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4G LTE Global Market Development Gains Momentum

19 Jun
Global 4G LTE subscribers are projected to grow 35 percent compounded annually over the next five years, from 516 million to 2.3 billion, according to the latest market study by TeleGeography. LTE market penetration has been the greatest in South Korea, where the 4G technology accounted for 63 percent of wireless subscribers in 2014.

Close behind South Korea is the United States market, where LTE overtook 3G as the leading mobile communications technology last year — to account for just over half of wireless subscribers, and Japan, where LTE had a subscriber market share of 41 percent in 2014.

While 4G LTE will continue to grow in each of these leading nations over the next five years to account for between 80 and 90 percent of their respective mobile subscribers, mobile networks in the rest of the world will now begin to catch up.

The country to watch is China, where a boom in TD-LTE network deployment and soaring use of mobile internet access and data service usage are occurring. That said, just 8 percent of Chinese wireless subscribers were on LTE at the end of 2014. However, it’s forecast to grow to 39 percent by 2019 — at which point China will account for nearly one-third of all global LTE subscribers.

Despite the ongoing rise of LTE and slowing 2G and 3G growth rates, these now legacy wireless communication standards aren’t going away anytime soon. In fact, 2G remains the dominant mobile platform today, accounting for 61 percent of all global mobile service subscribers.

One of several reasons for this is that 90 percent of India’s 950 million subscribers are still connected to 2G networks. Until recently, challenges allocating spectrum resources and high 3G tariffs hampered the country’s mobile infrastructure advancement.

The situation is in India is improving, following reductions in 3G tariffs and increased adoption of smartphones. Moreover, India’s 3G subscribers are forecast to quadruple over the next five years, but they will still account for only one-third of its mobile subscriber base.

Global 3G subscribers are expected to surpass 2G subscribers in 2019, but each of these technologies will continue to account for a larger share of subscribers than LTE. According to the TeleGeography assessment, LTE is growing at a faster rate than 3G ever did.

However, while 3G subscribers are declining in the U.S. and Europe markets, more new subscribers are being added in all other regions — most notably within Africa, where they are expected to increase 19 percent compounded annually over the next five years. Therefore, despite its rapid growth, 4G LTE may not surpass 3G on a global basis until the next decade.


Telenor Norway closing down 3G network in 2020; 2G switch-off to happen five years later

19 Jun

Telenor Norway plans to completely close down its 3G network in 2020, some five years before shutting down its 2G infrastructure in 2025, the operator’s chief technical officer Magnus Zetterberg has revealed, according to Mobile World Live. Speaking at the company’s analyst and investor day, the executive was cited as saying that Telenor Norway would look to ‘dismantle legacy networks and eventually phase out 3G in 2020, before closing out 2G by 2025 and completing the data transition’. With regards to the reasoning behind the switch-off of 3G first, Zetterberg added: ‘It’s better to retain 2G than 3G because all the devices today are still embedded with 2G, so you will lose out without the network … 2G is still important for the [machine-to-machine] M2M market.’

With regards to Telenor Norway’s 4G system meanwhile, by the end of 2016, the company aims to have 99% of the population within its network footprint. Further technology enhancements are also planned, with Zetterberg confirming that full rollouts of both voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) and ‘4G+’ are expected to take place by the end of next year.

Source: TeleGeography. and


4G LTE in 2014: Four Fearless Predictions

6 Feb

4G LTE in 2014: Four Fearless Predictions

When the history of 4G LTE is written, 2013 will go down as the year when service provider and vendor efforts to advance the wireless communications standard paid off in the form of significant LTE subscriber growth. GSMA Intelligence, in its study, “Global LTE network forecasts and assumptions 2013-2017,” estimated that the past year concluded with 176 million global LTE connections – up more than six-fold over an 18-month period. GSMA further reports that LTE networks already cover more than 90% of the US population and 47% in Europe.

There remains a sizable, untapped market of consumers and enterprises that do not yet have access to LTE networks and LTE-enabled devices. While GSA, the Global mobile Suppliers Association, recently confirmed that 251 LTE networks are now launched, GSMA points out that Asia, with 10% LTE market coverage today, is expected to account for 47% of all LTE connections by 2017, and that the number of 4G-LTE connections across the world will eclipse one billion by that time as well – half the world’s population.

With LTE connections in the hundreds of millions, 2014 represents a pivotal year when mobile operators and others within the LTE ecosystem will need to ask themselves, “Ok, now that we have LTE subscribers, how can we deliver services, capabilities and a user experience compelling enough to not only attract new subscribers, but retain existing ones?”

