Monday, April 2, 2012


Packet One Networks in Malaysia, one of the pioneer WiMAX operators, says it intends to migrate to LTE TDD by the year-end, reports Light Reading.

According to The Star newspaper, P1 currently has more than 280,000 users, but now intends to migrate to LTE TDD once technologies are more mature.

Light Reading observes that P-1′s investor partner, SK Telecom, is also testing LTE TDD with China Mobile. China and India are big proponents of the spectrum-efficient TD-LTE approach which doesn’t require paired channels. Their testing found TD-LTE performance delivered average cell throughput (10MHz system bandwidth) of 14.6Mbps downstream (spectral efficiency: 2.69bps/Hz), while uplink average cell throughput is 6.2Mbps (spectral efficiency: 1.55bps/Hz), both meeting NGMN (Next Generation Mobile Networks) requirements.

Other WiMAX operators, including Yota in Russia plan to migrate to LTE, while broadband license-holders in India are also opting for LTE TDD deployments instead of WiMax.

NTT Docomo launched commercial LTE service in Japan last December. Docomo’s LTE service will cover Tokyo, parts of Osaka, Nagoya and a handful of other areas near these cities. It is initially limited to only major cities. The Japanese mobile operator was the world’s first to launch a 3G network, back in 2001. TeliaSonera in Sweden, was the world’s first to launch LTE, in December of 2009.

India’s top mobile firm, Bharti Airtel, No. 2 Reliance Communications, Vodafone, Tata Teleservices, and Idea Cellular spent a combined $23 billion for licenses in recent 3G and 4G spectrum auctions (auction results) in the world’s fastest-growing cellular market. Qualcomm won 2.3GHz spectrum (20 MHz) in four telecom circles of India in the recently held BWA spectrum auctions and plans to go with TD-LTE.

TD-LTE gained credence once China Mobile, the world’s largest wireless operator, said it planned to deploy TD-LTE across its network. China currently has over 720 million mobile cellular subscribers, more than twice as many as the United States.

China Mobile, the largest mobile operator in the world , is reportedly planning metro TD-LTE trials in up to six cities; Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Shenzhen and Xiamen. Various reports suggest the world’s largest operator has deployed 3,000 base stations and is waiting for approval by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

It looks like a wrap. No party at the WiMAX Forum is likely.

Proponents say WiMAX delivers real benefits in cost/effectiveness. It’s a greenfield solution, free from carrier control, spectrum restrictions and onerous patent overhead. My WiMAX service from Clearwire in Portland over the past year has been great. It’s not perfect, but it provides me with my sole source of broadband — both at home and mobile — for only $40/month. It’s a pretty good deal.

WiMAX Forum New President

WiMAX Forum announced that February 1st, 2012, Ronald Resnick will retire from his role as the President of the WiMAX Forum.

Mr. Resnick has been a valued part of the WiMAX leadership for the past eight years,” said Dr. Mohammad Shakouri, Interim Chairperson of the WiMAX Forum. “The WiMAX Forum would like to thank Mr. Resnick for building a strong foundation for this organization, which will continue its work in standardizing and certifying technology to bring broadband to underserved markets across the world. We all wish Mr. Resnick the best of luck in his future endeavors.”

The WiMAX Forum also announced that Declan Byrne has been unanimously elected as Acting President of the WiMAX Forum. Declan Byrne joined the WiMAX Forum in 2010 as the Senior Director of Marketing. Prior to joining the WiMAX Forum, Byrne worked for Airspan as Chief Marketing Officer.

The WiMAX Forum performs a similar function as the WiFi Alliance; it promotes the use of the technology and tests compatibility. WiMAX Forum-certified gear is tested to for compatibility to the standard, so for example, a Samsung WiMAX basestation will work with a Huawei WiMAX client.

The IEEE develops communications standards. They include IEEE 802.16 (WiMAX), which the WiMAX Forum promotes and enforces, and IEEE 802.11 (WiFi), which the WiFi Alliance promotes and enforces.

