Friday, 31 July 2009

NTT DoCoMo plans to launch LTE in December 2010

The Japanese service will initially be aimed at PC users, with DoCoMo offering card-type terminals for laptops, said Ryuji Yamada, president and CEO of NTT DoCoMo at a Tokyo news conference. It will be expanded to include handset terminals from 2011, he said. Those terminals will be dual-mode devices that use LTE networks where available and fall back to 3G networks to provide nationwide coverage. LTE's introduction is also expected to reduce the per-byte cost of data communications.

By 2014 the operator plans to provide LTE service to 50 percent of Japan from around 20,000 base stations. DoCoMo plans to invest between ¥300 billion and ¥400 billion (US$3.2 billion to $4.2 billion) during the first five years of the roll-out, said Yamada.

NTT DoCoMo was the first carrier in the world to launch a commercial 3G wireless service based on WCDMA but based on its LTE roll-out it will likely be beaten this time around by carriers in other countries.

Verizon Wireless is likely to be the first operator to launch LTE in the world. European operators are also getting behind the technology with several tests under way or planned on the continent. TeliaSonera has said it will build a commercial LTE network in Stockholm, Sweden, and in Oslo, Norway.

NTT DoCoMo will be speaking at the LTE Asia conference in Hong Kong on the 8th and 9th of September. For more information and a full line up of speakers, visit

Thursday, 30 July 2009

LTE Asia Operator Attendees Set to be From Across the Region

Delegates confirmed as attendees for the conference include the following companies:

Hutchison HK, Shanghai Mobile Communications Company, CSL, PCCW, GSM Kazakhstan, Chunghwa Telecom, Kcell, Vodafone, CTM, ViBO, SmartTone-Vodafone, Taiwan Mobile, WiTribe Asia, Orange Labs, PTCL, Tata Communications, Telkomsel, Maxis, Telkom CDMA, Aircel, Datacom, Packet One Networks, PT Bakrie Telecom

Not to mention the high level speakers that will be talking about their vision for LTE in the Asia-Pacific region including NTT DoCoMo, Starhub, Dialog Telecom, Softbank Mobile, eMobile, KDDI and regulators from Hong Kong, Indonesia and Japan.

There are still a limited number of free passes available for operators to claim. For more information or to download the conference brochure you can visit

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Verizon Looking to Beat MetroPCS with its LTE Launch in Q1 2010

According to a report by, Verizon is planning to launch Long Term Evolution (LTE) services across its key markets in the first quarter of 2010, in an effort to beat rivals MetroPCS to market. Verizon officially plans to begin testing its networks by the end of 2009 before commercially launching services in the second quarter of the following year.

In March, MetroPCS announced that it was aiming to introduce LTE to its network in the second quarter of 2010

There have been conflicting comments from Verizon with regard to their roll out and launch dates for LTE. These have varied from the following:

Aug. 13, 2008: Verizon said it will roll out the network in 2010 and cover most of the country by 2012
Dec. 10, 2008: Verizon said it would deploy LTE in 2009
Jan. 27, 2009: Verizon said it hopes to have LTE commercially available by the first half of 2010
Feb. 18, 2009: Verizon said LTE will be commercially deployed in 2010 with handsets coming in 2011
May 15, 2009: Verizon said it plans to launch LTE commercially in the second half of 2010

The most recent update is that Verizon will launch LTE trials in Seattle and Boston later this year and plans to launch its commercial service in 30 markets in 2010 and that they plan to have full network coverage by 2013, leading to rumours about Verizon wanting to launch the service in time for the new iPhone tablet, expected in early 2010.

The CTO of Verizon Wireless will be giving a keynote speech at Informa’s LTE Americas conference in Dallas on the 4th of November. For more information visit

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

LTE World Summit Interviews Now Available!

In depth interviews with key speakers at the recent LTE World Summit in Berlin are available to watch online.

Interviewees include: Ed Candy, Former CTO, 3, Franz Seiser, Head of Core Network Architecture, T-Mobile, Klaus-Jurgen Krath, EVP, Radio Networks Engineering & Quality, T-Mobile, Hans Erik Karsten, Vice President, Network Technologies, Telenor, Marc Fossier, Former CTO, France Telecom Group, Takehiro Nakamura, Director, Radio Access Network Development Department, NTT DoCoMo and many more.