Further advancing LTE in 2014 requires that mobile operators anticipate opportunities and challenges, and respond in rapid and nimble fashion. This article focuses on four LTE trends and predictions we expect to play out in 2014.

Fragmentation may precede cooperation

The ramp-up to 2G-enabled mobile device ubiquity was not without its fits and starts. Some threw their weight behind the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) standard, while others opted for Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) – each able to passionately point out the benefits of their approach and the drawbacks of the alternative. The same process played itself out with 3G/3.5G, as operators evaluated the merits of Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) relative to High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA).

As 2014 kicks off, there are tailwinds behind both TD-LTE (also referred to as LTE TDD) and FD-LTE (LTE FDD) in terms of which is best suited for delivering mobile data and other advanced communications services. China Mobile recently announced a decision to go with LTE TDD at a significant scale, requiring handset manufacturers and others interested in serving the massive China market to take notice. China Mobile planned to build approximately 200,000 TD-LTE base stations by the end of 2013.

Time-Division LTE is less mature than Frequency-Division LTE – which is used by major mobile operators such as EE in the United Kingdom – but it is clear that both standards need to be accounted for. The fact is that with 4G LTE standards, much like their predecessors, fragmentation may precede cooperation. Expect to see fragmentation fade. Already, device manufacturers recognize the need for dual-mode devices and/or seamless transitioning between the two networks.

Samsung recently stated publicly that: “While the majority of the global LTE market is based on FDD-LTE technology, TDD-LTE, the alternative LTE technology, is expected to see increased adoption in the US, China, Australia, Middle East, Northern and Eastern Europe, and Southwest Asia, and to gain a more pronounced position in the global LTE market. Seamless handover between FDD-LTE and TDD-LTE networks is a critical feature for end-user customers and mobile operators, especially in markets where the both technologies are deployed.”

Samsung also announced earlier this year that it would be developing dual-mode 4G TDD/FDD LTE phones for China, so that phones can operate on both FDD and TDD LTE networks. Beyond handset manufacturers, we expect to also see enabling technology for delivering unified communications across 4G LTE devices to similarly ensure these capabilities can be experienced across both standards.

LTE use cases will expand

The conversation around 4G LTE today focuses in broad terms around the needs of the enterprise end-user, the consumer, and in many cases the ‘prosumer’ who straddles both user profiles. In 2014, the diversity of LTE use cases will expand in a major way.

Already, we are seeing activity around LTE-Broadcast. In October of last year, Telstraannounced it was the first mobile carrier in the world to trial LTE-Broadcast live on a commercial network, opening new possibilities for how mobile broadcast video is delivered to end-users.  In-vehicle LTE is also gaining speed, as it unlocks infotainment options that enhance the driver and passenger experience immeasurably in the same way that LTE-Broadcast changes how we access live broadcasts from any location. Car companies are already realizing the selling power of in-car technology, as numerous television commercials devote as much airtime to the technology bells & whistles of a connected car as they do to the car’s performance itself.

Non-traditional LTE applications are not restricted to the consumer market. Verizon has experienced success launching and enhancing vertical applications with 4G LTE-enabled devices. Verizon’s Field Force Manager and Fleet Control solutions enable companies to achieve greater returns when managing mobile workforces and fleets, and allows organizations with mobile fleets or field operations to address their unique challenges through LTE-enabled location management, cloud services and tablet based solutions.

Millennials will fuel shift to mobile UC, dual persona

By the year 2020, Millennials are expected to comprise approximately 45% of the entire U.S. workforce.  This always-on, always-connected generation will bring its dynamic and diverse communications expectations to the office – which means that enterprises will need to plan for and manage the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) workforce.

With end-users demanding mobile unified communications to enable them to work efficiently, from anywhere, enterprises will be turning to mobile operators and even fixed line service providers to deliver mobile access to voice, video, instant message and presence, as well as conferencing and collaboration capabilities. Due to growing demand for mobile unified communications, coinciding with the build out of LTE networks, analyst firm Gartner predicts that by 2016, 75 percent of mobile UC solutions will be integrated into the enterprise telephony infrastructure.

Service providers are fully aware that LTE is a critical conduit for mobile UC delivery, and will increasingly architect mobility into UC solutions in order to monetize their LTE network investments. The wider global availability of LTE service in the near future will improve the value proposition for UC, but mobile operators need to stake their claim today by offering these services to the New Mobile Enterprise. At the same time, enterprises will increasingly view LTE-enabled mobile unified communications as the most effective way to support its BYOD workforce requirements.

