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E-Plus tests 1800MHz LTE network

E-Plus has announced it successfully completed tests of a Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in the 1800MHz frequency band. The tests were carried out in Bonn last month and involved four LTE base stations supplied by Swedish equipment vendor Ericsson and core network components provided by China’s ZTE. In June 2012 Germany’s telecoms regulator, the Federal Network Agency (FNA, also known as Bundesnetzagentur or BNetzA), approved an application from E-Plus to allow the mobile network operator to use its 1800MHz spectrum for the provision of mobile broadband services, such as LTE. Until then the frequencies had been reserved for GSM services only.


Small Cells and HetNets from Alcatel Lucent, NSN and Ericsson Pay off Now for 3G Networks

­According to the Strategy Analytics report, small cells leverage next generation architecture but also bring the biggest immediate financial and performance benefits to 2.5G and 3G networks. Small cells are a very cost competitive way to upgrade 3G macro cells. Pico or Metro Cells have 25% lower Total Cost of Operations (TCO).

“In this new analysis small cells cost significantly less than 3G macro cells for the same coverage area but slightly more than new 4G/LTE macro cells,” noted Sue Rudd, Director Service Provider Analysis. “This is largely due to the ‘consumer electronics-like’ vulnerability of very large numbers of small cell sites that require installation and ongoing maintenance.”

“Cost is not the only reason to choose small cells since they offer faster installation for rapid upgrades in throughput,” added Phil Kendall, Director Wireless Operator Strategies “Estimates vary but small cells will probably increase throughput by over 200% as a ‘HetNet underlay ‘ in legacy 3G ‘hot zones’ or at the edge of macro cells where data throughput is poor. Throughput improvements could reduce Cost per Mbps by 30%.

Small cells will enhance both operator performance and profitability if deployed appropriately and the report identifies seven ‘use cases’ for small cell deployment. The market opportunity for these will be estimated in a forthcoming outlook and forecast.


Verizon Wireless to Pay US$i.25 million for Blocking Mobile Data Tethering on LTE Devices

­Verizon Wireless is no longer allowed to block apps that allow people to use their 4G LTE smartphones as Wi-Fi hotspots. Verizon Wireless has also agreed to pay US$1.25 million to settle a dispute with the telecoms regulator.

The FCC has been investigating Verizon’s business practices for the last 10 months to make sure that its 4G LTE service complies with so-called open access rules that were established as part of the 700 MHz spectrum auction in 2008. Verizon is using this spectrum to offer its 4G LTE service.

Verizon Wireless offers customers its LTE service on C Block spectrum. Verizon Wireless bid at auction to acquire that spectrum, understanding that it was accompanied by open device and application obligations. Specifically, licensees offering service on C Block spectrum “shall not deny, limit, or restrict the ability of their customers to use the devices and applications of their choice on the licensee’s C Block network,” subject to narrow exceptions.

The FCC’s enforcement bureau launched an investigation after reports suggested that Verizon Wireless had successfully requested that an app store block Verizon’s customers from accessing tethering applications from its online market.

The Commission also received an informal complaint alleging that Verizon Wireless had violated the FCC’s C Block rules by making a request to an app store to block Verizon’s customers from accessing tethering applications from its online market.

Under the terms of the settlement, Verizon Wireless will make a voluntary payment to the Treasury in the amount of $1.25 million, and has committed to notifying the application store operator that it no longer objects to the availability of the tethering applications to C-Block network customers in the operator’s online market.

In addition, the company recently revised its service offerings such that consumers on usage-based pricing plans may tether, using any application, without paying an additional fee.

Oranges Kenya Launches HSPA+ Upgrade in The Capital City

­Orange Kenya has launched a HSPA+ upgrade in the capital city. Orange Internet users will now be able to experience faster speeds on their e-mails, social media platforms and general browsing as Integrated Telecommunications service provider Orange opened up its 42 Mbps network in Nairobi.The launch comes almost a year since the launch of its 3G network.

Telkom Kenya CEO Mickael Ghossein said  “Orange is continuously working on improving its data services. Scaling up of our network is part of our aggressive campaign of capturing the data market share, as we strive to maintain our strategy of being the best in data In Kenya. Already we have opened up our 3G network into Malindi and are looking into opening up the same in Eldoret and Nakuru.”

Ghossein further explained that the new Orange Internet Everywhere 42 Mbps modem will also automatically connect to 21 Mbps speeds while in a 3G coverage area or switch to EDGE if a user moves out of 3G coverage.

Orange customers will be able to purchase already existing prepaid data bundles or the unlimited data offerings to top up this device.

According to the latest quarterly industry statistics released by industry regulator the Communications Commission of Kenya, Internet penetration rose from 28.7 percent recorded in the previous quarter to 30 percent during the latest quarter under review.

Compared with the previous quarter, Telkom Kenya is the only operator that recorded growth in the market share of 7.7 percentage points as other operators experienced reductions or minimal growth in the market share by subscription.

Polaris wireless location accuracy on 3G network

Polaris Wireless has announced the successful completion of field trials for wireless location accuracy on 3G networks to prove compliance with India’s Department Of Telecommunications (DoT) May 2011 mandate for location-based services, with a tier I Indian wireless operator.

