Tag: 2g

AT&T kills off first iPhone

apple_iphoneIn an end of an error (surely era Ed.), AT&T has shut down its 2G service and finally killed off the first-generation iPhone.

The 2G shutdown has been planned for a few years  and judging by the lack of outcry from Apple fanboys when the network stopped working there can’t be many people still able to get Steve Jobs’ pivotal shiny toy to go. To be fair it is ten years and Apple normally expects people to replace their phone after one.

AT&T notes that the 2G shut down will free up resources and spectrum bandwidth for the network to use for future rollouts of more advanced wireless solutions like 5G down the line.

Of course, the Apple fanboy could move to Blighty, where 2G is still going. In fact some remote areas are only covered by 2G because it is reasoned that some coverage is better than nothing.

Even within more urban and populated areas that have substantial 3G coverage, there is still a large dependence on the reliability of 2G.

Ericsson and Apple kiss and make up

apple queueSwedish firm Ericsson and US firm Apple have ended a dispute after the former accused the latter of breaching its patents.

Ericsson had alleged that Apple breached patents on iPads and iPhones for 2G and 4G connectivity.

Apple hasn’t said how much it has paid Ericsson to stop suing it but will pay an initial amount and then pay it royalties for the next seven years.

Ericsson said it was very pleased that the niggles had come to an end and will work closely with Apple to develop new technologies.

Ericsson took legal action in Apple in several countries and, as usual, Apple retailiated by suing Ericsson.

That’s how these sort of disputes work in the technology industry, with lawyers doing particularly well out of the bickering.

Mobile data traffic levels soar

technic, funk, man at short-wave receiver, 1961, 1960s, 60s, 20th century, historic, historical, radio operator, radio operatorsA report from Gartner estimates that mobile data traffic worldwide will hit 52 million terabytes (TB) this year and it’s only set to grow more.

The rise this year will be 59 percent more than 2014, and analysts estimate that by 2018 traffic level will hit 173 million TB.

Jessica Ekholm, a research director at Gartner should set alarm bells ringing in the ear of communication services providers, which need to re-think their data caps.

She said: “Mobile data traffic is soaring worldwide, more than tripling by 2018. New, fast mobile data connections (3G and 4G) will grow more slowly, from 3.8 billion in 2015 to 5.1 billion in 2018, as users switch from slower 2G connections and consume more mobile data.”

She said that Gartner had surveyed 1,000 smartphone users in Germany and another 1,000 in the USA. German people are less likely to watch videos compared to cellular networks because of the data caps.

And the German people mostly waited to download apps or look at content when they were in a wi-fi zone. Just over a third of Americans do that, largely because the US data plans were more flexible.

Families with children are mostly responsible for mobile video usage, helped by providers offering shared data plans the reason.

China to outpace USA on LTE

Telephone BoxThere were over 100 million LTE subscriptions taken out in China last year with China Mobile taking a 90 percent market share.

And in 2015, ABI Research believes that China will overtake the USA to be the biggest 4G market in the world, with 500 million LTE subscriptions.

In the fourth quarter of last year, LTE subscriptions worldwide rose by 149.1 million – overtaking 3G subscriptions by 10.9 percent.

ABO expects subscriptions to grow at a CAGR of 21 percent between this year and 2020, reaching 3.5 billion.

Asia Pacific is the prime region for LTE subs, followed by North America and Western Europe.

By 2020, global 2G subscriptions will continue to decline and stand at 1.69 billion.

Consolidations in the Western European market meant there were some short term fluctuations to mobile subscriptions.

4G to give mobile operators complexity headache

Network complexity will cause mobile operators problems next year as the number of technologies used to meet heavy data demand increases.

According to Actix, which provides companies with mobile network analytics, operators are likely to have difficulties in integrating the deployments of 4G and small cells, used for 3G data offloading, alongside existing 2G and 3G systems.   

This means that costs could be raised and impact negatively on customers experience as operators expand services to deal with growing demands on networks, with customers losing calls, and operators subsequently losing customers.  Switching between 2G and 3G technologies can potentially cause problems with connections if networks are not managed effectively.

150 mobile operators are expected to roll out LTE offerings in total next year using the networks set up by the big players. Meanwhile the number of small cells used by operators is expected to rise as they replace macro cells.  

This means that mobile operators are likely to be using at least two vendors to access the four technologies, as well a range of cell sizes, such as macro, pico, metro and femto in order to boost connectivity.

Subsequently, resources could be stretched thin, putting extra demand on tools, processes and staff.  According to Actix, which spoke to 400 of its mobile operator clients, there is concern that manually combining networks will no longer be viable, and there is a move towards a heterogeneous network to manage systems.  

Bill McHale, CEO at Actix, said in a statement that operators will have to scale out their activities through making use of customer insight and network analytics, as well as multi technology optimisation.