As BYOD adoption continues to permeate the workforce, it will require “dual persona” support for advanced communications services on personal or enterprise-provided devices. Through dual persona, employers will be able to separate business and personal voice and UC services (including business and personal contacts, call logs and chat sessions), while maintaining a secure environment on the device for business applications with data that is fully controllable by the enterprise. At the same time, dual persona enables enterprises to meet user demands for a single device for all communication services, as employees will have more freedom to access their services from the device of their choice.

Enabling Migration From 2G/3G Networks Will Be Key

The GSMA study previously referenced forecasts that LTE networks will be available to half of the world’s population by 2017. However, mobile operators will still be looking for ways to deliver advanced and mobile communications services on 2G/3G networks, and as they migrate to 4G LTE.

As a result, we expect to see demand increase among mobile operators for unified communications services that are architected to be easily compatible with 2G, 3G or 4G/LTE networks – and any mobile device on these networks. Technology providers that, for example, can also transcode communications services and allow seamless movement between broadband network types, as well as between mobile devices and fixed-desk phones, will be best positioned to serve mobile operators in 2014.

Mobile operators able to access mobile UC services that are “future-proof” to work with their existing 2G/3G networks today, while enabling seamless migration to LTE networks going forward, can accelerate the monetization of their LTE investments in 2014 by delivering advanced applications and services only possible through LTE – including Voice over LTE (VoLTE), mobile video calling and conferencing, instant messaging and presence and web collaboration.


The evolution of the G

2 Sep

Wireless Technology Evolution

Vodafone trials femtocell 3G coverage in Shetlands village

24 Jun

Walls was chosen as a test bed for Vodafone’s “open femtocell” project; taking femtocell technology and scaling it up very slightly to suit a small town, village or other “not-spot”. 170 places applied to be part of the trial, which was announced 18 months ago.

The village of Walls was the first to get mobile connectivity where previously there was none. The next step is community-driven DIY roll-out, so Vodafone customers will never see another not-spot.

Femtocells are boxes which work as very small base stations. Once switched on they scan for available frequencies (licensed by their operator), and reach out over the public internet to backhaul voice and data sessions. All UK mobile operators offer domestic femtos to customers who want better coverage at home, though most are reluctant to do so and only Vodafone sells such a product (under the Sure Signal brand).

But this project takes that idea up a notch to provide connectivity to a whole community.

People making calls in Walls

The local MP, Vodafone’s man in Scotland and a couple of locals casually using the femtocell

The 3G cells used in Walls are a little larger than a traditional femtocell, but most of that is weatherproofing as they’re mounted outside for maximum range. There are four of them in Walls, creating patches of signal which cover about a third of the homes in the village.

Each box can carry eight simultaneous voice calls, as well as keeping phones on standby or delivering data. Cells are aware of the macro infrastructure, so calls can be passed off to the greater network when one leaves the village – if the greater network existed here, which it doesn’t, so the point is rather moot.

4G would be pointless, according to Vodafone, as Wi-Fi fulfills that need. 4G networks don’t carry voice calls; existing deployments switch to 3G when required (or sometimes don’t, according to some EE customers). A 4G femtocell would have to support 3G too, making 4G redundent when what’s wanted is greater coverage for voice calling.

The point is that these cells don’t need planning permission. They just bolt to a wall, and they don’t need special power supplies. They cost around £20 a year in normal mains ‘leccy, and they don’t have to be installed by expensive engineers; just switch ’em on and go.

So, in theory, an Open Femto cell can be deployed by any community which wants to extend its connectivity and is bored of lobbying operators for more masts.

People making calls in at work in Wells

Another cell, this time at a mussel farm, providing connectivity out to the boats and across the shore

Not quite any community can use these, however – only those with decent enough internet speeds to carry the traffic back to Vodafone central, not to mention also needing a community cohesive enough to work together on the project. Vodafone’s plan is to “industralise the process” into some form of package which can be delivered to communities for them to fit, with Vodafone engineers turning up at the last moment to plug in and switch on.

The details of that process will take a year to sort out, and the deployment in Walls will be monitored to see how effective it is, how much traffic it carries and (critically) how many people use it – and thus when Vodafone can expect a return on the cost of the kit.

Even then backhaul will remain an issue for many areas, especially as mobile not-spots tend to be the same ones lacking internet infrastructure. (but not so on Shetland, where oil money provides one heated pool per three thousand people and 20Mb/sec broadband is normal. Infrastructure is not a problem!).

Vodafone complains that access to BT’s ducts and cables is denied to mobile operators (only companies selling fixed connectivity need apply) and hopes its ownership of Cable & Wireless will help extend operations, though that won’t be far enough for many communities.