The DoT mandate specifies accuracy levels of 30 to 95 percent within two years of adoption for a range of 50 to 300 meters in urban areas. Polaris Wireless achieved accuracy levels of 62 to 99 percent in the 3G field trials in Kolkata. Combined with its previous trial results, Polaris Wireless is the first location solutions provider to exceed the DoT mandate in all radio access technologies (2G/3G) across all environments, proving the attainability of the mandate benchmarks.

said Srinivas Varadarajan, Polaris Wireless Vice President of sales and business development, Asia said “We are very pleased with the performance of Polaris WLSTM in a 3G network environment.”

In April the company revealed that it had exceeded the DoT mandate in suburban and rural environments and remote areas in North-East region for a 2G network. Previous trials in Bangalore also exceeded the DoT requirements in urban and indoor environments, but this is the first such trial in a 3G network environment in India. Polaris WLSTM is based on the 3GPP standardized RF Pattern Matching (RFPM) approach.

Polaris Wireless went in to joint ventures with number of key players in the telecommunications eco-system in India. The company previously announced a partnership with CanvasM (a division of Tech Mahindra) and has recently expanded its India ‘Centre of Excellence’ development and operations organization, which was established in 2005 in India.



Huawei starts LTE demo in Belgrade

Huawei Demo Truck under the slogan ‘Connected Possibilities’, has arrived again in Serbian capital Belgrade, this time presenting mobile broadband and LTE services, as well as related applications and service platforms. Huawei said it’s helping Telenor Serbia develop its network. The company added that the introduction of the 4G network in Serbia depends on several factors, and that operators first must receive a license, for which regulator Ratel is responsible.


Nokia Siemens Network Wins Australian Network Upgrade Contract

­Nokia Siemens Networks has been selected by the Australia’s Optus to carry out modernization of the mobile network, re-farming the 900MHz GSM frequency band, and providing infrastructure and services for LTE rollout in Sydney and Perth.

Optus’ LTE, GSM and 3G networks will be monitored, managed and optimized by Nokia Siemens Networks’ unified network management system, NetAct. Nokia Siemens Networks will also be the sole LTE core provider for Optus.

Besides providing the in-house services capability to Optus, Nokia Siemens Networks will also provide a range of services, including network implementation, spectrum re-farming, radio planning, optimization, project management, and care including spare part management, software maintenance, third-party software support and training. Some of these services will be delivered remotely through Nokia Siemens Networks’ Global Delivery Centers. Nokia Siemens Networks will also implement its In Building Solution (IBS) that enables reliable mobile broadband connectivity by significantly improving network capacity and coverage inside buildings.


Three 4G Licenses Awarded by Chilean Regulator

Chile’s three mobile networks, Movistar, Entel and Claro have been granted 4G licenses after making payments of US$12 million in total.

The three networks were each awarded 20Mhz of spectrum, with the three blocks awarded based on price tendered. Claro received Block A, then Entel followed by Movistar.

Under the terms of the licenses, the companies have a year to launch LTE based services, and two years to expand coverage to 543 rural communities which currently lack broadband internet access.

Jorge Atton, head of Chilean regulator Subtel, said the new spectrum will allow the operators to offer speeds of up to 5 Mb/s, around ten times faster than what they can currently offer.

According to the latest Wireless Intelligence data, Entel leads the Chilean mobile market with an estimated 10.1 million connections in Q2, followed by Movistar (9.6 million) and Claro (5.7 million).

Optus launches LTE services for SME, government users in Perth and Sydney

Optus, the Australia’s second largest mobile network operator by subscribers has announced a raft of network-related developments, the most notable of which is arguably the launch of commercial Long Term Evolution-based (LTE-based) services for SME and government customers in Sydney and Perth which was announced on 31st July,2012.

As the next stage of its 4G rollout strategy, Optus has confirmed the expanded availability of services offered over its in-deployment Frequency Division Duplex LTE (FDD-LTE) network, noting that customers in the two aforementioned cites will able to connect either via USB mobile broadband dongles or mobile Wi-Fi hotpots. Two 4G-compatible devices will be offered by Optus, with those being the ‘Optus 4G USB’ and the ‘Optus 4G mobile Wi-Fi modem’. Both devices will use dual mode 4G/3G HSPA technology enabling them to operate across the 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2100MHz spectrum bands.

Optus has also announced that, in preparation for the construction of a national Time Division Duplex LTE (TDD-LTE) network in 2013, it has begun trials of such services at the Optus Campus in Macquarie Park and St Marys in western Sydney. Conducting its first public demonstration of the technology the operator achieved a peak site throughput capacity of over 200Mbps and a consistent per-user range of speeds between 25Mbps and 87Mbps.


Etisalat Settles Long Running Pakistan Dispute

It has been reported that The Pakistan government and UAE based Etisalat have finally settled the long running dispute over the price paid for a stake in Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL).

Back in 2006 Etisalat offered US$2.6 billion for 26% stake in PTCL in staggered payments but has withheld US$800 million in a dispute over the the transfer of assets from the government to the telecoms operator.

According to the terms and conditions of the agreement, Etisalat was due to pay US$1.4 billion within one month after the signing of the deal in early 2006 and the remaining amount of US$1.2 billion were to be paid in equal installments over the period of 4 and a half years, with one installment every 6 months.

Under the settlement agreement Etisalat is to make a payment of US$700 million, which is a reduction of US$100 million based on the valuation of the assets not handed over by the government.

Etisalat long standing plans to increase its holding to a controlling 51% stake have been on hold until the disagreement fully is straightened out.

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