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Precedence for TD-LTE by Chinese government to benefit China Mobile to launch its China-originated 4G service as early as Dec 18, 2013
… it looks like the government was waiting till China Mobile was ready to launch, meanwhile delaying FDD-LTE by declaring a necessity to “test a converged TD-LTE/LTE FDD network at a later date”.
4G TD-LTE Licenses Officially Issued by MIIT [Global TD-LTE Initiative Updates, Dec 4, 2013]
After months of waiting and dithering, China is moving into the 4G era.
Today Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has finally issued the first batch of 4G licenses to China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom. China Mobile gets access to 130MHz of spectrum (1880-1900 MHz, 2320-2370 MHz, 2575-2635 MHz), China Unicom gets 40MHz (2300-2320 MHz, 2555-2575 MHz) and China Telecom has 40MHz (2370-2390 MHz, 2635-2655 MHz) for TD-LTE operation. The commercialization of TD-LTE in China by these three operators will certainly promote the TD-LTE scale deployment globally.
China issues 4G licenses [Xinhua, Dec 4, 2013]
China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) on Wednesday issued 4G licenses to three Chinese telecom operators, marking the beginning of a new era in China’s high-speed mobile network.
China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom received permits to offer fourth-generation (4G) mobile network services employing homegrown TD-LTE technology.
The ministry said the three companies have conducted large-scale tests of TD-LTE, or Time-Division Long-Term Evolution, one of two international standards, and their technology is ready for commercial service.
Zhang Feng, the MIIT’s spokesman, said 4G technology will lower bandwidth costs and promise faster mobile broadband.
The ministry’s figures showed that the Internet speed of 4G networks is 10 times that of 3G services, and allows mobile users to download a 7-megabyte music file in less than one second.
China Mobile said the rates for 4G services will be cheaper than those for 3G. In some cities where the company has launched the 4G network for trial commercial use, the tariff is 20 percent less than similar 3G network plans.
Li Yue, president of China Mobile, said the price of 4G smartphones will go down quickly following the approval of the 4G network for commercial use.
Now only a number of smartphone models in China are equipped with modules that support home-grown 4G TD-LTE technology, with their prices ranging from 350 U.S. dollars to 800 U.S. dollars.
Li said 4G terminals for as little as 150 U.S. dollars will be available on the market by the end of this year.
The MIIT also said Wednesday it will test a converged TD-LTE/LTE FDD network at a later date.
China is the major promoter of the TD-LTE standard and is also a major owner of the standard’s core patents. LTE FDD is the other international 4G standard and is popular in Europe.
The MIIT said the convergence of the two standards is gaining momentum in the global telecom industry. A total of 10 converged TD-LTE/LTE FDD commercial networks have been established so far worldwide.
“China will issue licenses for LTE FDD when the condition is ripe,” said the ministry.
Experts believe the commercialization of TD-LTE will create a new impetus for China’s economic growth, as the country is home to the largest number of mobile phone users in the world.
The ministry’s statistics showed that the 3G network contributed 211 billion yuan (34 billion U.S. dollars) to China’s GDP in its first three years of commercial use.
“The 4G industry chain, which involves terminal manufacturing and the software sector, will further improve the services of China’s telecom sector,” said spokesman Zhang Feng.
60% of phone users in China have no plans to upgrade to 4G: report [Want China Times, Dec 6, 2013, 14:46 (GMT+8)]
More than 60% of China’s cell phone users have no plans to switch to the latest 4G technology, the Guangzhou-based Souther Daily reported on Dec. 5.
Though the paper did not give detailed information on how its poll was conducted, it said more than 60% of the people it surveyed said they are happy with their 3G smartphones and that they do not feel the need to upgrade.
Those polled said they have a greater choice of 3G smartphones at more competitive prices than the 4G options currently available.
Southern Daily said 4G services, for which the government began to issue licenses this week, would be attractive for the younger generation in particular but telecom carriers may need to offer more promotions and incentives to persuade people to retire their current cell phones.
What are the differences between TDD LTE (TD-LTE) and FDD LTE (FD-LTE)? [Global TD-LTE Initiative, Nov 4, 2013]
FDD LTE and TDD LTE are two different standards of LTE 4G technology. LTE is a high-speed wireless technology from the 3GPP standard. 3G growth reached its end at HSPA+, and mobile operators have already started deploying 4G networks to provide much more bandwidth for mobile users. 4G speed will provide a virtual LAN reality to mobile handsets by offering very high speed access to the Internet to experience real triple play services such as data, voice and video from a mobile network.
LTE is defined to support both the paired spectrum for Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) and unpaired spectrum for Time Division Duplex (TDD). LTE FDD uses a paired spectrum that comes from a migration path of the 3G network, whereas TDD LTE uses an unpaired spectrum that evolved from TD-SCDMA.
TD-LTE does not require a paired spectrum since transmission and reception occurs in the same channel. In FD-LTE, it requires a paired spectrum with different frequencies with a guard band.
TD-LTE is cheaper than FD-LTE since in TD-LTE there is no need for a diplexer to isolate transmission and receptions.
In TD-LTE, it’s possible to change the uplink and downlink capacity ratio dynamically according to the needs. In FD-LTE, capacity is determined by frequency allocation by regulatory authorities, making it difficult to make a dynamic change.
In TD-LTE, a larger guard period is necessary to maintain the uplink and downlink separation that will affect the capacity. In FD-LTE, the same concept is referred to as a guard band for isolation of uplink and downlink, which will not affect capacity.
Cross slot interference exists in TD-LTE, which is not applicable to FD-LTE.
What are TD-LTE’s technical highlights? [Global TD-LTE Initiative, Nov 4, 2013]
TD-LTE transmissions travel in both directions on the same frequency band, a methodology formally known as “unpaired spectrum.” It is distinct from “paired spectrum,” where two frequencies are allocated, one for the transmit channel and the other for the receive channel (formally called “Frequency Division”). “Time Division” means the receive channel and the transmit channel take turns (i.e., divide the time between them) on the same frequency band. The time divisions are asymmetric, meaning that more time-slots are allocated to data going from the tower to the phone than from the phone to the tower. The usage patterns of the future (fewer phone calls, more Internet) are asymmetric in this manner.
The frequency bands used by TD-LTE are 3.4–3.6 GHz in Australia and the UK, 2.57−2.62 GHz in the US and China, 2.545-2.575 GHz in Japan, and 2.3–2.4 GHz in India and Australia. The technology supports scalable channel bandwidth, between 1.4 and 20 MHz. A typical range measures up to 200 meters indoors on a 2.57–2.62 GHz radio frequency link.
China Telecommunications: Who says TD-LTE doesn’t work? [Global TD-LTE Initiative Updates, Nov 25, 2013]
Our existing ‘counter consensus’ view on the outlook for Chinese Telecoms is based on the belief that LTE will cause a reversal of fortune among the key players. China Mobile will solve the biggest problem identified in our consumer research (slow data speeds) and will once again have the ‘best’ mobile network in China on all dimensions. China Unicom, having gained strong momentum on the basis of their superior 3G data speeds will face a slowing of momentum – at least among high value customers seeking the latest technology
Over the last few weeks we have heard many arguments from China Mobile Bears as to why our hypothesis will be wrong. The initial arguments are usually targeted at the technology itself – that TD-LTE is a Chinese standard and a poor cousin to the much better FD-LTE more popular in Europe (it isn’t), that it doesn’t handle voice calls well (irrelevant – no operator in the world has launched a new LTE network with voice over LTE – in all cases they use existing 2G or 3G networks for voice), that handsets will not be available (ever heard of the iPhone? Not to mention Samsung, Sony, HTC, Huawei…)
China Mobile launched its TD-LTE network in Shenzhen for ‘test’ operations in early November. We thought the best way to address the Bear’s technology concerns was to go test the network for ourselves. Nearly 120 speed tests conducted from different indoor and outdoor locations supported our hypothesis that TD-LTE will be demonstratively better than Unicom’s existing 3G network in data speeds. On average we experienced download speeds 10 times faster, upload speeds 7 times faster and a dramatic improvement in latency. We concur that service coverage for LTE is currently weaker, but locations meaningful to high value customers are already largely covered. Coverage will continue to improve as China Mobile rolls out new sites.
Over the last few years, China Mobile has underperformed the market while Unicom has outperformed – we attribute most of the difference in fortune of these two companies to the relative data speed of their respective 3G networks. We believe the launch of TD-LTE services by China Mobile will start the process of reversing this. Speed test in Shenzhen affirm our belief that TD-LTE technology works and is demonstratively superior to W-CDMA in data speeds.
Click to download:
China Telecommunications: Who says TD-LTE doesn’t work?
We experienced lightning speeds in Shenzhen
[a 10 pages long whitepaper by Berstein Research, Nov 18, 2013]
Some important excerpts from that:
China Mobile has been selling TD-LTE devices and rate plans in Shenzhen since November 1st. As 4G licenses are not yet issued, these sales are described as “trials” and are limited to a small number of devices and are only available in a few cities. The LTE rate plans are provisional: service contracts are signed under a 3G rate plan which will transfer to a 4G plan in January. We believe that sales of 4G services in advance of an actual license is an aggressive move, and highlights how important 4G is for China Mobile’s management.
We conducted over 100 speed tests in Shenzhen to compare the new TD-LTE network versus Unicom’s existing 3G network. Unicom has benefited tremendously from China Mobile’s misfortune with TD-SCDMA and its own good fortune of being licensed with WCDMA. Unicom also stands to suffer the most if its leadership on speed is lost. Our proprietary customer research indicated this was a key buying factor for many of Unicom’s existing customers. We went to Shenzhen (one of the cities where China Mobile is already selling 4G services) to pit China Unicom and China Mobile’s networks head-to-head. We conducted ~120 tests across various locations (indoors, outdoors, in-transit, and under-ground) to reach robust conclusions on speed, latency and coverage. Our test approach and sampling criteria are shown on Exhibit 1; our 4G test equipments are shown in Exhibits 2 and 3.
As expected, our test highlighted that TD-SCDMA lags Unicom’s WCDMA in 3G data speeds. First we wanted to confirm Unicom’s data speed superiority over China Mobile on 3G network. As expected we found Unicom’s WCDMA to download and upload around 3 times faster than China Mobile’s TD-SCDMA. TD-SCDMA clocked an average of 1.1MB/s on download and 0.2MB/s on upload, compared to 2.7MB/s and 0.7MB/s for WCDMA. These results were broadly similar to field tests done by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) in 2010 (see Exhibits 4 and 5).
However, China Mobile’s TD-LTE is everything it is promised to be: the new leader in data speed. We then moved on to test TD-LTE… We found it had 3 times less latency (Exhibit 6) which improves the browsing experience making the phone feel more responsive. Download speeds clocked an average of 26.2MB/s, which was ~10 times faster than Unicom’s 3G network (Exhibit 7). Upload speeds averaged 5MB/s, which was 7 times faster than Unicom’s 3G (Exhibit 8). These performance levels were consistently observed across all locations where there was a signal. Part of TD-LTE’s outperformance is due to a lack of users on the network, however, given the large amount of spectrum expected to be allocated for LTE services we believe there will continue to be a material performance advantage over WCDMA even as the subscriber base expands.
The TD-LTE network had more coverage gaps but this will improve over time. China Mobile’s TD-LTE network did have some coverage issues, even within urban Shenzhen. However the problem was less significant than feared. All the outdoor sites tested received good signals, and high traffic indoor locations (e.g. shopping malls, cafes) are also covered. The only test site where we failed to receive a signal was the underground metro station (Refer back to Exhibit 1). We suspect there are many more ‘gaps’ around, but these will be progressively fixed over time.
Anecdotally there appears to be pent-up demand for TD-LTE services; improving availability of handsets will be key to unlocking this. Currently there are only two LTE handsets available from China Mobile: a Samsung Galaxy Note II at 5299RMB [$871] and a cheaper Huawei model at 2888RMB [$475]. One clerk told us that since launching 4G “trials” 2 weeks ago, her store had only sold one TD-LTE phone. However many customers with TD-LTE compatible iPhones (5S/5C models bought in Hong Kong) are signing up to 4G plans. We are wary of making too much from this, but agree that improving handset availability will be key to a broader uptake of the service. With integrated 2G/3G/4G chipsets available and China now being the largest smartphone market, we believe it will not be long before a large number of mid to low end devices start to appear on the market.
More than Half of Asian Population Will Be Covered by LTE-TDD by 2018 [ABI Research News, Nov 4, 2013]
LTE network deployments will continue to grow rapidly globally. Time-division duplex (TDD) network is picking up the pace and gaining more market traction. In Asia-Pacific, LTE-TDD networks will cover more than 53% of the population by 2018 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 41.1% between 2012 and 2018, while frequency-division duplex (FDD) networks will reach 49% population coverage by the end of 2018.
“The increase of LTE-TDD population coverage is mainly driven by wide deployment in some Asian countries with large populations, such as China, India, and Japan,” comments Marina Lu, research associate at ABI Research. “Due to its complementarity of using unpaired spectrum, a number of LTE-FDD operators will expand their networks with LTE-TDD in additional spectrum to improve network capacity.”
Among Asia-Pacific’s recently completed, on-going, and upcoming 4G spectrum auctions, 25% concern 2,600 MHz, 25% 1,800 MHz, and 20% 800 MHz, which is consistent with the popularity of the 2,600 MHz band for LTE-TDD networks. “Asia-Pacific will be the region with the most LTE-TDD networks,” adds Jake Saunders, VP and practice director. “Of global LTE-TDD concluded contracts awarded to vendors so far, 47% come from Asia-Pacific and the second largest portion of 18% is contributed by the Middle East.”
Considering spectrum efficiency, spectrum bandwidth, network capacity, etc., a number of operators are preparing to upgrade LTE networks to LTE-Advanced networks. In ABI Research’s latest survey, there have been 29 LTE Advanced network commitments worldwide by Q3 2013, of which 10 commitments come from Western Europe, 9 from Asia-Pacific, and 5 from North America.
TD-LTE global market overview [Global TD-LTE Initiative Updates, Sept 13, 2013]
With the Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard continuing to develop, international differences in plannings and frequency allocation timetables have resulted in different frequency bands being used in different countries. TD-LTE standard’s greater efficiency in terms of frequency spectrum usage has attracted the attention of carriers in a number of other countries.
21 TD-LTE commercial networks have been launched as of August, 2013, and 39 LTE TDD commercial networks are in progress or planned. (Source: GSA)
TD-LTE’s unique features have also played an important part in the technology’s growing stature in the market. Because TD-LTE makes asymmetrical use of unpaired spectrum, for both uplink and downlink, it is a spectral efficient technology. Spectrum is a valuable commodity for mobile operators, especially those who operate in countries where there is a limited amount of available FDD spectrum; or where only single unpaired frequency is available. Driven by its spectral efficiency, TD-LTE is now increasingly being viewed as an attractive proposition in markets.
GSA confirms 244 LTE networks are commercially launched, LTE1800 now mainstream [news article by GSA, Dec 5, 2013]
The latest update of the Evolution to LTE report from GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association) confirms that 244 operators have commercially launched LTE services in 92 countries.
98 LTE networks have been commercially launched so far in 2013.
The report confirms that 499 operators are investing in LTE in 143 countries. This is made up of 448 firm operator commitments to build LTE networks in 134 countries, plus 51 additional operators engaged in various trials, studies, etc. in a further 9 countries.
From amongst the committed operators, 244 have commercially launched services, which is 78% more than a year ago.
GSA forecasts there will be 260 LTE networks in commercial service by the end of this year.
The majority of LTE operators have deployed the FDD mode of the standard. The most widely used band in network deployments continues to be 1800 MHz which is used in over 44% of commercially launched LTE networks. 108 operators worldwide have launched LTE1800 (band 3) systems, 157% more than a year ago, in 58 countries, either as a single band system, or as part of a multi-band deployment.
1800 MHz spectrum is typically refarmed from its original use for 2G/GSM, facilitated by technology-neutral licensing policies.
As 1800 MHz is the prime band for LTE deployments worldwide, it will greatly assist international roaming for mobile broadband. Mobile licences for 1800 MHz have been awarded to 350+ operators in nearly 150 countries.
The number of LTE1800 terminals has tripled in each of the past 2 years. One third of all announced LTE user devices can operate in 1800 MHz band 3 spectrum. LTE1800 is a mature, mainstream technology.
The next most popular contiguous bands are 2.6 GHz (band 7) as used in 29% of networks in commercial service today, followed by 800 MHz (band 20) in 12% of networks, and AWS (band 4) in 8% of networks.
Interest in the TDD mode continues to be strengthening globally ahead of the large-scale commercial deployments in China. Worldwide, 25 LTE TDD (TD-LTE) systems are commercially launched in 20 countries, of which 12 are deployed in combined LTE FDD & TDD operations.
The report includes a growing list of operators who have commercially launched or preparing to introduce enhancements to their networks including multicarrier support for Category 4 user devices (150 Mbps theoretical peak downlink speed), and LTE-Advanced features, especially carrier aggregation, which is a key trend.
The report also confirms how voice service has moved up the agenda for many LTE operators as network coverage has improved (nationwide in many cases) and as the penetration and usage of LTE-capable smartphones has increased. VoLTE services have been launched by operators in Asia, Europe, and North America and several more operators have committed to VoLTE deployments and launches over the next few months.
The Evolution to LTE report (December 5, 2013) is a free download for registered site users
Registration page for new users: http://www.gsacom.com/user/register
Numerous charts, maps etc. confirming the progress of mobile broadband developments including LTE are also available on the home page and at www.gsacom.com/news/statistics.
GSA confirms 1,240 LTE user devices launched, support building for LTE-Advanced systems [news article by GSA, Nov 7, 2013]
The latest update to the ‘Status of the LTE Ecosystem’ report published by the GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association) confirms that 120 manufacturers have announced 1,240 LTE-enabled user devices, including frequency and carrier variants.
680 new LTE user devices were announced in the past year. The number of manufacturers increased by 44% in this period. Smartphones continue to be the largest LTE device category with 455 products released, representing 36% share of all LTE device types. 99% of LTE smartphones also operate on 3G networks (HSPA/HSPA+ or EV-DO or TD-SCDMA technologies).
The report embraced devices that operate on the FDD and/or TDD modes of the LTE system. The majority of products are designed for operation in the FDD mode. However, 274 devices can operate in the LTE TDD (TD-LTE) mode, and this figure is 159 higher than a year ago.
The largest LTE device ecosystems for the FDD bands are as follows:
– 2600 MHz band 7 = 448 devices
– 1800 MHz band 3 = 412 devices
– 800 MHz band 20 = 314 devices
– 2100 MHz band 1 = 305 devices
– 700 MHz bands 12, 17 = 289 devices
– AWS band 4 = 279 devices
– 700 MHz band 13 = 250 devices
– 850 MHz band 5 = 189 devices
– 900 MHz band 8 = 174 devices
– 1900 MHz band 2 = 134 devices
– 2600 MHz band 38 = 197 devices
– 2300 MHz band 40 = 184 devices
– 1900 MHz band 39 = 71 devices
– 2600 MHz band 41 = 63 devices
– 2500 MHz bands 42, 43 = 15 devices
(totals include carrier and operator variants)
The Evolution to LTE report (October 17, 2013) is also available as a free download to registered site users via the link at http://www.gsacom.com/gsm3g/infopapers
Note that by the time of 4G based on TD-LTE the leading edge of LTE will much further ahead as SK Telecom Demonstrates 225 Mbps LTE-Advanced [press release, Nov 28, 2013]
- Successfully demonstrates the upgraded LTE-Advanced: Aggregates 20MHz bandwidth in 1.8GHz band and 10MHz bandwidth in 800MHz band to offer up to 225Mbps of speed
- Expects to launch the ‘20MHz+10MHz’ LTE-Advanced service in the second half of 2014 and plans to introduce 3 Band Carrier Aggregation in an early manner
SK Telecom (NYSE:SKM) today held a press conference to demonstrate the upgraded LTE-Advanced service that offers up to 225Mbps of speed by aggregating 20MHz bandwidth in 1.8GHz band and 10MHz bandwidth in 800MHz band.
LTE can only offer up to 150Mbps of speeds using a maximum of 20MHz of continuous spectrum in one band, while LTE-Advanced can support speeds over 150Mbps by combining different bands through Carrier Aggregation (CA).
In June 2013, SK Telecom has commercialized, for the first time in the world, LTE-Advanced service using 10MHz bandwidth in 1.8GHz band and 10MHz bandwidth in 800MHz band. Backed by a wide range of mobile value added services specially designed for the LTE-Advanced network, and a rich lineup of LTE-Advanced capable devices (8 different smartphone models), SK Telecom’s LTE-Advanced service is attracting subscribers at a rapid pace.
Moreover, on August 30, 2013, SK Telecom has gained authorization to operate the 35 MHz bandwidth (20 downlink + 15 uplink) in 1.8GHz band, and immediately launched diverse measures to strengthen both its LTE and LTE-Advanced services by utilizing the newly acquired bandwidth.
Once SK Telecom commercializes the upgraded LTE-Advanced (20MHz+10MHz), customers will be able to download an 800MB movie in just 28 seconds, significantly faster than other networks. Measured at their maximum speeds, downloading the same movie file via 3G, LTE, and the existing LTE-Advanced (10MHz+10MHz) would take 7 minutes and 24 seconds, 1 minute and 25 seconds, and 43 seconds, respectively.
The company said that it expects to launch the ‘20MHz+10MHz’ LTE-Advanced service nationwide through smartphones in the second half of 2014 as the smartphone chipset that supports 225 Mbps of speeds is currently being developed.
Furthermore, by successfully demonstrating the ‘20MHz+10MHz’ CA, SK Telecom moves one step closer to realizing the next level of LTE-Advanced technology: Aggregating three component carriers (20MHz+10MHz+10MHz) to support up to 300Mbps of speed.
Alex Jinsung Choi, Executive Vice President and Head of ICT R&D Division at SK Telecom said, “SK Telecom has been leading the development of wireless networks since it commercialized CDMA (2G) technology for the world’s first time in 1996. Today’s successful demonstration of 225 Mbps LTE-Advanced will serve as a momentum for SK Telecom to realize more innovative network technologies, which will also lead to the growth of relevant industries, including device, content and convergence fields.”
But already SK Telecom, China Mobile agree on automatic LTE roaming service [Yonhap, Dec 5, 2013]
SK Telecom Co., South Korea’s largest mobile operator, said Thursday that it has agreed to launch an automatic international Long Term Evolution (LTE) roaming service with China Mobile Ltd., as well as other LTE services.
Under the deal, travelers and businesspeople will be able to use their regular LTE services offered by the two mobile carriers more easily between the two countries, according to SK Telecom.
About 6.8 million Koreans and Chinese traveled between the two countries last year.
Early this year, SK Telecom and CSL Ltd. of Hong Kong successfully demonstrated the compatibility of their two LTE networks. The international automatic LTE roaming service has been available since June this year.
Since October, SK Telecom also has offered a similar roaming service with Saudi Arabia.
New era for mobiles as 4G licenses issued to carriers [Xinhuanet, Dec 5, 2013]
China issued long-awaited 4G licenses to three telecommunications carriers yesterday, which would offer mobile Internet access 20 to 50 times faster than the current 3G network and create a new trillion-yuan market for devices and services.
China, the world’s biggest mobile phone market, has now officially entered the 4G era five years after it issued 3G licenses. The technology is widely adopted in the United States, Europe, Japan, South Korea and other regional markets.
The network, along with e-commerce and software businesses, is expected to boost information consumption and market demand, and encourage innovation in China, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
China Mobile will launch 4G services in Shanghai, Beijing and 11 other cities by the end of this year. The number of cities will expand to 340 by the end of 2014.
Users can upgrade to the 4G network without changing phone numbers, China Mobile said yesterday. It has been testing 4G networks for two years.
China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom all got 4G licenses based on TD-LTE (time division-long term evolution) technology. China Unicom and China Telecom also got approval to test another 4G technology FD-LTE (frequency division-LTE), which is mainly used in overseas markets.
China will issue FD-LTE 4G licenses later, the ministry said.
China Mobile also got the approval to operate fixed-line business including family broadband, which makes it possible to launch bundled services, the ministry added.
“It’s a national strategy to boost commercial 4G development to boost consumption and fuel-related investment,” the ministry said on its website.
The ministry said that 4G had become an engine for the development of the whole IT industry, fueling demand for the latest smartphones. With greatly improved speed and more powerful phones, new mobile Internet services will appear that will enrich people’s daily lives, the ministry said.
With 4G, mobile users can download a film (700 megabytes) in two minutes and a high-quality song (7MB) in less than a second. More 4G-related services such as video on demand, conferencing, high-quality music streaming, multiplayer games and remote video monitoring for medical and security services are being tested, industry insiders said.
The initial investment for 4G will reach 500 billion yuan (US$82 billion) in a few years, and is expected to hit 1 trillion yuan with the industry’s development.
“4G LTE is the fastest growing mobile technology since the inception of mobility some 25 years ago. And we know that mobile broadband will have a huge impact on people, business and society and be one of the most critical infrastructures for any country,” Hans Vestberg, chief executive of Ericsson, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment vendor.
By 2019, China will be home to 700 million mobile subscribers on 4G, making it the world’s biggest 4G market, according to Ericsson.
Equipment makers including Ericsson, Huawei, ZTE and Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell are going to benefit from the 4G wave.
“We are fully prepared for providing handsets for China’s own 4G technology, from entry-level to high-end phones,” said Cher Wang, HTC’s chairman.
China Mobile is going to launch 4G services with a new brand He, meaning harmony in Chinese, on December 17. The carrier may offer iPhones supporting TD-LTE then, according to industry sources.
In cities such as Beijing and Shenzhen, China Mobile have allowed users to apply for trial commercial use of 4G services with their own devices. In Shanghai, more than 1,800 people had been invited to test 4G services.
Its target is to cover 100 cities by the middle of next year and 340 by the end of 2014, when it plans to launch 4G phones that cost less than 1,000 yuan each. In the first half, it will launch 50 new 4G phones.
In Shanghai, nine TD-LTE phones will be available by the end of this year. Users can apply for 4G services at China Mobile’s outlets on Madang Road and Minsheng Road initially, to be expanded to 20 outlets citywide.
Shanghai Mobile also plans to establish an additional 3,000 4G base stations next year from the current 700, to cover the whole city including suburban and rural regions.
(Source: Shanghai Daily)
From 2013 Interim Results Presentation as of Aug 15, 2013
From China Mobile 2012 Annual Report [April 25, 2013]
… starting from 2013, we commenced investments in the development of TD-LTE network. We intend to use the TD-LTE network to primarily carry high bandwidth and high quality wireless broadband businesses. In 2012, the extended large scale trial of the TD-LTE network was carried out in 15 cities in Mainland China and approximately 20,000 base stations were built. The quality and scale of the TD-LTE networks in Hangzhou, Guangzhou and Shenzhen have reached pre-commercial standard. In addition, we started providing commercial 4G services in Hong Kong in 2012 with the LTE FDD and TD-LTE bandwidths we previously obtained from the Office of the Telecommunications Authority of Hong Kong in 2009 and 2012, respectively. We plan to construct more than 200,000 TD-LTE base stations in 2013. [Certain 3G base stations may also be upgraded to TD-LTE base stations.]
China Mobile lifts hopes of Apple deal and 4G launch [Shanghai Daily via Xinhuanet, Oct 31, 2013]
China Mobile is raising consumer hopes that the next-generation 4G mobile network will be launched soon and that a long-awaited deal between the world’s largest telco and Apple Inc may be unveiled as early as next week.
The telco’s website displays a cartoon tornado advertisement that announces “the invasion of 4G” and “November 9-11.” The ad links to a page showing two images of smartphones that resemble iPhones and a caption that says “special discounts.”
November 11, or Singles’ Day, is the busiest shopping day of the year in China. Last year, it generated 4 billion U.S.dollars in online sales alone, according to retail consultant McKinsey Global Institute.
China Mobile declined to comment but its senior executives said earlier that it would distribute 4G phones, including Apple’s latest iPhone 5S, after China issues 4G licenses expected by the end of this year.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has approved the sale of several 4G models made by Sony, ZTE and other vendors.
China Mobile hopes the expected tie-up with Apple will boost revenue and profit, especially in the high-end market segment, after its net profit for the first three quarters of this year fell for the first time by 1.9 percent to 91.5 billion yuan (14.8 billion U.S.dollars).