There is also an archive of older interviews available on the site.

Ericsson Wins Bid for Nortel LTE and CDMA Assets but was RIM Unfairly Excluded from the Auction?

Ericsson emerged as the highest bidder for Nortel’s LTE and CDMA assets in a 12 hour auction which took place on Friday, tabling an offer of $1.13bn.

Most of the other parties known to be interested in the Nortel assets had publicly stated their maximum bids beforehand, giving Ericsson an indicator of how much it would need to stump up. The acquisition will give Ericsson a bigger footprint in North America especially as it includes CDMA contracts with North American operators such as Verizon, Sprint, US Cellular, Bell Canada and Leap.

Ericsson was competing against private equity firm MatlinPatterson’s offer of $725m, Nokia Siemens Network’s $650m proposal, and RIM’s $1.1bn offer, which RIM said has been rejected by Nortel. RIM said during the auction that it was told it could bid only if it promised not to bid for other Nortel assets for one year. But why was the restriction imposed?

RIM and Nortel are both based in Canada, and some Canadian officials said after the Ericsson bid was revealed that they may consider trying to block the sale. If the Ericsson purchase is approved, the company's Plano-based North American operations will have about $5 billion in annual revenue and more than 14,000 employees.

Canadian Industry Minister Tony Clement, who is said to have encouraged RIM to bid for the assets says all options are on the table in the government's evaluation of Ericsson's $1.13-billion US bid for Nortel's wireless unit, including the possibility the government may block the bid if it does not benefit Canada.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Are Operators Really Taking Self Organising Networks Seriously?

Self organising networks referred to by the industry as SON will be a key feature in LTE networks. T-Mobile has been the operator pushing for this the hardest, stating that they will not deploy LTE if it s not self organising.

A self organising network would mean that the network is plug-n-play, zero touch and automatically configured. SON is a very useful feature that will allow for the automation of several tasks lowering the OPEX and CAPEX costs. Plug-n-play would mean that expensive site set up costs could be eliminated and automatic neighbour recognition would mean lower optimisation costs. The ultimate goal of SON would be to bring drive testing to an end.

17% of wireless operator’s CAPEX is spent on engineering and installation services. SON’s self-configuring functions are expected to eliminate many on-site operations for the basic settings and subsequent updating of network equipments, and thus reduce CAPEX

It is also known that about 24% of a typical wireless operator’s revenue goes to network OPEX, which are the cost of network operation and maintenance, training and support, power, transmission, and site rental. SON’s self-optimizing functions will reduce a workload for site survey and analysis of network performances, and thus reduce OPEX. Moreover, SON’s energy-saving functions reduce the costs of power consumed by the equipment.

3GPP has introduced SON items in its standardization path as required features for LTE deployments. Release 8 includes the first specifications on requirements, integration with operators’ processes, and identification of main use cases. Release 9 is expected to define advanced features, which will introduce self-healing and self-optimization capabilities into LTE.

However, it does seem like some operators are happy to just go with LTE because it is a bigger pipe. I asked a panel of operators at MWC in February, how important was SON going to be for their LTE deployments. Kris Rinne, VP Architecture & Planning at AT&T as well as Bill Huang, General Manager at China Mobile Research Institute both said that they had no plans for SON!

It is possible that LTE is being sought after because operators need more capacity, are trying to keep up with their competitors and the costs savings that deploying LTE brings with SON is secondary and just makes it easier to justify building a new network.

Kris Rinne will be giving a keynote speech at the LTE Americas conference which takes place on the 4th and 5th of November in Dallas. See

Thursday, 23 July 2009

CTO of Verizon Wireless Speaking at LTE Americas

Anthony Melone, CTO of Verizon Wireless will kick start Informa’s 2nd Annual LTE Americas conference on the 4th and 5th of November at the Westin City Center, in Dallas. Verizon has been leading the operator community and will be the first to deploy LTE, the 4G technology of choice for the mobile telecommunications industry.

Verizon Wireless appears to be keeping their cards very close to their chest, but that just makes the industry want to hear what they have to say even more. The topic is being kept under wraps for now; people will have to come to the conference to find out what the Verizon Wireless message to the industry is.

