Time for a Comprehensive Strategy for License-Exempt Spectrum

Spectrum ConnectivityCalls for regulators to release more unlicensed spectrum for Wi-Fi are getting louder: the 2.4 GHz band is heavily used and the 5 GHz band suffers from many restrictions that limit its applicability. LTE’s entry into unlicensed spectrum is further amplifying these calls and adding an acute sense of urgency.

But what is required is more than additional unlicensed spectrum. There needs to be a comprehensive strategy not only for additional unlicensed spectrum, but also for ensuring that regulations are harmonized to the extent possible between regions and are aligned with socio-economic needs. This is because we reached a point where additional spectrum means greater divergence between regions and increased market fragmentation, a similar scenario to the current state of the 5 GHz band. Read more of this post

Microcapacity: Unbinding Wireless Capacity Through Trading Exchanges

bandwidth exchangeMicrogeneration allows one to generate electricity for own use, typically using renewable resources such as wind or solar energy. Excess energy can be sold to the power company. The arrangement helps in evening out the variability in energy consumption. It reduces the peak load requirements for the main grid while energy generated during non-peak hours can be diverted to where it is most needed. There is no reason why wireless cannot work in a similar way. I call this “mcirocapacity”: individuals, businesses and communities can generate their own wireless capacity and sell the excess capacity to the wireless carriers. The concept is not novel and elements of it have already been developed. What is lacking is the impetus to put it into practice. Simply put, the time is yet to be right. Read more of this post

Are MVNOs the Next OTTs?

MVNOThe wireless market in Canada is on the cusp of changes due to new regulations that open the market for a new breed of MVNO services. Full MVNOs are now possible: they will be able to have their own mobile network codes (MNCs) and provision their own IMSI numbers. Full MVNOs own their core network including all subscriber related entities (HLR or HSS, etc.) while relying on wholesale service provider for the radio access network only. This makes these MVNOs independent at least from a retail perspective from the underlying host wireless carrier. MVNOs will be able to make arrangements with multiple wireless carriers and negotiate their own roaming arrangements with other national and international carriers. The three major carriers Bell, Rogers and Telus are subject to wholesale roaming guidelines on rates (based on cost), terms and conditions set by the regulator. Read more of this post

LTE Flavors in Unlicensed Spectrum


Guest post by Faris Alfarhan*

The unprecedented increase in demand for high-speed broadband requires a bundle of solutions to satisfy the demanded capacity. Unlicensed spectrum is increasingly considered by cellular operators, internet service providers, and businesses as part of solution set. Unlicensed spectrum cannot match the quality of licensed spectrum, as the interference profile is much more stochastic. However, unlicensed spectrum offers a complimentary solution to licensed carriers for operators, and an opportunity to cable companies and internet service providers – who typically don’t own any licensed spectrum – to deploy wireless networks and hotspots. Read more of this post

German Spectrum Auction Overview

The German 700 MHz auction concluded with a price tag of a billion Euro:

700 MHz Auction Results.

700 MHz Auction Results.

Read more of this post

Are Small Cells for 5G?

5GcAs the Small Cell Summit winds down I can’t help but wonder whether small cells are a technology awaiting 5G networks. There were many discussions on architecture at the conference which cannot but lead me to ask whether the market and technology drivers are in place for mass adoption. My reading of the situation points to further delays which extends the timeline of deployment to overlap with the inception of 5G networks – whatever that turns out to be. If this happens, mass LTE small cell deployment will stall in favor of 5G. I know that I am not alone in this thinking as a few operators have privately shared the same believe stating out-right that “small cells are for 5G”. What’s said in public aside, the fact is that leading operators are looking at small cells as a part of a much larger package in network evolution that includes a rethink of the network architecture in light of evolving business models and technologies. Read more of this post

What to Shut Down First 2G or 3G?

Spectrum RefarmingTelenor Norway announced it will shut down 3G network in 2020; five years before 2G.

This is yet another example of how operators in Europe are diverging from North American operators by opting to shut down 3G ahead of 2G. 3G is much less efficient in carrying data traffic than LTE which is twice better.  2G/GPRS is the workhorse for M2M services by operators. Also, the relatively small networks and markets in Europe and the amount of roaming makes a case to keep 2G operating for longer. Read more of this post


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