China Mobile’s Beijing branch jumps on 4G technology wave [China Daily USA, Nov 6, 2013]
Carrier to begin sales of newest network-enabled smartphones
Beijing has become the latest Chinese city to join the wave of tests for fourth generation, or 4G, mobile networks, despite the fact that the government has yet to issue 4G licenses to telecom carriers.
On Tuesday, China Mobile Ltd’s Beijing branch said it would start sales of 4G smartphones on Wednesday. The first batch of 4G handsets includes two models – Sony Corp’s M35T and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s Galaxy Note 2.
Customers do not need to change their phone numbers but just have to get a new SIM card for their 4G handsets, according to a statement from China Mobile. Fourth-generation wireless networks achieve data download speeds of up to 80 megabits per second, four times faster than 3G networks.
However, the coverage of 4G networks in Beijing is limited, said Gao Shu, a spokeswoman for China Mobile’s Beijing branch. Only people in areas inside the capital’s Third Ring Road will be able to access the network.
“Our 4G smartphones are aimed at high-end, white-collar workers in Beijing,” Gao said.
Before Beijing, a handful of affluent Chinese cities, including Guangzhou and Hangzhou, have started offering 4G services on a trial basis.
China Mobile – the only operator in the country currently testing 4G networks – has adopted the domestic Time Division-Long Term Evolution (TD-LTE) 4G technology.
The number of applicants for 4G services is expected to surpass 100,000 in major cities, according to a China Mobile official, who asked not to be named.
Meanwhile, the lack of mature 4G smartphones has long been seen as a major obstacle for the expansion of China Mobile’s 4G business. But the situation has improved in recent months. According to a report from Bank of China International Securities, as of Sept 11, smartphone models received the permission from Chinese authorities to run on 4G networks. The new smartphones are being made by domestic and international companies, including Samsung, Sony, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp, the report said.
“The planned 4G commercial rollout is very good news for China Mobile, as well as for smartphone companies and mobile Internet companies,” said Wang Jun, an analyst with Beijing-based research firm Analysys International.
China Mobile’s net profit dropped 9 percent in the third quarter partly due to the increasing challenges posed by mobile Internet applications such as Tencent Holdings Ltd’s WeChat.
“The 4G business can help the carrier to attract more high-end users from rivals,” Wang said.
Apple Inc has also said that its latest iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C handsets may support TD-LTE technology.
James Yan, an analyst with IDC China, pointed out that the timing for launching 4G services in China is right.
“The environment could not be better. Customers favor smartphones, carriers have the motivation to do 4G services, and distributors know how to sell 4G products to people,” Yan said.
The launch of 4G services in China will definitely be a new driver for the growth of the nation’s smartphone market, he added.
“4G will be an important factor to make people buy new phones,” Yan said.
Ryan Reith, program director at IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, said that China has become one of the fastest-growing smartphone markets in the world, accounting for more than one-third of total shipments in the third quarter of the year.
China Mobile to launch all-service brand [China Daily, Nov 20, 2013]
China Mobile Ltd, the nation’s biggest telecom carrier by subscriber numbers, revealed onTuesday that it would officially launch a new brand “He” (And) on Dec 18, mainly targeting the upcoming fourth generation (4G) mobile business.
The new brand’s logo features grass green and peach blossom colors. According to ChinaMobile officials, the company’s current-running brands – GoTone, EasyOwn, M-Zone and G3for 3G mobile services, will be phased out after the launch of “He”.
That means “He” will take the stage as an all-service brand for China Mobile and provide customers with integrated 2G, 3G and 4G mobile services.
Commercial 4G to start December 18 [Shanghai Daily, Nov 25, 2013]
China will start commercial 4G mobile communications services on December 18, bringing the most advanced telecommunications technology to the country’s more than 1 billion mobile users.
China Mobile, the country’s No. 1 mobile operator with over 700 million users, will start 4G services on that date with a new brand He, meaning harmonious in the Chinese language.
China is expected to issue licences for 4G before the telco’s new services start.
“It will be a national event and users are allowed to apply for 4G services without changing numbers,” said a Shanghai Mobile official.
Users in Beijing, Guangzhou and Chongqing will be the first to enjoy commercial 4G, or fourth generation, services. Shanghai, which is still building a citywide 4G network, will launch the services later.
Though China is the world’s biggest mobile phone market with more than 1 billion users on its mainland, it lacks the 4G technology that is used in some other countries and regions including the United States, South Korea, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong.
The 4G phone will become rapidly popular on China’s mainland, thanks to the low cost of 4G phones, according to Li Yue, China Mobile’s president, who expects some 4G phones priced below 1,000 yuan (US$162) to appear in the second half of next year.
Apple Inc is also set to introduce iPhones supporting the 4G network in China, industry insiders said. The US giant and China Mobile are in negotiations over the 4G iPhone and they will launch it officially on December 18.
China Telecom and China Unicom are now Apple’s carrier partners for its smartphone on the Chinese mainland.
China Mobile still talking to Apple on iPhones [Reuters, Dec 5, 2013 9:27am EST]
Earlier in the day, the Wall Street Journal reported that the two giants had signed a deal, citing an anonymous source familiar with the matter.
Moody’s: TD-LTE License Is Credit Positive for China Mobile [Moody’ Global Credit Research announcement, Dec 6, 2013]
Hong Kong, December 06, 2013 — Moody’s Investors Service says that the Chinese government’s decision to issue a Time-Division Long-Term Evolution (TD-LTE), or 4G, license, is credit positive for China Mobile Limited (Aa3 stable) as this will help strengthen its market position in the growing wireless data business.
On 4 December, China Mobile announced that the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology had granted its parent, China Mobile Communications Corporation (CMCC, unrated), permission to operate the TD-LTE business and China Mobile will assist CMCC in the construction and operations of the TD-LTE network.
China Mobile is likely to enjoy the first mover advantage in the TD-LTE business as it has been investing in the technology since early 2013, well ahead of its competitors.
China Mobile targets to build over 200,000 commercial-ready base stations and expand its network coverage to 100 major cities by the end of this year. It has already started trials in some of the major cities, including Beijing.
While its two major competitors — such as China United Network Communications Group Co Ltd (China Unicom, unrated) and China Telecom Corporation (unrated) — also obtained TD-LTE licenses at the same time, we expect these companies to only start major investments in 2014.
In fact, these companies plan to use Frequency Division Duplex (FDD)-LTE — an international standard used outside China — as their mainstream 4G technology. However, the FDD-LTE licenses have not yet been granted and any delay in the issuance of the licenses will be advantageous for China Mobile.
Although TD-LTE is a home-grown technology, China Mobile is unlikely to be hampered by the lack of choice in 4G handsets, as was the case with its 3G indigenous technology platform (Time Division-Code Division Multiple Access, or TD-SCDMA).
TD-LTE technology has been accepted internationally, with 59 operators and 54 manufacturers joining the global TD-LTE initiative as of H1 2013. In addition, 25 models of TD-LTE trial devices were launched and over 100 models are under development, of which 15 handsets are intended for commercial use.
Moody’s believes that Apple’s new iPhones have also become technologically compatible with TD-LTE, as well as TD-SCDMA, although China Mobile has not yet started selling iPhones.
The launch of TD-LTE is strategically important for China Mobile to strengthen its market position in the growing wireless data business.
China Mobile had about 759 million customers as of October 2013, of which 176 million were 3G customers. Its 3G subscribers are growing rapidly with over 100% growth since May 2013 on a year-over-year basis.
Moody’s expects its wireless data business to continue its solid growth. The wireless data revenue has grown 62% in H1 2013 on a year-over-year basis. In H1 2013 the business accounted for 17% of its telecommunications services revenue, up from 11% in H1 2012.
However, China Mobile’s market share for 3G services has been much smaller than its overall mobile market share. As of October 2013, its 3G market share was 45% (China Unicom 30% and China Telecom 25%) while its overall mobile market share was 62% (China Unicom 23% and China Telecom 15%), largely because of the use of TD-SCDMA despite the recent improvement in its 3G market share.
Moody’s expects the launch of TD-LTE will help China Mobile improve its market position in the wireless data segment and slow the pace of declines in average revenue per user (ARPU), as the ARPU of data users tends to be higher.
The large investments in TD-LTE will continue to pressure China Mobile’s cash flow. Moody’s expects its adjusted free cash flow (FCF)/debt to fall to below 0% in 2013 and 2014 from over 60% in 2012.
Moody’s expects that the company’s adjusted capital expenditure as a percentage of revenue from telecommunications services will increase to over 30% in 2013 and 2014, from below 25% of its revenue in 2012.
Nevertheless, its overall credit profile will remain in line with its rating, supported by its solid overall operating and financial profiles, as well as its excellent liquidity. For example, Moody’s expects China Mobile’s adjusted debt/EBITDA to remain at approximately 0.3x.
The principal methodology used in this rating was the Global Telecommunications Industry published in December 2010. Please see the Credit Policy page on http://www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.
China Mobile is the leading provider of mobile telecommunications services in China, offering voice and data services in all 31 provinces and autonomous regions, as well as in Hong Kong. It is 74% owned by CMCC, which in turn is wholly owned by China’s State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission.
LTE/4G DIGITAL CELLULAR MOBILE SERVICE OPERATION PERMIT [China Telecom’s regulatory announcement for Hong Kong Exchange, Dec 4, 2015]
This announcement is made pursuant to Rule 13.09 of the Rules Governing the Listing of the Securities on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited and Part XIVA of the Securities and Futures Ordinance (Cap. 571 of the Laws of Hong Kong).
The Board (the “Board”) of directors of China Telecom Corporation Limited (the “Company”) announced that the Company was notified by China Telecommunications Corporation (the parent company of the Company) that China Telecom has been granted by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the PRC the permit to operate the LTE/4G digital cellular mobile service (TD-LTE). Meanwhile, China Telecom will apply for the permit to operate the LTE/4G digital cellular mobile service (LTE FDD) as soon as practicable.
In order to proactively implement national innovation strategy and leverage collaborated use of different spectrum resources to meet customers’ demand, the Company aims to adopt a flexible approach in deployment of LTE network with one hybrid network of integrated resources. The Company will flexibly deploy the LTE network with regard to data business growth and value chain development. In particular, the LTE deployment would only start from densely populated areas, overlaying on existing superior 3G network for long-term integrated operation. The Company would grasp the rapidly growing data business opportunities with an aim to better enhance customers experience and corporate return.
The Company believes that the issue of 4G digital cellular mobile service operation permit will be beneficial to the sustainable development of the telecommunications industry. It will also foster the informatisation consumption and economic growth. However, it will simultaneously intensify market competition. The Company will proactively leverage its operation edge and strive to foster the sustainable development of its business.
In the meantime, investors are advised to exercise caution in dealing in the securities of the Company.
By Order of the Board
China Telecom Corporation Limited
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
From Edited Transcript of 2013 Interim Results Investor Presentation and 2013 Interim Results Presentation of Aug 21, 2013:
Slide 10: To Deploy LTE Trial Network Timely & Appropriately
To support national technology innovations and allow flexible use of spectrum resources to meet customer demand, we plan to deploy one hybrid LTE network of integrated resources, sharing the core network with wireless access through both TDD and FDD. Thus, most of the LTE network investments would support both TDD and FDD services, offering us flexibility in long term development and return enhancement.
We will continue to fully leverage existing nationwide superior 3G and fibre broadband networks to serve our customers. LTE deployment would only start from densely populated areas.
We plan to flexibly deploy LTE network with regard to future LTE licensing, data business growth & value chain development, overlaying on existing superior 3G network for long-term integrated operation to enhance customer experience & return.
China Telecom to launch TD-LTE trial network construction [Global TD-LTE Initiative Updates, Oct 25, 2013]
According to informed sources, the Ministry has recently approved the China Telecom launched TD-LTE trial network construction and pre-commercial related business. This means that China Telecom 4G future will get two licenses for FDD LTE/TD-LTE network integration.
“China Telecom will use FDD LTE/TD-LTE network integration approach build 4G network.” China Telecom Chairman Mr. Wang had previously publicly stated that “since the frequency is restricting the operator’s core resources in the 4G era, network integration is inevitable.”
A week ago, China Telecom completed the LTE core network master device EPC Jicai tender. It is understood that although China Telecom’s LTE core network master device bidding amount is not large, but the coverage of the country’s 31 provinces, including ZTE, Huawei, Shanghai Bell, Ericsson and other equipment manufacturers, including domestic and international mainstream have received certain share, which, ZTE, Huawei, Shanghai Bell’s winning share is relatively large.
It is understood that the successful vendor device support FDD/TDD multi-mode network, this also shows that China Telecom has begun preparations related to the deployment of TD-LTE.
Late last year, China Telecom in Shanghai, Nanjing and other cities in Guangdong 4G trial, however, was mainly dominated by FDD LTE trial network. The Ministry of approval, indicating that China Telecom has determined will be FDD LTE/TD-LTE 4G mode hybrid network test network construction.
Prior to the introduction, according to Mr. Wang in China Telecom’s 4G network planning, large-scale, wide coverage 4G networks will use FDD standard, while the urban area densely populated areas will use TDD system, using this integrated program will be able to achieve all of the user needs.
In addition, from China Telecom’s terminal planning can be seen that China Telecom in 4G mobile phones mainly uses standard FDD LTE multimode phones, but in the data card is the main use of TD-LTE network resources.
Announcement LTE/4G Digital Cellular Mobile Service Operation (TD-LTE) Permit [China Unicom’s regulatory announcement for Hong Kong Exchange, Dec 4, 2015]
This announcement is made pursuant to Rule 13.09 of the Rules Governing the Listing of Securities on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (the “Listing Rules”) and Part XIVA of the Securities and Futures Ordinance (Cap. 571).
On 4 December 2013, China Unicom (Hong Kong) Limited (the “Company”) was notified by its ultimate parent company, China United Network Communications Group Company Limited (中國聯合網絡通信集團有限公司) (“Unicom Parent”), that Unicom Parent has been granted the license to operate LTE/4G digital cellular mobile service (TD-LTE) by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the People’s Republic of China (“MIIT”) on 4 December 2013. MIIT has also granted approval for Unicom Parent to license China United Network Communications Corporation Limited (中國聯合網絡通信有限公司), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, to operate LTE/4G digital cellular mobile service (TD-LTE) nationwide in China.
Meanwhile, the Company will continue to proactively apply for the launch of LTE FDD technology test run. It aims to leverage on the 3G network in order to provide users with mobile broadband data services with a higher speed.
By Order of the Board
CHINA UNICOM (HONG KONG) LIMITED
CHU KA YEE
From 2013 Interim Results Presentation as of Aug 8, 2013
From INTERIM REPORT 2013 as of August 8, 2013
To support its sustainable growth in the future, the Company further enhanced its network capabilities with a focus on network architecture as well as mobile, broadband and transmission networks so as to strengthen its network advantages in broadband and mobile Internet. In the first half year, the Company added 33 thousand new 3G base stations, and opened HSPA+ 21Mbps services over the whole 3G network, with speed up to 42Mbps at some urban hot spot areas. The Company accelerated fiber optic deployment. Its broadband access ports increased by 19.9% year-on-year, and FTTH/B accounted for 63% of total access ports, representing an increase of 10 percentage points over the same period last year. In order to better meet the demand from HSPA+, LTE and integrated services, the Company optimised the structure and enhanced the coverage of its infrastructure and transmission networks.
From China’s telecom firms reveal 4G strategies [Xinhuanet, June 27, 2013]
… the other two smaller Chinese telecom operators – China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd and China Telecom Corp Ltd – have expressed their willingness to adopt the Frequency Division Duplex-Long Term Evolution, or FDD-LTE, technology, or at least to build a converged network under both standards.
TD-LTE and FDD-LTE are the two major 4G international standards, but the latter has gained more popularity across the globe and has stronger industry support.
Lu Yimin, general manager of China Unicom, said the company is conducting tests for 4G wireless networks with mixed technologies. It is the first time that China Unicom has admitted that it is actively preparing to launch 4G services.
However, Lu added that because the Chinese government has not yet awarded the 4G licenses, China Unicom’s final strategy is still “uncertain.” Lu also made the remarks at Shanghai’s Mobile Asia Expo.
Last weekend, Wang Xiaochu, China Telecom’s chairman, confirmed that the company is stepping up efforts for its LTE network trials.
“It’s inevitable (for China Telecom) to adopt a converged network, since the spectrum is at the core of every carrier’s resources,” Wang said.
China Unicom tests 4G network [China Daily via Xinhuanet, Aug 9, 2013]
China United Network Communications Co Ltd, known as China Unicom, said on Thursday that it has started testing a TD-LTE 4G network, which it will use if the government doesn’t allow it to use its favored FDD-LTE technology in the upcoming 4G licensing process.
China’s second-biggest mobile operator by subscribers is said to have taken the preemptive action because it expects the government to follow a similar strategy as in its 3G auction, when it first awarded licenses for TD-LTE networks, a technology which is mostly backed by its arch-rival China Mobile Ltd, which has the most subscribers in the country.
The government is widely expected to award 4G licenses before the end of the year. And if it licenses TD-LTE networks first, it will give China Mobile a big edge in the 4G market over its competitors.
After reporting a 55 percent jump in its first-half profit, Chang Xiaobing, the company’s chairman, said investment on TD-LTE technology has already started and testing will begin in major cities. Funds will come from Hong Kong-listed China Unicom, rather than from its controlling company China United Network Communications Corp Ltd, which previously funded some of China Unicom’s network tests.
“I expect Beijing to license TD-LTE first, so we have to prepare,” Chang told a news conference in Hong Kong on Thursday.
Beijing favors TD-LTE, or Time-Division Long-Term Evolution, because the network’s core technologies are developed by Chinese companies. The technology was developed specifically for the Chinese market and is expected to serve a quarter of the global market by 2016.
China Unicom’s infrastructure mainly supports FDD-LTE, or Frequency Division Duplexing Long-Term Evolution, which is the world’s dominant 4G technology. Out of the 156 commercial 4G networks operating around the world in March 2013, 142 were FDD-LTE and 14 were TD-LTE networks. China Mobile operates a FDD-LTE network in Hong Kong and is trying to integrate it with the mainland’s TD-LTE market.
Chang said China Unicom’s capital expenditure will stay within the full-year budget of 80 billion yuan (12.96 billion U.S. dollars), despite the planned investment in TD-LTE networks.
Media reports said that China Telecom Corp Ltd, the other major operator in China, will rent China Mobile’s TD-LTE 4G infrastructure. Chang refused to say if China Unicom will do the same.
China Unicom’s first-half profit surged to 5.32 billion yuan compared with 3.43 billion yuan in the same period in 2012. Revenue was up 18.6 percent to 144.3 billion yuan, boosted by a 52 percent increase in income from 3G services to 40.9 billion yuan. The company’s 3G subscribers grew a stunning 74 percent to more than 100 million.
China Unicom shares gained 2.67 percent on Thursday. Trading of the stocks was suspended in the afternoon, after the website of the State-owned Asset Supervision and Administration Commission published the company’s earnings before they were reported to the Hong Kong stock exchange. China Unicom shares surged after the disclosure at around 3:30 pm.
A China Unicom spokesman apologized for the incident and promised it won’t happen again.
China Unicom to procure TD-, FDD-LTE equipment, says report [DIGITIMES, Oct 24, 2013]
China United Network Communications (China Unicom) has started an open-bid process for procuring 34,000 FDD-LTE base stations, 10,000 TD-LTE base stations and 8,000 FDD-LTE small cells, according to China-based tech.sina.com.
Of the mobile telecom carriers in China, China Mobile has adopted TD-LTE only, while China Telecom and China Unicom have adopted FDD LTE as their main 4G standard and TD-LTE as an auxiliary in line with the China government’s policy promoting TD-LTE.
China Telecom procured about 50,000 FDD-LTE base stations and about 20,000 TD-LTE ones in the third quarter of 2013.
Intel is ready to push big in smartphones next year with its winning multimode voice and data, multiband LTE modem technology capable of global LTE roaming via a single SKU
To play it safe the chip is still produced by TSMC (as with Infineon bought in 2011 by Intel) and could continue so in the foreseeable future.
- Intel® XMM™ 7160 LTE modem is now shipping in the 4G version of the Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 (10.1) – available in Asia and Europe.
- Intel® XMM™ 7160 provides multimode (2G/3G/4G LTE) voice and data with simultaneous support for 15 LTE bands for global LTE roaming.
- Intel announces PCIe M.2 LTE wireless data modules expected to ship in 2014 tablet and Ultrabook™ designs from leading manufacturers.
IDF 2013: Intel CEO shows 22 nanometer-based, LTE smartphone [ITworld YouTube channel, Sept 11, 2013]
From: Intel’s CEO Discusses Q3 2013 Results – Earnings Call Transcript [Seeking Alpha, Oct 15, 2013]
In the Wireless business, I was pleased with our progress on LTE. Our multimode data modem is now available in the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3. By the end of the year, we expect to have voice-over-LTE versions available for customers and our second generation of voice-over-LTE product with carrier aggregation will be available in the first half of next year.
See also: Intel® XMM™ 7160 Slim Modem [ARK | Your Source for Intel® Product Information, June 23, 2012]
Interview AnandTech with Aicha Evans — Scale & Integration- Addressing the Global Market for LTE [channelintel YouTube channel, Aug 14, 2013]
Interview AnandTech with Aicha Evans — Intel’s Approach to Wireless Innovation [channelintel YouTube channel, Aug 14, 2013]
Background information: Ask the Experts: Intel’s Aicha Evans Talks Wireless and Answers Your Questions [AnandTech, Aug 15, 2013]
Intel proves that it has what it takes when it comes to LTE [By Michael Thelander on Spirent blogs, March 19, 2013]
Signals Research Group (SRG) recently completed its eighth collaborative effort with Spirent Communications and its sixteenth “Chips and Salsa” report on cellular chipsets. In the most recent collaboration, we brought together LTE baseband chipsets from eight different suppliers (Altair Semiconductor, GCT, Intel, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, Renesas Mobile, Samsung, and Sequans) to determine who has the best performing chipset, based on a series of 32 test scenarios that we derived from industry accepted 3GPP test specifications. SRG facilitated the benchmark study and was responsible for reviewing and analyzing the results. Spirent provided engineering support, and most importantly, the use of its 8100 test system to conduct the automated and highly repeatable tests on each chipset.
The most recent study marked our second benchmark study of LTE chipsets. Previous studies with Spirent have included HSPA+, HSDPA, UMTS call reliability and A-GNSS. To date, we are still recognized as the only independent provider of baseband chipset performance benchmark studies in the industry. And as a testament to our long-standing relationship, the companies that participated in the most recent round are already clamoring for the next round to take place. The companies that came out on top want to prove that they are not a one trick pony and the companies that came out toward the bottom want redemption. The few companies that were not ready to participate in the last study are also ready to enter the competition. There was a reason that we titled the report, “Sweet 16 and never been benchmarked” since some of these companies have been noticeably absent from prior studies due to the uncertain viability of their chipsets.
The results from the most recent round are interesting, to say the least. First, Spirent and SRG were able to bring together numerous pre-commercial and commercial chipsets. I imagine that most people were surprised that Intel actually had a working LTE chipset, let alone find out that it was the best performing chipset (more on this facet in a bit). Additionally, the list included pre-commercial solutions from Sequans, Renesas Mobile and NVIDIA. It would be virtually impossible for any organization to assemble such a line-up!
As I hinted in the title, Intel came out on top – beating the likes of perennial favorite and San Diego native, Qualcomm. To be fair, the results were incredibly close with only a few percentage points separating the two companies, but Intel’s results were better and close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. We could add another activity to the list, but this blog is intended to be family friendly. And if you are assuming that Qualcomm came in second place then you might want to rethink your assumption – nothing we wrote in this blog suggests that they did.
In hindsight, Intel’s results should not be all that surprising since it highly leverages the Infineon 3G platform and stellar RF performance that has since evolved to support LTE under the Intel moniker. Infineon, I note, was always a strong performer in our HSPA+/HSDPA chipset studies and it was in the original 3G iPhone until Qualcomm won the slot, in part due to its ability to support the requirements of a certain North American operator whose name rhymes with Horizon Direless. Intel may have lost the ARM war, but you can’t throw the baby out with the bath water.
Separate from the overall results, I once again saw some pretty big performance differences among all of the chipsets, in particular for the more challenging fading scenarios. As a side note, in addition to the more basic static channel conditions, our 32 test scenarios included various simulated fading channels (EVA5, EPA5, ETU70, and ETU300), SNR values, and MIMO correlation factors to create a range of challenging, albeit realistic, scenarios. In many cases the variance between the top-performing and bottom-performing LTE baseband chipset exceeded twenty percentage points. Even for the top-performing LTE baseband chipsets, it was clearly evident in the results that some chipsets did better in some scenarios than in other scenarios.
Now that we’ve set the bar for how chipsets should perform, I expect to witness material improvements in our next round, which we have planned for later this year. Just to keep everyone honest, I plan to change the test scenarios for the next round. In the interim, Spirent and SRG are investigating some additional benchmark studies that we can do together. These studies could include the industry’s first independent over-the-air (OTA) testing of leading platforms in commercial devices (imagine Samsung S III versus Apple iPhone 5) as well as our second round of A-GNSS testing.
If you are interested in the published report, please feel free to visit our website at www.signalsresearch.com where you can download a report preview.
Click here for more information on testing LTE chipset and mobile device performance.
Intel® XMM™ 7160 platform
Multimode LTE & DC-HSPA
Based on Intel® X-GOLD™ 716 digital and analog baseband with integrated Power Management Unit and Intel® SMARTi™ transceiver for 2G, 3G, 4G, and LTE, the Intel® XMM™ 7160 platform is the most compact solution for LTE and DC-HSPA smartphones for worldwide deployment.
View the Intel® XMM™ 7160 platform brief > [June 23, 2012]
- LTE capabilities of 150Mbps and 50Mbps (Cat 4)
- HSDPA and HSUPA capabilities of 42Mbps and 11.5Mbps with EDGE multislot class 33
- Multi-band LTE, penta-band 3G, quad-band EDGE for worldwide connectivity
- Excellent power consumption and extremely small PCB footprint
- Hardware and software interfaces to applications processors or to a PC as a wireless modem
From the announcement in February 2012 via product launch in Q1’13 to first commercial delivery in October 2013:
From: Intel Expands Smartphone Portfolio: New Customers, Products, Software and Services [press release, Feb 27, 2012]
Addressing the growing handset opportunity in emerging markets where consumers look for more value at lower prices, Intel disclosed plans for the Intel® Atom™ processor Z2000.
The Z2000 is aimed squarely at the value smartphone market segment, which industry sources predict could reach up to 500 million units by 20151.The platform includes a 1.0 GHz Atom CPU offering great graphics and video performance, and the ability to access the Web and play Google Android* games. It also supports the Intel® XMM 6265 3G HSPA+ modem with Dual-SIM 2G/3G, offering flexibility on data/voice calling plans to save on costs. Intel will sample the Z2000 in mid-2012 with customer products scheduled by early 2013.
Building on these 32nm announcements, Otellini discussed how the Atom™ processor will outpace Moore’s Law and announced that Intel will ship 22nm SoCs for carrier certification next year, and is already in development on 14nm SoC technology.
In 2011, Intel shipped in more than 400 million cellular platforms. Building on this market segment position, Intel announced the XMM 7160, an advanced multimode LTE/3G/2G platform with support for 100Mbps downlink and 50Mbps uplink, and support for HSPA+ 42Mbps. Intel will sample the product in the second quarter with customer designs scheduled to launch by the end of 2012.
Intel also announced that it is sampling the XMM 6360 platform, a new slim modem 3G HSPA+ solution supporting 42Mbps downlink and 11.5Mbps uplink for small form factors.
From: Intel Accelerates Mobile Computing Push [press release, Feb 24, 2013]
Long-Term Evolution (4G LTE)
Intel’s strategy is to deliver a leading low-power, global modem solution that works across multiple bands, modes, regions and devices.