The people of Walls are, obviously, delighted, able to make and receive calls (just as long as eight people nearby aren’t also on the phone) and if Vodafone can package it well, the idea should spread quickly to other villages and hamlets around the UK. Not to mention the other network operators as well, who’ll be quick to ape any successful roll-out. ®



What and How Cell Edge Rate in LTE

28 Feb

Cell Edge Rate in LTE is simple if it’s High then Coverage Low and if It’s Low then Coverage high similar to Frequency selection. Not clear lets understand in detail.

Similar to other wireless communications systems, such as CDMA2000 EVDO, WiMAX and HSPA, the LTE features a rate layering feature. That is, the higher the required edge rate, the smaller the cell coverage radius. The lower the required edge rate, the larger the cell coverage radius.

This comes about due to the fixed power offered by UE (normally 23dBm) being spread evenly to the number of RBs involved in the modulation scheme assigned, assuming there is no power control (i.e. Downlink ICIC also disabled).

Some of the factors that affect the edge rate in the LTE system are as follows:

  • Uplink/downlink TDD proportion
  • MIMO schemes chosen
  • eNodeB Power Amplifier power (affect downlink only)
  • Number of RB used at the sector edge
  • Modulation mode (1 of 29 coding methods)
  • Repeated coding times

The formula for calculating the downlink cell edge rate is as follows:

Cell edge rate Phy = Number of Different data stream transmitted Number of Resource Block assigned to user per frame Number of available Traffic carrying Resource Element per Resource Block Coding rate Modulation model level / Duration of each frame


  • Number of Resource Block Assigned (a single RB is the basic resource assignment level) reflects the number of resource blocks used by user at the edge of the sector. The smaller the number of resource blocks assigned, the lower the cell edge rate. In previous version of link budget tools, receive sensitivity of a base station is defined by the bandwidth of the RB which is 180 kHz. More recent version are using per subcarrier as basis of receiver sensitivity and the conversion value is simply 10log10. RB can be assigned down to a per TTI level (1 ms duration)
  • Number of Different data stream transmitted is related to the number of data stream being simultaneously transmitted. Number can be ranging from 1 (SFBC) to 2 (MCW 2×2). In case of BF, the value should be 1 for single antenna port transmission mode 7 (port 7 or 8), and 2 streams for dual antenna port transmission mode 8 (port 7 and 8).
  • Number of available Traffic carrying Resource Element per Resource Block indicates the number of RE available for each resource block. In FDD system, a maximum of 3 symbols (36 Res) can be consumed per frame (10ms) for control channel signaling purposes and there is at least 6 more extra RE can be used for Downlink Reference signaling per TTI (1ms). A minimum of 1 symbol (12 Res) will be required per RB for control signaling purposes. In TDD system, due to frequency sharing and time gap requirement for switching between uplink and downlink, 6 symbols equivalent (72 Res) will be the minimum overhead requirement per TTI.
  • Coding rate indicates the volume coding rate of the channel code. For example, the volume coding rate of QPSK1/2 is 1/2, and the volume coding rate of 16QAM3/4 is 3/4.
  • Modulation model level indicates the number of bits in the modulation mode. For example, the modulation mode levels of QPSK, 16QAM, and 64QAM are 2, 4, and 6 respectively.
  • Duration of each frame indicates the frame size. As regulated by the protocols, the frame size in LTE networks is 10 ms.

In the link budget, the settings of the uplink/downlink cell edge rates (in particular the uplink cell edge rate) will determine the final cell coverage radius. Hence, an understanding of edge coverage requirement is very critical from a network planning perspective.

If Downlink ICIC is enabled, downlink power control must be enabled also (which is executed at 20ms intervals based on UE BER reported value) and edge rate calculation will be more complex and beyond the formula listed above. However, the cell edge data rate requirement will still be the single most important factor in any cell planning activities.



Speed Test: 16 fast connectivity facts

23 Dec
We’ve been gathering a wealth of data from users of ZDNet’s Broadband Speed Test. As the year draws to a close, what have we learned?

Throughout the year, people have been testing their connection speeds with ZDNet’s Broadband Speed Test. Since February, we asked people to enter their postcode and connection type, so that we could compare the various technologies. We lost some data in June, as ZDNet Australia was migrated to the international version of ZDNet. Still, up until last week (December 12), we had 602,831 records from Australian users. This was enough to discover some interesting facts about what’s happening when it gets to hooked-up internet Down Under.

Overall, it paints a positive picture. Speeds are increasing, not just through the adoption of new technologies (like fibre and 4G), but also because we’re getting more out of DSL and 3G.

As always, a word of caution on these figures: They are not a fully representative sample. They are the results of tests, often taken by people who want to see why their connection is slow, or how fast their new connection is. That’ll polarise the results a little. There’s also the geek factor: The results will be heavily skewed in favour of people who get a kick out of seeing how fast their internet connection is. That could push the averages up a little.

