Category Archives: LTE/5G

More and More Small Cells, But Where’s the Gain?

Small cells are meant as a solution to address the explosive growth in mobile data services, right? Well, the answer is: it depends! They can be a solution under certain conditions, but not always. Yes, there could be situations where small cells add little if any gain. In fact, more than one operator mentioned to me little or… Read More »

TD-LTE and the Hype Cycle: Where’s the Business Opportunity?

As a new wave of hype is building around TD-LTE, I wonder what the fuss is all about. For certain, TD-LTE is not a groundbreaking technology – it comes many years after WiMAX and quite a few after its older FD-LTE sibling. But what intrigues me most is the business model for TD-LTE and especially the dilemma of the TDD spectrum holder: what is a winning business model that maximizes the value of my operation and company? Without such a model, TD-LTE will be yet another technology toddler that never makes it to adulthood.

Use Cases for the 2.5/2.6 GHz Spectrum: Macro or Micro/Pico Cells?

Should operators deploy a macro or micro cellular architecture in 2.5 GHz band? This is not a trivial question particularly for an incumbent wireless operator that already holds spectrum in lower spectrum bands. The same can be said of Greenfields looking to capitalize on the exponential demand for wireless data services.

Meeting IMT-Advanced Requirements: A Look Under the Hood of Next Generation Wireless Networks.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has just approved LTE-Advanced and WiMAX-Advanced (aka WiMAX 2.0) as part of the IMT-Advanced standards. Aside of marketing catch phrases like “putting fiber optical speed on your mobile phone,” the statements about efficiency – being able to transfer higher data rates in lesser bandwidth – are what the industry will be grappling with.

Use Cases for the 2.5/2.6 GHz Spectrum: Options for TDD Band 38

Large amounts of spectrum in the 2.5-2.7 GHz band are available now for mobile network deployments. Spectrum auctions in Europe in the past two years made much of the 190 MHz available to network operators. This band sold at a significant discount to the 800 MHz band (between 5 – 35x). While in the United States Clearwire used this band to deploy WiMAX, in Europe, operators are unanimous of LTE. So, what are the deployment options?

Setting a New Standard for Unpaired Spectrum Pricing: AT&T’s Purchase of Qualcomm’s 700 MHz Spectrum

On December 22, the FCC approved of AT&T’s purchase of the unpaired D and E blocks from Qualcomm for a total of $1.925 Billion. What went missing in most media reports that the D and E bands are unpaired 6 MHz bands in what’s commonly known as the “lower 700 MHz band.”

Latency: LTE’s Achilles’ Heel?

While much attention has been focused on LTE data rates, another important parameter, latency, has gone largely unnoticed. Yet, latency is critical to enable a number of applications particularly voice services (VoLTE). I review in this post some of the publicly reported results I found on LTE latency.

VoLTE in LTE Migration Strategies

At a recent conference I attended, a strategy executive at Deutsche Telekom stated that they would turn off the 3G network before turning off 2G GSM as the migration to LTE evolves. Sounds bizarre? Not really, it makes a lot of technical sense. One reason to come to this decision is the nature of the LTE architecture and the way LTE handles voice traffic. As a full-packet network, LTE is fundamentally different from the full circuit-switched GSM and hybrid circuit and packet-switched 3G networks which include today’s data workhorse HSPA+. In LTE, voice is just another application, albeit one with specific parameters and requirements. Therefore, voice is packetized and classified according to a certain Quality of Service level (QoS) to maintain important parameters such as latency and jitter. This is essentially what Voice over LTE (VoLTE) is.

The Italian 4G Spectrum Auction: An Analysis

After 22 days and 469 rounds, the 4G frequency spectrum auction in Italy closed on September 29th netting the government over €3.9 billion. By all measures, the auction was a great success with prices exceeding the reserve prices in a country that has not been far from the epicenter of financial turbulence in the Eurozone.

Analysis of the French Spectrum Auction

Yesterday, ARCEP announced the results of the 2.6 GHz FDD spectrum auction in France. A total of 140 MHz was sold off for a total of €936 million ($1.26 billion), far exceeding the reserve price of €700 million. Good news for the French government!

The End of Wireless?!

The numbers for mid-2011 are in and the big picture for mobile network operators is clear: overall ARPUs continue to decline led by declining voice service revenue. Data service revenue continues to grow, but not at a sufficient rate to compensate for the decline in voice revenue. In fact, data services which on average constitutes a about a third of ARPU fail to stabilize ARPU and hold off the erosion.

Spanish Spectrum Auction Results: As Expected?

The results of the spectrum auction in Spain were published on Monday. The auction was for digital dividend band frequencies in 800 MHz, a slice of 900 MHz spectrum and 2.5 GHz spectrum.

Dichotomy of Access and Backhaul Capacity Planning

I have listened to a few webinars recently by some of the major microwave backhaul vendors, all with the message that microwave has enough capacity to support required LTE data rates. It is evident that network operators have been pushing these vendors for higher data rates. Microwave after all cannot compete with fiber on capacity and MNOs (Mobile Network Operator) have been laying lots of fiber in anticipation of LTE network roll out.

LTE Data Rate: What Can We Expect?

I have already address peak LTE data rates and showed how they’re calculated. But what type of data rates would a user actually experience? This is what really matters from a quality of experience perspective.

LTE Peak Capacity Explained: How to Calculate it?

I like to focus on LTE capacity in the next few blog entries and present what can realistically be obtained. I have seen wild figures, mainly pushed by system vendors and consumed by many operators, journalist and writers who like to wow readers of the promise of new technologies. For network operators, erring on capacity expectations has negative consequences as capacity fundamentally impact the cost of the network both on the access side and the backhaul side. Inflated capacity figures would lead to under-dimensioning on the access side and over-dimensioning on the backhaul side.