Last week the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) approved the “WirelessMAN-Advanced” as part of IMT-Advanced world-wide 4G technology standard. WirelessMAN-Advanced is based on the IEEE 802.16m. The WiMAX Forum calls it WiMax 2.0 (pdf)

Key features of WiMAX 2.0 include:

  • Radio specification for FDD and TDD
  • Support of IMT-A frequency bands
  • At least 2 times the average data throughput of current Release 1.5 in similar spectrum
  • Advanced interference management methods to support true reuse 1 deployments as compared to current reuse 3 deployments
  • Round trip access latency is reduced to less than 10-20 ms levels which will allow more demanding services like online gaming etc.
  • Support for self organizing networks
  • Support for femtocells
  • Support of relay stations
  • Multicarrier aggregation up to 100 MHz
  • Co-existence of 16e and 16m base stations and backward compatibility
  • Over 70 VoIP calls per MHz

Analysts say there is perhaps a 75% technology overlap between the two dominant broadband wireless standards, LTE and WiMAX. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses.

Advantages of WiMAX 2 over LTE Advanced:

  • Simple, fast and cheap
  • Compatible with WiMax 1.0 and 1.5
  • Can use licensed or unlicensed spectrum
  • Fewer patent issues
  • Less telco overhead and control

Dailywireless depends 100% on my single WiMax connection. It’s been (mostly) reliable since 2009, and costs me only $40/month. I get truly unlimited service, use my WiMAX dongle for both my laptop and my desktop, and watch Netflix at night.

You can’t do that on LTE. You’d go broke. It’s that simple.

WiMax combines the simplicity and speed of Wi-Fi with the mobility of cellular. It works. WiMAX lost a year or two in development and LTE was put on a fast track. The result; WiMAX got only a one year advantage, while Telcos jumped on duplex FD-LTE. India and China moved the momentum to TD-LTE.

But WiMAX 2.0 is simple, fast and license-free. It’s going to be hard to kill.

Nokia Sells WiMAX Unit to NewNet

A week after announcing plans to cut 17,000 jobs as part of a restructuring, Nokia Siemens Networks said today that it was selling off the WiMAX assets it acquired from Motorola Solutions to NewNet, a privately held company with headquarters in Connecticut. NSN bought Motorola’s networking business in August for $1.2 billion, which included Motorola Solutions’ CDMA assets, reports RCR Wireless.

The NewNet deal, which is expected to close by the end of the year, includes all related assets, active customer and supplier contracts, and about 300 NSN employees. Many of the employees are based in Chicago and Hangzhou, China. Financial terms of the deal were not released.

Motorola, which had revenues of $22 billion last year, split into two separate companies; Motorola Mobility and Motorola Solutions, a land mobile radio and services company for enterprise and government customers.

Motorola’s WiMAX unit, Samsung’s WiMAX unit and Huawei were all on Clearwire’s preferred vendor list. Clearwire cities like Portland, Oregon, use WiMax gear from Motorola, Nokia Siemens, now NewNet.

Nokia Siemens Networks’ plan to solely focus on the mobile broadband market, using mostly LTE-based technologies. NSN recently was included in an announced trial of LTE services across London with Telefonica’s O2, as well as garnering a network upgrade contract in Finland from TeliaSonera.

WiMAX to TD-LTE: Changing

Southeast Asia’s first 4G operator, Packet One Networks, launched its WiMAX service in Malaysia in August 2008 and is now preparing to transition to LTE.

Packet One, a wireless ISP, expects to begin a transition to a full LTE network in 2013. Packet One, a subsidiary of Greenpacket, and a leading developer of 4G systems, is testing a dual-mode 4G WiMAX/LTE solution from Sequans for dual-mode WiMAX/LTE, and hopes to launch a complete ecosystem of 4G networking solutions and devices by the end of 2011.

Gemtek’s new TD-LTE indoor CPE is based on Sequans’ SQN3000 series LTE chips, which support up to 100 Mbps throughput and 20 MHz channels. “We expect the new CPE to begin commercial deployment in the third quarter of 2011,” said James Ting, GM, Broadband Wireless Business Unit, Gemtek.

“As Southeast Asia’s leading 4G operator, first for WiMAX and now for dual-mode WiMAX and LTE, P1 has three years of experience operating an end-to-end 4G network,” said Michael Lai, P1 CEO. Packet One uses 30MHZ of its 2.3GHz spectrum for WIMAX, but plans to re-farm 20MHz of this for LTE leaving 10MHz for its legacy WIMAX subscribers. This will happen in a gradual process over the next two years, Lai says.