The Intel® XMM™ 7160 is one of the world’s smallest2 and lowest-power multimode-multiband LTE solutions (LTE / DC-HSPA+ / EDGE), supporting multiple devices including smartphones, tablets and Ultrabook™ systems. The 7160 global modem supports 15 LTE bands simultaneously, more than any other in-market solution. It also includes a highly configurable RF architecture running real time algorithms for envelope tracking and antenna tuning that enables cost-efficient multiband configurations, extended battery life, and global roaming in a single SKU.
“The 7160 is a well-timed and highly competitive 4G LTE solution that we expect will meet the growing needs of the emerging global 4G market,” [Hermann] Eul[, Intel vice president and co-general manager of the Mobile and Communications Group] said. “Independent analysts have shown our solution to be world class and I’m confident that our offerings will lead Intel into new multi-comm solutions. With LTE connections projected to double over the next 12 months to more than 120 million connections, we believe our solution will give developers and service providers a single competitive offering while delivering to consumers the best global 4G experience. Building on this, Intel will also accelerate the delivery of new advanced features to be timed with future advanced 4G network deployments.”
Intel is currently shipping its single mode 4G LTE data solution and will begin multimode shipments later in the first half of this year. The company is also optimizing its LTE solutions concurrently with its SoC roadmap to ensure the delivery of leading-edge low-power combined solutions to the marketplace.
From: Signals Ahead: Chips And Salsa XVI – Sweet 16 And Never Been Benchmarked [Feb 25, 2013]
In December 2011 we published the industry’s first performance benchmark study of LTE baseband modem chipsets. In that study we tested five commercially-procured chipsets from four chipset suppliers. We tested two different Qualcomm chipsets. Fast forward fourteen months and we are finally out with the results from our most recent study in which three companies vie for top honors. Intel’s pre-commercial solution was the top-performing solution that we tested.
This report is our sixteenth Chips and Salsa report since 2004, with the overwhelming majority of these reports focused specifically on performance benchmarking. Over the years, we’ve benchmarked UMTS (call reliability) HSDPA, HSPA+, Mobile WiMAX, A-GNSS and LTE chipsets, with the results always providing the industry with a fully independent and objective assessment of how the chipsets compare with each other for the given set of evaluation criteria. For the eighth time, we have collaborated with Spirent Communications to get access to their 8100 test system and engineering support in order to obtain highly objective results.
The significant advantage of conducting lab-based tests is that we can easily replicate and repeat each test scenario in an automated fashion, thus ensuring a common and consistent set of test scenarios for each device/chipset that we tested. And with the Spirent 8100 test system that we used for the tests, we know that we went with a test platform that is widely recognized and being used in several early LTE deployments. SRG takes full responsibility for the analysis and conclusions associated with this benchmarking exercise.
In the most recent round of chipset testing, we tested a seemingly staggering number of solutions – we tested solutions from eight different chipset suppliers (reference Table 1). We attempted to test a solution from HiSilicon, but through no fault of their own we ran into some difficulties and faced time constraints with MWC just around the corner. We reserve the right to publish their results in the near future and provide updated rankings. Many of these solutions were pre-commercial chipsets and/or the chipsets that came directly from the chipset suppliers. This approach ensured that the results that we are providing in this report are very forward looking and highly differentiated. It would be virtually impossible for any single organization to get access to all of these chipsets and replicate this study.
Worth noting, we personally invited all companies with LTE chipset aspirations to participate in this study, and given our history in doing these tests, companies recognize the importance of supporting our efforts. Needless to say, if we didn’t include a company’s LTE chipset in this study then they probably don’t have a solution that is ready to be benchmarked against their peers. It is one thing to issue a press release, demonstrate a working PHY Layer without any upper protocol layers, or show a chipset operating under ideal conditions. It is another situation all together to put your proverbial money where your mouth is and allow a third party to benchmark your solution and publish the results for all to read. Sweet 16 and never been benchmarked!
As previously alluded to in this report, we used throughput as the primary criteria for evaluating the chipsets. We recognize that device manufacturers and operators use other objective and subjective criteria to select their chipset partners. The criteria includes support for multiple RF bands and legacy technologies, power consumption, time to market, price, engineering support, and the inclusion of peripherals (e.g., application processor, connectivity solutions, etc.). However, no one can dispute the importance of throughput and the ability of the chipset to make the most efficient use of available network resources.
We subjected the chipsets to 32 different test scenarios that combined a mix of fading profiles (Static Channel, EPA5, EVA5, ETU70 and ETU300) and transmission modes (Transmit Diversity, Open Loop MIMO and Closed Loop MIMO). All of the chipsets that we tested performed quite well with the less challenging test scenarios but we observed a fairly large separation of results with the more challenging test scenarios. In many cases the performance difference was in excess of 20% between the top- and bottom-performing solutions.
Based on our highly objective evaluation criteria, Intel had the top-performing solution by a very slight margin. This result may surprise some readers, but we point out that the Infineon 3G solution was always a strong contender in our previous benchmark studies. That scenario is in stark contrast to its application processor which has continuously struggled to be competitive and to attract market share. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. All this and more in this issue of Signals Ahead.
From: Innovation, Reinvention on Intel® Architecture Fuel Wave of 2-in-1 Devices, New Mobile Computing Experiences [press release, Jun 3, 2013]
Accelerating Fast: Tablets, Smartphones and LTE
Intel’s 22nm low-power, high-performance Silvermont microarchitecture is enabling the company to accelerate and significantly enhance its tablet and smartphone offerings.
For tablets on shelves for holiday 2013, Intel’s next-generation, 22nm quad-core Atom SoC (“Bay Trail-T”) will deliver superior graphics and more than two times the CPU performance of the current generation. It will also enable sleek designs with 8 or more hours3 of battery life and weeks of standby, as well as support Android* and Windows 8.1*.
For the first time, [Executive Vice President Tom] Kilroy demonstrated Intel’s 4G LTE multimode solution in conjunction with the next-generation 22nm quad-core Atom SoC for tablets. The Intel® XMM 7160 is one of the world’s smallest4and lowest-power multimode-multiband LTE solutions and will support global LTE roaming in a single SKU.
With a number of phones with Intel silicon inside having shipped across more than 30 countries, Kilroy previewed what’s coming. He showed for the first time a smartphone reference design platform based on “Merrifield,” Intel’s next-generation 22nm Intel Atom SoC for smartphones that will deliver increased performance and battery life. The platform includes an integrated sensor hub for personalized services, as well as capabilities for data, device and privacy protection.
From: Intel Readies ‘Bay Trail’ for Holiday 2013 Tablets and 2-in-1 Devices [press release, Jun 4, 2013]
At an industry event in Taipei today, Hermann Eul, general manager of Intel’s Mobile and Communications Group, unveiled new details about the company’s forthcoming Intel® Atom™ processor-based SoC for tablets (“Bay Trail-T”) due in market for holiday this year.
Eul also spoke to recent momentum and announcements around the smartphone business and demonstrated the Intel® XMM 7160 multimode 4G LTE solution, now in final interoperability testing (IOT) with Tier 1 service providers across North America, Europe and Asia.
Long-Term Evolution (4G LTE)
Intel’s strategy is to deliver leading low-power, global modem solutions that work across multiple bands, regions and devices.
Intel’s XMM 7160 is one of the world’s smallest and lowest-power multimode-multiband LTE solutions. The modem supports 15 LTE bands simultaneously, and also includes a highly configurable RF architecture running real-time algorithms for envelope tracking and antenna tuning that enables cost-efficient multiband configurations, extended battery life and global LTE roaming in a single SKU.
Eul demonstrated the solution by showcasing a Bay Trail-based tablet over an LTE network connection, and said that Intel will begin shipments of multimode data 4G LTE in the coming weeks following final IOT with Tier 1 service providers in North America, Europe and Asia.
Intel announced that the new Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 10.1-inch is powered by the Intel® Atom™ processor Z2560 (“Clover Trail+”). Additionally, the new Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 10.1-inch tablet will come equipped with Intel’s XMM 6262 3G modem solution or Intel’s XMM 7160 4G LTE solution.
From: New Intel CEO, President Outline Product Plans, Future of Computing Vision to ‘Mobilize’ Intel and Developers [press release, Sept 10, 2013]
In high-speed 4G wireless data communications, [Intel CEO Brian] Krzanich said Intel’s new LTE solution provides a compelling alternative for multimode, multiband 4G connectivity, removing a critical barrier to Intel’s progress in the smartphone market segment. Intel is now shipping a multimode chip, the Intel® XMM™ 7160 modem, which is one of the world’s smallest and lowest-power multimode-multiband solutions for global LTE roaming.
As an example of the accelerating development pace under Intel’s new management team, Krzanich said that the company’s next-generation LTE product, the Intel® XMM™ 7260 modem, is now under development. Expected to ship in 2014, the Intel XMM 7260 modem will deliver LTE-Advanced features, such as carrier aggregation, timed with future advanced 4G network deployments. Krzanich showed the carrier aggregation feature of the Intel XMM 7260 modem successfully doubling throughput speeds during his keynote presentation.
He also demonstrated a smartphone platform featuring both the Intel XMM 7160 LTE solution and Intel’s next-generation Intel® Atom™ SoC for 2014 smartphones and tablets codenamed “Merrifield.” Based on the Silvermont microarchitecture, “Merrifield” will deliver increased performance, power-efficiency and battery life over Intel’s current-generation offering.
Intel Corporation today announced the commercial availability of its multimode, multiband 4G LTE solution. The Intel® XMM™ 7160 platform is featured in the LTE version of the Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 (10.1)*, now available in Asia and Europe.
Intel has also expanded its portfolio of 4G LTE connectivity solutions, introducing PCIe (PCI Express) M.2 modules for 4G connected tablets, Ultrabooks™ and 2 in 1 devices as well as an integrated radio frequency (RF) transceiver module, the Intel® SMARTi™ m4G. These new products make it simple, efficient and cost effective for device manufacturers to add high performance wireless connectivity to their product designs.
“As LTE networks expand at a rapid pace, 4G connectivity will be an expected ingredient in devices from phones to tablets as well as laptops,” said Hermann Eul, vice president and general manager of Intel’s Mobile and Communications Group. “Intel is providing customers an array of options for fast, reliable LTE connectivity while delivering a competitive choice and design flexibility for the mobile ecosystem.”
The commercial availability of the Intel XMM 7160 solution follows successful interoperability testing with major infrastructure vendors and tier-one operators across Asia, Europe and North America. The Intel XMM 7160 is one of the world’s smallest and lowest-power multimode, multiband LTE solutions for phones and tablets. The solution provides seamless connectivity across 2G, 3G and 4G LTE networks,supports 15 LTE bands simultaneously and is voice-over LTE (VoLTE) capable. It features a highly configurable RF architecture, running real-time algorithms for envelope tracking and antenna tuning that enables cost-efficient multiband configurations, extended battery life and global LTE roaming in a single SKU.
Intel offers a broad portfolio of mobile platform solutions including SoCs, cost-optimized integrated circuits, reference designs and feature-rich software stacks supporting 2G, 3G and 4G LTE. Building on the Intel XMM 7160 platform, Intel today announced two multimode LTE solutions that pave the way for 4G connected devices in a variety of form factors.
New Intel PCIe M.2 LTE Modules and Intel SMARTi m4G Solution
Intel introduced Intel PCIe M.2 LTE modules, which are small, cost-effective, embedded modules in a standardized form factor for adding multimode (2G/3G/4G LTE) data connectivity across a variety of device types. The Intel M.2 module supports peak downlink speeds of 100Mbps over LTE. The modules support up to 15 LTE frequency bands for global roaming. In addition, those modules also feature support for Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) based on the Intel CG1960 GNSS solution.
For manufacturers, the M.2 module makes it simple to add 4G connectivity to their designs while reducing integration and certification expenses, and improving time-to-market. The M.2 module is currently undergoing interoperability testing with tier-one global service providers. Intel M.2-based modules will soon be available from Huawei*, Sierra Wireless* and Telit*. These modules are expected to ship globally in 2014 tablet and Ultrabook designs from leading manufacturers.
In addition to the new M.2 LTE module, Intel also offers the new Intel SMARTi m4G – a highly integrated radio transceiver module. The Intel SMARTi m4G was developed in cooperation with Murata* and integrates the Intel SMARTi 4G transceiver with most front-end components in one LTCC (low temperature co-fired ceramic) package. When paired with the Intel® X-GOLD™ 716 baseband, manufacturers can meet the certification requirements of service providers with minimal design cycles in an easy-to-place, low-profile solution. With the Intel SMARTi m4G, the overall component count can be reduced by more than 40 components and the required PCB area is reduced up to 20 percent.
Intel plans to deliver next-generation LTE solutions, including the Intel® XMM™ 7260 in 2014. The Intel XMM 7260 adds LTE Advanced features, such as carrier aggregation, faster speeds and support for both TD-LTE and TD-SCDMA. More information about Intel’s mobile communications solutions is available at http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/wireless-products/mobile-communications.html.
See also: Intel Talks about Multimode LTE Modems – XMM7160 and Beyond [AnandTech, Aug 20, 2013] from which I will include here:
XMM7160 is still built on TSMC’s 40nm CMOS process, and its SMARTi 4G transceiver is built on 65nm at TSMC, but Intel still claims it has a 20–30% power advantage for modem and RF compared to a competitor smartphone platform, though it wouldn’t say which. … The transition of modem to Intel Architecture (away from two different DSP architectures) also remains to be seen, and I’m told it will be two to three years before Intel’s modems are ready to intercept the Intel fabrication roadmap and get built on Intel silicon instead of at TSMC. …
From: Mobile Wireless M2M Value Proposition Product Portfolio and Roadmap for M2M 2G-4G [Intel presentation, Nov 26, 2012]
China: 20,000 TD-LTE base stations in 13 cities by the end of 2012 and about 200,000 base stations in 100 cities launched in 2013 with the 2.6GHz TDD spectrum planning just started—SoftBank with TD-LTE strategy in Japan getting into global play with Sprint (also the 49% owner of US TD-LTE champion, Clearwire) acquisition
According to informed sources, China Mobile has informed all the equipment manufacturers of the TD-LTE expanded large scale trial network tender about the results of the tender. There were nine manufacturers involved in the tender of the construction of TD-LTE network in 13 cities, concrete results are as follows:
Huawei (Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu) and ZTE (Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Beijing, Shenyang, Tianjin) are the front winners, as each won five city contractor qualifications; Datang got 4 cities (Hangzhou, Fuzhou, Ningbo, Nanjing); Alcatel-Lucent (Shanghai, Qingdao, Nanjing) and Ericsson (Guangzhou, Shenyang, Qingdao) each received three cities, NSN is involved in Xiamen and Fuzhou, i.e. two cities; …
Note: Cities in bold have only one vendor while the underlined ones (Shenzhen, Hangzhou and Guangzhou) “will conduct in-depth testing and offer pre-commercial 4G services to the public” as per China Mobile.
Alcatel-Lucent Wins TD-LTE Contract to China Mobile [Cynthia Chow YouTube channel, Oct 16, 2012]
ZTE Wins 13,000- Carrier Frequency TD-LTE Contract to Become China Mobile’s Largest LTE Device Supplier [ZTE press release, Oct 15, 2012]
ZTE Corporation (“ZTE”) (H share stock code: 0763.HK / A share stock code: 000063.SZ), a publicly-listed global provider of telecommunications equipment, network solutions and mobile devices, today announced it has won China Mobile’s TD- LTE contract. According to the contract, ZTE will construct China Mobile’s TD-LTE networks in five Chinese cities, namely Beijing, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Shenyang, with more than 13,000 carrier frequencies.
In China Mobile’s earlier TD-LTE project in Hong Kong, ZTE was assigned 50% of the construction work. ZTE has become the largest LTE device supplier for all such projects initiated by China Mobile.
China Mobile launched the TD-LTE bidding in August 2012. The tender included contracts for some 20,000 base stations and 52,000 carrier sectors, and theTD-LTE devices purchased by China Mobile will be deployed in an expanded trial TD-LTE network in 13 Chinese cities, namely Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Xiamen, Qingdao, Tianjin, Shenyang, Ningbo, Chengdu and Fuzhou. Ten major telecom firms including ZTE, Huawei, Ericsson and Nokia Siemens bid for the tender.
Wang Shouchen, ZTE’s Vice President, said, “We thank China Mobile for choosing ZTE for the construction of the TD-LTE networks in the five cities. ZTE has been highly committed to TD-LTE as a strategic product. As a leader in LTE, our company is both capable of and confident in bringing excellent results to China Mobile.”
By August 2012, ZTE has constructed various trial LD-LTE networks and 9 commercial networks for 38 operators in 26 countries of Europe, CIS, Asia Pacific, Southeast Asia and North America.
TD-LTE-Advanced technology has been determined by ITU to be accorded the official designation of IMT-Advanced (4G mobile technology), to which Datang Telecom Group is an important contributor. Datang’s strong R&D capacity secures its leading position in telecommunication industry. TD-LTE is gaining momentum among global carriers.
In TD-LTE/TD-SCDMA area, visitors can experience services based on TD-LTE technology. Living Meeting, combined the features of cloud computing, TD-LTE’s high bandwidth and low latency, and providing mobile HD VOD conferencing services for users. In addition, SeeingEye intelligent identification system, supported HD picture and receiving terminals anywhere, users can view monitoring images and analyze results at anytime and anywhere.
Datang Mobile, a subsidiary of Datang Telecom Group, is chosen to construct TD-LTE scale trial network in Nanjing and TD-LTE demo network in Beijing. TD-LTE products and solutions developed by Datang have been adopted around the globe, driving TD-LTE speed.
China Launched 2.6GHz TDD Spectrum Planning [Global TD-LTE Initiative – GTI, Oct 16, 2012]
The TD-LTE Technology and Spectrum Workshop at ITU Telecom World 2012 took place in Dubai on October 14th, 2012. This workshop was jointly hosted by ITU, China Mobile, Global TD-LTE Initiative (GTI) and the TD Industry Alliance (TDIA), aiming to convene industry players to discuss the development trend of TD-LTE and spectrum-related issues and share experience on the commercialization of TD-LTE. Mr. Zhao Houlin, Deputy Secretary of ITU, Mr. Liu Lihua, Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China (MIIT), Mr. Zhao Jibin, Vice President of China Mobile, leaders from national telecom authorities, as well as senior managements from China Mobile, SoftBank, Clearwire, UK Broadband attended this workshop.
The government of China officially announced its 2.6GHz TDD spectrum planning at the workshop. Mr. Liu Lihua stated, “The government of China attaches great importance to the research and development as well as the commercialization of the new-generation broadband mobile communication technology, and has provided active support for industrial initiatives, such as technological tests, to advance the industry development. As one of the mainstream evolution standards, TD-LTE has great edge in spectrum utilization, and receives widespread recognition from global operators and device manufacturers.” Mr. Xie Cun, Deputy Director of Radio Regulatory Bureau, MIIT introduced the planning and progress of the frequency resources of China’s new-generation mobile broadband technology. According to him, China has decided to allocate 2.6GHz frequency band ranging from 2500-2690Hz and the entire band of 190MHz for the deployment and application of TD-LTE technology.
Such an announcement at the most authoritative meeting offered great confidence in the development of TD-LTE to the global industry and market, and helped point out the way for other nations that were going to plan and allocate frequency resources of mobile broadband in the near future.
Mr. Zhao Jibin, Vice President of China Mobile, pointed out at his speech, “China Mobile has always been committed to advancing the integration of LTE TDD/FDD. Joining forces with GTI, global operators and industry players, China Mobile has promoted the maturity and commercialization of TD-LTE. China Mobile has accomplished the TD-LTE large-scale trial this year and initiated the expanded large-scale trial across 13 cities in China. 20,000 TD-LTE base stations will be built up by the end of 2012. Equipment purchase and network construction across 100 cities in China, covering about 200,000 base stations, will be launched in 2013. Besides, China Mobile Hong Kong will roll out a commercial TD-LTE network to provide users with high-efficiency mobile broadband service based on the integration of LTE TDD/FDD.”
Representatives from GTI and TDIA gave keynote speeches on the global deployment of TD-LTE, as well as the development of the TDD industry in the mobile broadband era. As the representative from GTI mentioned, “GTI achieved rapid growth over the past year, having not only set up an important international cooperation platform composed of 50 operators and 37 industrial partners in the world, but also implemented dozen of GTI task forces under the categories of network, terminal, business and service working groups. These helped with the resolution of key problems in the commercialization to a very large extent and accelerated the maturity of TD-LTE. In the future, China Mobile will join force with GTI operators and industrial partners to advance the global deployment and development of TD-LTE. GTI will adopt more efficient strategic tactics to promote the development of highly-integrated, multi-mode multi-band terminals (such as Multi-Mode Multi-Band MiFi), help expand TD-LTE devices into consumer electronics, set up new pattern of global data roaming, and advance the convergence of LTE TDD/FDD. These measures will help address the requirements of the global mobile Internet market.
In addition, globally leading TDD operators, including SoftBank, ClearWire, UK Broadband and P1, shared their experiences in the large-scale deployment and commercialization of TD-LTE and gave suggestions on spectrum planning and allocation at the workshop.
Under the promotion and support of GTI, totally 12 commercial TD-LTE networks have been launched globally; 24 global operators have signed contracts for 31 devices, and more than 29 global operators have announced their TD-LTE commercialization plans.
China to modify building codes to promote fiber to the home [Xinhua, Sept 10, 2012]
Minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology Miao Wei … also said [in an interview on 10th] for sure, that 4G license in China will be issued in about a year’s time, led by the country’s 4G technology TD-LTE and this will be a great deal of good news.
The World’s First Mobile Hotspot Prototypes Supporting Five Modes and Eleven Bands Debut at the 5th GTI Workshop in Dubai, UAE [China Mobile press release via PR Newswire, Oct 17, 2012]
The 5th GTI Workshop jointly hosted by China Mobile (NYSE: CHL; HKEx: 941) and Global TD-LTE Initiative (GTI) took place in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates from October 15th to 16th, 2012. More than 100 representatives from international operators, international industrial organizations, system vendors and terminal/chip/test instrument OEMs attended this workshop, discussing key issues for commercialization of TD-LTE including R&D of highly-integrated Multi-Mode Multi-Band smart phones, convergence of LTE TDD/FDD, LTE roaming framework, VoLTE, as well as the application of TD-LTE in consumer electronics and the Things of Internet.
The workshop was highlighted by the release and demonstration of work outcomes of GTI’s Terminal Working Group. In the beginning of 2012, GTI has set its target to promote the industry to facilitate highly-integrated Multi-Mode Multi-Band terminal products. So far, GTI has preliminarily clarified the demands for Multi-Mode Multi-Band operation, finishing the draft of GTI White Paper on Multi-Mode Multi-Band Terminal Requirements & Realization Structure, GTI LTE Terminal General Technical Requirements, and GTI Multi-Mode Multi-Band Mobile Hotspot Terminal Technical Requirements. In addition, GTI has set up a team composed of core operators, such as China Mobile, Clearwire, SoftBank and KT, in an effort to assist chip OEMs partners including Qualcomm and Huawei Hisilcon and radio frequency front end OEMs, such as Avago, RFMD and Skyworks in developing highly-integrated Multi-Mode Multi-Band terminal products.
In particular, the world’s first global roaming enabled Multi-Mode Multi-Band mobile hotspot prototypes supporting five modes (LTE TDD/LTE FDD/TD-SCDMA/WCDMA/GSM) and eleven bands (Band 38/39/40/41/3/7/34/1/2/5/8) developed by Quanta and Gemtek were exhibited at the workshop. Later, GTI will perform a testing on the commercialization of the products.
Under GTI’s effective promotion in the technical field, substantial progresses have been made in the commercialization of Multi-Mode Multi-Band TD-LTE terminals, global roaming and convergence of LTE TDD/LTE FDD. The launch of the global roaming enabled highly-integrated Multi-Mode Multi-Band data terminal products is considered as a key milestone toward the globalization of TD-LTE, laying a solid foundation for the global deployment and application of TD-LTE and realization of global roaming.
Report: Sprint has no plans to acquire Clearwire, for now (FierceWireless, Oct 16, 2012)
Following Softbank’s announcement that it plans to purchase 70 percent of Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) for $20.1 billion, speculation started to rapidly swirl about whether Sprint would buy partner Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR). According to a Bloomberg report citing unnamed sources, Sprint has no immediate plans to do so.
The report said that Softbank and Sprint’s priority at this point is getting their multi-stage deal finalized and approved, which is expected to happen by mid-2013. The report also said that until the deal is completed, Softbank and Sprint cannot take part in “extraordinary activities” such as further mergers or acquisitions.
Sprint and Clearwire declined to comment, according to Bloomberg.
Despite assurances that the transaction does not require Sprint to take any actions involving Clearwire “other than those set forth in agreements Sprint has previously entered into with Clearwire and certain of its shareholders,” analysts and investors immediately began positing when–not if–Sprint would take control of Clearwire, in which it holds a 48 percent stake. Shares of Clearwire stock shot up 15.5 percent in midafternoon trading Monday at $2.68 before dropping back down to $2.35 per share Tuesday morning.
“I think the probability is very high that Clearwire won’t be a standalone company a year from now,” D.A. Davidson analyst Donna Jaegers told Dow Jones Newswires. Jaegers said Clearwire shareholders will need to determine what might be a “fair price” for a Sprint takeover.
Many industry analysts believe Softbank may be looking to boost the 2.5/2.6 GHz TD-LTE ecosystem. Clearwire is using that spectrum and technology for its LTE buildout, and plans to launch LTE service next year. Sprint has said its LTE devices will be able to run on its FDD-LTE network as well as Clearwire’s TD-LTE network, and Sprint will offload excess traffic onto Clearwire’s network. Clearwire has around 120 MHz of spectrum in many markets across the United States and Clearwire plans to use carrier aggregation technology in its forthcoming TD-LTE network to meld together it spectrum holdings into 40 MHz-wide channels.
“We believe that Clearwire will play a critical role in Softbank’s plans to aggressively compete with AT&T and Verizon in the United States,” wrote BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk. “Clearwire’s depth of spectrum paired with Sprint’s network and customer scale and Softbank’s cheap capital will enable the companies to offer faster speeds and more capacity than their rivals. Sprint would be wise to take control of Clearwire as soon as possible in order to protect that differentiation but in recent history Sprint has been slow to act, allowing their peers to poach opportunities.”
Piecyk noted that an acquisition of Clearwire would be difficult for Sprint given the complicated nature of Clearwire’s 2008 shareholder agreement, but he also said it would be tough for any of Sprint’s competitors given Sprint’s 48 percent stake. “Nevertheless, Sprint might regret leaving any risk that a competitor could poach Clearwire at a later date, especially if the later interest is a result of Sprint’s success in executing a more aggressive differentiated strategy with the 2.5 GHz spectrum while Softbank and China Mobile further legitimize the 2.5 GHz ecosystem in Japan and China, respectively,” he wrote. “Of course, this would not be the first time that Sprint made a strategic decision that we did not fully understand.”
Meanwhile, more details continued to emerge about the deal. According to Reuters, Sprint or Softbank would need to pay up to $600 million in termination fees if either party backs out of the deal. Sprint is also on the hook for up to $75 million if its shareholders do not approve the deal.
– see this Bloomberg article
– see this NYT article
– see this Dow Jones Newswires article
– see this BTIG blog post (reg. req.)
– see this separate Bloomberg article
– see this Reuters article
Special Report: Softbank to take control of Sprint: Complete coverage
NHK – Softbank wants to become major global carrier [NHKReloaded YouTube channel, Oct 16, 2012]
NHK World News —- Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai
Description — Softbank’s maverick chief Masayoshi Son says he wants to turn his telecom company into a major global mobile phone business. His comment came after the company announced that it would takeover the 3rd largest US carrier, Sprint Nextel.
In an exclusive interview with NHK on Monday, Son said that both Softbank and Sprint sell Apple iPhones and are moving to build a high-speed LTE wireless network. He said this was behind Softbank’s buyout decision.
He said he intends to implement Softbank’s know-how on smartphone sales and network improvement in the US market.
Son said he will move to the next step after fully completing business consolidation with Sprint and eAccess, Japan’s 4th-largest mobile carrier. Softbank announced the purchase of eAccess on October 1st.
Son also said he will accelerate capital spending to reinvigorate his company’s fight for market share. He said he wants to do this by increasing procurement of telecom equipment, taking advantage of economies of scale.