That said, these caveats apply equally to all the results, irrespective of which connection type or internet service provider (ISP) the user has selected. That makes the relativity of these comparisons totally bona fide.


The quickest


Fibre provided the fastest average connection speed from the 602,832 tests taken over the year. It provided an average speed of 24.8Mbps, followed by cable (20.7Mbps), 4G (10.7Mbps), DSL (6.1Mbps), and 3G (3.5Mbps).


Wireless connectivity


Despite the emerging availability of 4G, it accounted for just 3 percent of all tests, with this figure showing no sign of increase over the year. There were more than twice as many tests for 3G.


(Credit: Phil Dobbie/ZDNet)


Both 3G and 4G speeds seem to have increased over the year. 3G speeds have risen from just 2.5Mbps in February up to 5.1Mbps so far this month.

Average 3G speeds were slowest in New South Wales (2Mbps), compared to 2.7Mbps in Victoria, 2.8Mbps in Western Australia, and 5.8Mbps in Queensland.


DSL facts


DSL speeds averaged 6Mbps for home users, 7.4Mbps for those at work, and 11.3Mbps for school users.

Home DSL speeds have been increasing, although they slipped a little around Easter time. April was the slowest month, with an average speed of 5.9Mbps, and December finishing the year at 6.7Mbps.


(Credit: Phil Dobbie/ZDNet)


Victoria had the fastest home DSL speed results (6.7Mbps), followed by South Australia (6.1Mbps), NSW (6Mbps), WA (5.5Mbps), Tasmania (5.3Mbps), Queensland (5.1Mbps), and the Australian Capital Territory (5.1Mbps).

Over the year, Telstra has offered the fastest home DSL access speeds. Its average of 6.5Mbps was well ahead of TPG (6.1Mbps), Internode (6Mbps), iiNet (5.7Mbps), OptusNet (5.5Mbps), and Dodo (5.5Mbps).

Telstra lost its lead position recently, however, with TPG beating Telstra for the top spot for the last three months. Telstra’s average speeds have been sliding since the middle of the year, whilst TPG has increased.


(Credit: Phil Dobbie/ZDNet)


Although it’s not a precise indicator of market size, it is worth noting that 29 percent of all home DSL speed tests were by BigPond users, followed by TPG (18 percent), iiNet (15 percent), OptusNet (7 percent), Internode (4 percent), and Dodo (3 percent).

Most ISPs retained a similar share of tests throughout the year, although OptusNet slipped from 8 percent in February and March down to 5 percent in August and September, finishing at 6 percent for the last few months of the year. Dodo and TPG also account for a smaller proportion of tests at the end of the year.


Fibre and cable facts


Cable users made up 20 percent of the tests. Only 2 percent of tests over the year were from fibre connections.

Telstra’s cable speeds seem to be streets ahead, averaging 33Mbps (2,780 tests), compared to 22.9Mbps for Internode (199 tests), 20.6Mbps for OptusNet (360 tests), 17.9Mbps for iiNet (626 tests), and 9.5Mbps for TPG (254 tests).

Average fibre speeds seem to have slowed during the year — perhaps as new users sign up for lower-speed plans. Over the year, fibre speeds averaged 26.5Mbps for home users, 18.9Mbps for those at work, and just 16.1Mbps for schools.

Telstra accounted for 35 percent of all fibre tests, and, with an average of 33Mbps, beat the rest in terms of speed.


(Credit: Phil Dobbie/ZDNet)


At 24.6Mbps, Victoria had the fastest average speed from fibre (239 tests), followed by NSW, at 23.3Mbps (250 tests), and Queensland, at 19.9Mbps (102 tests).


Is Verizon turning 3G into a prepaid-only service?

28 Nov


Verizon Wireless(s vz)(s vod) is hardly the must gung ho carrier when it comes to prepaid service. Though it hosts a few million contract-free subscribers on its 2G and 3G networks, it chooses to focus on the high-dollar contract users and its brand spanking new LTE data network. But before the Thanksgiving holiday kicked off Verizon did a funny thing: It started courting prepaid subscribers with a double-data promotional offer.

First spotted by FierceWireless, the deal gives customers signing up for its $80 unlimited-talk-and-text smartphone plans 2 GB of data to consume each month rather than just the standard 1 GB. The major catch is that data must come off its 3G network — no LTE phones allowed. After years of ceding prepaid to its competitors has Verizon finally seen the light of contract-free mobility? If it has, then Verizon is attacking prepaid in a strange way. Even with…

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