Greenpacket is testing Sequans’ system-on-chip technology to develop LTE reference designs, including a dual-mode WiMAX/LTE reference design for operator customers primarily in Asia, CALA and Middle East, according to James Wang, Senior Vice President of at Greenpacket. “We intend to offer our solutions to early adopters of LTE such as P1 in support of its LTE/WiMAX coexistence strategy.”

Sequans’ recently announced their 4Sight program, to help mobile operators transition smoothly and cost-effectively from WiMAX to LTE and enable harmonious WiMAX/LTE coexistence.

P1 was the first large-scale commercial 4G WiMAX deployment in Southeast Asia, and the first large-scale deployment of an 802.16e 2.3GHz WiMAX network outside Korea. P1 is one of nine Malaysian companies allocated 2.6GHz spectrum. In addition to Sequans, Packet One also announced TD-LTE collaborations with China Mobile, Qualcomm & ZTE.

Packet One has a technology cooperation agreement with China Mobile to spearhead Time Division LTE (TD-LTE) in Malaysia and South-East Asia.

“The economies of scale brought by China Mobile, with its subscriber base of over 600 million will see rapid development of the entire TD-LTE ecosystem,” said P1 chief executive officer Michael Lai at the signing ceremony this week. China Mobile is among the first operators to have adopted the TD-LTE technology and it is one of the founders of the global TD-LTE Initiative (GTI).

Clearwire-USA is one of the 20 members of the Global TD-LTE Initiative. Others include Aero2-Poland, Belltell-Philippines, Bharti Airtel-India, China Mobile-China, Datame-Finland, E-Plus – Germany, FarEastone-Taiwan, FITEL-Taiwan, Korea Telecom-Korea, Omantel-Oman, Nextwave-USA, P1-Malaysia, Smoltelecom-Russia, SoftBank-Japan, Tatung Infocomm-Taiwan, Vividwireless-Australia, Vodafone-UK, Voentelecom-Russia and Woosh-New Zealand.

Most WiMAX operators will migrate to LTE, but the pace and modalities of the shift will vary greatly depending on geography, service focus, spectrum availability, and funding, says Monica Paolini (PDF).

ZTE, a global Chinese provider of telecommunications equipment, has completed an interoperability test between TD-LTE terminals and GSM/UMTS/CDMA EV-DO networks, proving their TD-LTE devices can work seamlessly with existing networks. ZTE has deployed TD-LTE trials and commercial networks for 25 leading global operators in 15 countries.

Operators going with TD-LTE include China Mobile, Vivid Wireless in Australia, Yota, in Russia, Global Mobile in Taiwan and Packet One in Malaysia. India will also be a TD-LTE country.

Yota announced that it will cover the next 15 cities on its roll-out list with TD=LTE instead of WiMAX. It will also cover existing markets in Moscow and St. Petersburg with LTE by the end of 2011. Yota will spend $100 million to roll-out LTE in five Russian cities this year, with total investment estimated at up to $2 billion.

“The biggest concern facing many operators now is the squeeze on available spectrum,” says ABI research analyst Fei Feng Seet. “Regulators in certain countries have not yet announced any plans for LTE spectrum allocation.” Countries such as Taiwan will not be ready for such LTE spectrum auctions any time soon, because the 700MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum bands, the most suitable for LTE, are still occupied.

The fix is in. It’s circumstantial evidence that Clearwire and Sprint may go with TD-LTE. Paired spectrum at 2.6 GHz would be a real spectrum hog when moving to next generation LTE-Advanced with 20MHz x 2 channels (using FD-LTE). LTE Advanced includes support for relay node which extends coverage by using the LTE channel for selfbackhaul. Handy for satphone frequencies, too.

Grid Net uses the WiMax protocol, in partnership with Sprint, but some players, like SmartSynch use public cellular networks through partnerships with players like AT&T. Other smart grid companies like Trilliant and Silver Spring, use private mesh networks.

Clearwire’s “LTE 2X” trials in Phoenix use paired, 20×20 MHz blocks, twice the size Verizon’s LTE. But the economies of scale developing around TD-LTE may be compelling for Sprint.