Last Wednesday, when the negotiations with Sprint were in the final stage, Son asked rhetorically over twitter whether his business goals weren’t too low, and whether he shouldn’t be satisfied with an ordinary life.
Son said he was simply expressing his thoughts during the negotiations with the US mobile carrier. He said he tweeted to encourage himself because he wanted to achieve his goals despite his worries.
Softbank will spend about 20 billion dollars to buy a 70 percent stake in Sprint. The strong yen worked to push the deal.
The purchase will create a global telecommunications giant with more than 96 million subscribers. Sprint has 56 million subscribers in the United States, the third largest number behind AT&T and Verizon.
Sprint’s $20 Billion Deal Could Mean Lower Rates for All [Wired.com, Oct 15, 2012]
The takeover of Sprint (S) by Japanese mobile phone company Softbank has Wall Street chattering about the history-making size of the $20 billion deal. But for most of us regular consumers, the relevant question is: What can $20 billion do for me?
Possibly a lot, even if you’re not a Sprint customer.
For years, the U.S. mobile marketplace has been dominated by two heavyweights engaged in a Republican-versus-Democrat-style two-party contest for dominance. As with many elections, consumers often end up feeling like they have to pick between the lesser of two evils rather than what they really want. But as with voting for third-party candidates, you can feel left out of the national conversation (literally) when you choose a company other than AT&T or Verizon.
But independent mobile industry analyst Chetan Sharma says SoftBank and its cash could give Sprint the heft it needs to become a relevant rival. The capital infusion lets Sprint build out its LTE network, creating a viable third high-speed option. And by combining forces for greater purchasing power, Sharma says Sprint and SoftBank together gain serious leverage when negotiating with handset makers for access to the best new phones.
With better phones and a better network, Sharma believes Sprint could at a minimum expect to claim at least one-quarter of the U.S. mobile subscribers, up from less than one-fifth. With a critical mass of customers, he says Verizon and AT&T will have to pay attention when Sprint offers lower prices. In the end, this could mean lower prices for everyone. “It puts pressure on the top two. The market can fluctuate,” Sharma says.
In the short term, he says SoftBank’s cash will also let Sprint continue to offer its unlimited plans while angling for a possible T-Mobile takeover, which would solidify Sprint’s status as the default third choice.
SoftBank could also help Sprint compete by taking the lead in bringing innovations popular in Japan into the U.S. market, such as advances in mobile payments and mobile health care. But Sprint customers could also find themselves affected if the Japanese market takes a bad turn and SoftBank is forced to focus attention and money on its business at home.
Barring such overseas crises, however, Sprint could find itself moving up from write-in candidate toward the stature of Ross Perot of the 1992 presidential race. The company might not have a chance of winning, and not everyone will take it seriously, but Sprint could finally get the chance to take part in the debate.
China Mobile Invites Tender for 34,700 TD-LTE Terminals [ChinaScope Financial, Sept 25, 2012]
- China Mobile (CHL: NYSE; 0941: HKG) announced today that it will soon open the bid for 34,700 TD-LTE device supply contract for trial in 13 cities.
- The trial projects will test multiple forms of dual-mode TD-LTE devices, including data card, MiFi, MiFi for international roaming, CPE, multi-mode and dual-SIM card smartphones, and tablet computers.
China Mobile Hong Kong selects Ericsson to build TD-LTE network [Ericsson press release, July 19, 2012]
- China Mobile Hong Kong (CMHK) selects Ericsson to add TDD technology to its commercial LTE network
- Ericsson and CMHK will together build a converged LTE FDD/TDD network based on 3GPP in Hong Kong, increasing end user experience and capacity
- Ericsson will upgrade, expand and perform systems integration of the operator’s Evolved Packet Core network (EPC)
China Mobile Hong Kong, subsidiary of the world’s largest mobile operator China Mobile Limited, has selected Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) to expand their commercial LTE network with TD-LTE (LTE TDD) in Hong Kong. Ericsson is already the sole supplier for China Mobile Hong Kong’s LTE FDD network. Together the companies will now build a converged LTE FDD/TDD network.
Leveraging on the advantage of the LTE FDD installed base, Ericsson will also upgrade the operator’s existing Evolved Packet Core (EPC) network.
China Mobile Hong Kong launched LTE FDD mobile data services in April this year. Now it plans to launch a TD-LTE network according to 3GPP standards, complementing its existing LTE FDD network. The converged LTE FDD/TDD network will be launched as early as the fourth quarter, when devices that support both modes become available in larger volumes.
“We chose Ericsson, a global leader in the LTE space, as our TD-LTE network partner,” said Sean Lee, Director and CEO of China Mobile Hong Kong. “By partnering with Ericsson and maximizing our spectrum asset, we will build a converged LTE FDD/TDD network that gives our customers an even better 4G experience.”
“This contract marks another significant milestone for Ericsson and further consolidates our network leadership in the region,” said Mats H Olsson, President of Ericsson China & North East Asia. “With our continued innovation in technology, services and design, we are committed to further enhance China Mobile’s mobile services in Hong Kong and extend our long-standing relationship with the operator.”
Under the agreement, Ericsson will deliver the TD-LTE radio access network, network management using Ericsson OSS-RC, Evolved Packet Core network expansion and upgrade, consulting and systems integration services as well related design, training and support services.
Ericsson has now signed 67 LTE/EPC contracts in 30 countries on five continents. We have a well proven LTE solution, outperforming competition, and according to measurements end of 2011, we have a 60% market share measured in LTE volumes.
ZTE launches TD-LTE commercial network in HK [China Daily, Sept 24, 2012]
ZTE Corp, the world’s fifth largest telecom equipment vendor by revenue, began deployment ofa TD-LTE commercial network in Hong Kong this month that will be put into operation by year-end.
On July 19 this year, China Mobile Hong Kong Ltd selected ZTE and Ericsson to build a TD-LTE network that operates in the 2.3GHz frequency band. Before that, China Mobile had already launched commercial FDD LTE network services in April.
When the project is completed, China Mobile will run a dual mode 4G LTE network in HongKong.
The network will be the first commercial TD-LTE network operated by China Mobile since the world’s biggest telecom operator started to promote the Chinese homegrown 4G technology in 2009. Currently, China Mobile conducts large-scale trials on TD-LTE technology in 13 Chinesemainland cities.
In a statement to China Daily, ZTE said it had signed nine TD-LTE commercial network contracts around the world by August.
Secretary General of Global TD-LTE Initiative (GTI) from the 7th Annual LTE Asia [LTEWorldSeries YouTube channel, Sept 26, 2012]
– What is the GTI organisation?
– Why will TD-LTE be important?
– What have been your impressions of this event?
– What has been your most valuable experience here?
TD-LTE Expanded Trial Officially Approved in China [GTI TD-LTE Industry Briefing August 2012, pp.5, Aug 10, 2012]
China TD-LTE Expanded Trial Officially Approved by Chinese Government
On July 18 2012,MIIT officially approved the deployment plan of TD‐LTE expanded trial in china.
Before the end of 2012, China Mobile will deploy 20,000 TD‐LTE base stations in 10 cities, including Beijing, Tianjin, Shenyang, Shanghai, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Xiamen, Qingdao and Shenzhen. 1.9GHz (Band 39) and 2.6GHz (Band 38) will be utilized for outdoor coverage and 2.3GHz (Band 40) for indoor coverage. The number of cities, network scale and frequency bands are much larger compared with the TD‐LTE large‐scale trial that finished during May 2012. At this phase, the trial will focus on the pre‐commercial deployment, network operation and friendly user test. Other 3 cities are currently under preparation, which are Chengdu, Fuzhou and Ningbo.
The approval of TD‐LTE expanded trial plan states that China is currently trying hard to boost up the commercial deployment of TD‐LTE network.
Chen Shanzhi delivered a speech on “ICT China 2012 High Level Forum” [Datang News, Sept 19, 2012]
On September 18th, Chen Shanzhi, Vice President and CTO of Datang, delivered a speech, “TD-LTE Industry Development and Technology Evolution” on “ICT China 2012 High Level Forum”.
In the speech, Mr. Chen pointed out that with the quick development of global LTE industry, TD-LTE attracted more big operators to join. By July 2012, 80 LTE networks in 38 countries had been in use; 16 operators had announced plans for TD-LTE commercial use. There were 9 commercial networks and 38 trial networks.
China launched expanded large-scale trial in 13 cities in 2012, realizing continuous wireless coverage in urban areas, and interconnection with TD-SCDMA and multi-mode application. Now 11 system suppliers and 9 chip manufacturer have participated in the trial, and 4 multi-mode terminals based on multi-mode chips, 3 of which have passed scale trial.
According to Chen Shanzhi, Datang, as the major contributor for TD-SCDMA and TD-LTE-A development and standardization, is committed to the development of TDD technology. Datang will promote LTE-Hi development with TDD macro cover technology as its basis. This will dramatically increase capacity and provide wider band and better experience. Datang actively deploys TD-LTE industry chain, and goes ahead in base stations, terminals, chips, test instruments and networking planning tools. Datang is one of the first enterprises which entered TD-LTE scale trials. Meanwhile, Nanjing TD-LTE trial network includes the only highway test scenario in scale trials.
As to the international market, Datang has started to construct TD-LTE trial networks in Asia, Africa, South America, and Europe.
At the end of his speech, Chen Shanzhi said Datang would strive to promote development of TD technology and innovative application, based on Datang’s strength in TD system equipment, TD handset chips, TD terminals and application areas.
China Mobile to expand 4G network [China Daily, June 21, 2012]
The rollout of China’s homegrown fourth-generation wireless networks will take off andexpand at a rapid pace if mature 4G terminalsare ready, according to Xi Guohua, chairman of China Mobile Ltd.
Xi, speaking at the GSMA Mobile Asia Expo in Shanghai on Wednesday, said the developmentof China’s TD-LTE 4G technology is proceeding smoothly both at home and abroad.
China Mobile is conducting its Phase 2 scale-trial in 10 cities and aims to construct more than 20,000 base stations through new builds and upgrades this year, Xi said.
The company revealed in March that it hoped to have a total of more than 200,000 TD-LTE base stations by 2013.
“China Mobile has the ability to build as many 4G base stations as it wants in a short period oftime,” said Xi, a former vice-minister of industry and information technology, who succeeded Wang Jianzhou in March to become China Mobile’s chairman.
The target of building 200,000 TD-LTE base stations is realizable, since the company can directly upgrade its 3G stations to advanced 4G ones. According to China Mobile’s annual report, the number of 3G TD-SCDMA base stations reached around 220,000 last year.
However, the lack of TD-LTE devices could hamper the company’s 4G rollout, Xi continued.
Though a dozen mobile phone manufacturers have expressed interest in developing TD-LTEhandsets, a mature device has yet to emerge, said Cao Shumin, president of the China Academy of Telecommunication Research of the Ministry of Industry and InformationTechnology.
“Several TD-LTE handsets are being tested, but their capabilities do not meet the standardsfor everyday use,” Cao said.
The other LTE 4G technology, FDD-LTE, has around 64 smartphone models.
China Mobile started building the world’s largest TD-LTE trial network in the Chinese mainland in January 2011, when the Phase 1 scale-trial began. Among the 10 pilot cities, Hangzhou, Shenzhen and Guangzhou will conduct in-depth testing and offer pre-commercial 4G services to the public.
The company realized two-way roaming between the FDD-LTE network in Hong Kong and theTD-LTE network in Hangzhou on Monday.
Reports have circulated that China Mobile would get a fixed-line network license from Chineseregulators to complement its wireless business. Xi said it was up to the ministry to decidewhether China Mobile should get the permit.
But China Mobile will not enter fixed-line networks on a large scale, or start any price wars, Xisaid. “If we get the license, we will do business selectively. China Mobile is a listed company, and we will invest considering returns.”
China Mobile and SoftBank note TD-LTE progress [Mobile World Live of GSMA, June 20, 2012]
LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE ASIA EXPO 2012: Executives from China Mobile and SoftBank today highlighted the success of their initial efforts with TD-LTE technology, although it was also noted that there are hurdles to be overcome – with devices a particular sticking point.
Speaking at the GTI Asia Conference, Xi Guohua, chairman of China Mobile, said that the company’s pilots have proved that “TD-LTE is capable of supporting big networks, with a large flow of data.” He said that the operator intends to “make further investments and further efforts to speed-up the implementation of TD-LTE,” with the intention to grow both its network size and its user base – although “that will depend on the maturity of the whole industry, especially the maturity of the terminals.”
With services currently only available using data devices, it was said that China Mobile will work with partners to launch smartphones “in the latter part of this year or next year.”
Ted Matsumoto, chief strategic advisor to the board of SoftBank, said that the Japanese number three now has more than 100,000 users for its services, following a commercial launch earlier this year.
Currently, SoftBank only offers one wireless hotspot device, with the intention to offer two more of these in the next quarter. In addition, in Q4 it is set to launch its first smartphone supporting TD-LTE, manufactured by Huawei, with the operator intending to move to the point where “most” of its smartphone range supports the connectivity.
Both executives also supported the need to support roaming, in order for LTE to become the enabler of international data services for travellers. China Mobile said it is looking for “more active exploration” of the options for data roaming.
And Matusmoto observed: “we are rather lonely. We would like to have more operators supporting TD-LTE through the world, so users can roam.”
SoftBank details ambitious TD-LTE plans [Mobile World Live of GSMA, Nov 15, 2011]
LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE ASIA CONGRESS 2011: Tetsuzo Matsumoto, chief strategic advisor to the CEO and member of the board of Japanese operator SoftBank, today disclosed an aggressive strategy for the rollout of TD-LTE services in Japan, with the intention of commercially launching propositions under the SoftBank 4G banner in March 2012.
Speaking this morning, Matsumoto (pictured) said that the company is looking to deploy around 12,000 base stations covering 92 percent of the population of Japan next year. “So it is real,” he observed.
Initially, the company will offer services using data cards and wireless hotspots. However, by the “summer or autumn” the intention is to offer a smartphone with TD-LTE support – which will also offer FDD LTE and HSPA connectivity.
SoftBank has already soft-launched a TD-LTE compatible network, through its Wireless City Planning affiliate. While this is using technology branded AXGP, Matsumoto said that this is “basically exactly the same as TD-LTE.” It is compatible with the global TD-LTE ecosystem, and is “100 percent conforming” to the 3GPP TD-LTE standard, he said.
The pilot has so far been a low-profile affair, he noted, but “eventually we will start making it more visible.”
According to Matsumoto, while SoftBank owns around one third of Wireless City Planning, the other investors are passive partners – it is “100 percent responsible for the operations.”
The executive also talked up SoftBank’s position in the mobile broadband market, as well as highlighting the potential for further industry collaborations. “Unlike other operators, Softbank’s background is internet. Our belief is that the world is moving from the mobile phone, to the mobile internet, and SoftBank is right to take the lead of this convergence throughout the world.”
The company is working with multiple partners to construct its network, including Huawei, ZTE, Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent.
Tetsuzo (Ted) Matsumoto is a member of the Board and Chief Strategy Advisor to the CEO of SOFTBANK MOBILE Corp. He is also a Board member of GSMA and various other international organizations related to the mobile communication industry
On September 1, 2006, Mr. Matsumoto joined Vodafone KK in Japan, which had been already acquired by Softbank group, as an Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, and became a member of the Board and Senior Executive Vice President of the company after its name was officially changed to SOFTBANK MOBILE Corp. Since then, until June 30, 2011, he had been active mainly in the area of the company’s technology strategy, government relations and international operations. Now, he is free from the company’s day-to-day operations, and focusing on the long-term strategic issues.
Prior to joining the Softbank group, Mr. Matsumoto was with Qualcomm for over 10 years, commencing as a consultant, and, subsequently, serving as President/Chairman of Qualcomm Japan, as well as a Senior Vice President at its Head Quarters in San Diego. While at Qualcomm, he was instrumental to introduce CDMA technology to Japan, and responsible for its Japan, Southeast Asia and Pacific operations.
Mr. Matsumoto began his career with Itochu Corporation, a Japanese conglomerate, where he worked for 34 years and held a variety of positions, including Senior Vice President of the Electronics Division of Itochu (America) Corp., General Manager of its Communication/Multimedia Business, and Group Vice President of the Aerospace and Information Division at the company’s Tokyo Headquarters. During his last five years with Itochu, he held the Director positions of the Boards of more than 10 Telecommunications, Media and IT Services companies in Japan.
Mr. Matsumoto received a Bachelor of Law degree from Kyoto University in 1962.
The Chinese actually are so proud of the progress of their “own” 4G standard that they put the below advertisement on the p. 4 of China Daily June 18, 2012 issue:
LTE TDD Goes Mainstream
Mobile ecosystem puts support behind the standard
Author: Daryl Schoolar, Principal Analyst, Infrastructure
Telefónica unveils smart 4G experience at Mobile World Congress [Telefónica press release, Feb 26, 2012] or After a Year of Close Collaboration with Alcatel-Lucent and with the Support of Samsung, Telefonica Unveils Smart 4G Experience at Mobile World Congress [Alcatel Lucent press release, Feb 26, 2012]
– Telefónica’s smarter 4G delivers increased capacity in high data-traffic density areas and greater bandwidth than current LTE networks, as well as superior indoor coverage.
– Small-cell technology speeds up network deployment, reduces costs and makes more efficient use of spectrum use and costs.
– First LTE deployment of its kind at 2.6Ghz band frequency and the first time that real users will be able to experience the benefits of the 4G technology of the future.
Telefónica today announced the first live experience of the world’s ‘smartest’ 4G network, in the most ambitious technological innovation ever deployed at the Mobile World Congress. The network – the world´s first of its kind in the 2.6Ghz frequency band – provides download speeds of 100 Mbps, between 40-60Mbps on upload, vastly improved indoor coverage and can increase capacity by up to 400 per cent in high density data-traffic areas.
Based on Alcatel-Lucent‘s lightRadio technology, Telefónica‘s network is a revolutionary first step towards a real ‘HetNet’ network, which greatly improves mobile coverage by bringing small-cell base stations closer to the customer. In this deployment conventional radio base stations co-exist with 4G metro cells (small base stations incorporating antennas and radio) working on the same frequency and with no interference. As a strong supporter for Telefonica‘s LTE service initiative, Samsungis also presenting the first LTE smart mobile devices for band 7 (2.6Ghz), GALAXY S II LTE smartphone and GALAXY Tab 8.9 LTE tablet, which can be used on this new high-capacity network.
The most significant feature of Telefónica‘s LTE network is its increased capacity – with each cell comfortably supporting 30 people browsing simultaneously with average speed of 30Mbps. Tests conducted on this network show that a 400% increase in capacity can be made available to users compared to a conventional network design, and that significantly higher capacity gains could be delivered with denser metro-network design. The network supports speeds of up to 10 times those offered by the 3G network, with download speeds of 100Mbps, upload speeds of 40-60 Mbps and with latency times of around 20-25 milliseconds.
‘Today the future of mobile networks begins’, said Enrique Blanco, Telefónica‘s Chief Technology Officer. ‘The deployment of LTE that Telefónica has brought to the MWC, together with Alcatel -Lucent, gives us a glimpse of a tomorrow where everyone and everything is seamlessly connected, and in superfast time. But the challenge ahead is to ensure that all the technologies currently being deployed – 2G, 3G, LTE, Wi-Fi and Fiber – can co-exist to deliver next generation communications. Telefónica’s strategy is to develop intelligent networks that allow these different technologies to co-exist efficiently and cover customers’ growing connectivity needs in markets that are at different stages of development’.
Another key benefit of the advanced feature network is that it utilises the same frequency for several network layers, allowing for far more efficient use of spectrum. This solution would also reduce network deployment costs by as much as 40 per cent, as the installation of small-cells significantly reduces the amount of construction, installation and configuration work needed. Additionally, small-cells use less powerful amplification equipment, resulting in energy savings of up to 35 per cent and a guaranteed reduction in environmental impact.
Wim Sweldens, President of Alcatel-Lucent‘s Wireless Division said: ‘This close collaboration with Telefónica through our co-creation programme is a clear articulation of the future of mobile broadband – rather than merely evolving their current architecture, which was designed for voice and messaging, Telefónica is making fast progress toward building a mobile broadband network designed with the future in mind. The wireless network of the future needs to be lighter, greener and closer to customers and deliver much higher capacity – that is what lightRadio is all about’.
‘Samsung has been actively collaborating with Telefónica for LTE trial services with a variety of device line-up from LTE dongles to MiFi and LTE smartphones across European markets. I am excited to join Telefónica’s breakthrough LTE demonstration with our representative LTE models, GALAXY S II LTE and GALAXY Tab 8.9 LTE’, said DJ Lee, executive vice president and head of Sales and Marketing team for SamsungMobile. ‘We are fully committed to supporting Telefónica’s LTE roll-out and hopefully will try to expand our LTE partnerships not only for European markets but also including Latin American markets. Our ambition is to become a number one LTE partner for Telefónica’.
Visitors to MWC will be able to experience first-hand the wide range of options generated by this innovative network at the Telefónica stand (Hall 8), where the smallest metro cells in the market and the latest LTE devices from Samsung are being exhibited. A video wall will demonstrate the capabilities of the network by projecting filmed live at the congress and delivered via LTE. The Samsung LTE devices will be used for high-definition videoconferences. This will demonstrate for both applications the improvements in speeds of both links for uploads and downloads. There will be real-ime gaming demonstrations as well as augmented reality and hypermedia applications that highlight the latency and versatility of the network.
– Alcatel-Lucent collaborates with Telefonica to bring the first superfast 4G mobile broadband services to consumers in Spain [Alcatel-Lucent press release, Sept 14, 2011]
– lightRadio™: Evolve your wireless broadband network for the new generation of applications and users [Alcatel-Lucent microsite, Feb 27, 2012]
– Wi-Fi goes mobile with Alcatel-Lucent [Alcatel-Lucent press release for lightRadio WiFi, Feb 14, 2012]
– lightRadio WiFi [Alcatel-Lucent microsite, Feb 14, 2012]
- Operators can deliver up to 10-times more capacity by deploying a 1:10 ratio of small- to macro cells
- The lightRadio Network can improve capacity by up to 70%
- A modular and virtualized architecture lets operators adapt to changing usage patterns
The rising demand for mobile broadband services is straining legacy wireless networks. Operators face increasing pressure to deliver the rich quality of experience (QoE)their customers and partners expect. To meet these expectations and remain competitive, they need cost-effective and sustainable network architectures that can deliver increased connectivity and capacity on demand.
QoE: The new currency in the mobile value chain
As the focus of mobile wireless communications shifts from voice to data, users attach greater importance to QoE. Today’s users expect fast wireless networks, comprehensive coverage and uninterrupted connectivity. There’s no room for delays, dropped connections or peak-time congestion in their vision of mobile broadband.
Users clearly value QoE, but application and content providers (ACPs) depend on it. Whether ACPs offer TV streams, interactive apps or video conferencing services, QoE plays a central role in their success. They have a vested interest in ensuring that users enjoy the best possible experience. For this, ACPs rely on mobile operators and their networks.
To move up the mobile value chain and attract partnerships with ACPs, operators have to deliver on QoE. Operators can control QoE, for example, by managing bit rates or by making it easy for users to switch between 2G/3G/LTE networks and Wi-Fi hotspots. But they need to control it more efficiently to prove their value as partners and providers and position themselves as the ideal channel for delivering value-added applications and content.
The QoE and capacity challenge
Legacy macro networks were built to support voice services, a task they perform extremely well. But the demand for mobile broadband data services adds new and more complex challenges to wireless networks. Operators who retrofit voice networks for data face a host of new challenges.
For example, operators don’t always have spectrum for mobile broadband services. This makes it tough to meet demand for data. Increasing indoor wireless use also presents problems. Outdoor macro towers can’t always deliver sufficient data rates, coverage and capacity to users in homes and offices.
Today, operators are constantly trying to squeeze more capacity out of legacy networks. One common strategy is cell splitting — adding cells, towers and sites. This can be complex and expensive, and zoning rules can even make it impossible in some areas. Operators that don’t evolve their networks — or don’t evolve fast enough — may be left behind by customers and competitors who embrace next-generation equipment.
Building wireless networks for an unpredictable future
Mobile operators want wireless networks that can help them tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow. These challenges include:
- Adding capacity where users want and need it
- Ensuring that customer QoE is met
- Building a cost-effective foundation for addressing future demand
- Delivering eco-sustainable solutions
Smartphone penetration and mobile data traffic are increasing rapidly. According to Vision Mobile, in the 3rd quarter of 2011 smartphone shipments penetration surpassed 29% globally.People still use their phones mostly for voice — on a time basis. However, they consume more data with apps including video streaming, music, web browsing and social networking from their homes, offices and in the community. They connect to hotspots in high-traffic areas like stadiums, public squares and hotels. Operators have to provide more capacity in more locations to ensure that QoE follows users wherever they go.
While no one can say for certain what capacity needs will be in 5 years, we do have reasonably good models for the next 6 months to a year. However, if a new type of device like the Apple iPhone® or iPad®arrives on the market it could cause a major disruption. What we know right now is that new wireless devices — smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles, in-car devices — will fuel demand by supporting smarter applications and richer content. Wireless networks will need to be flexible enough to handle whatever demand the future brings. And they’ll need to do it while keeping costs low.
It’s not all about delivering more capacity and richer experiences. Operators need to consider the environment, too. The next generation of wireless network architectures must have a smaller carbon footprint. This means consuming less power. It also means deploying elements that use less space and blend in with what’s around them. No one wants to see more towers and more bulky equipment.
The lightRadio™ Network advantage
Alcatel-Lucent has introduced the lightRadioNetwork to empower operators to deliver on their present and future challenges. It seamlessly increases capacity and extends it to more places, helping operators satisfy users and generate new revenue. It reduces power consumption and footprint, enabling operators to promote sustainability and bottom-line growth. And it provides an effective foundation for supporting future demand, helping operators manage capacity and cost.
For users, it all comes down to QoE. With the lightRadio Network, users get higher throughputs to support the rich experiences they crave. In contrast to traditional wireless networks, this support is continuous: Whether indoors, outdoors or on the move, users switch seamlessly to the best possible network. There’s no need to pause a video or interrupt an application to select a hotspot or enter a password.
A closer look
The lightRadio Network is inherently heterogeneous bringing together a broad range of technologies and different types of access nodes. At the same time, the architecture is homogenous: Its components share the same platforms, control and management. These components can include:
- Small cells, which extend coverage indoors and in hotspots. Small cells perform efficiently in residences and businesses. They work best when deployed close to users, for example, on lamp posts or walls in train stations or shopping centers. In a given network, operators can deliver up to 10-times more throughput by deploying a 1:10 ratio of small cells to macro cells.
- lightRadio wideband active antenna arrays (WB-AAA), popularly known as cubes, that use advanced interference management algorithms to create overlapping zones of high signal strength. Known as vertical sectorization, this increases capacity and coverage for a given area. These comparatively low-power elements make more efficient use of spectrum. When deployed in a macro environment, they can improve capacity by up to 70%.This improved capacity can help operators attract users and generate more revenue.
- Wi-Fi hotspots, that allow operators to offer additional options for access to high bandwidth data users. This has the dual benefit of keeping the end user satisfied and allowing the operator to take some traffic off costly cellular spectrum. The lightRadio architecture uses a common core network to support Wi-Fi and cellular access. Users can seamlessly switch between the two without having to enter a new password.
All of these components support sharing and virtualization, which help operators deliver more flexible capacity and control. For example, operators can connect lightRadio cubes to external baseband units (BBUs) to serve hotspots that require massive capacity, such as sports arenas. Or, operators can scale and share control capacity to cost-effectively improve performance at specific places and times. This can help overcome traffic spikes that arise as new devices connect to the data network.
Making the move
Operators face no significant barriers to making the move to the lightRadio Network. While each operator has a unique starting point based on its own business needs and operating environment they have a number of things in common. They need modular, flexible wireless networks that can address data demand and keep costs in check.
This new network architecture helps operators kick-start transformation with the wireless infrastructure, spectrum and multivendor networks they have now. An effective transformation includes:
- Targeting capacity problems in hotspots and indoors
- Migrating to LTE for efficient spectrum usage
- Adding a WB-AAA architecture for more capacity per site
- Virtualizing capacity and control for more flexibility
Operators can control costs by scaling capacity in manageable increments. These strategies and savings can extend to many parts of the network, including wireless backhaul links, small sites and legacy equipment.
