T-Mobile in the USA announced their plans to launch LTE in 2013 today, comprising:
- 37,000 cell site upgrades
- Refarming spectrum, including that which they will received as a result of termination of the AT&T transaction
- LTE service in most of the top 50 markets
- 20MHz service in 75% of the top 25 markets
- Further extension of their HSPA+ deployments
T-Mobile press release http://newsroom.t-mobile.com/articles/ReinvigoratedChallengerStrategy
Everything Everywhere announced today that, subject to regulatory approval by April, they plan to launch LTE by the end of the year. This requires Ofcom to liberalise their 1800 MHz spectrum to allow LTE use.
At the same time they announced extension of their HSPA+ 21 Mbps rollout, trials of HSPA+ 42 Mbps, and a trial of LTE 1800 in the Bristol area:
Now that the dust has settled and delegates have caught up on sleep after many lengthy sessions (including one from 9 am to well after 5 am the next day), it’s time to consider what WRC-12 really achieved. The statistics speak for themselves – over 3000 people from over 150 countries reaching agreement on an international treaty of over 350 pages. Successful conclusions were reached on over 30 separate items on the WRC agenda, even if in some cases that conclusion was not to change the Radio Regulations.
The headlines have been taken by the decision, following pressure from African and Arab countries, to extend the mobile radio allocation in Europe, Africa and the Middle East down from 790 MHz to (provisionally) 694 MHz, and identify this allocation for IMT. The formal agenda of the WRC did not allow for this and European countries were not ready to take that decision. The resulting compromise is a very unusual arrangement. The new allocation, by way of a WRC Resolution, becomes effective from the end of the next WRC (scheduled for late 2015) and will be subject to technical and regulatory conditions to be developed in the intervening period.
Making a new allocation to mobile does not necessarily mean that the band will become available. Regulators will face major policy decisions on the relative priority of mobile and broadcasting services. Even if the decisions come down in favour of mobile, it will need the concerted effort of a number of countries within a region to bring about substantial change. Where there are existing broadcasting services – as throughout Europe – these would need to be re-arranged (again!) to clear the spectrum. This would require difficult negotiations to be held with neighbouring countries. And there will be significant cross-border constraints imposed by those countries that keep broadcasting and other services in the band (including aeronautical radars in some places). So it remains to be seen for how long the apparent success of the WRC remains only on paper. The writing however is on the wall, and many will not want to see Europe being the only part of the world without access to this valuable resource for mobile services.
Another contentious issue at WRC-12 concerned changes to the regulations governing satellite networks using the geostationary orbit. The conference considered many proposals aimed at reducing the number of “paper satellites”, ie internationally coordinated orbital slots for systems that are not subsequently brought into use. There was also debate on ensuring “equitable access” to the geostationary orbit. The eventual outcome was some clarification of the definitions of “bringing into use” and other procedures. These issues did not attract so many headlines, and the detailed changes agreed will require carefully analysis to reveal the real consequences, but the potential impact on those in the satellite communications business could be very considerable indeed. That was clear from the intense discussions and close attention paid to these issues.
WRC-12 established the agenda for the next WRC in 2015. Included in a long list of issues is a wide-ranging item to consider the growing spectrum demands of mobile broadband, including IMT. This does not specify any potential target bands for new spectrum and so will lead to a great deal of work and close scrutiny by all of the communities that could be affected – broadcasting, satellite, navigation etc. How that work will be organised in the ITU was also the subject of intense debate at WRC-12, but the decision was left to the first session of the Conference Preparatory Meeting being held in Geneva from 20-12 February.
- Mike Goddard
Forecast, launched today, covers 2011-16. Here are some key points from the forecasts. More details.
- 2016 annual global mobile data traffic = 130 Exabytes 18x from 2011-2016- this is higher than last year’s forecast
- 2011 actual growth was 133% (i.e. 2.3x)
- 2016 is a particularly large step from 6.9 to 10.8 exabytes: growth step is 3x today’s total
- 78% CAGR 2011-16
- W. Europe: 22.6% of the total in 2016
- 11% was offloaded in 2011, expect to grow to 22% by 2016: reflects service provider investment in encouraging this
- .5% of mobile users consumed over 1GB /month in 2011.
- Top 1% of users consumed 52% in month 1, 24% in month 11. Generally growth spreading towards the mainstream.
- 2016: 1.4 mobile connections per capita. 10bn mobile connections in total from 7.3bn people.
- Laptops dominate today, smartphones lead by 2016.
- Tablets drive 10% of traffic by 2016. 2016 tablet data will be 2x total 2011 traffic
- Smartphone growth from 150MB/month to 2576 MB/month 2011-16
- M2M growth from 23PB /month to 508PB/month in same period: 86%CAGR (but signalling load disproportionately important for these devices)
- Video to exceed 70% of traffic by 2016
- Cloud traffic on mobile will grow from 45% to 71% of the total. Note cloud traffic means that data may be multiply downloaded ( e.g. streaming content rather than side loading).
- Network speeds to increase 9x. 53% CAGR for W Europe: 667 to 5549 mean kbps /user
- 4G traffic will be 36% in 2016, but from only 8% of devices
- In 2011 4G connections were 2.4 GB/month, 28x that of a 3G connection.
As the final days of WRC-12 approach, there is still some way to go on the more controversial issues including some of the regulatory procedures for satellite filings and how to treat the proposals for a possible extension of the mobile band below 790 MHz in ITU Region 1 (Europe, Africa and the Middle East). But considerable progress has been made on most of the conference agenda items
There is broad consensus on a wide-ranging agenda item for the next WRC in 2015 to address the growing needs of mobile broadband and IMT.
The enormous scope of the WRC is illustrated by decisions (subject to final approval) on:
- frequency bands for lightning detection around 10 kHz; for amateur radio near 475 kHz;
- for oceanographic radars (used for example for tsunami warnings) in various bands between 3 and 50 MHz;
- for aircraft communications in various aeronautical radar bands; for unmanned aircraft communications around 5 GHz;
- for space research around 23 GHz;
- and for scientific applications in bands up to 990 GHz.
In addition, conclusions have been reached on the necessary regulatory provisions to support these new allocations and many other uses of the spectrum. Discussions continue on a large number of proposals for inclusion in the agenda of the next WRC.
WRC-12 is scheduled to finish on Friday 17th February but there could be some very long days and nights before then!
We’ve done a lot of work helping customers dimension their wireless systems for big stadiums, where the density of usage is amongst the highest encountered anywhere. A great deal of ingenuity has to go in to such systems. Nevertheless, we were impressed by the numbers of devices at the yesterday’s Superbowl 46 in Indianapolis.
According to Kevin Tofel at GigaOm http://gigaom.com/mobile/super-bowl-46-mobility-by-the-numbers/ there were:
* 600 Wi-Fi antennas supporting 28,000 simultaneous connections
* 400 antennas for 3G and LTE
And that’s just for Verizon!