bell mobility

Bell Mobility covers 70% of Manitobans with DC-HSPA+

Bell Mobility has announced the completion of the first phase of its HSPA+ mobile broadband network expansion in the province of Manitoba. Now it covers 70% of the province with data speeds of up to 42Mbps via dual carrier (DC) HSPA+ technology, with expected average download speeds of 7Mbps to 14Mbps.

The operator markets HSPA-based mobile services as ‘4G’, in line with most North American cellcos.

Bell’s national HSPA+ network (built via an infrastructure cost-sharing partnership with rival Telus) covered 97% of Canada’s population by the end of June 2012. The peak theoretical download/upload speeds was 21Mbps/5.76Mbps (typical 3.5Mbps-8Mbps download) whereas sections upgraded to DC-HSPA+ covered more than 70% of the country’s population by that date.

Bell also offers 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) services, which it launched in September 2011 before expanding to 16 cities by end-June 2012, offering handset, tablet and dedicated data device users typical speeds ranging between 12Mbps and 25Mbps, with peak theoretical speeds of up to 75Mbps.


Slovakia selecting advisor for LTE auction

A tender was issued by the Telecommunications Office of the Slovak Republic (TU SR) for an internationally experienced consultant to provide expert support and advice in the preparation of an electronic auction for the vacant frequency bands in the 800MHz, 1800MHz and 2600MHz ranges, earmarked for 4G mobile broadband licenses.

The adviser will provide technical support and advice particularly in determining the asking price for the allocation of individual frequency blocks as well as rules and procedures of the e-auction, via which the country’s cellcos intend to gain a comprehensive set of frequency resources for providing nationwide Long Term Evolution (LTE) services. The deadline for requests for tender documents is 5 September 2012 and the deadline for submission of applications is 17 September 2012.


Nokia Loses Appeal in 3G Patent Lawsuits

According to InterDigital, it has won an appeal against an earlier verdict that Nokia had not infringed its 3G patents.

Back in July, 2011, InterDigital filed the complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission seeking to block Nokia, Huawei, and ZTE from importing products that InterDigital said infringe on seven of its patents. Specifically, InterDigital is asked the ITC to disallow the offenders from importing phones, USB laptop dongles, mobile hotspots, and tablets that operate with either 3G WCDMA or 3G CDMA technology.

The Federal Circuit held that the Commission had been mistaken in interpreting certain claim terms in InterDigital’s patents. Those interpretations, which had led to the Commission’s finding of no infringement and therefore no violation as to the two patents that were the subject of the appeal, were reversed.

InterDigital says that the Federal Circuit adopted its interpretation of the claim terms at issue and remanded the case back to the Commission for further proceedings. In addition, the Federal Circuit rejected Nokia’s argument that InterDigital did not satisfy the domestic industry requirement, which is required to obtain relief from the Commission.

By rule, Nokia and the Commission have 45 days to petition for rehearing of the Federal Circuit’s decision and may petition the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari within 90 days after entry of the judgment or a request for rehearing is denied, whichever is later.

If successfully sent back to the US ITC, then InterDigital said that it will seek an exclusion order barring entry into the USA of all infringing Nokia products employing 3G WCDMA technology.



AT&T Buys Nextwave Wireless for $650 Million to Secure Access to Additional LTE Radio Spectrum

­USA based AT&T plans to acquire NextWave Wireless, a holder of spectrum that could be used for mobile data services, for US$650 million including the settlement of its debt. NextWave holds licenses in the Wireless Communication Services (WCS) and Advanced Wireless Service (AWS) bands.

Most of the price AT&T would pay for NextWave, about $550 million, would be for the company’s debt. AT&T would also pay about $25 million for NextWave’s equity, plus a contingent payment of as much as $25 million. It expects to close the transaction, pending approval by the FCC and other regulators, by the end of this year

WCS spectrum was first auctioned in 1997, but has not been utilized for mobile Internet usage due to technical rules designed to avoid possible interference to satellite radio users in adjacent spectrum bands.

AT&T said the proposed WCS rule changes and NextWave acquisition represent an alternative approach to creating additional wireless network capacity to help support wireless data usage on smartphones and tablets. If approved, the proposal will enable AT&T to begin initial deployment of WCS spectrum for added LTE capacity, in approximately three years.

NextWave’s debtholders have agreed to the terms, and a majority of its shareholders have agreed to support the transaction.


RIM Launches LTE Variant of Playbook Tablet

A LTE variant of BlackBerry PlayBook tablet with built-in support for cellular networks is launched by RIM. The device will first launch in Canada but it will eventually launch in the U.S. The device has largely been overshadowed by tablets with more robust ecosystems, including the iPad and Android devices.

“We’re excited to bring customers the first BlackBerry PlayBook tablet with support for 4G LTE networks,” said David J. Smith, Executive Vice President, Mobile Computing at Research In Motion.

The device offers the same 7-inch display as the original, as well as HD front and rear facing cameras, HDMI-out, 32GB of storage, stereo speakers and more. It also will launch running the company’s latest BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2 software.

The LTE BlackBerry PlayBook tablet is also enterprise ready. It can be easily managed with BlackBerry Mobile Fusion and includes BlackBerry Balance technology.

Additional variants of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet supporting various cellular networks are expected to be available in the coming months from carriers in the USA, Europe, South Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.


Huawei to enhance cooperation with HiSilicon

Huawei Technologies will revamp its policy on chipsets for smartphones and enhance cooperation with its chipset subsidiary HiSilicon Technologies for the development of smartphones.

Huawei aims to reduce the number of platforms in the development of smartphones, with plans to discontinue the adoption of Texas Instruments’ OMAP platform after the release of the dual-core Ascend P1.

Huawei will launch its quad-core smartphone, the Ascend D1 Quad, in the fourth quarter this year, using HiSilicon’s quad-core K3V2 CPUs. Huawei also plans to roll out four smartphone models built on HiSilicon’s platform in 2013, including LTE-enabled models which support LTE Category 4 with data rates of 150Mbps. Huawei’s quad-core tablet PC, the MediaPad 10 FHD, will also adopt a HiSilicon 1.5GHz quad-core CPU, and come with a 10-inch IPS display and thickness of only 8.8mm. Huawei plans to introduce the model, which runs on Android 4.0.3, in Taiwan in the fourth quarter.

globe telecom

Globe sets sights on CURE 3G spectrum

Globe Telecom of the Philippines is interested in bidding for the 3G frequencies surrendered to the regulator the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) by PLDT’s Connectivity Unlimited Resource Enterprises (CURE, trading as Red Mobile) unit. CURE handed back the spectrum allocation as a condition of its parent company’s takeover of fellow Filipino operator Digital Telecommunications Inc (Digitel) from the Gokongwei group last year. Under the NTC’s terms and conditions, CURE and all its remaining assets, including its congressional operating franchise and 10MHz 3G license, have been returned to the watchdog for reallocation via auction. In confirming its intention to bid for the frequencies, Globe’s head of corporate and legal services, Froilan M Castelo, said: ‘We’ve been vocal about our interest to bid for CURE’s 3G spectrum as part of our drive to provide our subscribers with a better network, especially with the growth of smartphones and the explosion of mobile data use … We thank the NTC for closely monitoring post-merger activities and ensuring that all agreements have been fulfilled.’

e plus

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.

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