He added that with 4G on the way, and more and more tablets hitting the market, operators need to “get this right, or risk losing subscribers”. 

Cisco brings giant roaming network to wi-fi

IT industry bellwether Cisco has announced its own small cells, which it claims will make the most of licensed and unlicensed spectrum. The idea is to take the pressure off 3G and 4G networks as data usage booms, putting “nomadic” devices on blanket wi-fi networks instead.

Along with that, Cisco is saying its latest product will help introduce the industry to its Next-Generation Hotspots. The company has been working with the Wireless Broadband Alliance to develop an industry standard, which Cisco hopes will bring about roaming-like capabilities to wi-fi networks. 

Its Small Cell Gateway will help the industry on its way. Cisco will sell the technology to network carriers to integrate 2G, 3G and 4G LTE licensed networks with unlicsensed wi-fi and femtocell networks. Cisco hopes this will lead to a seamless end user experience across different networks.

Murali Nemani, senior director, service provider mobility at Cisco, explained the standard to TechEye: “If you turn on your smartphone anywhere, it just works. You can use it in any part of the world, you don’t have to type in anything, it just happens. We want to bring that to the wi-fi environment, so all these hotspots, enterprise or public, can be brought onto this seamless roaming wi-fi network.” Cisco access points will be backwards compatible with the existing 12 million Cisco devices. “We think we can bring this to all new products,” he said, “and a large part of the existing portfolio that is already in the field.”

“What’s interesting is the growth of wi-fi,” Nemani pointed out. “If you look at tablet traffic, somewhere north of 60 percent are using wi-fi toaccess content. 80 percent of all of our access for web content is happening in some inbound location, a nomadic lifestyle rather than a mobile lifestyle.”

Cisco would call the announcements pretty big news. According to its Visual Networking Index, worldwide mobile data traffic is going to increase 18-fold over the next five yearrs, hitting as high as 10.8 exabytes per month by 2016. It will largely be driven by streaming video, so robust and readily available networks are important. 

Cisco’s Small Cell Gateway and Next Generation Hotspot initiative also lead into another trend the industry is seeing: Bring Your Own Device. The company reassures skeptics that its technologies are highly secure and work on an app level, like Good Technology’s software, so that devices know where they are connected and which data it is secure enough to access. 

Nemani agrees that there is a certain level of security and policy information that needs to be looked at in the enterprise. “Their VPN will not access corporate data on an untrusted envrionment,” he said. “When they get access to wi-fi, they are jumping on with the right level of security and authorisation.” Outside of that environment, not so much. Cisco thinks it’s a sales opportunity for carriers who would be able to extend security policy information and VPNs as well as making sure an entire campus is covered – and extend that security across a global footprint.

Although operators worldwide have traditionally been very competitive about spectrum, Nemani believes that they will realise the long-term benefits over short-term financial advantages. As the come under more strain, mobile operators are looking for a way to offload capacity challenges. “That is their motivation to go towards wi-fi,” Nemani said.

Countries like India – where a spectrum auction spiralled into scandal – will also look towards wi-fi, Nemani thinks. “Getting access to spectrum is very difficult, so what we are seeing is a rollout of wi-fi as a credible alternative to mobile broadband services, without having to depend on allocation.”

There are two scenarios, Nemani says. “In the US,” he said, “we’re saying we just don’t have enough spectrum – a spectrum shortage. Then, in developing countries, there may be spectrum policies that do not allow it to be delivered correctly. If you really want to deliver compelling experiences with better coverage and quality, this becomes a very nice way – the same way your cellphone turns on and it just works.”

The products is shipping from today. In terms of deployment, it is happening in Asia and there is a conversation about trials in Canada. Now, the option to use the technology is in the hands of the operators. “Depending on which part of the world has progress from the operators, the next twelve months will be a very important timeframe,” Nemani said.

ZTE shows big gains in Europe, America

Telecomms upstart ZTE turned in its results for the six months to the end of June 2011 and showed revenues in Europe and America had shot up by 62 percent.

Europe and America showed the fastest growth for ZTE geographically, accounting for 24.1 percent of the ZTE Group’s revenues. Asia Pacific represented 18.2 percent of ZTE revenues and Africa 13.4 percent by revenue.

As far as products go, year on year ZTE terminal products showed a jump of 43.96, 8.01 percent for carrier networks, and 42.29 percent for telecomm software systems and services.

ZTE said it made design wins across the globe in tenders for LTE and for 2G and 3G network capacity expansion. It won 23 LTE contracts in the first half.

But ZTE warned the second half of 2011 will show a complicated market with “opportunities as well as challenges”. It believes growth in the mobile internet will offer it opportunities for large scale construction of LTE and supplementary broadband construction.

ZTE turned in RMB37.337 billion for the six months, but net profit fell by 12.33 percent in the same period to RMB769 million, compared to the same period last year.