By alleviating concerns about capacity, scalability and cost, the lightRadio network architecture offers operators the chance to rethink the challenges of the present and future. It can help them swap a defensive stance — coping with demand — for a positive approach focused on turning mobile broadband demand into new revenue.
To contact the author or request additional information, please send an email to email@example.com.
 Mobile Platforms: The Clash of Ecosystems, VisionMobile, Nov. 2011; http://www.visionmobile.com/blog/2011/11/new-report-mobile-platforms-the-clash-of-ecosystems/. ↩
 iPhone® and iPad® are trademarks of Apple Inc. ↩
 Based on Alcatel-Lucent study, 2011. ↩
 ibid. ↩
Day 3: Alcatel-Lucent at MWC 2012 – Cloud solutions [AlcatelLucentCorp YouTube channel, Feb 29, 2012]
Alcatel-Lucent and China Mobile accelerate development of lightRadio™ to support exploding customer demand for mobile broadband in China [Alcatel Lucent press release, Feb 28, 2012]
Teams sign lightRadio™ architecture co-creation agreement to accelerate the development and delivery of lightning fast mobile broadband services in a sustainable way
Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) and China Mobile have signed a co-creationagreement under which teams from the two companies are conducting joint development and test activities on a series of lightRadio projects at Alcatel-Lucent’s Stuttgart lab. The work will help to accelerate the smooth commercial introduction of this groundbreaking new product family to meet China Mobile’s business initiatives and support growing customer demand for high-bandwidth mobile broadband services.
China Mobile is the world’s largest mobile provider. Benefiting from the dramatic growth in mobile Internet use, China Mobile had around 650 million subscribers by the end of 2011. – and that number is growing at a rate of 11.2% year over year. Those customers are increasingly adopting smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices which is driving massive demand for high-bandwidth mobile data services such as video and Internet gaming.
This co-creation agreement follows the non-binding MoU signed between Alcatel-Lucent and China Mobile in mid 2011. It also builds on the collaboration between the companies on the delivery of superfast mobile broadband using TD-LTE technology and the announcement of the first Trans-Pacific lightRadio video call. This agreement defines the projects that will be undertaken by the two companies and kicks off the co-development activities. This collaboration will speed the introduction of the lightRadio product prototype to the second half of the year.
Alcatel-Lucent’s lightRadio™ reduces the size of traditional mobile base stations to a Rubik’s cube, while lowering power-consumption and allowing the transfer of vast amounts of data at lightning fast speeds.
Ben Verwaayen, CEO of Alcatel-Lucent, said: “The ability for us to pair with the world’s largest mobile provider to gain deeper insight into its customer behaviours and the way services are evolving will ensure we develop lightRadio in the right direction. The knowledge we gain from implementing lightRadio to support the delivery of mobile broadband services to 650 million people will help us to meet the growing demand for services across the globe.
The co-creation agreement was signed by Bill Huang, president of China Mobile Research Institute and Wim Sweldens, president of Alcatel-Lucent Wireless Division, on January 13 at Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs headquarters in Murray Hill, New Jersey. Li Zhengmao, Vice President of China Mobile, and Jeong Kim, President of Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs attended the signing ceremony.
Under the terms of the agreement, China Mobile engineers have already begun working with Alcatel-Lucent’s R&D team in the company’s lab in Stuttgart Germany. The two companies will co-work on a series of lightRadio joint development projects including the cube-based radio, baseband unit (BBU) pooling and redefining the radio architecture. By bringing together talents from both companies, these projects will support China Mobile’s evolving business initiatives, including the introduction of high-speed TD-LTE mobile broadband technology, encourage idea-generation and facilitate the smooth commercial implementation of lightRadio.
Day 4: Alcatel-Lucent at MWC 2012 – Rise above the data storm [AlcatelLucentCorp YouTube channel, March 2, 2012]
Video of Day 4 at Mobile World Congress 2012. The big discussion at MWC is about the data storm, the demand for mobile broadband services driven by the customers and anytime, anywhere access to these services. … How operators rise above the data storm? For capacity (serving more users in the peak hours), for having lower costs per bit (to get to the mass market), and for monetizing more often (in 65% of time or more the networks are not in a peak). How they do that? They do that with lightRadio which gives them an IP platform, mobile broadband platform end-to-end. … Best infrastructure technology 2012 goes to lightRadio and the Cube. … “This thing has transformed our company. It has transformed the way that we develop products. It has trasformed the way people looked at us. And this will for the long period to come be the symbol of the new Alcatel-Lucent.” — Ben Verwaayen, CEO, Alcatel-Lucent.
MWC: The fastest show on Earth [by Ben Verwaayen, CEO, Alcatel-Lucent, March 1, 2012]
And the GSMA award for best infrastructure technology goes to… lightRadio!
MWC, the fastest show on earth for anybody who is somebody in the telecoms world, is always an amazing event.
What is clear this year is that the world is flatter than ever before. Innovation is coming from all corners of the globe and there is no region that is excluded from the information and video revolution.
As a result players are on the move. Policy makers, regulators, operators, technology providers, service providers, application developpers, all are chasing the customer driving the change.
She happens to be 14 year old and she was dearly missed at the exhibition. Her focus is services, video, chatting, facebooking on multiple screens.
She wants to be identified as a person, recognized for her preferences and protected against undue approaches. She doesn’t care about cloud or tablet or smartphone, she wants cool services on a cool device and be able to afford it.
There are so many that agree with her that the market dynamics are changing worldwide.
Alcatel-Lucent had a great win in Barcelona. We won the infrastructure of the year award for lightRadio, our cubesized basestation, that performed in real traffic wonders for Telefonica. Customers loved the stand, they agreed with the need to make the network relevant in the journey ahead. We have never seen so much interest in our latest portfolio of Services, Applications and Products.
So, days packed, staff worked 24/7 but it was a great experience.
Details of the lightRadio technology (copied from the earlier post: Good TD-LTE potential for target commercialisation by China Mobile in 2012 [July 13, 2011 – Feb 8, 2012])
lightRadioTM is a disruptive Wireless Architecture that enables operators the opportunity to develop next generation converged 2G/3G/LTE Radio Networks. Valérie Layan – VP Wireless Solutions EMEA at Alcatel-Lucent outlined how this unique solution offers a dramatic new way of building networks that will enable Macro and Small Cell integration, offer Opex savings of more than 50% compared to Classic BTS design and set the course for Wireless & Wireline convergence.
LIGHTRADIO CONNECTS THE WORLD [June 15, 2011]
The world’s first long-distance, high-quality mobile video-call using lightRadio™ – a breakthrough system pioneered by Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) to transform the economics and efficiency of mobile telephony– has successfully taken place from the historic desk of Alexander Graham Bell.
Industry executives, technology leaders and analysts witnessed the inaugural lightRadio video call made from the headquarters of Bell Labs, the innovation engine of Alcatel-Lucent and now home to Graham Bell’s desk, from which he made the first-ever long-distance phone call.
Chris Lewis, Group Vice President of industry analysts IDC, hosted the call from Bell Labs in Murray Hill, New Jersey, connecting with Ben Verwaayen, Chief Executive of Alcatel-Lucent in Paris, and delegates at a business conference in Miami.
lightRadio is the name of a family of technologies which are set to transform mobile communications, improving the quality of network services for consumers while dramatically reducing the size, carbon footprint and energy consumption of mobile base stations.
After participating in the call, Ben Verwaayen, said: “We have taken lightRadio from the drawing-board to a fully working system, creating an entirely new system to connect customers around the world.”
The launch of lightRadio will help address exploding demand for mobile broadband services and increasing global consumption of wireless content. This has been fuelled by the adoption of smartphones and the popularity of video applications, social networking and mobile gaming services– all requiring wireless service providers to provide greater speed and capacity everywhere.
Network operators such as France Telecom/Orange, Telefonica and China Mobile are now engaged with Alcatel-Lucent in co-creating the market implementation of lightRadio. The system is expected to deliver significant operational savings for carriers and infrastructure owners by marking an end to the existing system of complex base stations and large cell towers.
This week’s inaugural call demonstrates lightRadio’s ability to handle high levels of data, meeting demand from customers increasingly using mobile video on Internet-networks. Among breakthroughs promised by the system, it will reduce mobile network energy consumption by 50% – compared with current equipment; enable roll-out of mobile broadband services to new marketsusing sustainable-power sources; and deliver major savings for operators.
Alcatel-Lucent predicts that lightRadio will help cut the cost of mobile infrastructure site, energy consumption, operations and maintenance. Bell Labs estimates that the total cost of ownership of mobile networks, the sum spent by mobile operators on access systems, reached 150 billion Euros in 2010.
More information about Alcatel-Lucent’s lightRadio portfolio can found online at http://www.alcatel-lucent.com/lightradio.
Alcatel-Lucent today announced it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile operator and a leader in TD-SCDMA and TD-LTE, for the development of a next-generation radio access network (RAN). The MOU was signed by Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell, Alcatel-Lucent’s flagship company in China.
Alcatel-Lucent and China Mobile will jointly launch technical and economic studies and investigate the technologies essential to build a centralized, collaborative, Cloud-based RAN (C-RAN) in order to set new standards for cost-effectiveness, network intelligence and energy-efficiency (“green”). The C-RAN will provide a common platform for multi-mode wireless standards such as GSM, 3G, and LTE, enabling to significantly improve network quality and coverage, reduce transmission resource consumption and lower OPEX by up to 50% and CAPEX by 15%.
Rajeev Singh-Molares, president of Alcatel-Lucent’s activities in Asia-Pacific said: “The partnership with China Mobile is directly addressing the challenges of high energy costs, explosion of mobile video and sustainable development. By helping them replace traditional network designs with flexible cloud-like architectures, we are preparing the future and help show the way in terms of technology and economic models.”
The strategic partnership for C-RAN will leverage Alcatel-Lucent’s recently-announced lightRadio, a breakthrough in mobile and broadband infrastructure to streamline and radically simplify mobile networks. Pioneered by Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent’s research and development arm, the new lightRadio system will dramatically reduce operating costs, technical complexity and power consumption. This is accomplished by taking today’s base stations and massive cell site towers, typically the most expensive, power hungry, and difficult to maintain elements in the network, and radically reducing and simplifying them.
lightRadio represents a new architecture where the base station, typically located at the base of each cell site tower, is broken into its components elements and distributed through the antenna or the network for cloud-like processing. Additionally the various cell site tower antennas are combined and shrunk into a single small powerful, Bell Labs-pioneered multi frequency, multi standard (2G, 3G, LTE) device that can be mounted on poles, sides of buildings or anywhere else there is power and a broadband connection.
The partnership with China Mobile also reflects Alcatel-Lucent’s strong commitment to sustainable development and to Green as testified, in particular, by its leading role in theGreenTouch™ Consortium, a global research initiative dedicated to dramatically improving the energy efficiency of information and communications technology (ICT) networks by a factor of 1,000. GreenTouch™ recently presented a Large-Scale Antenna System proof of concept offering the potential for tremendous energy savings thanks to its novel wireless transmission techniques.
Alcatel-Lucent maps the future of mobile technology [Feb 7, 2011]
Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) today announced lightRadio™, a breakthrough in mobile and broadband infrastructure that streamlines and radically simplifies mobile networks. The solution was unveiled at a major press launch event in London supported by partners Freescale and HP.
Pioneered by Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent’s unique research and development arm, the new lightRadio system will dramatically reduce technical complexity and contain power consumption and other operating costs in the face of sharp traffic growth. This is accomplished by taking today’s base stations and massive cell site towers, typically the most expensive, power hungry, and difficult to maintain elements in the network, and radically shrinking and simplifying them.
lightRadio represents a new architecture where the base station, typically located at the base of each cell site tower, is broken into its components elements and then distributed into both the antenna and throughout a cloud-like network. Additionally today’s clutter of antennas serving 2G, 3G, and LTE systems are combined and shrunk into a single powerful, Bell Labs-pioneered multi frequency, multi standard Wideband Active Array Antenna that can be mounted on poles, sides of buildings or anywhere else there is power and a broadband connection.
Alcatel-Lucent’s new lightRadio product family, of which initial elements ready to begin customer trials in the second half 2011, provides the following benefits:
- Improves the environment:lightRadio reduces energy consumption of mobile networks by up to 50% over current radio access network equipment. (As a point of reference, Bell Labs research estimates that basestations globally emit roughly 18,000,000 metric tons of CO2 per year). Also, lightRadio provides an alternative to today’s jungle of large overcrowded cell site towers by enabling small antennas anywhere.
- Addresses digital divide: By reducing the cell site to just the antenna and leveraging future advances in microwave backhaul and compression techniques, this technology will eventually enable the easy creation of broadband coverage virtually anywhere there is power (electricity, sun, wind) by using microwave to connect back to the network.
- Offers major savings for operators: Thanks to lightRadio’s impact on site, energy, operations and maintenance costs; when combined with small cells and LTE, this new solution can lead to a reduction of total cost of ownership (TCO) of mobile networks up to 50% (as a point of reference, Bell Labs estimates that TCO spent by mobile operators in mobile access in 2010 was 150 billion Euros).
Ben Verwaayen, CEO of Alcatel-Lucent, said: “lightRadio is a smart solution to a tough set of problems: high energy costs, the explosion of video on mobile, and connecting the unconnected.”
Alain Maloberti, Senior Vice President, Network Architecture and Design, France Telecom/Orange said: “Alcatel-Lucent’s new vision and strategy of mobile broadband is quite exciting: the new wireless network architecture and innovative radio proposal will potentially help us to achieve significant operating cost savings and be better prepared for future challenges. We look forward to work closely with Alcatel-Lucent to explore and test this new approach.”
Tom Sawanobori, VP Technology Planning, Verizon Wireless, said: “Verizon looks forward to learning more about the benefits of lightRadio technology and how they could be applied as we continue to expand and evolve our LTE network.”
Alcatel-Lucent is also in advanced planning with China Mobile as well as a number of other carriers around the globe around co-creation and field trials of the lightRadio solution.
Alcatel-Lucent studies have concluded that the total addressable opportunity for the multi-technology radio market1, which lightRadio addresses, will be over 12 billion Euros in 2014, representing more than 55% of the total wireless RAN market. The cumulative total addressable market will be over 100 billion Euros from 2011-2018.
Alcatel-Lucent’s lightRadio portfolio integrates a number of breakthrough innovations and technologies from Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs research arm and ecosystem of companies:
Market Impact Technology Innovation A new generation of active antennas allows vertical beam-forming that improves capacity in urban and suburban sites by about 30%, supports all technologies (2G, 3G, and LTE) and covers multiple frequency bands with a single unit. lightRadio cube – A unique Bell Labs antenna technology, the lightRadio Cube includes an innovative diplexer type, radio, amplifier, and passive cooling in a small cube that fits in the palm of the hand. By moving former basestation components to a System on a Chip (SOC), lightRadio places processing where it fits best in the network – whether at the antenna or in the cloud. System-on-a-chip (SoC) jointly developed with Freescale Semiconductor, integrates intelligent software from Alcatel-Lucent onto fully remotely programmable state-of-the-art hardware. The economics of radio networks are substantially improved by reducing the number and cost of fiber pairs required to support the traffic between the antenna and the centralized processing in the cloud. Unique compression algorithms provide nearly a factor of three compression of IQ sample signals. Matching of load to demand through ‘elastic’ controller capacity, delivered on sets of distributed and shared hardware platforms, will improve cost, availability, and performance of wireless networks. Virtualized processing platforms. Alcatel-Lucent will use innovative virtualization software and will collaborate with partners like HP to enable a cloud-like wireless architecture for controllers and gateways.
The lightRadio Product Family The new Alcatel-Lucent lightRadio product family is composed of the following components: Wideband Active Array Antenna, Multiband Remote Radio Head, Baseband Unit, Controller, and the 5620 SAM common management solution. The Wideband Active Array Antenna will be trialed later this year and have broad product availability in 2012. Additional product family members will be available over 2012, 2013 and 2014.
For detailed information on these elements please as well as a webcast replay of today’s press conference please visit http://www.alcatel-lucent.com/lightradio(replay available at 2:30 pm GMT). The lightRadio approach and technology path will be shown and explained further at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on 14-17 February.
 The multi-technology radio market consists of radio access base stations that simultaneously support 2G, 3G, and LTE, and multiple frequencies, in the same platform.
“Alcatel-Lucent’s lightRadio approach is a revolutionary step in evolving traditional telecommunication networks to more heterogeneous networks with higher capacity and lower cost,” said Lisa Su, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Freescale’s Networking and Multimedia Group. “Freescale is collaborating with Alcatel-Lucent to provide the chip-based architectures through our new system-on-chip technology that supports the highly-flexible, multi-standard, programmable capability required to make lightRadio a reality.”
“Communication service providers will be better able to meet the shifting and growing demands placed on their networks as a result of the new lightRadio product family from Alcatel-Lucent,” said Sandeep Johri, vice president, Strategy and Solutions, Enterprise Business, HP. “As part of the lightRadio evolution, HP intends to work with Alcatel-Lucent in a co-creation fashion around the use of cloud and virtualization technologies in the mobile access space.”
“The day has finally come when service providers need to take a serious look at the road ahead in terms of technology and their economic models,” said Phil Marshall of Tolaga Research. “To survive and thrive, service providers must evolve network designs, embrace small cell sites and all-IP architectures and replace traditional network designs with flexible cloud-like architectures that can truly meet the data demands of the future.”
The Disappearing Mobile Masts and Towers [Feb 7, 2011]
The looming global gridlock in mobile communications promises to be averted following the launch today of pioneering technology which will remove the bottlenecks constraining mobile networks and help deliver universal broadband coverage.
Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU), the leading network technology group, has joined forces with industry partners to develop lightRadio™, a new system that signals the end of the mobile industry’s reliance on masts and base stations around the world.
Ben Verwaayen, Chief Executive Officer of Alcatel-Lucent, said: “Today’s and tomorrow’s demands for coverage and capacity require a breakthrough in mobile communications.”
He added: “lightRadio will signal the end of the basestation and the cell tower as we know it today.”
Governments and regulatory bodies are expected to welcome the technical development, which will help meet targets for universal broadband access by laying the foundation to address the so-called “digital divide.”
Other major benefits from lightRadio™ include:
- Shrinking the carbon footprint of mobile networks by over 50%
- Reducing the Total-Cost-of-Ownership of mobile operators by up to 50%
- Improving end user services by significantly increasing bandwidth per user thanks to the deployment of small antennas everywhere
Wim Sweldens, President of Alcatel-Lucent’s Wireless Division said: “lightRadio will help mobile operators evolve their networks to address the mobile broadband deluge.”
lightRadio represents a new approach where the base station, typically located at the base of each cell site tower, is broken into its components elements and then distributed into both the antenna and throughout a cloud-like network.
lightRadio also shrinks today’s clutter of antennas serving 2G, 3G, and LTE systems into a single powerful, Bell Labs-pioneered antenna that can be mounted on poles, sides of buildings or anywhere else there is power and a broadband connection.
The innovation coincides with growing demand for third-and-fourth generation mobile networks and devices, involving the mass adoption of wireless television services and other forms of broadband content. The total addressable market for the radio technology necessary to serve such networks and devices is expected to exceed €100bn1 over the next seven years.
Alcatel-Lucent announced the lightRadio™ technical specifications and launch timetable at an industry event in London today. Visit http://www.alcatel-lucent.com/lightradiofor product press release and link to event replay (available at 2:30 GMT).
 This is the total addressable market for multi-technology radio solutions that consist of radio access base stations that simultaneously support 2G, 3G, and LTE, and multiple frequencies in the same platform
Freescale Semiconductor – the communications processing leader and provider of industry-leading DSP technology – is transforming the future of wireless infrastructure equipment with the introduction of a highly integrated base station-on-chip portfolio built on advanced heterogeneous multicore technology. Freescale’s new QorIQ Qonverge seriesis the first scalable family of products sharing the same architecture to address multi-standard requirements spanning from small to large cells.
The explosion of smart connected devices with increasing data and video content has created a mobile data tsunami, requiring OEMs and carriers to dramatically boost network performance while controlling capital expenditure costs, increasing power efficiency and supporting the emergence of 4G technologies.
The QorIQ Qonverge portfolio of base station-on-chip products is based on a common architecture and integrates communications processing, digital signal processing and wireless acceleration technologies into a single system-on-chip in various configurations optimized for next-generation femtocell, picocell, metrocell and macrocell base stations. Advanced process technology and exceptional integration allow the convergence of multiple functions traditionally performed on separate FPGAs, ASICs, DSPs and processors to be incorporated on a single device. This integration lowers part counts and delivers significant power, cost and footprint reductions for base stations. The common architecture spanning from femto cells to macro cells optimizes R&D investments and software reuse.
“The current explosion in mobile data traffic worldwide provides unique challenges and opportunities for wireless infrastructure equipment providers as they race to increase capacity and capability,” said Lisa Su, senior vice president and general manager of Freescale’s Networking and Multimedia Group. “Freescale’s highly integrated QorIQ Qonverge portfolio enables base station manufacturers to provide a dramatic, step-function improvement in performance, power and cost in a single, flexible architecture.”
QorIQ Qonverge technology can deliver 4x cost reduction and 3x power reduction for LTE + WCDMA macro base stations, and 4x cost and power reductions for LTE + WCDMA pico base stationswhen compared to wireless infrastructure equipment powered by discrete silicon products.
“By integrating multiple industry-leading technologies into one scalable product line, Freescale’s QorIQ Qonverge portfolio delivers significant innovation that advances the state of wireless networking at this pivotal time for the industry,” said Will Strauss, president and principal analyst of Forward Concepts. “The QorIQ Qonverge portfolio presents a unique solution and strengthens Freescale’s position as a processing technology leader in the wireless infrastructure space.”
Freescale leveraged its broad R&D scale, deep application knowledge of the wireless space and extensive IP portfolio to develop the new product family. QorIQ Qonverge processors combine multiple Power Architecture® cores and high-performance StarCore DSPs with a MAPLE multimode baseband accelerator, packet processing acceleration engines, interconnect fabric and next-node process technology. The portfolio’s products support multiple standards, including GSM, LTE – FDD & TDD, LTE-Advanced, HSPA+, TD-SCDMA and WiMAX. In addition, the family’s flexible architecture allows support for evolving standards with software upgrades.
“Freescale’s innovative QorIQ Qonverge platform provides the integration, performance, energy efficiency and unmatched scalability that our new lightRadio™ product portfolio requires,” said Wim Sweldens, president of Alcatel-Lucent’s Wireless Division. “Game-changing products like lightRadio disaggregate the base station between the network and the wideband active antenna, produce dramatic cost savings and need components that provide giant leaps forward such as Freescale’s new QorIQ Qonverge technology.”
“Freescale’s QorIQ Qonverge product line gives us the flexibility to cost-effectively address the widest possible small cell market by providing a common architecture and multimode capabilities, along with the programmability for us to incorporate our own advancements,” said Michael Clark, Airvana’s general manager for femtocell business. “We look forward to working with Freescale to help accelerate the deployment of small cells in next-generation wireless networks.”
According to analyst firm Infonetics, radio access network base station spending is projected to be $197 billion worldwide over the next four years.
Customers can develop best-of-breed solutions with ease by combining their own differentiated IP with off-the-shelf components from Freescale and ecosystem partners. Freescale has assembled a rich ecosystem of technology leaders focused on wireless applications. Products and services from these partners can be combined with third party tools, as well as Freescale’s CodeWarrior technologies and VortiQa application software. This ecosystem can provide ODMs and OEMs Layer 1 – 4 software, transport and security stacks, RF technologies, test and measurement capabilities and ODM solutions.
A development platform based on the P2020-MSC8156 AMC bundled with partner software and RF solutions is available immediately for rapid software development. In addition, Freescale offers a wide portfolio of GaAs MMICs and LDMOS RF solutions for consumer and enterprise pico and femto cells.
QorIQ Qonverge products
The QorIQ Qonverge portfolio includes four distinct products optimized for small cell (femto and pico) and large cell (metro and macro) applications. It also supports remote radio head and emerging cloud-based radio access network (C-RAN) configurations.
The first products in Freescale’s QorIQ Qonverge multicore portfolio are built in 45-nm process technology and planned for availability in the second half of 2011. The products are the PSC9130/PSC9131 femto SoCs and PSC9132 picocell/enterprise femto SoC devices. Freescale plans to introduce portfolio members targeting larger cell (metro and macro) base stations built in 28-nm process technology later this year.
PSC9130/31 Femto SoC
8-16 users (WCDMA, LTE, CDMA2K) and simultaneous multimode
1x e500 and 1x SC3850
PSC9132 Pico/Enterprise Femto SoC
32-64 users (WCDMA, LTE) and simultaneous multimode
2x e500 and 2x SC3850
About Freescale Semiconductor
Freescale Semiconductor is a global leader in the design and manufacture of embedded semiconductors for the automotive, consumer, industrial and networking markets. The privately held company is based in Austin, Texas, and has design, research and development, manufacturing and sales operations around the world. www.freescale.com.
Supporting Partner Quotes Follow
Enea “Enea currently provides a breadth of leading software solutions to support Freescale’s extensive portfolio of networking IP,” said Marcus Hjortsberg, vice president of Marketing for Enea. “We look forward to playing a role in unleashing the innovative capabilities of Freescale’s new QorIQ Qonverge hybrid multicore portfolio.”
Green Hills “With a long history of optimized support for Freescale’s multicore and multiprocessor platforms, we are excited to see Freescale’s next-generation wireless base station solution,” said Dan Mender, vice president of Business Development, Green Hills Software. “QorIQ customers use our multicore development tools and scalable real-time operating systems, MULTI and INTEGRITY, to conquer today’s multicore challenges and we look forward to supporting them as they adopt the QorIQ Qonverge portfolio.”
Mentor Graphics “The integration of StarCore DSP technology with Power Architecture cores in the new Freescale QorIQ Qonverge portfolio is a major advancement for the wireless industry. We see great potential for this class of heterogeneous multi-core designs,” said Glenn Perry, general manager of the Mentor Graphics Embedded Software Division. “The Mentor Embedded Linux platform for Freescale devices combined with CodeSourcery software development tools will enable our mutual customers to develop advanced, innovative and scalable systems with increased performance and power efficiency.”
Aricent “We are thrilled to be partnering with Freescale to accelerate development of new best-in-class solutions in the wireless infrastructure market,” said C.P. Murali, executive vice president and general manager at Aricent. “Our comprehensive suite of software frameworks and product engineering services enable customers to rapidly introduce innovative solutions based on Qonverge technology.”
Continuous Computing “We are proud to be a member of Freescale’s technology partner program and for Freescale to be a member of the Continuous Computing Network,” said Todd Mersch, director of Product Line Management at Continuous Computing. “Together we offer customers a complete range of femto to macro base station solutions consisting of Trillium wireless software and the latest advances in the QorIQ Qonverge portfolio of processors.”
Critical Blue ”Freescale’s QorIQ Qonverge platform is architecturally very innovative. Meeting next-generation network speed requirements will require software developers to make knowledgeable choices in application partitioning and task allocation to the different types of cores on these platforms,” said David Stewart, chief executive officer of CriticalBlue. “The development program we have ongoing with Freescale will ensure that our Prism tool has all the capabilities needed to support a smart methodology for software developers, enabling them to get the maximum benefit from targeting the QorIQ Qonverge platform.”
L&T Infotech “L&T Infotech is excited to collaborate and build world-class wireless solutions based on Freescale’s QorIQ Qonverge portfolio,” said Sudip Banerjee, chief executive officer for L&T Infotech. “Our end-to-end telecom proficiency spans the entire wireless domain, with proven expertise on LTE/WiMAX, multicore technologies, network security and optical transport networks, ultimately enabling accelerated time-to-market for our client’s products.”
Signalion “We are pleased to support Freescale’s QorIQ Qonverge portfolio with our world-class wireless test technologies to ensure high-performance equipment, service and end-user experiences,” said Tim Hentschel, managing director for Signalion GmbH. “Freescale is charting new territory with the QorIQ Qonverge hybrid portfolio that promises to transform the future of wireless infrastructure equipment.”
Tata-Elxsi “The introduction of theQorIQ Qonverge portfolio means OEMs now have a single-architecture, compatible family of products to address all their base station design needs,” said Shyam Ananthnarayan, head of the Communications Business Unit at Tata Elxsi. “As a key member of Freescale’s rich ecosystem, Tata Elxsi will offer market-leading LTE eNodeB software stacks optimized to ease customers’ development of best-of-breed solutions based on Qonverge technology.”
Wireless support and network functions converge in QorIQ Qonverge processors [By Tom Thompson, June 16, 2011]
Wireless communication seems ubiquitous these days–until you wander into a dead zone and lose the network connection to your laptop, tablet, or mobile phone. Telco carriers are working hard to eliminate such areas by installing more macrocell towers. Sometimes installing one of those big bruisers in an area isn’t possible, so the carriers fill in the coverage gaps by scaling down. Scaling down in this case means building smaller wireless installations, such as microcell (also known as metrocell), picocell, and femtocell base stations.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that deploying such a diverse array of gear can be a nightmare, both in terms of hardware design, embedded software development, and support. Every base station has various wireless formats to manage, and the smaller base stations must also implement certain wired backhaul technologies such as Ethernet and ET/T1 so that they can connect to the carrier’s infrastructure. One way to alleviate this headache of multiple base station designs is to reduce the different types of hardware used. For this scheme to work, however, the signal processing capabilities of a DSP and the networking functions of an application processor must converge into one unified part.
Freescale happens to be well-positioned to provide such a converged solution. First, the company makes its StarCore DSPs, which are 32-bit multicore processors engineered for high data processing throughput and support for a variety of wireless protocols. Second, the company makes high-performance network processors, notably those that comprise its QorIQ Processing Platform. These are 32-bit processors based on a low-power, high-performance Power Architecture core that manages several high-speed communications interfaces. Variants of both the StarCore and Power Architecture families feature fewer cores or lack hardware accelerators, which enable them to hit a specific price point or power consumption target.
Freescale’s convergence strategy is simple in concept, yet presented an engineering challenge. First, you take the core subsystems of these two processors and place them on a single chip. Next, surround the cores with a bevy of enhanced communications interfaces. Finally, knit all of these elements together with a high-speed switching fabric. The result is the QorIQ Qonverge processor, a system that is essentially a base station on a chip. Let’s delve deeper into the microarchitecture of the QorIQ Qonverge and see how it offers a comprehensive solution.
A Tale of Two Processors
Figure: Block diagram of the QorIQ Qonverge PSC9131E processor.
The StarCore subsystem consists of an SC3850 DSP core that has six execution units (four data ALUs, and two address units) that operate in parallel to retire six instructions simultaneously per clock. The ALUs support integer and fractional arithmetic, including multiply-accumulate (MAC) and other sophisticated instructions. The core is therefore capable of reading, processing, and writing a continuous stream of data. The subsystem has its own internal L1/L2 caches, an MMU, an interrupt controller, and timers.
The Power Architecture subsystem consists of an e500 core, which is a superscalar processor with multiple execution units that can issue and retire two instructions per clock cycle. It has its own internal L1/L2 caches, an interrupt controller, and timers.
Each core has separate 32 KB instruction and data caches to reduce latency and boost throughput. The Harvard architecture implementation of these caches requires more transistors, but it helps to ensure that the cores receive a continuous stream of data and instructions. The unified L2 caches can be configured so that a portion of them acts as a low-latency L2 memory for time-critical data or variable storage.
Both subsystems would grind to a halt if they could not access memory or peripheral devices rapidly. To minimize this bottleneck, a high-performance communications interface, known as the Chip-Level Arbitration and Switching System (CLASS) fabric was used. This high-bandwidth, low-latency switching fabric is a fully-pipelined, device interconnect that provides direct access to the resources of the subsystems and on-chip peripherals.
The DMA engine, which can be programmed by either core, uses the CLASS fabric to manage data transfers. It has four bidirectional channels. Off-chip memory is accessed through a DDR memory controller. The controller supports DDR3/DDR3L devices, and can manage a 32-bit interface at a maximum 800 MHz data rate.
Hardware Gives a Hand
As you can see, the QorIQ Qonverge processor is one busy piece of silicon. Among its many duties is to process various wireless formats and encrypt communications sessions. These wireless and encryption algorithms are complex and require substantial processing power. While they can be done in software, the QorIQ Qonverge processor has dedicated execution units that can off-load the computational demands of these algorithms from the core subsystems.
The Multi Accelerator Platform Engine for Femto BaseStation Baseband Processing (MAPLE-B2F) unit provides hardware acceleration for baseband algorithms such as channel decoding/encoding, UTMS chip rate processing, and LTE uplink/downlink processing. It also accelerates the computation of Fourier transforms, matrix inversions, CRC algorithms, convolution and filtering operations, Turbo encoding/decoding, and Viterbi decoding. It is a second-generation design that builds upon an established predecessor used in certain StarCore DSPs.
For encryption duties there is the security engine, a cryptographic and assurance acceleration unit. It uses a job queue interface that can schedule multiple cryptographic tasks in parallel, and its multiple accelerators can be shared among different applications. In concert with the DMA engine, this module can use scatter/gather operations to collect data that is distributed throughout memory. The module has hardware accelerators for public key, message digest, ARC four, SNOW 3G f8 and f9, and Katsumi cryptographic operations. It also has accelerators that manage DES, AES, and CRC operations, and it supports a variety of cryptographic authentication schemes.
Note that acceleration capabilities are not limited exclusively to these particular modules. Other modules can accelerate a subset of their functions. For example, the Ethernet controller can off-load and accelerate certain TCP/IP stack operations such as IP header recognition and checksum, plus TCP/UDP checksum and verification.
The PSC9131E has several controllers that manage complex I/O operations concurrently. The Antenna Interface Controller (AIC), as its name implies, handles transactions between the processor and an external Radio Frequency (RF) subsystem. It supports CDMA, WCDMA-DD, LTE-FDD, LTE-TDD, and GSM (receive only) network modes. Data received from the transceiver is reformatted and stored by the AIC into system memory or in the MAPLE-B2F unit. Data to be transmitted is transferred by DMA to the AIC where it frames the data for the proper network format and sends it to the transceiver. The AIC can handle up to a maximum of four data lanes, depending upon the wireless format in use.
The Ethernet controller features two enhanced Gigabit Ethernet interfaces that can operate at speeds of 10 Mbps, 100 Mbps and 1 Gbps. These interfaces are IEEE 802.3, 802.3u, 820.3x, 802.3z, 802.3ac, and 802.3ab compliant. As mentioned previously, the controller can accelerate the identification and retrieval of standard and non-standard protocols present on the Ethernet connection.
The USB controller is USB revision 2.0 compliant and can function as both a host and a device controller. As a host, it supports low-, full-, and high-speed transfer rates. It contains its own DMA engine that reduces the interrupt load on the processor and minimizes the bus bandwidth necessary to service any USB transactions.
In summary, these several controllers provide sophisticated wireless, Ethernet, and USB services, yet without adding a considerable burden to the processor’s operation, especially when it is conducting network/wireless routing.
The PSC9131E provides a number of ports that enable you to connect a large cast of supporting peripherals to the processor. These are:
- Enhanced SPI
- Two DUARTs
- Integrated Flash memory Controller (IFC)
- Two I2C controllers
- General-Purpose I/O (GPIO) interface with 32 bidirectional ports
- Universal Subscriber Identity Module (USIM) interface for communicating with a SIM card
- PWM optimized to generate sound
- Enhanced Secured Digital Host Controller (eSDHC) for interfacing to SD/SDIO/MMC cards
As a unit, QorIQ Qonverge processors represent a fusion of many existing, field-proven Freescale technologies. However, the resulting processor is far greater than the sum of its parts. Since the QorIQ Qonverge processor implements the level-1, -2, and -3 processing layers required for network/wireless communications on-chip, it only lacks some external hardware, such as a power supply, flash memory, DRAM, Ethernet line-driver and a RF transceiver to implement a stand-alone femtocell or picocell base station. It is designed to replace both the DSP and the applications processors at the heart of many such base station designs, as shown in Figure 2. By doing so, the QorIQ Qonverge part can reduce complexity, processing latencies, and the bill of materials for a base station design.
Figure 2. The QorIQ Qonverge-based picocell design (bottom) uses fewer parts than a design based on separate DSP and application processors (top).
A Processor for Many Uses
The QorIQ Qonverge processor isn’t limited to short-range base stations, however. It can also scale up: Multicore variants can support microcell and macrocell base station designs. This allows you to assemble a range of base station designs around one part.
Besides simplifying the base station design, the QorIQ Qonverge processor also allows you to reuse existing software. For example, existing StarCore MSC8156 DSP code and P2020 application code can be migrated to the QorIQ Qonverge processor, since the cores are nearly identical. The same CodeWarrior tool suite for StarCore DSPs and CodeWarrior tools for Power Architecture can be used to write and debug the software. Furthermore, the code written for–say, a picocell base station–can be reused in microcell and macrocell base station designs. Revising the code for a multicore processor can be tricky, but you can start the process with the knowledge that the application code was stress-tested on smaller base stations. Also, Freescale’s partner, CriticalBlue, has a multicore simulation tool to assist you in this process for Power Architecture-based software. All of this adds up to be a comprehensive solution for embedded base station designs.
Turn the lightRadio on [March 8, 2011]
Development hopes to double network capacity while halving power consumption. By Roy Rubenstein.
Mobile operators face significant challenges, given the rapid growth in mobile broadband traffic. They are starting to roll out the latest mobile technology, Long Term Evolution (LTE), as yet another overlay alongside the existing wideband CDMA and GSM networks. Mobile sites are thus being crammed with antennas and basestation equipment.
“The cellular network is 30 years old,” said Tom Gruba, marketing director for wireless activities at Alcatel-Lucent. “You cannot just keep adding more basestations in the network to solve the [data] capacity problem; the business model doesn’t work.” Alcatel-Lucent’s solution is lightRadio, which moves the processing power to the antenna or into the network, like cloud computing. The system vendor points out that architecture change is being industry led; what Alcatel-Lucent is claiming is that the lightRadio portfolio of products is the first to support the new architecture.
Announced in the run up to Mobile World Congress 2011, lightRadio promises to double network capacity, while halving power consumption. The lightRadio products include a wideband active array antenna that integrates the amplifier and antenna elements, a radio SoC developed with Freescale, and a multimode radio controller platform being developed with HP. Integrating the amplifier alongside the antenna achieves better coupling of the signal to the antenna. Less power is wasted, such that a smaller amplifier can be used.
The wideband active array antenna is implemented as a 6cm cube, pictured left. The wideband operation covers 400 to 4000MHz, allowing one cube to support 700MHz and 2600MHz bands. “These can be stacked, depending on how much power is needed, and you can have two or three columns to serve two or three frequencies and any technologies you want,” said Gruba.
Being an active design, the antenna boosts cell capacity through beam forming and multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) technology. Combining the amplifier-antenna with the radio chip forms a compact basestation that can be mounted on masts or within buildings. Such a combined baseband/remote radio head takes little space and avoids the need for air conditioned cooling associated with traditional basestations.
LightRadio will also enable a cloud computing style radio network architecture, where the basestation is separated from the antenna-amplifier. Traditionally, the radio amplifier was connected to the baseband via a backplane. The advent of the remote radio head led to the creation of the common public radio interface (CPRI) to connect the amplifier at the antenna with the baseband unit. With a cloud based radio network, basestations from 25 or 30 cell sites could be placed in a facility up to 40km away, with the CPRI signal carried over an optical link.
Alcatel-Lucent estimates the maximum lightRadio bit stream needed to be carried over the CPRI link is 10Gbit/s. Compression technology will reduce this by a factor of three, so operators can avoid installing a dedicated 10Gbit optical link. At the core of the baseband processing is the SoC developed with Freescale.
“Dimensioning the various aspects of the SoC is critical,” said Preet Virk, Freescale’s director, networking segment. The SoC design uses Freescale’s recently announced QorIQ Qonverge technology that supports designs spanning femtocells to macro basestations. Two devices have been announced – for femtocells and picocells – that are implemented using a 45nm cmos process. Alcatel-Lucent’s radio ic will be implemented in 28nm cmos and will be available from 2012.
Freescale is not willing to detail the basestation SoC yet, but the scalable design uses cores and IP blocks that are shipping in Freescale products, such as the e500 Power Architecture core and the StarCore SC3850 dsp as well as baseband acceleration blocks.
“Scalability comes in many forms,” said Barry Stern, Freescale’s baseband DSP & SoC products, marketing manager, wireless access division, networking and multimedia group. “From a few users to hundreds of users; from 1.25 to 20MHz bandwidths and beyond; simultaneous multimode support; and enabling OEMs to use the same software across different basestation designs, saving on development costs.”
Freescale’s femtocell SoC supports 8 to 16 users and uses an e500 core and a dsp core. The picocell SoC supports 32 to 64 users and uses two e500s and two dsp cores. Freescale’s metro and macro cell SoCs will support hundreds of users, requiring multiple dsp and cpu cores. Other features will include several DDR3 memory controllers; baseband acceleration for turbo coding, fast Fourier transforms and MIMO; and interfaces for Ethernet, PCI Express and CPRI, according to Virk.
“The SoC in the cloud is going to give us the ability to do all sorts of new things,” said Tod Sizer, head of Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs’ wireless research domain.
Having baseband processors concentrated at one location enables intercell communication. One application is Coordinated Multipoint (CoMP), what Alcatel-Lucent calls networked MIMO, which will be a feature of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project’s (3GPP) Release 10 cellular standard.
Currently, only one cell serves a user, even if the user is commonly near the cell edge and is sensed by adjacent cells. With CoMP, MIMO technology can be used such that different streams are transmitted between the basestations and the user, boosting throughput. And it is this technique, says Alcatel-Lucent, which will double overall capacity.
The cloud like architecture will also enable new uses that benefit energy consumption. “One we are going to see in the coming years is coordination on the basis of energy usage,” said Sizer, citing how, for example, all users could be moved to the 3G network, with the LTE basestations turned off to save power, based on time of day and subscriber requirements. “You have that capability of moving users if you have control of both technologies from a single cloud,” said Sizer.
Power consumption has become a key issue for operators, with the likes of France Telecom looking to reduce the energy consumption in its network by 15% by 2020. In turn, US operator Verizon stipulates that each new piece of equipment must be at least 20% more energy efficient than its predecessor if it is to be deployed. Alcatel-Lucent is developing a virtualised radio controller architecture as part of the portfolio, working with HP to consolidate three generations of radio controllers into one platform. In GSM, the basestation controller (BSC) connects to multiple cell sites, while a radio network controller (RNC) is used in 3G.
“If I make the BSC or RNC a software routine, the software becomes independent of the platform and I can put both functions in one box,” said Gruba. Alcatel Lucent is basing the design on an ATCA version 2 based general purpose processor design, while HP is providing server and virtualisation expertise to the controller design. Alcatel-Lucent expects to be trialling the wideband active array antenna in the autumn before it becomes commercially available in 2012.
The remaining lightRadio elements will appear from 2012 onwards. Ken Rehbehn, principal analyst at the Yankee Group, says lightRadio is arguably the most important wireless equipment development made by Alcatel-Lucent since its 2006 merger. However, he points out that other vendors are pursuing comparable strategies that might challenge much of the lightRadio vision.
Even when they’re disguised like fake trees or church steeples, cell towers are ugly. Most have a hut at the bottom, stuffed with baseband processing gear that does the hard work of creating and decoding, say, an LTE signal. These huts often contain signal amplifiers, big units that push power up the tower to the actual antennas—and half the signal is lost just moving through the tower’s wiring. At the top, rectangular antennas bristle from the tower. One set might be for 2G support, one for 3G, and another for 4G.
Alcatel-Lucent, one of the world’s biggest wireless gear makers, turned to its Bell Labs research division to rethink this aging architecture. First step: apply the “data center” model of centralization to baseband processing and consolidate all that rack-mounted hardware into a few locations per city, each connected to the towers it serves by fiber optic cable.
Right now, a cell tower fault might require a truck roll and a drive through traffic. When the tech gets to the tower site, it might turn out to be at the top of a hotel, and permission to access it must be obtained from the site manager. Put all the processing gear in a single remote location, however, and repairs to it get cheaper and faster.
Clustering the baseband units also makes it easier to do load balancing across a region. When commuters are driving into work, for instance, the baseband cluster can turn its combined energy to handling the signal load coming from towers along the highways and train lines. During the day, processing could handle heavy downtown traffic, while it shifts focus to the suburbs in the evening. Such load-balancing doesn’t produce any additional spectrum or data throughput, but it does mean that a carrier can operate fewer baseband processors, saving the carrier cash.
The third advantage to centralizing the baseband processors is that the interconnection fabric between them can operate at high speeds, fast enough to support a standard called CoMP, or Co-ordinated Multipoint. CoMP, which is currently moving through standardization, relies on the fact that, in many locations, a user’s wireless gadget is in range of multiple towers (the closer one comes to the edge of each cell, the more towers can typically see the device).
This is usually a waste, since multiple towers spend bandwidth contacting the gadget but can’t independently deliver different data. CoMP turns it into a bonus by dividing up requested download data and using all cells in the area to deliver a different slice of it at once—akin to the way BitTorrent operates. The phone then combines the data from all the towers in the proper order. This additive approach to using different towers means that a user’s total throughput can go up substantially, but it requires centralized baseband to function.
Finally, the new lightRadio baseband bear can do software-defined protocols. Upgrading to LTE? Just upgrade the software on the baseband processor. (Traditional rack-mounted baseband processors required dedicated units for each protocol.) A new baseband chip from Freescale makes it possible, but it gets even cooler when used in conjunction with the new wideband antennas.
LightRadio uses a new antenna that, in Alcatel-Lucent’s words, collapses three radios into one. The radios are tiny cubes of 2.5 inches square, and each can operate between 1.8GHz and 2.6GHz. They use tiny amps that can be located atop the tower, built into the antenna enclosure, which keeps the amp size down and dramatically cuts down on the power loss.
These radio cubes are stacked in groups of 8 to 10 in order to make an antenna element, and when one cube in the array goes down, the others remain unaffected. (In a traditional system, the whole antenna unit would fail.) The amps cover enough different frequencies that, in many cases, simply changing the software configuration on the baseband unit can control whether each antenna offers a 2G, 3G, or 4G signal.
The antennas also do “beam forming”—fine-grained directional control over the radio signal—in both the horizontal and vertical dimension to better connect with local wireless devices. Alcatel-Lucent claims capacity improvements of 30 percent through the use of vertical beam-forming alone.
The end result of the system: lightRadio cell towers don’t need huts, they don’t need air conditioners and heaters, big amps, fans, or even local processing gear. Baseband processing moves closer to the data center model and gets cool new capabilities like CoMP and load-balancing. The system’s cost savings come from power (Alcatel-Lucent claims a 50 percent reduction), along with lower construction and site rental fees. The total macro capacity of the system should double while cutting operator costs dramatically.
Though it will take months for any carrier to roll out this or similar gear, advances like lightRadio are crucial as wireless usage continues to soar and smartphones break out of the enterprise and the technorati and into the mainstream. And by making cell infrastructure smaller, cheaper, and less power-hungry, this sort of gear brings wireless networking into reach of more people, especially in rural areas and developing countries.
Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) today announced that its lightRadio portfolio was recognized as the outstanding new achievement in broadband Internet communications by the leading industry magazine NGN, as part of its NGN Leadership Awards contest. The awards program recognizes outstanding products, services and technologies relating to next generation networks.
“This award underlines the sweeping impact our lightRadio portfolio is having on the wireless communications industry,” said Wim Sweldens, President of Alcatel-Lucent’s Wireless activities. “lightRadio isn’t just redefining the shape of the wireless base station, it also offers a compelling vision for what wireless networks will look like in the future.”
“This award for Alcatel-Lucent’s LightRadio is a great testament to their innovation. They have brought to market a solution designed to solve the most critical issues facing the wireless industry, starting with the quasi impossibility to add new sites to increase capacity and improve coverage,” said Stéphane Téral, Principal Analyst, Mobile and FMC Infrastructure, Infonetics.
lightRadio™ is a new product offering from Alcatel-Lucent that will dramatically reduce operating costs, technical complexity and power consumption in mobile broadband networks. Designed to meet the long-term needs of mobile operators seeking to ensure their networks can handle increasing traffic loads, lightRadio radically shrinks and simplifies today’s base stations.
The lightRadio portfolio is designed to increase network capacity while simultaneously reducing the cost of delivery, on a per bit basis. The overarching goal is to give operators more options and a flexible path forward for the next decade. By increasing the capacity at a reduced cost the operators can pursue a whole new market segment, the mass market. In addition, being able to use the lightRadio cube technology in various forms means Small Cells can leverage the technology and rural villages can get wireless coverage at lower costs helping to cross the digital divide.
lightRadio promises greener, simpler, lighter networks, and the benefits are substantial, including:
- 50% reduction in total cost-per-bit as compared to 3G when adding a comparable amount of capacity
- 50% reduction in energy consumption when compared to conventional ground based solutions
- Small and easily deployable – can be deployed anywhere there is a power source and broadband connection and deals with less zoning restrictions
- Nearly invisible – the WB-AAA is two products in one. It’s adding another radio in the same size form factor with no additional lease cost or further pollution of the urban skyline.
The Alcatel-Lucent “lightRadio” product family is composed of the Wideband Active Array Antenna, the Multiband Remote Radio Head, the “lightRadio” Baseband Processing, the “lightRadio” Control, and the 5620 SAM common management. The Wideband Active Array Antenna will be trialed later this year and have broad product availability in 2012. For more information on the lightRadio portfolio please click here.
Bell Labs lightRadio™ Breakthroughs [Feb 7, 2011]
The world of mobile communications moves fast. With new mobile devices, new applications and ever-growing and changing consumer demands the wireless networks in use today have to evolve. Rather than take an incremental approach to meet these challenges, Bell Labs took a leap and developed a radically new approach to wireless technology. In order to do this, Tod Sizer, head of Bell Labs Wireless Research, challenged his team to think not just “outside the box,” but to think “inside the cube.” In six short months, the team developed a cube-shaped antenna that would fit in the palm of a hand– and was ready to test it with customers.Tod Sizer, Head of Wireless Research for Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs, talks about developing the lightRadio antenna module. lightRadio represents a new architecture where the base station, typically located at the base of each cell site tower, is broken into its components elements and then distributed into both the antenna and throughout a cloud-like network. Additionally today’s clutter of antennas serving 2G, 3G, and LTE systems are combined and shrunk into a single powerful, Bell Labs-pioneered multi frequency, multi standard Wideband Active Array Antenna that can be mounted on poles, sides of buildings or anywhere else there is power and a broadband connection.
“There are many different types and sizes of base stations, from very small to very large, depending on where they are located, such as in an urban or rural area,” explained Sizer. “I realized that we needed to design a new and flexible type of antenna array for different environments– including one designed to the smallest possible size – ‘invisible antennas’ – in order to be flexible enough to meet the growing needs of all of our wireless service provider customers.”
A radio antenna element is a component of an antenna system that transmits signals from the wireless base station to a wireless end-user using a mobile phone, smart device or laptop. By reducing the size of the element itself, an antenna array can be scaled to fit any wireless need simply by adding more of these elements to the array.
Bell Labs wireless researchers weren’t daunted by the challenge of building something that was roughly ten percent of its current size. Several wireless research teams in Stuttgart and Ireland focused on different aspects of the problem, combining their unique areas of expertise to quickly resolve a myriad of technical challenges to reduce the antenna element’s size, improve energy efficiency and lower manufacturing expenses. The clever architecture of this new antenna is but one of the innovations critical to realizing Alcatel-Lucent’s unique lightRadio portfolio.
“We believe this unique antenna – as part of the lightRadio solution – will have a significant impact in the wireless space,” concluded Sizer.
Wim Sweldens, President, Alcatel-Lucent wireless activities, talks about lightRadio™, a new system that signals the end of the mobile industry’s reliance on masts and base stations around the world. lightRadio represents a new architecture where the base station, typically located at the base of each cell site tower, is broken into its components elements and then distributed into both the antenna and throughout a cloud-like network. Additionally today’s clutter of antennas serving 2G, 3G, and LTE systems are combined and shrunk into a single powerful, Bell Labs-pioneered multi frequency, multi standard Wideband Active Array Antenna that can be mounted on poles, sides of buildings or anywhere else there is power and a broadband connection. More info: http://www.alcatel-lucent.com/lightradio
Alcatel-Lucent. Cube light Radio [Feb 18, 2011]
Highlights of lightRadio press conference [London, Feb. 7th, 2011]
Presentation of the lightRadio system which will dramatically reduce technical complexity and contain power consumption and other operating costs in the face of sharp traffic growth. This is accomplished by taking today’s base stations and massive cell site towers, typically the most expensive, power hungry, and difficult to maintain elements in the network, and radically shrinking and simplifying them. Conference guests: Stephen Carter, Wim Sweldens, Tod Sizer and Javier Garcia Gomez (Alcatel-Lucent), Lisa Su (Freescale) and Joe Weinman (HP).
Recommeded prelimary reading:
– Mobile Internet (Aug’11) [Aug 26, 2011] with a lot of additions to the original July 19, 2010 content on the following subjects:
– LTE and LTE Advanced — HSPA Evolved (parallel to LTE and LTE Advanced) — Heterogeneous networks or HetNets — Femtocells and Picocells — Qualcomm innovations in all that — Ericsson’s LTE Advanced demo — Current roadmaps on evolutions of current 3G+ broadband mobile networks
Updates: – China Mobile reportedly to obtain 4G license in December 2012 [Feb 10, 2012]
The China government reportedly will issue 4G licenses earlier than originally expected in December 2012 and China Mobile may be the first to obtain a license and adopt TD-LTE (Time Division-Long Term Evolution) as a 4G standard with commercial operation to begin in 2014, according to China-based media.
While China Mobile has been actively promoting TD-LTE, the China government is not expected to issue a TD-LTE operating license to China Mobile for the time being, according to industry sources.
China Mobile finished initial TD-LTE trials in seven selected cities in China around the end of 2011 and has proposed a second-round of trials, but the China government has not yet approved the plans, signaling the government’s attitude to slow down promotion of TD-LTE in China, the sources indicated.
This is because 3G mobile communication services are taking off in the China market and therefore the government does not want to issue a TD-LTE operating license out of consideration for China Telecom and China Unicom, the sources said.
End of updates
Mr. Shi Lirong, 46, is an Executive Director and the President of ZTE Corporation since April, 2010. He served as an Executive Vice President of ZTE Corporation from 1999 to March 2010 responsible for managing the Company’s sales and business development operations. Mr. Shi held the post of Vice President at Zhongxingxin Telecommunications Equipment Company, Limited (the “Zhongxingxin”), during 1993 – 1997. Zhongxingxin is controlling shareholder of ZTE. In Feb 2001, he was appointed as Executive Director of ZTE Corporation. Combined with more than 19 years of management skills, Mr. Shi has an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the telecommunications industry. Mr. Shi holds 200,283 A shares of ZTE. Mr. Shi holds a Master’s degree in Telecommunication and Electronic System Engineering from Tsinghua University, and a Master’s degree in Engineering, specializing in Telecommunications and Electronic Engineering from Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU). FROM: http://wwwen.zte.com.cn/en/press_center/news/201004/t20100408_181868.html
Hi3G and ZTE Jointly Announce the Availability of World’s First LTE FDD/TDD Dual-mode Commercial Network [ZTE press release, Dec 15, 2011]
ZTE Corporation (“ZTE”) (H share stock code: 0763.HK / A share stock code: 000063.SZ), a publicly-listed global provider of telecommunications equipment and network solutions, in collaboration with Swedish carrier Hi3G, has announced that the world’s first commercial LTE FDD/TDD dual-mode network has gone live in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo.
Hi3G is committed to upgrading its network to enhance the subscriber experience with significantly faster radio access speeds and a much more extensive range of data services. Hi3G signed this LTE network contract with ZTE, in March 2011, to cover the whole of Sweden.
Jörgen Askeroth, CTO of Hi3G, commented: “This network fully indicates the practical use of the mature LTE multi-mode convergent solution. It allows us to extend the partnership with ZTE.”
Mr. Wang Shouchen, VP of ZTE said: “With the advent of the NMT in 1981, the people in the Nordic region were the first to benefit from genuine cellular coverage. Thirty years on, they will be the first users to benefit from the services delivered by the world’s first dual-mode 4G network. And they can roam to other LTE networks all over the world. It is not only high speed wireless services that new technology brings, for Hi3G this is also an opportunity to evolve the network.”
This commercial dual-mode network will greatly enhance the network performance of Hi3G and provide better service experience to local users. The network roll out enables Hi3G to significantly reduce its total cost of ownership by adopting a whole new generation of green energy-saving base stations. As Hi3G improves its competitiveness, more and more “affordable and easy advanced services” will be available to Hi3G subscribers.
ZTE Roadshow Germany [Sept 18, 2011]
ZTE, E-Plus and China Mobile Reveal Industry’s First TD-LTE Compact Smart Antenna [ZTE press release, Dec 19, 2011]
ZTE Corporation (“ZTE”) (H share stock code: 0763.HK / A share stock code: 000063.SZ), a publicly-listed global provider of telecommunications equipment and network solutions, German carrier E-Plus and China Mobile, all members of the Next Generation Mobile Network Alliance (NGMN), have publicly demonstrated the industry’s first TD-LTE Compact Smart Antenna which is approximately half the size of traditional TD-LTE solutionson the market.
Mr. Wang Shouchen, VP of ZTE says: “At present, spectral resources are very scarce all over the world. More and more European operators are showing interest in TD-LTE. However, the size of traditional TDD smart antennas can make installation a real challenge and push CAPEX up significantly. The TD-LTE Compact Smart Antenna is half the size of traditional TD-LTE antenna and reduces the cost and time taken for installation.”
The TD-LTE Compact Smart Antenna was showcased at NGMN’s Multi-Antenna Technology Conference in Dusseldorf, Germany. The demo showed a peak rate of 8Mbps at the cell edge with beam forming technology on 10MHz bandwidth.
The TD-LTE Compact Smart Antenna showcase follows successful field trials between ZTE, E-Plus and China Mobile, in 2011, that consisted of several streams investigating the capabilities of ZTE’s commercial SDR equipment and best use of the spectrum holdings of E-Plus in 1.8 GHz, 2.1 GHz and 2.6 GHz, both TD-LTE and LTE FDD.
Zhu Xiao Dong, CTO of European Marketing at ZTE discusses his thoughts at 2011’s LTE World Summit in Amsterdam (May 17 – 18).
ZTE Wins Informa LTE Award for Best Enabling Technology [ZTE press release, Nov 21, 2011]
ZTE Corporation (“ZTE”) (H share stock code: 0763.HK / A share stock code: 000063.SZ), a publicly-listed global provider of telecommunications equipment and network solutions, today announced its ZXSDR BS8920 micro base station won the 2011 Informa LTE Award for Best Enabling Technologyat the LTE North America conference in Dallas, Texas.
The ZXSDR BS8920 was developed based on ZTE’s Uni-RAN platform, and is the world’s first commercial LTE micro base station. The product’s hardware cost is 50 per cent less than traditional distributed base stations, and its auxiliary facility costs are 30 per cent less in comparison. It is compact and lightweight and supports all-standard LTE bands. Its low power consumption helps operators reduce total cost of ownership.
The Informa award solidifies ZTE’s leading position as a provider of commercial LTE products, all-network solutions, and enhanced small cell coverage technology that can be used in airports, shopping centers, subways and other indoor hotspots. Awards at Informa-sponsored LTE North America are considered highly competitive in the telecommunications industry. The selection committee comprises delegates of global leading operators, industry analysts and media.
In first half 2011, ZTE won more LTE commercial-use contracts than it had in all of 2010 through leveraging its leading Uni-RAN technology. Further, the company has built a considerable business presence in Europe, the United States and Japan.
To date, ZTE has secured 28 LTE commercial use contracts and has teamed up with more than 90 operators to deploy LTE test networks worldwide. In Hong Kong, ZTE built the world’s first dual-band LTE commercial network; in Sweden, it built the world’s first large-scale LTE FDD/TDD dual-mode commercial network together with Hutchison 3G.
ZTE Unveils World’s First Commercial LTE Micro Base Station [ZTE press release, July 4, 2011]
ZTE’s new LTE BS8920 Micro Base Station is a technological revolution in hotspot coverage and product footprint
ZTE Corporation (“ZTE”) (H share stock code: 0763.HK / A share stock code: 000063.SZ), a publicly-listed global provider of telecommunications equipment and network solutions, has launched the ZXSDR BS8920, the world’s smallest commercially available LTE base station. The BS8920 also has the largest capacity of any LTE micro base station at 150Mbps, with 2X10W transmit power and 2T4R modulation for a large footprint, and offers significantly lower TCO due to reduced hardware, power consumption and deployment costs.
The ZXSDR BS8920 micro base station is targeted at the rapidly growing market for urban and indoor hotspot coverage, and can reduce hardware costs by up to 50 percent of distributed base stations. The design of the BS8920 encompasses key features to reduce power consumption to as low as 100W average, with up to 30 percent lower deployment costs in terms of deployment compared to other distributed base stations.
Ms. Li Jian, General Manager of ZTE’s CDMA and LTE Product Line, said, “ZTE invests heavily in research and development for environmentally friendly, low-power solutions that are versatile for operators. We are pleased to debut the BS8920 which we are already demonstrating to customers. This development will allow both end-users and operators to experience excellent coverage and meet demand with ease.”
The BS8920 base station meets industry requirements for an Omni sector eNodeB product, with less than half of the size and weight of a standard remote radio unit (RRU). It also supports all-standard LTE frequency band spectrums, and AC/DC power supply.
The newly released base-station can be widely applied in various complex environments, such as LTE hotspots, blind spots or indoor/outdoor areas, playing an important role in LTE networks and hybrid networks.
As of April 2011, ZTE has signed 18 LTE commercial contracts with operators from around the world, and has deployed 70 trial networks jointly with its partners.
ZTE releases ‘world’s smallest’ LTE base station [TechEye, July 4, 2011]
According to Gartner analyst Sylvain Fabreit is important for ZTE to look towards competing with the likes of the “more aggressive” Huawei.
“ZTE is gradually getting more of the LTE market as legacy technologies such as GSM shrink, and could be well placed to perform well.”
“Though it is a smaller chunk of business for ZTE, LTE is clearly the next step, and companies know that they have to be in the LTE game, as for example the 3G market slows down growth.”
“All the players in the market are now positioning themselves.”
While Fabre believes that ZTE could be well equipped to capitalise as the technology slowly gains ground, with Gartner forecast estimating it will account for 3.1 percent of all mobile connection by 2015, the mobile firm will have plenty to do to stay ahead of the competition.
“All of the major companies have been making noise about smaller base station over the past year and a half, as the distinction is increasingly blurring with femtocellsas base stations get smaller.” Fabre explains.
“But we can be sure that ZTE rivals have developments in their own labs already.”
At the Mobile Asia Congress 2011 [Nov 16-17, 2011], we interviewed with Richard Ye Lihe, ZTE’s Senior Director of Wireless Product Operation, Product R&D System. Please also visit our twitter and Facebook for more information of ZTE at MACHK. http://www.twitter.com/ZTEPress http://www.facebook.com/ZTECorp
More information on this blog:
– China Mobile repositioning for TD-LTE with full content and application aggregation services, 3G [HSPA level] is to create momentum for that [June 18, 2011] which also includes information about Global TD-LTE Initiative started by China Mobile and other industry heavyweights and now already with 36 member companies
– Good TD-LTE potential for target commercialisation by China Mobile in 2012 [July 13, 2011]: most importantly the TD-LTE trials by China Mobile and details of the offerings from the participant leading infrastructure vendors: Huawei, ZTE, Ericsson (detailed desciption of their strategy + acquisition of divested Nortel assets strategic for Ericsson), Nokia Siemens Networks, and Alcatel-Lucent (with special emphasis on extremely attractive lightRadio and related QorIQ Qonverge SoCs from Freescale quite essential for that)
– China becoming the lead market for mobile Internet in 2012/13 [Dec 1, 2011] which also includes vital information about close TD-LTE cooperation between China Mobile and ClearWire in US, and which will significantly determine the future of TD-LTE not only in North America but elsewhere. Its goal is to “cultivate a robust device ecosystem that supports multi-mode, multi-band devices with minimum component complexity and cost”, and will significantly strengthen the current direction of dual-mode LTE devices. “For Long Term Evolution (LTE) to succeed, it’s ‘absolutely critical” that devices be able to support both the TDD and FDD versions of the next-generation mobile technology, according to GSM Association (GSMA) Director General Anne Bouverot.”
But keep in mind:
ZTE places strong emphasis on the Chinese and Asia/Pacific markets, but is making steady progress toward becoming a bigger international player with some recent international LTE wins.
ZTE experienced continued maintained strong financial performance in 2010. It was the only vendor in this space besides Huawei to achieve double-digit revenue growth, it had the best margins in the group and also had a strong cash-flow generation. This all provide evidence of long-term sustainability.
ZTE has several form factors planned for its eNodeB product, including distributed, compact, femtocell and picocell, as well as unified core.
As a stepping stone to gain mind share and market share in North America, ZTE opened an LTE lab in the U.S. to demonstrate, test and interoperate with CSPs in 2009. It has also been working toward becoming more visible in the Middle East and Africa.
While the company is working toward emerging from China to gain more contracts and a bigger footprint in international markets, it still lacks significant presence and mind share outside its home country. But it may have difficulty competing against stronger players in the market.
ZTE’s activity remains heavily weighted toward legacy technologies such as GSM and CDMA.
From: Magic Quadrant for LTE Network Infrastructure [Gartner, May 26, 2011]
As of May 2011, Huawei has deployed over 100 SingleRAN commercial networks, which are capable of evolving into LTE, and of those that have deployed SingleRAN networks, more than 40 operators have announced the launch or the imminent launch of distinct LTE services. Huawei won the “Significant Progress for a Commercial Launch of LTE by a Vendor” award at the LTE Summit 2011, which recognized Huawei’s endeavors and achievements in the commercial rollout of LTE.
Huawei’s SingleRAN 5-Band 3-Mode 1-Cabinet solution (BTS 3900L), which won the “Best LTE Network Elements” award, leverages a sole cabinet to support up to three technologies across five frequency bands, allowing for the coexistence and interoperability of GSM/UMTS/LTE networks to make true convergence a reality and to minimize costs for operators. This solution has been selected by leading operators worldwide, including Vodafone Germany and TeliaSonera Norway, to replace their outdated legacy base stations while simultaneously initiating their LTE network deployment.
From: Huawei Wins Two Awards at LTE World Summit 2011 [Huawei press release, May 17, 2011]
Since 2010, Huawei continues to rank No. 1 for contributions to LTE standards according to ABI Research. According to the latest Evolution to LTE Report released in September 2011 by GSA (the Global mobile Supplier Association), there are 35 commercial LTE networks launched globally and 18 of them are using Huawei’s SingleRANLTE solution.
From: Huawei Wins Two Awards for Contribution to LTE R&D and Standards [Huawei press release, Nov 17, 2011]
Huawei, a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) provider, today announced its Small Cell solution recently won the award for “Best new network infrastructure solution” at 4G World 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The win affirms Huawei’s Small Cell solution has become the market leader, and has gained high recognition by the industry in the wireless broadband area.
… Based on a deep analysis of wireless networks, Huawei launched its innovative Small Cell solution which can deploy a precise layered network based on actual traffic distribution, offering seamless coverage in hot and blind spots to improve network capacity. This enables operators to protect network investment and decrease total cost of ownership through easy site acquisition, fast deployment, green design, multi-mode convergence and smooth evolution to LTE-Advanced.
… As of Q3 2011, there are 31 Small Cell commercial networks worldwide, and 14 of them are deployed by Huawei. Huawei ranks No.1 in market share.
From: Huawei’s Small Cell Solution Wins Award for “Best New Network Infrastructure Solution” at 4G World [Huawei press release, Nov 7, 2011]
More information on this blog:
– ICT Top-100 in Mainland China and the #1 Huawei [June 4, 2011]
Important Basic Concepts needed for understanding any further information:
ZTE SDR [ZTE video, Jan 1, 2009]
Software Defined Radio (SDR)
Software Defined Radio (SDR) is a term adopted by the international Software Defined Radio Forum (SDRF) to describe radios that provides software control of a variety of modulation techniques, wide-band or narrow-band operation, communications security functions (such as hopping), and waveform requirements of current and evolving standards over a broad frequency range. This technology uses a generic hardware platform to accommodate different communications standards, frequencies and modulation schemes via software modules. A wide range of radio applications like Bluetooth, WLAN, CDMA, GMS, WCDMA and WiMAX can be implemented using SDR technology.
SDR is a cost-effective and perfect solution for 2G/3G network integration and future HSPA+ and LTE evolvement. Using SDR, hardware resources can be shared and base stations need only a software adjustment to handle a new standard, saving considerable expense.
Excerpt from: SDR Creates Possibility of Smooth Upgrade [ZTE article, March 24, 2008]
Radio Access Network (RAN)
In September 2008, ZTE a global leader in end-to-end telecommunications solutions won the InfoVision award in the New Product Innovation category during the Broadband World Forum (BBWF) Europe 2008 in Brussels, Belgium, for developing and pioneering SDR solution in the global telecom industry (see Figure 1).
SDR is an innovation that seeks to unify the Radio Access Network (RAN), allowing simultaneous multimode operation on the same base station. Conventionally each technology standard has its own radio access network, which means that operators who are changing their networks to new technology standards have to deploy different RANs for each technology platform, as shown in Figure 2.
With SDR mobile operators can use both 2G and 3G networks simultaneously or seamless evolve their networks from 2G to 3G without the need of deploying a separate RAN for each service. By means of simple software configuration, operators can choose which mode or mix of modes amongst GSM, UMTS, WIMAX, CDMA2000 and TD-SCDMA to run in a base station. Figure 3 illustrates the concept of SDR with both GSM and UMTS services unified into a single RAN.
This concept has many practical applications, for example, considering that nearly all GSM operators adopt UMTS as their 3G choice, SDR offers the best solution for this upgrade without any swapping of hardware. Its compatibility with migration to technologies beyond 3G or IMT-Advanced technologies like Long Term Evolution (LTE) again ensures smooth upgrade without any network replanning.
As a state-of-the-art technology platform, SDR brings to the operators the benefit of All IP orientation. Its interfaces support packet based transmission like Fast Ethernet (FE) and Gigabit Ethernet (GE) as well as the legacy Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) like STM-1, E1, and ATM virtual circuits to ensure forward and backward compatibility in transport.
The architecture of base station is also distributed into Base Band Unit (BBU) and Remote Radio Unit (RRU) to ensure extended coverage with enhanced throughput, small size to facilitate easier and flexible roll out of networks and greater cost efficiencies in power consumption and transmission. SDR thus provides the best opportunity ever for operators to wholly evolve their networks smoothly with full investment protection and lowest Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), and it also enables deployment of green networks especially in these days of greater environmental concerns.
Together with IP technology SDR will define the world’s truly unified future proof networks. This technology innovation brings immense opportunities to the mobile industry, and like in the 1980s when forward looking operators leapfrogged their pessimistic counterparts through quick adoption of digital systems, SDR technologies will have their advantage too, and those operators who will harvest from its R&D will obviously have an advantage over the rest in the market.
Excerpt from: SDR: Building Future Proof Unified Networks [ZTE article, March 12, 2009]
ZTE first proposed the distributed BTS [Base Transceiver Station] solution in the telecom industry. Unlike the traditional centralized BTS, the distributed BTS physically separates its baseband unit and radio frequency (RF) unit and connects them via the standard baseband/RF interface (e.g., Common Public Radio Interface/Open Base Station Architecture Initiative, or CPRI/OBSAI). As shown in Figure 1, the baseband unit and the RF unit of the traditional BTS are separated into two independent function modules in the distributed BTS: Base Band Unit (BBU) and Remote RF Unit (RRU).
The RRU of distributed BTS integrates three RF units of traditional BTS: Transceiver and Receiver (TRX), Power Amplifier (PA) and RF Front End (RFE). With a protective enclosure that meets the IP55 standard, the RRU can be directly installed in an outdoor environment and in several modes: on a pole, on a wall, on a tower or in an integrated cabinet. Therefore, no equipment room space is required.
Being highly integrated, the BBU supports the same capacity as the baseband unit of traditional BTS but is much smaller. In an indoor environment, it can be installed on a wall or on an existing rack; thus, no extra indoor space is occupied. In an outdoor environment, it can be easily placed into the power supply cabinet or transmission cabinet of the BTS.
The distributed BTS is suitable for various installation scenarios as shown in Figure 2. If the equipment room has space constraints, the BBU can be installed in the equipment room, while the RRU is installed outdoors together with the antenna. In case the indoor installation space is not available, the BBU can be installed in the outdoor accessory cabinet, where the accessory equipment such as power supply, battery and transmission are placed, and the RRU can be directly installed outdoors, either with the antenna or in an integrated BBU & RRU cabinet. This integrated cabinet and the accessory cabinet can be installed on the ground or on top of the building; consequently, no indoor space is required. In the case of indoor coverage, the BBU can be installed in the basement or corridor, while the RRU can be mounted on the wall of the storey to be covered.
To support a smooth evolution in the future, ZTE adopts the Soft Defined Radio (SDR) technology in its distributed BTS, called distributed soft BTS. With this technology, the BTS can be applied in a 4G network by only upgrading the software or replacing some baseband boards. ZTE’s distributed soft BTS has the following attractions:
- Real SDR technology supports hardware of different standards, maximally protecting operators’ investment.
The BBU can support different standards such as CDMA, WCDMA, GSM, WiMAX, UMB and LTE by installing the related software. But the Channel Processing Module (CHM) board has to be replaced for other standards only when special chips are used on the board (at present, only the CDMA system uses special chips, i.e., Application-specific Integrated Circuit, or ASIC). As to the RRU, if the frequency band remains unchanged, it is only necessary to install the related software when supporting a different standard.
- A variety of BBU/RRU products deliver full coverage solutions, meeting operators’ various requirements for network construction.
The RRU products with different power specifications, such as 60 W, 40 W and 5 W, are available, and they can meet the coverage needs in urban dense areas, suburbs and countryside. Moreover, the 200 mW pico RRU can be applied for indoor coverage.
- BBU/RRU products feature high integration, large capacity, small size and light weight, making easy installation and maintenance while reducing operators’ CAPEX.
With the standard 2U height design, the BBU can support a capacity of 36 carrier-sectors for the CDMA2000 1X or EV-DO system. The RRU, which is 16.5 kg in weight and has a dimension of 380 × 330.2 × 152.4 mm (H × W × D), can support a maximum capacity of 6 CDMA2000 1X or EV-DO carriers and a maximum transmit power of 60 W at the cabinet top. Both the BBU and RRU provide the highest integration among the like products in the industry.
Excerpt from: ZTE’s Distributed Soft BTS Solution [ZTE article, March 24, 2008]
[Jan 9, 2009] With many years of experiences in wireless technologies, ZTE launches OneNetwork solution including unified RAN based on SDR technology, unified all-IP core network and unified OMC [Operation & Maintenance Center] platform.
… The unified all-IP core network based on the ATCA architecture separates transmission from services and enables large-capacity transmission for mobile networks. …
[Oct 10, 2009] ZTE Opens LTE Laboratory in North America … This CDMA/LTE dual-mode laboratory is based on the Uni-RAN solution on ZTE unified Software Defined Radio (SDR) platform …
The reason for dropping the OneNetwork brand and starting to use the new Uni-RAN for a subsystem of OneNetwork is quite probably because the OneNetwork trademark had already been registered by an Australian SME company now belonging to a somewhat larger group with ~200 employees: Anittel Group Ltd.
For us this whole affair is just important for the reason that ZTE decided to use a brandname just for its RAN solution and did not try to introduce another name for the whole. This shows that the Uni-RAN solution is indeed a strategic differentiator for ZTE.
The Details of the Approach Taken by ZTE:
Abundant Spectrum Resources
Growth in mobile data traffic has brought new profit to mobile operators across the world. Statistics show that data revenue of Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Vodafone and other mainstream operators has increased by an average of 30%. Therefore, much attention is now being focused on data and broadband services. Obtaining more spectrum resources and increasing spectrum efficiency has become of great importance.
Spectrum resources for Time Division Duplex (TDD) are abundant. 2.3GHz and 2.6GHz are the most common TD spectrum bands for TD-LTE, but most of these bands are not being used. TDD spectrum resources are available in many countries and available for many operators. Of the 300 operators who have TDD spectrum resources, 66% own 2.3GHz and 2.6GHz bands.
Promising Market Opportunities
TD-LTE is attracting leading operators around the world. Many of the top 500 telecom operators own a chunk of TDD spectrum and are vigorously pushing forward TD-LTE development.
China Mobile owns 2.3GHz and 2.6GHz TDD bands and is leading in the promotion of TD-LTE. After completing the fourth phase of its TD-SCDMA network construction, China Mobile will boast the world’s largest 3G network with 220,000 TD base stations by Q1 2011. The operator will call for bids on the evolution of its TD-SCDMA networks in the first half of 2011. Its commercial TD-LTE network is expected to be deployed in one to two years.
Mainstream European operators Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, KPN, and O2 have all acquired TDD spectrum and are actively researching TD-LTE technologies and application models. Deutsche Telekom completed its trial TD-LTE network in the second half of 2010 and has started testing the network.
In June 2010, Qualcomm won India’s 2.3GHz Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum auction for TDD development in four regions of the country. Qualcomm has promised to set up a joint venture to build an LTE network. This demonstrates that Qualcomm has TD-LTE in its strategic plan.
Mobile operators in the U.S. including AT&T, Verizon, and America Mobil have promised to support TD-LTE. Leading operators in Japan and Korea have also played an active role in promoting TD-LTE. Other operators with WiMAX, PHS (1900-1920MHz), and TD-SCDMA will also choose TD-LTE as their migration path.
TDD spectrum is easy to acquire, and there is less competitive pressure in acquiring it. The price of TDD spectrum in each country is much lower than that of FDD spectrum. Because FDD spectrum is very limited and expensive, more and more operators are considering TDD for feature-rich data services and hotspot area coverage.
Using time division technique, TD-LTE allows flexible timeslot allocation in the downlink and uplink. This meets both voice and asymmetric data needs and greatly increases spectrum efficiency. TD-LTE can share the same core network with an FDD system and can support flexible networking. It can serve as an independent network for hotspots and blind area coverage or as a supplement to the FDD system for data services. LD-LTE has promising and widespread applications.
Fast-Growing TD-LTE Industry
Driven by operators, standardization organizations, equipment vendors, and chipset makers around the world, the TD-LTE industry is growing rapidly. Members of the Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance include China Mobile, NTT DoCoMo, Vodafone Orange, T-Mobile, AT&T, as well as 29 mobile network and terminal suppliers including Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung, and ZTE. Together these companies are actively promoting standardization of TD-LTE. So far, 3GPP R9 specifications have been completed, and the standardization progress of TD-LTE has kept pace with that of LTE FDD. Testing of TD-LTE technology and networking organized by the LTE/SAE Trial Initiatives (LSTI) was first conducted by China Mobile and has produced favorable results.
The TD-LTE industry chain has been established and is growing fast. It comprises chipset providers, terminal providers, infrastructure equipment manufacturers, and testing instrument providers.
All chipset providers plan to launch 3G/LTE multimode chipsets in early 2011. The development of LTE chipsets drives the development of terminal products. Nokia, Samsung, LG, Motorola, ZTE, and Shanghai Bell will unveil a number of LTE terminals in 2011. LTE TDD/FDD dual-mode terminals will be the mainstream offerings, and this will further promote the flexible deployment of TD-LTE.
Equipment manufacturers Ericsson, Nokia-Siemens, Alcatel-Lucent, ZTE, and Huawei have all developed TD-LTE series equipment that can be applied in different scenarios. These products have been tested in the TD-LTE trial networks of China Mobile and overseas operators. Presently, they support 2.3GHz and 2.6GHz bands and will support 1.9GHz and 2.1GHz bands in the future.
Test instrument manufacturer Anritsu has announced its MT8820C will support TD-LTE radio testing. Rohde & Schwarz and Anite also provide many types of testing and measuring equipment.
As the industry chain matures, commercial TD-LTE is just around the corner.
ZTE Leads the TD-LTE Industry
ZTE provides a Uni-RAN solution based on an innovative SDR [Software Defined Radio] hardware platform. The Remote Radio Unit (RRU) supports 700MHz, DD spectrum, 900MHz, 1800MHz, AWS, 2.1GHz, and 2.6GHz bands. The Base Band Unit (BBU) supports GSM, UMTS, and LTE radio modes, which allows for fast network deployment. The Uni-RAN solution enables smooth network evolution while protecting investment to the greatest possible extent. This helps operators significantly reduce their TCO.
Large-capacity base stations
ZTE’s single BBU supports up to 18 TD-LTE cells, each having a bandwidth of 20MHz. The maximum throughput per cell is 100Mbps in the downlink and 50Mbps in the uplink, and the RRU provides power output of up to 2×20W. The RRU also supports multiple modes for different coverage scenarios. Both IP over E1 and IP over PE/GE are supported. Flexible networking and good scalability helps operators cut their network construction costs.
Compact and eco-friendly design
ZTE’s distributed BBU+RRUenables simple and flexible zero-footprint deployment. The BBU is the smallest in the industry and can be mounted on the wall or embedded in a 19-inch rack to save space. The RRU is small and lightweight. It is naturally cooled, silent, and saves power.
End-to-end full-service solution
ZTE is dedicated to offering TD-LTE products that meet various deployment scenarios. Its end-to-end, customized, full-service solution encompasses services, core networks, radio systems, and terminals.
With fast growth of the industry chain, TD-LTE trial networks have been deployed in China, Japan, India, Russia, Germany, Ireland, and the U.S. As of October 2010, ZTE has signed agreements with ten leading operators to build TD LTE trial networks. ZTE is leading the industry in TD-LTE deployment worldwide.
- China Mobile started TD-LTE tests involving an indoor system, terminal chipset, and large-scale outdoor network at the end of 2008. It plans to initiate TD-LTE trials in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Nanjing, Hangzhou, and Xiamen in early 2011. A total of 3000 TD-LTE base stations will be deployed, and ZTE will be one of the main vendors for the network deployment.
- ZTE was chosen by Europe’s largest mobile operator to supply TDD equipment for TD-LTE field testing in February 2010. Phase I of testing was completed in July and produced good results. Phase II and III are expected to be completed in the first half of 2011.
- India issued two BWA licenses in August 2010, and ZTE entered into an agreement with major local operators to help them build several TD-LTE trial networks across the country.
- In September 2010, ZTE cooperated with Russia’s largest integrated network operator to deploy a 2.3GHz TD-LTE trial network in Sochi. ZTE demonstrated a peak data rate of 130Mbps and won high praise from Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
The abundant spectrum resources, technical advantages, and flexible networking features of TD-LTE may translate into great market opportunities. As the industry chain matures, TD-LTE has promising commercial prospects. ZTE was one of the earliest players in the TD-LTE field and has an industry-leading outlook. With its visionary outlook and years of TDD experience, ZTE is developing excellent TD-LTE concepts and solutions. The company is working together with operators worldwide to create higher value and to seize upon new market opportunities.
Hi3G Is Poised to Lead the LTE TDD/FDD Convergent Era [ZTE use case, May 20, 2011] —ZTE helps Hi3G to build the world’s first LTE TDD/FDD dual-mode commercial network
The world has witnessed the remarkable achievements made by the European telecommunications industry. Up to now, the European operators have won half the seats among global high-end operators. Europe is usually the pioneer in adopting new technologies and businesses.
Hi3G is ranked the fourth in the market share in Sweden and Denmark. At present, its competitors have deployed LTE networks in the Nordic market, which cause great impact on the 3G development of Hi3G. Therefore, it is very imperative for Hi3G to launch LTE.
While manyhigh-endoperators adopt the traditionalFDD mode, Hi3G believes that after FDD and TDD standards converge, TDD will not only help build a network with the same quality as FDD, but also have cost advantages, for example in spectral resource. Therefore, building TDD/FDD LTE dual-mode networks is the best choice for operators. In addition, with only 2 x 10MHz in 2.6GHz band awarded for FDD in both Sweden and Denmark, Hi3G will not be able to provide competitive data throughput in hotspots. Fortunately, the use of TDD/FDD LTE hybrid networking can provide high-rate services and take advantage of the existing spectral resource according to the service type.
In Sep 2010, Hi3G issued tender documents, requiring all vendors to provide an LTE TDD/FDD dual-mode networking solution. In this solution, interoperability between TDD/FDD LTE and Hi3G’s existing UMTS should be implemented. Moreover, the FDD LTE network should provide wide coverage, both TDD and FDD should be applied in the same hotspots, and later, the TDD LTE network should be further expanded in hotspots. Last, the entire convergent network must be completed within three months from equipment delivery to installation and commissioning.
Figure 1 Application Scenario of TDD/FDD Multi-Mode, Multi-Frequency Networking
At the early stage of bidding, Hi3G selected two suppliers to roll out LTE in Sweden and Denmark. As the project proceeded, ZTE finally stood out in the competition by virtue of its advanced LTE TDD/FDD dual-mode solution, multi-mode SDR platform, diversified BS forms, customized transmission solutions, leading multi-mode terminals, powerful delivery and logistics. In March 2011, Hi3G selected ZTE as the exclusive vendor to deploy LTE.
While meeting the requirements for interoperability and load balancing between hi3G’s existing 3G network and LTE network, the TDD LTE/FDD LTE/UMTS multi-mode convergent networking solution provided by ZTE effectively improved system security and stability, and hence ensured the network throughput in hotspots. By sharing the existing resources including BBU, antenna, GPS, transmission, OMC and EPC, the LTE TDD/FDD dual-mode convergent network not only helped Hi3G to reduce site investment and network maintenance cost, but also accelerated the network construct speed.
Figure 2 Topology of LTE TDD/FDD Dual-mode Networking
Specific to the system interference concern caused by co-site of TDD LTE, FDD LTE and UMTS networks, ZTE offered a co-antenna solution, which won high recognition from Hi3G. In this solution, ZTE adopted 2-path broadband antennas to effectively relieve interference of TDD LTE to FDD LTE through antenna isolation and customized combiners.
Figure 3 ZTE’s Co-Antenna Solution (Applied in Sweden)
It is known that hotspots have high requirements for network throughput. Besides, Hi3G has limited site resource and hoped to make use of the existing UMTS network site. Moreover, the winter temperature is very low in Sweden and Denmark. Therefore, very high requirements are put on the base stations in terms of capacity, size, installation flexibility and performance. In response to that, ZTE provided diversified LTE base stationsto completely satisfy the customer’s site requirements with good performance even at the temperature of 40° below 0. In this project, by adopting different combinations of ZTE’s FDD/TDD dual-mode SDR base stations, small-capacity outdoor BBU cabinet, large-scale outdoor cabinet and outdoor distributed base stations, the eNodeB system can be conveniently installed indoors, outdoors, mounted on a tower, under a tower or even installed with no equipment room. As a result, the eNodeB removed the need for extra civil engineering expenditure, decreased the engineering installation difficulty, and hence accelerated network construction for Hi3G.
As a global pioneer in 3G, Hi3G is of course unwilling to lag behind in the field of 4G network operation. For operators, failure to put a network into commercial use on time not only leads to a tremendous loss of revenue, but also runs the risk of lagging behind the competitors. By providing diversified terminals and rapid network construction, ZTE can help Hi3G to achieve fast commercialization of LTE.
On the terminal side, ZTE launched the world’s first Qualcomm chipset based data cards. By supporting 3G, TDD LTE and FDD LTE systems simultaneously, these data cards will help Hi3G to commercialize its LTE network rapidly in terms of business model.
On the engineering delivery side, aimed at “global leader in delivery”, ZTE has set up professional project management processes and teams from site acquisition to civil engineering, equipment installation and equipment room maintenance. Hi3G was very satisfied with ZTE’s standardized project operation and high-quality delivery.
Peder Ramel, CEO at Hi3G, said, “We have chosen ZTE for additional 3G 900/2100 rollout and for LTE mobile broadband networks in Sweden and Denmark because of the possibility to house three different mobile standards in the same physical infrastructure and the low cost of ownership. Furthermore, ZTE advanced LTE dual-mode solutions and quick consignment responses really meet our requirements.”
[The company was founded in 2001 and is based in Stockholm, Sweden. Hi3G Access AB operates as a subsidiary of Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. of Hong Kong. The HWL as an international corporation reported turnover of approximately HKD326 billion (USD42 billion) and HKD187 billion (USD24 billion) for the year ended 31 December 2010 and for the six months ended 30 June 2011. HWL is the world’s leading port investor, developer and operator, the world’s leading health and beauty retailer, one of Asia’s largest retailers, and a pioneer of mobile multimedia communications with the launch of third-generation (3G) mobile phones and networks under the “3” brand meaning 3G service.
From wikipedia: In Sweden the mobile network is shared with Telenor, except for cities like Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmo, Lund and Karlskrona where they handles their own 3G networks, but this practise is not allowed in Denmark. In the spring 2011 3 started, without Telenor, to build their own 3G Network on the UMTS 900-band which will give a bigger coverage. 3Sweden is the only operator in Sweden that have the licence to build 3G at the UMTS900 band. Today 3 Sweden covers about 98.5% of the swedish population. … 3Sweden is for the fifth year in a row the best operator for Mobile Broadband and has the best 3G-coverage in Sweden.
3 in Sweden is 60% owned by Hutchison Whampoa and 40% by Swedish Investor AB, founded and still controlled by the Wallenberg family and having SEK 181 billion (US$ 26.3 billion at current rate) investment in the end of 2010. 3 in Sweden is not even the core investment of Investor AB for which such names as Atlas Copco (16.7%), SEB (20.8%), ABB (7.3%, AstraZeneca (3.7%), ERicsson (5%), Electrolux (13.6%), Husquarna (15.7%) and Saab (30%) were the core ones.]
E-Plus and ZTE Strengthen Partnership [ZTE press release, Sept 13, 2011]
Senior executives meet in Berlin to confirm expansion of mobile devices portfolio in the German market
ZTE Corporation (“ZTE”) (H share stock code: 0763.HK / A share stock code: 000063.SZ), a publicly listed global provider of telecommunications equipment and network solutions, will today meet with senior executives from the E-Plus Group, at the BASE media meeting in Berlin, to confirm the expansion of its mobile devices’ portfolio in the German market.
Since 2010, ZTE and E-Plus, one of the largest operators on the German mobile telecommunications market, have been collaborating on the expansion of E-Plus’ broadband network. Following the successful launch of the ‘BASE Lutea’ smartphone and the ‘BASE Tab’ in the German market, E-Plus will introduce mobile devices designed by ZTEto enable subscribers to take advantage of the data services offered by its advanced mobile data network.
“Our partnership with ZTE has seen an impressive level of commitment from the entire team, helping us to push our services forward and expand our data network,” said Thorsten Dirks, CEO of E-Plus Group. “Due to the rapid implementation of ZTE’s 3G network technology, E-Plus and KPN have been able to offer broadband network services to more than 500,000 subscribers each week. The basic service provision required for each subscriber is constantly evolving in response to the mobile data services offered over the HSPA+ network. By expanding our partnership, E-Plus customers will enjoy further benefits from the advanced devices and network services offered.”
“ZTE continuously strives to provide high quality products and excellent services, and aims to become E-Plus’ most reliable and long-term partner,” said Shi Lirong, President and CEO of ZTE Corporation. “Through our focus on convergence, innovation and green technology, we aim to provide E-Plus and KPN with the most technologically advanced and economically valuable solutions. We are proud and honoured to be chosen as a strategic partner by E-Plus and KPN.”
The BASE media meeting will see over 500 top decision-makers from media, economics, politics as well as personalities from the worlds of sport, art and culture come together to celebrate the successful partnership between the two companies.
About the E-Plus Group
The E-Plus Group is the challenger on the German mobile communications market. Simple services tailored to customer needs and a major reduction in call and data charges can be traced back to the initiative of the third-largest mobile network operator in Germany. Having revolutionised the voice market for larger user groups, the company is now opening the mobile data market to the masses by means of its massive network roll-out and highly attractive low-priced data tariff schemes. As a result of innovative business models, modern structures and strong partnerships, the E-Plus Group was able to significantly strengthen its market position and develop more dynamically and profitably than the market. Since 2005, E-Plus Mobilfunk GmbH und Co. KG has developed into a family of brands offering target-group-specific services and is thus breaking new ground in mobile communications in Germany. The flat-rate brand BASE and the mobile discounters simyo and blau are market leaders in their segments, while the original E-Plus brand offers a range of services to its existing customers. The brand AY YILDIZ is aimed at the Turkish community in Germany. Vybemobile is intended to appeal to young music lovers. The partners of the E-Plus Group include many other brands, such as MEDIONmobile (ALDI TALK) and music TV station MTV. More than 21.5 million customers are using the network of the E-Plus Group to make calls and send text messages or data. The Group generates an annual revenue of €3.2 billion (2010) and employs more than 2,650 people (FTE) in Germany.
Partners ZTE and KPN Mobile International announce LTE Trials [ZTE press release, Feb 17, 2011]
ZTE and KPN today announced a joint development programme focussed on the application of LTE technology in Germany and Belgium. KPN Mobile International and ZTE have scheduled a field trial program for 2011 to investigate the capabilities of ZTE’s commercial equipment. The co-operation gives KPN the flexibility to speedily upgrade its network equipment to LTE in the future, if demand is there.
The 2010 spectrum auction in Germany put LTE network technology firmly on the agenda and gave KPN the opportunityto further enhance its competitiveness in the market.
“ZTE is a telecommunications equipment market challenger in Europe, very much in line with E-Plus’ and KPN Group Belgium’s development strategy,” said KPN Mobile International CTO Erik Hoving. “This agreement further strengthens our cooperation in the telecommunications market. It has strategic significance for both KPN and ZTE in Europe, and also in terms of each company’s international market position.”
“We appreciate that KPN selected ZTE as a strategic partner and we are strongly focussed on the long-term partnership between our companies,” said Shi Lirong, President and CEO of ZTE Corporation. “We support KPN with world-class telecom technologies and effective solutions with the lowest total cost of ownership in the industry to build high-speed networks. ZTE’s advanced and future-proof SDR technologyhelps KPN optimise its operation efficiency to meet increasing demands and develop value-added services for their customers.”
In December 2009, ZTE and KPN announced plans to conduct a comprehensive expansion of HSPA networks in Germany and Belgium starting in 2010. The programme was designed to establish a strategic partnership between the two companies for the development of future-proof networks in Belgium and Germany.
Under the agreement, ZTE has started a program to help transform KPN networks in Germany and Belgiumover a three year period using ZTE’s SDR (Software Defined Radio) technology to provide users with HSPA + high-speed data services which enable cost-effective mobile broadband communications.
As a result of the seamless transformation from the existing network to the new one, KPN will be able to offer its customers in Belgium and Germany faster high-speed data services of upto 21.6 Mbps, enabling the operator to offer new mobile broadband services.
The initial agreement between ZTE and KPN involved the provision of access network technology, but has extended to cover end-to-end solutions including core network and wireless access technologies and Android handsets. The packet-based core network equipment deployed in Germany is now in commercial use, and can be easily upgraded to future technologies. More recently ZTE delivered the co-branded Lutea smartphoneto KPN’s E-Plus in Germany and KPN Group Belgium in December 2010.
During the year 2010, ZTE established a new company in Belgium, and opened a new office in Düsseldorf dedicated to the KPN transformation project as well as several new regional offices in Germany. In addition, ZTE also set up a customer Training Center in Germany and a 24/7 help deskto provide local support to KPN. By consistently delivering on its commitments, the company has proved its ability to deliver at the high level expected by European operators. To better support KPN, ZTE has created a diverse team consisting of technical experts from China and Europe.
KPN is the leading telecommunications and ICT service provider in the Netherlands, offering wireline and wireless telephony, internet and TV to consumers and end-to-end telecom and ICT services to business customers. KPN’s subsidiary Getronics operates a global ICT services company with a market leading position in the Benelux, offering end-to-end solutions in infrastructure and network-related IT. Getronics manages 2.2 million workspaces. In Germany and Belgium, KPN pursues a Challenger strategy in its wireless operations and holds number three market positions through E-Plus and BASE. In Spain and France, KPN offers wireless services as an MVNO [mobile virtual network operator] through its own brands and through partner brands. KPN provides wholesale network services to third parties and operates an efficient IP-based infrastructure with global scale in international wholesale through iBasis.
The E-Plus Group, China Mobile and ZTE collaborate for TD-LTE field trial in Germany [partner news on NGMN site, Feb 11, 2011]
The E-Plus Group will launch a TD-LTE field trial in Germany in Q1 2011. The trial is based on 2.6 GHz spectrum that E-Plus acquired in the German spectrum auction. China Mobile, with its leading position and rich experience in the operation and maintenance of TDD networks, will provide technical support to this trial. ZTE will provide base stations developed on the advanced SDR platform and co-siting solution of LTE FDD/TD-LTE, which is a breakthrough in the industry.
The E-Plus Group is the third largest mobile network operator in Germany. The E-Plus Group has been one of the most innovative mobile operators during years. After revolutionizing the mobile voice market for larger user groups E-Plus is now opening the mobile data market for the masses with low-priced data tariff schemes and the roll-out of a HSPA+ network with speeds up to 21.6 Mbps. On top of the high speed mobile data network roll out, E-Plus will now test TD-LTE in the field. The E-Plus Group is one of the founding members of the Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance.
The E-Plus Group and ZTE agreed and scheduled a field trial program for 2011 consisting of several streams to investigate the capabilities of ZTE’s commercial SDR equipment and best utilisation of the spectrum holdings of E-Plus in 1.8 GHz, 2.1 GHz and 2.6 GHz, both TD-LTE and LTE FDD.
China Mobile claims the largest number of mobile subscribers in the world. From TD-SCDMA to TD-LTE, China Mobile is devoted to promoting TDD industry being equipped with rich experience in TDD network deployment. Furthermore, China Mobile is pro-active in TDD technology globalization and convergence of TD-LTE and LTE FDD industry by seeking cooperation with overseas operators in Europe, Asia, America and Australia.
With joint effort of the E-Plus Group, China Mobile and ZTE, this trial will not only demonstrate the latest progress of TD-LTE/LTE FDD convergence in standards and industry development, but also lay an excellent ground for the full commercialization of TD-LTE.
ZTE Technologies magazine, Oct 2011 issue [PDF, Sept 9, 2011]:
Special topic “Mobile Network Modernization”
3G LTE – Bringing you closer: Now working seamlessly together
Taking a large step forward can be daunting. This is why we have based our LTE solutions on mature hardware designs for SDR centralized platforms – a field in which we already leading global suppliers – and created systems that allow fro truely seamless upgrades and, above all, super smoth performance. We also customize everything down to the last detail and proviode superior after-sales service so that you can be sure of receiving and replying on a solution that is perfect fit for your unique needs. This way, a huge step doesn’t have to feel quite so big.
Begin at www.zte.com.cn
Why would a South African company choose a Chinese company to teach it how to fight and ascend to the top?
ZTE was the first promoter of SDR technology in the telecommunications industry, and in recent years, it has achieved global success with its Uni-RAN solution based on SDR. Its SDR series base stations can be smoothly evolved from GSM to UMTS and even to LTE. Only software upgrades and minimal hardware changes are necessary, and this is very appealing to operators all over the world. It is especially appealing to operators like Cell C who face the challenges of shrinking capital investment and slow-growing revenue. Since ZTE sold its first SDR base stations in 2008, more than 500,000 units have been deployed worldwide and serve more than 120 operators. These numbers prove that ZTE is the partner of choice.
ZTE’s very substantial global experience and advanced SDR technology are the reasons why the Chinese vendor was chosen to teach Cell C how to fight.
Also, by brokering a deal with the China Development Bank, ZTE has secured funding of more than 2 billion rand and has helped Cell C reduce its considerable debt. Two billion rand is so powerful that Cell C now has enough firepower to clear its path to the top of the South African telecom market.
In 2010, the Cell C network was baptized by the World Cup. A huge number of subscribers joined the Cell C network. Almost everyone in the stadium wanted to send messages to their friends and share the electric atmosphere of live football. The Cell C network had to deal with a huge influx of traffic. Supported by ZTE engineers, the Cell C network performed well and more than passed the test.
ZTE Technologies magazine, Oct 2011 issue [PDF, Sept 9, 2011]
“Success Story”: E-Plus Group Focuses on Future Technologies Made by ZTE [Sept 19, 2011]
ZTE has signed partnership agreement with E-Plus Group and KPN Belgium. Under this agreement, ZTE will help E-Plus expand its mobile network to 4G HSPA+. ZTE is also supporting E-Plus Group to implement the LTE standard.
“The coming years will bring massive changes in the use of mobile devices. Besides voice and SMS, more and more people will make use of the Internet. Mobile browsing with a smartphone has developed dynamically into a mass market.”
Gerhard Lüdtke, access network director at E-Plus Group, believes there is good reason to invest heavily in the development of data networks. “We expect a massive increase in data volume on the networks. To absorb this, we need competent partners who can assist us to expand our networks with mature technology. ZTE is one of those partners.” KPN, the Dutch parent company of E-Plus, has been in contact with ZTE since 2005—when ZTE was its supplier of UMTS data cards.
In December 2009, E-Plus and KPN Belgium agreed to take advantage of ZTE’s HSPA+ technology to extensively expand their data network. “In the largest network expansion initiative in our history, we are making big steps every month on the road to becoming a 4G mobile operator,” said Luedtke. “This will benefit our customers who use the Internet via their mobile phones. User experience is critical; our customers demand smooth and reliable surfing.” In the second step, the new LTE standard will be introduced. Since March 2011, ZTE and E-Plus have been conducting tests on three frequency bands.
“The priority for us is the expansion of the data network with HSPA+. HSPA+ devices are available in sufficient quantities and at good prices. This is not the case with LTE,” said Matthew Geller, procurement manager at E-Plus.
In December 2009, the contract for the expansion of the E-Plus data networks had barely been signed when ZTE began work on the project. First, ZTE installed the entire project infrastructure, setting up a team of technicians and engineers (local and Chinese) as well as a training center. ZTE trainers taught service companies, contractors, and employees working with E-Plus how to deal with the new systems. In mid March 2010, initial tests were carried out on the new system, and the results were successful.
Then there was a flurry of events. At the end of April, ZTE handed the network operator the first node B site ready for use. In June 2010, a customer help desk was set up. The help desk provides 24/7 service and guarantees short response times. That same month, interoperability tests were completed. ZTE equipment was installed on existing stations and had to be compatible with existing material. At the end of June, ZTE, Alcatel Lucent, and E-Plus signed service contracts for maintenance of the networks.
Always Close to the Customer
At the same time, ZTE set up a new project office next to the E-Plus headquarters in Düsseldorf. ZTE established regional offices to coordinate on-site activities and to support E-Plus project managers all over Germany. Regional offices are located in Munich, Berlin, Hanover and Frankfurt. This shows how important the business customer focus is. Short distance from customers means quick response times. In the first half of July, a large number of site installations were completed. In August, the last two radio network controllers of the initial phase were installed and connected to the E-Plus network. In November, ZTE completed testing on the operations support system. Thousands more sites in Germany will be upgraded or swapped with ZTE technology in the future.
ZTE’s engineering has brought several advantages to E-Plus. Data throughput has been significantly improved, and ZTE modules use less energy, generate less heat, and are compact. They can be transported easily so that installation and maintenance are simplified. ZTE also used SDR base stations for network expansion. SDR technology allows multiple wireless standards to be applied to a base station, and the change from HSPA to LTE can be done via software upgrades. This makes the E-Plus system futureproof. With the new network, the cost of logistics is reduced, support is considerable, and new services can be easily created. New revenue opportunities can be exploited in the shortest possible time.
The agreement with E-Plus is not limited to the provision of access technology. It includes the delivery of core network technology and terminals, which provides E-Plus with end-to-end solutions—from the core network via access technology to handsets. In December 2010, E-Plus launched the first ZTE smartphoneunder the name “Base lutea” (ZTE Blade).
When asked whether E-Plus fears becoming too dependent on ZTE, Matthew Geller replied, “Europe is a very attractive destination for Asian companies. If we become disappointed with ZTE or any other Chinese company, this would jeopardize their reputation in Europe. And nobody wants that. Besides, ZTE is totally transparent. We always know who is responsible for what and what the balance sheets say. This promotes confidence.” The German Federal Network Agency, a state regulatory body, sees no problem in the close cooperation between KPN and ZTE.
E-Plus has the next wireless standard in its focus, namely, LTE. Even here, E-Plus has been working closely with ZTE. Since February 2011, E-Plus has been conducting LTE field tests on ZTE technology using three frequency bands. The technology is being prepared for deployment of LTE in the E-Plus data network.
Learning from China Mobile
In Germany, the 2.6 GHz band is being used for TDD-LTE trials for the first time. TDD-LTE has mainly been used commercially in Asia, but E-Plus is pioneering a quasi-Asian standard in Europe. E-Plus is working together with the world’s largest mobile operator, China Mobile, and drawing on their rich experience in operating TDD technology. China Mobile brings expertise in operating and maintaining TDD networks and has supported the tests done by E-Plus.
However, conditions in China differ to those in Germany, particularly in relation to customer behavior and acceptance. TDD-LTE services large populations in China and throughout Asia, and it is the only way to offer fast Internet access in Germany without the using expensive fiber optics. Therefore, the standard has been well received to date. Gerhard Lüdkte of E-Plus is confident that Germany will accept the new technology.
Double Challenger Strategy
“We are a challenger in the German mobile market, and ZTE is also a challenger in their field. The chemistry between the two companies is just right,” said Gerhard Lüdtke. “We had ZTE on our screen since our first contact in Shenzhen in 2005. In Asia, ZTE is already an established supplier of sustainable technology and communication. They have a remarkable track record of projects in various states, not only in China. As for the technology, ZTE can compete with other suppliers and is even superior to them.” Geller added, “We need a strong partner, because we are exposed to fierce competition. ZTE provides us with solutions that simply work well.”
“With our power to innovate, we push E-Plus to the forefront. E-Plus can absolutely rely on us as a partner,” says Li Jun, CEO of ZTE Holland and head of the network expansion project at E-Plus and KPN Belgium. “For us, the network expansion for KPN International is a milestone on the way into the European market.”
ZTE Technologies magazine, Oct 2011 issue [PDF, Sept 9, 2011]
“Solutions”: Uni-RAN – A Perfect Way to Modernize Mobile Networks [Sept 19, 2011]
Demand for Network Modernization
Mobile broadband continues to develop and succeed at a phenomenal pace. The Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) confirms that as of May 2011, more than 99.5% of the world’s WCDMA operators have deployed HSPA on their networks, and over 30% of them have evolved to HSPA+. The GSA also anticipates that 81 LTE networks will be in commercial service by the end of 2012 in addition to the existing 20 that have been launched commercially. The rapid growth of mobile broadband has placed high requirements on architecture and management of mobile bearer networks.
GSM/EDGE has by far the largest subscriber base, accounting for more than 88% of global mobile subscribers. Yet most GSM operators are now facing pressure from the growing demand for data services and declining ARPU. Legacy network devices and architecture are barely able to meet the requirements. It is therefore imperative to modernize legacy mobile networks for high profitability and sustainable development.
ZTE’s Uni-RAN Solution
To modernize networks, ZTE has developed an innovative Uni-RAN solution that ensures smooth evolution and easy O&M without affecting existing services.
Uni-RAN adopts a unified SDR platform that supports multiband and multimode radio configurations. The CN and OMM parts of multiple radio systems are converged in Uni-RAN. This simplifies network architecture and makes network O&M easier and more reliable. By updating software and minimizing changes to hardware, Uni-RAN allows for smooth evolution from GSM/EDGE to WCDMA and then to LTE. In network modernization, it is quite important to balance investment in equipment, network O&M, and network profitability. Because it allows for smooth evolution, Uni-RAN can extend the lifecycle of a network for longer time.
ZTE’s SDR base stations come in various types, ranging from indoor macro base stations for dense, high-traffic urban areas to outdoor micro base stations for remote coverage in suburban areas. The advanced BBU+RRU structure is suitable for almost all application scenarios, and installation is also easy and efficient. Compared with legacy indoor macro base stations, the BBU+RRU design saves more than 75% of equipment room. With diverse base stations and flexible networking mode, Uni-RAN helps operators economize on manpower and material resources.
Uni-RAN has performance advantages that help operators reduce OPEX, especially transmission and energy costs. The all-IP platform used for SDR base stations greatly enhances communication efficiency and saves on rental fees for E1 transmission. BBUs and RRUs are specially designed to suit different application scenarios. They are small, silent, energy efficient, and naturally cooled. Uni-RAN adjusts transmitting power of RF units according to real-time traffic load. These adjustments are made using software so that power consumption throughout the network is completely optimized.
Speed Up Network Modernization
By the end of 2010, ZTE had deployed GSM/UMTS networks for 120 operators in more than 100 countries. ZTE’s SDR equipment―the c o r e o f U n i – R A N ― has been recognized by operators worldwide since it was first launched in 2007. ZTE has achieved large-scale breakthroughs in the global high-end telecom market with the SDR base-station platform. Companies in Europe, such as KPN, Telenor, Telefonica, Optimus and H3G, are using SDR base stations deployed by ZTE. In 2010, the total shipment of ZTE’s SDR base stations exceeded 700,000 units.
Driven by an upsurge in mobile network modernization around the world, ZTE has seized the opportunity to focus on network swapping projects. The company has helped 67 operators in 29 countries modernize their networks, swapping more than 200,000 base station sites. In the first half of 2011, 160,000 GSM/UMTS carriers were successfully swapped by ZTE. Through cooperation with leading operators, ZTE has gained rich experience in network swapping and enhanced capabilities in logistic, engineering, and network optimization.
CSL: create a simple network
CSL is the largest mobile operator in Hong Kongwith more than 3 million subscribers. CSL had four original mobile networks: a 900MHz GSM network, two 1800MHz GSM networks, and a 2.1GHz UMTS network. The maximum download rate supported by the UMTS network was only 2.1Mbps, which was insufficient for meeting the requirements of 3G subscribers. Various NMS interfaces were being used to accommodate multiple modes and frequency bands. So CSL had difficulty managing and maintaining individual networks. The complicated network architecture also made it difficult to evolve networks and ensure QoS.
In 2008, CSL chose ZTE as a partner in its network reconstruction. Using Uni-RAN, CSL completely converged its GSM 900/1800M, UMTS 900M, UMTS 2.1G and LTE 1.8G/2.6G networks within two years. Unified network management was also implemented. 2500 base station sites were swapped. The restructured HSPA+ (or Next G) network is capable of downloading data at up to 21Mbps. According to internal research conducted by CSL in 2010, data traffic has increased by more than 65 times since the Next G network was launched in early 2009.
During the network swapover, CSL cut down the total number of base stations from 5050 to 2050, replaced original E1 transmission with FE transmission, and saved 20% transmission resources. CSL reduced network OPEX by 35.7% and greatly improved its profitability.
Ncell: make a miracle on the Top of Mt. Everest
Ncell is a wholly owned subsidiary of TeliaSonera and is the second largest mobile operator in Nepal. Its network covers 42% of mobile subscribers in the country. Ncell aims to capture the largest market share.
Nepal contains part of the Himalayas, the highest mountain range in the world. Eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains, including the highest point on Earth, Mt. Everest, are located in the country. Deploying base stations on the world’s highest mountain presented big challenges to Ncell.
For fast deployment and smooth evolution, Ncell adopted ZTE’s Uni-RAN solution in its network reconstruction project. Micro base stations using the SDR platform consume less power, have a small footprint, and are easy to install. A one-piece mast and insulated shelter are used for the stations, and this allows the base stations to be installed quickly without the need to move earth or construct foundations. Solar panels are incorporated into the design to ensure that base stations have power supply throughout the year and are environmentally friendly. These features allow each base station to operate at optimal levels with minimal power usage even in temperatures as low as [minus] 30˚C to 40˚C. Overcoming altitude sickness and harsh natural environment, ZTE engineers deployed eight 3G base stations on Mt. Everestone month ahead of schedule.
After 500 base station sites were swapped in the initial phase, Ncell reduced energy consumption by over 45% and saw a rapid rise in their subscriber base and data traffic.