The LTE Americas conference will also be featuring key speakers such as Kris Rinne, VP Architecture & Planning from AT&T, Egil Gronstad, VP Technology Planning from Cricket Communications and Solyman Ashrafi, Staff VP for LTE from MetroPCS as well as notable names from other key carriers, vendors, associations and device manufacturers in the region. This conference is about bring the ecosystem together and to discuss the way forward for LTE. The fact that this conference is specifically dedicated to LTE is what makes it unique and why people see our events as the place to learn, network and do business across the world.

The LTE Americas conference is part of Informa’s LTE World Series of conferences. Informa has been working exclusively in partnership with the 3GPP who will also have a keynote speaker Asok Chatterjee as well as Stephen Hayes participating in the conference.

For more information visit The brochure will be available early next week!

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

GSMA "LTE Is On Track"

The GSMA says its latest numbers show that the HSPA/LTE technology track is well established and, by implication, that WiMAX is dying.

There's a well-documented trend for consumer technology adoption indicating that each new iteration tends to swing into widespread use significantly faster than the one before - it's as if humans are becoming earlier and earlier adoptors as a sort of evolutionary adaptation. So it's no surprise that the GSMA sees HSPA adoption exhibiting the same characteristics. The organisation says it expects there will be 150 million connections by the end of this summer. GSMA has this morning unleashed a veritable tsunami of statistics including:
  • There are more than 300 networks across 127 countries
  • 1500 HSPA-enabled devices readily available on the market
  • AsiaPac accounts for almost 50 million live HSPA connections today (and will have over 56 million by this September)
  • EMEA HSPA connections will pass the 50 million mark any day now
  • The US currently has almost 32 million HSPA connections (with the number expected to rise to nearly 37 million by this September)
  • The Americas (excluding the US and Canada) will have just over four million connections by the end of September

According to Dan Warren, Director of Technology at the GSMA, it's all about scale and coverage. Once a communications technology like this hits a certain inflection point, there's just no stopping it. "WiMAX will have a small foothold in isolated regions," he says, "but the point is that HSPA covers large geographic areas and you can move from one place to another and still have your device work."And then there's the advantages of sheer manufacturing scale. HSPA and then LTE network equipment and gadgetry is going to be in mass production and that creates its own inevitability - once massive scale is reached there is no way an alternative networking technology, more or less trying to do the same thing, can ever compete. When it comes to LTE, Warren says he expects there to be 87 million users by 2013, with the adoption rate doubling the year after, and so, according to the law of accelerating adoption, that technology will grow even faster than HSPA has done.

Informa's LTE Asia and LTE Americas conferences will be focusing on the ROI of investing in LTE at an early stage before economies of scale brings down the cost of LTE equipment. Should operators really wait to deploy LTE when consumers are expected to adopt LTE quicker than they did HSPA?

Monday, 20 July 2009

Denmark Planning Auction of LTE Radio Spectrum

­Denmark is to hold a consultation on auctioning off radio spectrum in the 2.5GHz bands. The Ministry for Science, Technology and Innovation (National IT and Telecom Agency) said that 205MHz of spectrum will be auctioned in total: 190MHz in the 2.5GHz band (2500-2690MHz) and 15MHz in the 2010MHz band (2010-2025MHz).

The spectrum, which will be auctioned on a national basis, is suitable for providing 4G wireless broadband services based on standards such as LTE. However, it may also be attractive for other uses such as mobile TV or wireless cameras.

The licences granted to the winning bidders will allow them to deploy their own choice of technology (provided it does not cause interference to other spectrum users) and offer any type of service.

The auction is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2010 and will be conducted electronically, with participants submitting their bids via a secure Internet connection. Stakeholders are invited to comment on the proposals by responding to the consultation before 15 September 2009.

Friday, 17 July 2009

LTE & Connected Cars

What if every motorist could see what the drivers ahead can see? In Munich, Germany, Ericsson and German automakers recently joined with Vodafone and local universities in a major research study that showed automobile crashes can be to a large part prevented, and traffic flow can be improved, if vehicles can communicate with one another over 3G/HSPA networks.