Mediatek will not get Nokia 2G chip

Although it has been chatting to MediaTek about making its 2G integrated chip, Nokia is likely to award the product to Mstar, a Taiwanese analyst claims.

Nomura Securities analyst Aaron Jeng said that MStar Semiconductor, which is one of Taiwan’s biggest integrated circuit makers, will supply mobile phone chips for Nokia.

Jeng said that it makes sense that MStar will get the contract because it has 1,000 people on its handset chip design team and has been known to offer customised chips for bigger outfits such as Samsung and LG.

According to Focus Taiwan  the comment will be a poke in the eye with a short stick for MediaTek which has been wining and dining Nokia for years.

However MediaTek is the main chip supplier for white-box handset makers, which have been damaging Nokia’s share in the business over the past few years.

Mstar has been suffering a bit of late thanks to its cunning plan of differentiation with its higher spec chips. As a result China’s white-box 2G chip market has been tough because customers are only interested on cost and don’t care that much about performance.

Jeng thinks that Nokia shipments of 2G phones in 2013 should be around 285 million. At the moment Mstar shipments of 2G chips for this year are likely to be only about 40 million.

He thinks that Nokia will help MStar speed up its technology upgrades and improve brand recognition and more smoothly migrate to 3G.

All however is not a bed of roses with Mstar, even if it wins the contract. Novatek Microelectronics and MediaTek, have been seen in the lastest fashionable restuarants wining and dining some of its biggest customers, including Samsung and LG. 

India's DoT sits on unallocated 2G spectrum

India’s Department of Telecoms is allegedly embroiled in another controversy about phone spectrum – with accusations that it is sitting on loads of unused 2G spectrum.

Despite numerous assertions that it has allotted all of the available spectrum, a staffer let slip on its website that there is 211 MHz of 2G spectrum for GSM operators left, and 75 units for CDMA, according to the Economic Times.

Operators are desperately appealing for the Department to release the spectrum. It will provide needed relief to providers, as long as it is not monopolised as it was alleged in a spectrum scandal last year.

It’ll be a sensitive topic to approach, considering the arrest of the last telecoms minister, A Raja, who was accused of favouring certain companies and selling spectrum for peanuts. There were allegations at the time that the reportedly under-the-table deals could have cost the country up to $39 billion. 

Meanwhile, flogging the remaining spectrum will give India a much needed boost to pay as economic growth is beginning to stagnate. 

CDMA and 2G remains incredibly important for India’s ecosystem. 

Controlling spectrum is vitally important for operators and network carriers. Potential for a new auction process will, no doubt, have some execs rubbing their palms together and salivating, as the possibility of a bidding war to sway carrier influence opens. 

Nokia on Microsoft takeover: "It's Bollocks"

Nokia thinks rumours of a Microsoft takeover are “bollocks,” a spokesperson said to a roomful of journalists at its headquarters in Espoo. Espoo? Something smells funny, yeah. 

It is still a product company and it insists that it will continue to make handsets. Judging from the reception of its N9, it could well do that. There are reports via recent leak that its first Windows Phone handset looks markedly similar. 

Despite the quietly vocal unhappiness from within its own ranks, Nokia insists that this is a partnership of equals. Nokia says those still curious about the interest from Microsoft and a possibility of a takeover should get their heads examined. “It’s a great story for a conspiracy theorist,” a spokesperson told us. “I can’t debate with conspiracy theorists. They’re tied in with their opinions.”

While it hopes to crack the Western market with its Microsoft phones, the emerging market is a key sector for Nokia. Especially the complex Chinese market where it faces a dual threat from ZTE and Huawei.

China is a “very big market, but we have a hell of a lot of competition,” Blanca Juti told TechEye. “It’s a market where – I’ve seen different cycles – I’ve seen high and low market share and how we regained it back. It’s challenging but we have a very strong brand preference and we are doing well.

“It’s very centred to us in mobile phones. We think about China a lot. We have designers and R&D there, because it’s a market with enormous vibrancy.

“India and China are very, very important.”

Nokia feels its time in India is going well. With the new dual SIM futurephones on the way it thinks it has the market cracked. The next strategic point to reach is a billion customers in data.

“That’s the focus,” Juti said. “A lot of people who have a phone but don’t do data. And there’s a lot of people who don’t yet have a phone. We know that there’s a huge opportunity there and that this is just about to take off.”

“We want to go in those markets and provide pleasing and pleasant access to end users,” she added.

Another area Nokia is looking at is the high growth telecoms and infrastructure scene in African countries. As a company that works closely with operators, will we see bloodied noses in a rush for spectrum allocation and auctioning?

Blanca wouldn’t let on too much. But she did say, “In most markets, it has been highly disruptive.” There’s a space for Nokia because “In Africa, the manufacturers bluff signal strength,” but “Nokia is a principled company.”

*EyeSee Nokia still loves its 2G. There’s a whole room for it.