 3G? It would appear the Mobile Networks will continue to run a 2G/3G overlay for some time yet, and if people are staying away from 3G, it’s going to make the transition of bringing in 4G network tech even more painful…..

Source: Into Mobile

The Indian government has postponed the 3G auction to early 2009. The reason behind the postpone is the non-availability of the spectrum in 9 circles. The reason comes as a shocker as the government should have been well aware about the non-availability before the announcement of the date of auction. The other reason added was that the foriegn operators will be unable to participate in the process as December is a holiday season.

Though the sources reveal that the actual reason behind the delay is the global economic crisis, as they are dicey about the expected revenues generated from the auction.

Source: Wireless Federation

According to The Daily News Egypt, cellco Mobinil has claimed that it does not expect to make a profit from its 3G operations, with a company executive claiming that it would not have purchased the licence if the deal had not included an extension of its 2G licence.

Mobinil paid EGP3.34 billion (USD601 million) for its 3G licence, paying the first instalment in July 2007, although the licence was not officially awarded until October that year; commercial services were not launched until September 2008. Guillaume Van Gaver, vice president of Mobinil’s commercial division has claimed that the costs of handsets, coupled with difficulties accessing content had slowed the development of 3G services in the country, noting, ‘Until the cost of the handsets is not so high it will be very difficult in Egypt for us to bring in 3G revenue streams.’ Mr Van Gaver also stated that the operator was set to continue balancing investment between its 2G and 3G networks, adding that the cellco currently has approximately 200,000 3G subscribers. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, Mobinil rivals Etisalat Misr and Vodafone Egypt also provide 3G services, having bagged licences in July 2006 and January 2007 respectively.

Source: TeleGeography

DTAC’s new CEO Tore Johnsen has postponed the Thai cellco’s planned commercial 3G launch until at least the third quarter of next year, until it is satisfied that demand for mobile data services is sufficient, reports the Bangkok Post. On 15 September Johnsen took over from Sigve Brekke, who is now CEO of Telenor Asia, DTAC’s regional parent. Under Brekke, Thailand’s second largest wireless operator by subscribers planned to launch 3G UMTS services using its existing 850MHz frequencies in the first quarter of next year, with nationwide services targeted by mid-year under an investment budget of at least THB5 billion (USD150 million). But Mr Johnsen said, ‘There is no need to rush into offering 3G services as long as demand for mobile data is still not there…We want to make sure that the Thai market is more than ready for 3G, particularly in the mobile data service area.’ The CEO added that DTAC, like many other firms, had been affected by the global financial crisis, Thailand’s sluggish economy, political problems and high oil prices. ‘All these factors combined have reduced people’s purchasing power and depressed the demand for products and services,’ the Post quoted him as saying.

Meanwhile, the same news source writes that state-owned TOT still intends to push ahead with an ambitious plan to invest THB29 billion in rolling out an UMTS network in 2009-11 via its cellular arm Thai Mobile. It aims to sign up at least 350,000 3G subscribers next year and four million by 2013, and expects the service to break even within seven years. However, TOT executives reportedly acknowledge ‘privately’ that the actual costs of the rollout could be higher than original estimates, says the Post. TOT received cabinet approval for the plan last month, and the Information and Communications (ICT) Ministry supports the proposal, but it still requires endorsement from the National Economic and Social Development Board and the Public Debt Management Office. TOT is currently in the process of buying out sister telco CAT’s holding in joint venture ACT Mobile in order to gain full management control of Thai Mobile. The tiny, debt-ridden GSM operator is the country’s only holder of 2100MHz frequencies. Cellular market leader AIS launched a small scale commercial UMTS network in the 900MHz band in May; it is hoped that the state will award 2100MHz concessions to private operators sometime next year.

Source: TeleGeography

Should Bangladesh adopt WiMax technology to spread broadband data transmission facility now, or should it be 3GSM technology? Or maybe Bangladesh should wait a few more months to see if Long Term Evolution (LTE) is making a significant jump in broadband worldwide.

These are some debating points for information technology (IT) experts now. The debate is being fuelled by the Bangladesh Telecommunic-ation Regulatory Commission (BTRC), which floated an auction yesterday to award licences for WiMax technology operation in the country.

The BTRC’s tilt to WiMax is in line with 19 other countries that introduced the technology in the recent years. WiMax is still undergoing major evolution. South Korea and Pakistan aside, it is yet to become a dominant technology in any nation. Pakistan is the only country that provides fully functional WiMax coverage. It has also been introduced in India.

Supporters of WiMax say it is now the heavyweight wireless data transmission technology in the market and much superior to 3GSM and more ‘evolved’ than the newly introduced GSM line of technology named LTE.

Rivals supporting GSM technology say WiMax is not a standardised technology like the GSM; it is very ‘single vendor’ focussed (all parts of a network set may be manufactured by a single vendor whereas, GSM allows multiple vendors) and it is costly and may take many years to implement.

They argue, the 3G technology that proudly runs 200 networks worldwide can be implemented in six to eight months because all it needs are changes in some hardware of the country’s GSM-based mobile telecom network. The cost of upgrading to 3G in Bangladesh will be minimal and for a poor country like Bangladesh, it would mean, customers will not be burdened by high costs.

“WiMax licensing can turn fruitless because of the cost factors. The licences will block precious spectrum and thus hinder implementation of other technologies like LTE for broadband,” says an IT expert working for a leading cellular technology company.

A third view about this subject comes from another IT consultant who provides infrastructure support to telecom companies. “WiMax and LTE are in the same footing — not WiMax and 3G. That’s why, after obtaining multibillion-dollar licensing for 3G many operators in Europe did not go for complete 3G implementation,” he said.

“In that light, the BTRC should have really waited until January-February before floating the auction. By that time, the industry expects some major developments worth waiting for,” he pointed.

LTE is expected to be a fully ratified standard by the end of this year, with trials occurring in 2009 and deployments in late 2009 or 2010 offering mobile data rates of up to 170Mbps, says a telecom report by Frost and Sullivan Market Insight.

Experts say it is not yet clear whether it is LTE or WiMax that will be the dominant technology like GSM versus CDMA. “Which technology will flourish more will depend on the handset manufacturers,” said the IT consultant. “I believe in WiMax because it’s being applied in 19 countries while LTE has not been implemented yet.”

But the LTE, which is much newer than WiMax, is getting a lot of market incentives. Telecom companies like AT&T and Verizon earlier this year announced LTE deployment. Major market players such as Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, NEC, NextWave Wireless, Nokia, Nokia Siemens Networks and Sony Ericsson have joined hands to deal with various aspects of LTE. WiMax is also facing challenges from the popular Wi-Fi technology, which now has a 100-kilometre range.

WiMax handles a huge data transfer that the 3G technology cannot. This means, for an example, WiMax can deliver smooth digital television broadcast in mobile phone, which the 3G cannot.

IT and cellphone players worldwide believe that the future mobile phone market will be demanding a huge data transfer. Mobile phones will act as the communicator, video broadcaster, entertainer and provider of any other everyday services. Hence the debate: Should we choose WiMax or should we follow the GSM path?

GSM technology has made mobile phone cheap and popular and its domination in mobile market is clear. The popularity of GSM was caused by freedom of phone users to use any handset they like (or phone companies using a host of devices not necessarily manufactured by a single company), prompting competition and quality.

Developed internationally by the WiMax Forum, WiMax (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) provides broadband speed without the requirement of cables in 50-km area. WiMax technology in cellphones was standardised two years ago.

The top mobile WiMax players include SK Telecom and KT of Korea, BT and France Telecom of Europe, Sprint Nextel of US and KDDI of Japan.

Source: Daily Star

Intense lobbying by GSM players against the introduction of wireless broadband has been the biggest hurdle in the baptism of the latest wireless broadband technology, WiMax, widely considered a killer technology that could bring corporal damage on cellular companies. WiMax has several advantages over 3G. It offers download speeds up to 70 mega bits per second (mbps), five times times faster than 3G’s 15 mbps. Mobile WiMax, whose first network rolled out in Italy in July this year, is in direct conflict with 3G as it allows users speeds of up to 20 mbps while on the move. Given that WiMax
packages will come for unlimited usage at a fixed price, a WiMax handset using VoIP eliminates the need for voice telephony over cellcos’ networks.

Though the cost of WiMax network rollouts of $50-60 per line are only marginally lower than current GSM rollout rates of around $55-65 per line, WiMax, being a newer technology, is expected to see a sharper drop in cost of equipment as global subscriber numbers grow. According to Canada’s research and analysis firm Maravedis, the worldwide broadband wireless access (BWA)/WiMax subscriber base increased from 260,246 in the first quarter of 2008 to 1,988,246 subscribers. “Even with an increase of more than 19 per cent in WiMax subscribers in the first quarter of 2008, operators are still waiting for the tipping point that will lead to acceleration of WiMax adoption and deployments,” says Adiane Fellah, CEO and founder of Maravedis.

Also, while WiMax handsets cost around Rs 40,000-45,000 against 3G handset cost of upwards of Rs 24,000 per unit, prices are expected to drop as volumes rise. That’s when the two technologies will engage each other in the final battle for supremacy.

Source: Business World



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