Using Vodafone’s mobile HSPA network and German vehicle manufacturer MAN Nutzfahrzeuge’s test grounds, the Cooperative Cars (CoCar) project simulated high-risk traffic situations to test applications that transmit time-critical information on traffic conditions between specially-equipped Daimler, MAN and Volkswagen vehicles. Guido Gehlen, project manager in the CoCar project from the Eurolab R&D Center in Aachen, says that the results of the two-and-a-half year study show that cellular technologies such as mobile broadband can complement automobile communications systems with economically viable safety services.“Mobile communications can defuse dangerous situations by helping motorists coordinate and adapt to surrounding traffic,” Gehlen says. For example, when a traffic jam lies just around the bend, the system automatically reports to the forthcoming vehicles – within less than half a second – that drivers ahead are drastically decelerating.”Anders Fagerholt, Program Manager Telematics at BU Networks, says such solutions can initially be deployed on standard mobile phones or in existing navigation systems, but will reach full functionality once integrated into cars. “The initial market introduction studies, led by Vodafone, found that investment in such products can be paid back in as little as four years,” he says.

The CoCar project was initiated by Adaptive and Cooperative Technologies for Intelligent Traffic (Aktiv), a German government research initiative that includes Ericsson and 28 other partners from the automotive industry, as well as transportation authorities, and electronics and ICT companies. The study concluded that if deployed in Germany alone, automobile coordination solutions could save EUR 500 million per year in costs to society such as those resulting from medical care and property damage. Costs to consumers could be kept low using special tele-data tariff rates that could be bundled in a one-time service charge.Gehlen says the solution tested in the CoCar project also works in EDGE and LTE networks, and could be easily combined with the planned introduction of new mobile communications-based services such as eCall, a regulatory initiative from the European Commission intended to bring rapid and accurate assistance to motorists involved in a collision anywhere in the European Union from 2011 on. These CoCar findings will also be presented and demonstrated during the upcoming ITS World Congress 2009 to be held in Stockholm, Sweden, September 21-25.A follow-up study is planned to explore further ways society can benefit from the use of mobile communications and IT in automobiles.

“This project opens up all kinds of possibilities for new connected-car applications, especially, if you consider nationwide coverage of LTE,” Gehlen says.

T-Mobile Demos "Coordinated Multi-Point Transmission" for LTE Networks

­T-Mobile and the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute (HHI) have demonstrate interference-free, real-time downlink transmission simultaneously from two base stations to two mobile terminals in two overlapping mobile cells.

The system used for this is known as Coordinated Multi-Point Transmission (CoMP) and is considered a key technology for LTE networks.

This will allow for higher capacity to cope with the dramatic rise in mobile Internet traffic in mobile networks, according to Klaus-Jürgen Krath, Senior Vice President Radio Networks Development at T-Mobile International. The engineers managed to show that it is possible to eliminate interference in mobile terminals as soon as these are known to the nearby base stations.

If interference is likely, base stations can jointly preprocess the information for several users prior to transmission. As a result of the preprocessing, signals are constructively overlaid at the desired user terminal but are eliminated at the antennas of other users. A terminal in a CoMP network thus behaves as if it were in an isolated cell because it is no longer interrupted by the data traffic in neighboring cells. This process considerably improves reception especially in the overlapping regions of the cells, which is where interference is highest. Consequently, all available frequencies can be reused in each cell of a network without restriction and yet the same capacity is achieved as in an interference-free network.

Although CoMP concepts are deemed to have potential and are considered key technology in the current LTE-Advanced standardization, misgivings have been voiced about the complexity, growing pressure on the backhaul and the overhead, especially for the downlink from the base station to the terminals.

The proposed solution reduces the complexity as well as the data rate on the backhaul through the use of a concept with distributed signal processing. The terminals transmit information on the characteristics of their radio channels to the base stations of their cells. The cells in turn exchange information as well as the user data through a meshed high-speed backbone with low latency. With the data thus provided and global channel information, each base station can calculate the signals being sent independently of the other base stations and transmit them over its local antennas. The overhead can be cut by reducing the repeat cycle of the channel feedback. The remaining interference is reduced through an optimum combination of the two antenna signals on the mobile terminal.

The research work was sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of EASY-C, a joint German research project involving partners from the industry, small and medium-sized companies, research institutes, and universities.

Klaus-Jürgen Krath recently spoke at the LTE World Summit in Berlin. An interview with him can be watched at: