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Latest news and information on 3G, 4G, 5G wireless and technologies in general.

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  • 11/18/15--03:00: Cellular IoT (CIoT) or LoRa?
  • Back in September, 3GPP reached a decision to standardise NarrowBand IOT (NB-IOT). Now people familiar with the evolution of LTE-A UE categories may be a bit surprised with this. Upto Release-11, the lowest data rate device was UE Cat-1, which could do 10Mbps in DL and 5Mbps in UL. This was power hungry and not really that useful for low data rate sensor devices. Then we got Cat-0 as part of Release-12 which simplified the design and have 1Mbps in DL & UL.

    Things start to become a bit complex in Release-13. The above picture from Qualcomm explains the evolution and use cases very well. However, to put more details to the above picture, here is some details from the 4G Americas whitepaper (embedded below)


    In support of IoT, 3GPP has been working on all several related solutions and generating an abundance of LTE-based and GSM-based proposals. As a consequence, 3GPP has been developing three different cellular IoT standard- solutions in Release-13:
    • LTE-M, based on LTE evolution
    • EC-GSM, a narrowband solution based on GSM evolution, and
    • NB-LTE, a narrowband cellular IoT solution, also known as Clean Slate technologies
    However, in October 2015, the 3GPP RAN body mutually agreed to study the combination of the two different narrowband IoT technical solutions, EC-GSM and NB-LTE, for standardization as a single NB-IoT technology until the December 2015 timeframe. This is in consideration of the need to support different operation modes and avoid divided industry support for two different technical solutions. It has been agreed that NB-IoT would support three modes of operation as follows:
    • ‘Stand-alone operation’ utilizing, for example, the spectrum currently being used by GERAN systems as a replacement of one or more GSM carriers,
    • ‘Guard band operation’ utilizing the unused resource blocks within a LTE carrier’s guard-band, and
    • ‘In-band operation’ utilizing resource blocks within a normal LTE carrier.

    Following is a brief description of the various standard solutions being developed at 3GPP by October 2015:

    LTE-M: 3GPP RAN is developing LTE-Machine-to-Machine (LTE-M) specifications for supporting LTE-based low cost CIoT in Rel-12 (Low-Cost MTC) with further enhancements planned for Rel-13 (LTE eMTC). LTE-M supports data rates of up to 1 Mbps with lower device cost and power consumption and enhanced coverage and capacity on the existing LTE carrier.

    EC-GSM: In the 3GPP GERAN #62 study item “Cellular System Support for Ultra Low Complexity and Low Throughput Internet of Things”, narrowband (200 kHz) CIoT solutions for migration of existing GSM carriers sought to enhance coverage by 20 dB compared to legacy GPRS, and achieve a ten year battery life for devices that were also cost efficient. Performance objectives included improved indoor coverage, support for massive numbers of low-throughput devices, reduced device complexity, improved power efficiency and latency. Extended Coverage GSM (EC-GSM) was fully compliant with all five performance objectives according to the August 2015 TSG GERAN #67 meeting report. GERAN will continue with EC-GSM as a work item within GERAN with the expectation that standards will be frozen by March 2016. This solution necessarily requires a GSM network.

    NB-LTE: In August 2015, work began in 3GPP RAN Rel-13 on a new narrowband radio access solution also termed as Clean Slate CIoT. The Clean Slate approach covers the Narrowband Cellular IoT (NB-CIoT), which was the only one of six proposed Clean Slate technologies compliant against a set of performance objectives (as noted previously) in the TSG GERAN #67 meeting report and will be part of Rel-13 to be frozen in March 2016. Also contending in the standards is Narrowband LTE Evolution (NB-LTE) which has the advantage of easy deployment across existing LTE networks.

    Rel-12 introduces important improvements for M2M like lower device cost and longer battery life. Further improvements for M2M are envisioned in Rel-13 such as enhanced coverage, lower device cost and longer battery life. The narrowband CIoT solutions also aim to provide lower cost and device power consumption and better coverage; however, they will also have reduced data rates. NB CleanSlate CIoT is expected to support data rates of 160bps with extended coverage.

    Table 7.1 provides some comparison of the three options to be standardized, as well as the 5G option, and shows when each release is expected to be finalized.

    Another IoT technology that has been giving the cellular IoT industry run for money is the LoRa alliance. I blogged about LoRa in May and it has been a very popular post. A extract from a recent article from Rethink Research as follows:

    In the past few weeks, the announcements have been ramping up. Semtech (the creator of the LoRa protocol itself, and the key IP owner) has been most active, announcing that The Lace Company, a wireless operator, has deployed LoRa network architecture in over a dozen Russian cities, claiming to cover 30m people over 9,000km2. Lace is currently aiming at building out Russian coverage, but will be able to communicate to other LoRa devices over the LoRa cloud, as the messages are managed on cloud servers once they have been transmitted from end-device to base unit via LoRaWAN.

    “Our network allows the user to connect to an unlimited number of smart sensors,” said Igor Shirokov, CEO of Lace Ltd. “We are providing connectivity to any device that supports the open LoRaWAN standard. Any third party company can create new businesses and services in IoT and M2M market based on our network and the LoRaWAN protocol.”

    Elsewhere, Saudi Arabian telco Du has launched a test LoRa network in Dubai, as part of a smart city test project. “This is a defining moment in the UAE’s smart city transformation,” said Carlos Domingo, senior executive officer at Du. “We need a new breed of sensor friendly network to establish the smart city ecosystem. Thanks to Du, this capability now exists in the UAE Today we’ve shown how our network capabilities and digital know-how can deliver the smart city ecosystem Dubai needs. We will not stop in Dubai; our deployment will continue country-wide throughout the UAE.”

    But the biggest recent LoRa news is that Orange has committed itself to a national French network rollout, following an investment in key LoRa player Actility. Orange has previously trialed a LoRa network in Grenoble, and has said that it opted for LoRa over Sigfox thanks to its more open ecosystem – although it’s worth clarifying here that Semtech still gets a royalty on every LoRa chip that’s made, and will continue to do so until it chooses not to or instead donates the IP to the non-profit LoRa Alliance itself.

    It would be interesting to see if this LoRa vs CIoT ends up the same way as WiMAX vs LTE or not.

    Embedded below is the 4G Americas whitepaper as well as a LoRa presentation from Semtech:






    Further reading:



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    Picture Source: Cisco

    The clouds are up in the sky whereas the fog is low, on the ground. This is how Fog Computing is referred to as opposed to the cloud. Fog sits at the edge (that is why edge computing) to reduce the latency and do an initial level of processing thereby reducing the amount of information that needs to be exchanged with the cloud.

    The same paradigm is being used in case of 5G to refer to edge computing, which is required when we are referring to 1ms latency in certain cases.

    As this whitepaper from Ovum & Eblink explains:

    Mobile Edge Computing (MEC): Where new processing capabilities are introduced in the base station for new applications, with a new split of functions and a new interface between the baseband unit (BBU) and the remote radio unit (RRU).
    ...
    Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) is an ETSI initiative, where processing and storage capabilities are placed at the base station in order to create new application and service opportunities. This new initiative is called “fog computing” where computing, storage, and network capabilities are deployed nearer to the end user.

    MEC contrasts with the centralization principles discussed above for C-RAN and Cloud RAN. Nevertheless, MEC deployments may be built upon existing C-RAN or Cloud RAN infrastructure and take advantage of the backhaul/fronthaul links that have been converted from legacy to these new centralized architectures.

    MEC is a long-term initiative and may be deployed during or after 5G if it gains support in the 5G standardization process. Although it is in contrast to existing centralization efforts, Ovum expects that MEC could follow after Cloud RAN is deployed in large scale in advanced markets. Some operators may also skip Cloud RAN and migrate from C-RAN to MEC directly, but MEC is also likely to require the structural enhancements that C-RAN and Cloud RAN will introduce into the mobile network.

    The biggest challenge facing MEC in the current state of the market is its very high costs and questionable new service/revenue opportunities. Moreover, several operators are looking to invest in C-RAN and Cloud RAN in the near future, which may require significant investment to maintain a healthy network and traffic growth. In a way, MEC is counter to the centralization principle of Centralized/Cloud RAN and Ovum expects it will only come into play when localized applications are perceived as revenue opportunities.

    And similarly this Interdigital presentation explains:

    Extends cloud computing and services to the edge of the network and into devices. Similar to cloud, fog provides network, compute, storage (caching) and services to end users. The distinguishing feature of Fog reduces latency & improves QoS resulting in a superior user experience

    Here is a small summary of the patents with IoT and Fog Computing that has been flied.




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  • 11/28/15--11:15: 5G, NFV and Network Slicing

  • 5G networks have multifaceted requirements where the network needs to be optimised for data rate, delay and connection numbers. While some industry analysts suspect that these requirements cannot be met by a single network, vendors suggest that Network Slicing will allow all these requirements to be met by a single network.

    Ericsson's whitepaper provides a good definition of what network slicing means:

    A logical instantiation of a network is often called a network slice. Network slices are possible to create with both legacy platforms and network functions, but virtualization technologies substantially lower barriers to using the technology, for example through increased flexibility and decreased costs.
    ...
    Another aspect of management and network slicing is setting up separate management domains for different network slices. This may allow for completely separate management of different parts of the network that are used for different purposes. Examples of use cases include mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) and enterprise solutions. This kind of network slice would, in current Evolved Packet Core (EPC) networks, only cover the PDN gateway (PGW) and the policy control resource function (PCRF). However, for machine type communication (MTC) and machine-tomachine (M2M) solutions, it is likely that it would also cover the Mobile Management Entities (MMEs) and Serving Gateways (SGWs).


    NGMN came out with the 5G whitepaper which touched on this subject too: 

    Figure above illustrates an example of multiple 5G slices concurrently operated on the same infrastructure. For example, a 5G slice for typical smartphone use can be realized by setting fully-fledged functions distributed across the network. Security, reliability and latency will be critical for a 5G slice supporting automotive use case. For such a slice, all the necessary (and potentially dedicated) functions can be instantiated at the cloud edge node, including the necessary vertical application due to latency constraints. To allow on-boarding of such a vertical application on a cloud node, sufficient open interfaces should be defined. For a 5G slice supporting massive machine type devices (e.g., sensors), some basic C-plane functions can be configured, omitting e.g., any mobility functions, with contentionbased resources for the access. There could be other dedicated slices operating in parallel, as well as a generic slice providing basic best-effort connectivity, to cope with unknown use cases and traffic. Irrespective of the slices to be supported by the network, the 5G network should contain functionality that ensures controlled and secure operation of the network end-to-end and at any circumstance.


    Netmanias has a detailed article on this topic which is quite interesting too, its available here.

    Recently, South Korean operator SK Telecom and Ericsson concluded a successful trial of this technology, see here. Ericsson is also working with NTT Docomo on 5G including network slicing, see here.

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    I got an opportunity this week to attend an interesting 'Sir Henry Royce Memorial Lecture 2015' organised by The IET. The topic of the presentation was "Mobility for the 21st Century".

    Professor John Miles reflected upon the reasons why the car dominates our urban environments and explored the challenges of freeing our cities from the log-jam of traffic congestion and associated pollution which currently seems inevitable. He proposition that, to be successful, future public transport and shared ridership systems must simply represent a better journey option than taking the car. The question is, as engineers, how we might meet this challenge and deliver success in the coming decades?

    Some reactions from twitter:




    Anyway, the video of the presentation is as follows:





    Related news:


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    ITU recently held a workshop on "Voice and Video Services Interoperability Over Fixed-Mobile Hybrid Environments,Including IMT-Advanced (LTE)" in Geneva, Switzerland on 1st December 2015.

    The following is the summary of that workshop:



    I also like this presentation by R&S:



    All the presentations from the workshop are available online from ITU website here.

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    3GPP announced back in October that the next evolution of the 3GPP LTE standards will be known as LTE-Advanced Pro. I am sure this will be shortened to LTE-AP in presentations and discussions but should not be confused with access points.

    The 3GPP press release mentioned the following:

    LTE-Advanced Pro will allow mobile standards users to associate various new features – from the Release’s freeze in March 2016 – with a distinctive marker that evolves the LTE and LTE-Advanced technology series.

    The new term is intended to mark the point in time where the LTE platform has been dramatically enhanced to address new markets as well as adding functionality to improve efficiency.

    The major advances achieved with the completion of Release 13 include: MTC enhancements, public safety features – such as D2D and ProSe - small cell dual-connectivity and architecture, carrier aggregation enhancements, interworking with Wi-Fi, licensed assisted access (at 5 GHz), 3D/FD-MIMO, indoor positioning, single cell-point to multi-point and work on latency reduction. Many of these features were started in previous Releases, but will become mature in Release 13.

    LTE-evolution timelinea 350pxAs well as sign-posting the achievements to date, the introduction of this new marker confirms the need for LTE enhancements to continue along their distinctive development track, in parallel to the future proposals for the 5G era.


    Some vendors have been exploring ways of differentiating the advanced features of Release-13 and have been using the term 4.5G. While 3GPP does not officially support 4.5G (or even 4G) terminology, a new term has been welcomed by operators and vendors alike.

    I blogged about Release-13 before, here, which includes a 3GPP presentation and 4G Americas whitepaper. Recently Nokia (Networks) released a short and sweet video and a whitepaper. Both are embedded below:



    The Nokia whitepaper (table of contents below) can be downloaded from here.



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    One of the things that the World Radio Conference 2015 (WRC-15) enabled was to provide a universal spectrum allocation for flight tracking. What this means in simple terms is that once completely implemented, flights will hopefully no longer be lost, like MH370. It will now be possible to accurately track flights with satellites across nearly 100% of the globe, up from 30% today, by 2018.

    To make you better understand this, see this video below:


    Automatic Dependent Surveillance (ADS) is a surveillance technique in which aircraft automatically provide, via a data link, data derived from on-board navigation and position-fixing systems, including aircraft identification, four-dimensional position and additional data as appropriate. ADS data is displayed to the controller on a screen that replicates a radar screen. ICAO Doc 4444 PANS-ATM notes that air traffic control service, may be predicated on the use of ADS provided that identification of the aircraft involved is unambiguously established. Two main versions of ADS are currently in use:

    • Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) is a function on an aircraft or surface vehicle that broadcasts position, altitude, vector and other information for use by other aircraft, vehicles and by ground facilities. It has become the main application of the ADS principle.
    • Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Contract (ADS-C) functions similarly to ADS-B but the data is transmitted based on an explicit contract between an ANSP and an aircraft. This contract may be a demand contract, a periodic contract, an event contract and/or an emergency contract. ADS-C is most often employed in the provision of ATS over transcontinental or transoceanic areas which see relatively low traffic levels. 

    The ITU press release on this topic:

    The frequency band 1087.7-1092.3 MHz has been allocated to the aeronautical mobile-satellite service (Earth-to-space) for reception by space stations of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) emissions from aircraft transmitters.

    The frequency band 1087.7-1092.3 MHz is currently being utilized for the transmission of ADS-B signals from aircraft to terrestrial stations within line-of-sight. The World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15) has now allocated this frequency band in the Earth-to-space direction to enable transmissions from aircraft to satellites. This extends ADS-B signals beyond line-of-sight to facilitate reporting the position of aircraft equipped with ADS-B anywhere in the world, including oceanic, polar and other remote areas.

    WRC-15 recognized that as the standards and recommended practices (SARP) for systems enabling position determination and tracking of aircraft are developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the performance criteria for satellite reception of ADS-B signals will also need to be addressed by ICAO.

    This agreement follows the disappearance and tragic loss of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 in March 2014 with 239 people on board, which spurred worldwide discussions on global flight tracking and the need for coordinated action by ITU and other relevant organizations.

    For more details see: globalflightsafety.org


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  • 12/25/15--06:12: Top 10 posts for 2015
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    A good way to start 2016 is by a lecture delivered by Andy Sutton, EE at the IET conference 'Towards 5G Mobile Technology – Vision to Reality'. The slides and the video are both embedded below. The video also contains Q&A at the end which people may find useful.




    Videos of all other presentations from the conference are available here for anyone interested.

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  • 01/09/16--05:58: 5G Spectrum Discussions
  • While most people are looking at 5G from the point of new technologies, innovative use cases and even lumping everything under sun as part of 5G, many are unaware of the importance of spectrum and the recently concluded ITU World Radio Conference 2015 (WRC-15).

    As can be seen in the picture above, quite a few bands above 24GHz were identified for 5G. Some of these bands have an already existing allocation for mobile service on primary basis. What this means is that mobile services can be deployed in these bands. For 3G and 4G, the spectrum used was in bands below 4GHz, with 1800MHz being the most popular band. Hence there was never a worry for those high frequency bands being used for mobile communication.

    As these bands have now been selected for study by ITU, 5G in these bands cannot be deployed until after WRC-19, where the results of these studies will be presented. There is a small problem though. Some of the bands that were initially proposed for 5G, are not included in this list of bands to be studied. This means that there is a possibility that some of the proponent countries can go ahead and deploy 5G in those bands.

    For three bands that do not already have mobile services as primary allocation, additional effort will be required to have mobile as primary allocation for them. This is assuming that no problems are identified as a result of studies going to be conducted for feasibility of these bands for 5G.


    To see real benefits of 5G, an operator would need to use a combination of low and high frequency bands as can be seen in the picture above. Low frequencies for coverage and high frequencies for capacity and higher data rates.


    As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, 5G will be coming in two phases. Phase 1 will be Rel-15 in H2, 2018 and Phase 2, Rel-16, in Dec. 2019. Phase 1 of 5G will generally consist of deployment in lower frequency bands as the higher frequency bands will probably get an approval after WRC-19. Once these new bands have been cleared for 5G deployment, Phase 2 of 5G would be ready for deployment of these high frequency bands.

    This also brings us to the point that 5G phase 1 wont be significantly different from LTE-A Pro (or 4.5G). It may be slightly faster and maybe a little bit more efficient.

    One thing I suspect that will happen is start of switching off of 3G networks. The most commonly used 3G (UMTS) frequency is 2100MHz (or 2.1GHz). If a network has to keep some 3G network running, it will generally be this frequency. This will also allow other international users to roam onto that network. All other 3G frequencies would soon start migrating to 4G or maybe even 5G phase 1.

    Anyway, 2 interesting presentations on 5G access and Future of mmWave spectrum are embedded below. They are both available to download from the UK Spectrum Policy Forum (SPF) notes page here.








    Further reading:



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    Here are some gadgets from the recently concluded Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2016. These are all collected from the tweets and there is a Youtube video below if you are interested. There are just too many interesting things to list but do let me know which ones are your favourites.






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    I was fortunate to be able to hear the IET Appleton lecture last week. The good thing about these lectures are that the speakers get plenty of time to talk about the subject of interest and as a result they can cover the topic in much greater depth.

    Some interesting tweets from the evening:




    Here is the video:



    As I was sitting in the front, I managed to ask a question - "5G is going to be evolution and revolution. Will it be revolution first then evolution or vice versa". If you cant wait to hear the answer, you can jump to 1:21:30 in the video.

    The answer also ties in nicely with my Linkedin post on '5G: Mine is bigger than yours'. 

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  • 01/30/16--10:14: SDN & NFV lecture
  • I have been meaning to add this interesting lecture delivered by Dr. Yaakov Stein of RAD at IETF.

    The video, which cannot be embedded, is available here. If you cant wait to get into the main presentation, jump to 19.40 on the time bar at the bottom.

    The slides from the presentation are embedded below.



    Assuming that you understand NFV and SDN well, have a look at another interesting whitepaper that was published by Signals Research group, "Bending Iron – Software Defined Networks & Virtualization for the Mobile Operator", available here.

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    When I did a blog post 'Disguising Small Cells in Rural areas' last year, many people were surprised to see these things. So here is another post showing how the antennas looks like and how they have to be disguised to blend in with the environment.


    The above pictures shows fake date trees (with dates) near Koutoubia mosque, Marrakech, designed to blend in with the surroundings. In fact I have been told that these fake date trees are common in the Middle East and North African countries.


    The above picture is from Dubai, showing similar palm tree. Source unknown.


    The above picture, courtesy of Andy Sutton on Twitter shows a cell site near Blandford Forum. I hope you can spot the fake tree on top right.


    Another one, courtesy of Andy Sutton on Twitter shows a cell site between motorway M56, J10 & 11 in Cheshire. Single operator but could be shared, single frequency band, x-pole with 3 cell sectors. Only two of the possible 3 cell sectors connected here. Pointing up and down motorway hence 4 feeders.







    Another one courtesy of Andy Sutton on Twitter. Its been disguised to not look out of place unless someone is observing very carefully.
    All three are fake trees and each is a separate cellular installation. The location is Lancashire, off the A6 between Slyne and Bolton-le-Sands. They are all different operators, left to right, O2, T-Mobile, Orange - although two will become one as part of EE of course.


    Modern Art and Cellular Antenna, courtesy of Andy Sutton on Twitter.

    What will happen when we transition to 5G, where we will have a lot more antennas because of MIMO (massive or not). China Mobile is researching into Smart Tiles, which are antennas that can be hidden inside Chinese characters. See the following for example:

    With more antennas becoming commonplace in the urban environment, operators and vendors will have to keep up coming with innovative ways to disguise the antennas and hope no one notices.

    See Also:



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    Came across this interesting Network Architecture evolution Roadmap by Netmanias. Its embedded below and available to download from the Netmanias website.




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    I had the pleasure of attending the IET Turing lecture last week and listening to Robert Schukai. He gave a brilliant talk on how Smartphones are changing the way we do things. Its a very interesting talk but its nearly 87 minutes long. Slides are not available but the video is embedded below.



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    While many of us have been focussing purely on wireless and mobile / 5G, the coverage and capacity provided by satellites is increasing and is set to dramatically transform connectivity in hard to reach places, not only in land but also in air and sea.

    In one of my roles, I get to see some of these developments happening in the satellite world. Here are some of the recent things that I have learned.

    In a recent presentation by Intelsat (embedded below), they showed how we will have a truly high throughput global coverage with the help of GEO and LEO satellites. Depending on the applications, they can take advantage of either or both. Ubiquitously connected cars, planes, trains, ships and other vehicles will soon be a reality. See their presentation below:



    Intelsat is not the only operator innovating and coming up with some amazing solutions.

    Viasat is another operator who will be launching one of the highest capacity HTS (High Throughput Satellite). See their presentation here and here.


    Eutelsat on the other hand is trying something that has not been done before. Their Quantum class satellites will be creating and modifying the beams dynamically to provide coverage whenever and wherever needed. See their presentation here.

    These are just a few examples, there are many other operators I have not mentioned here. Most of them have some sort of ambitious plan which will be there before 2020.

    So what role will these satellites play in the 5G world? We will look at this question in the Satellite Applications & Services Conference in October but I am interested in hearing your thoughts. 

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  • 03/25/16--02:05: State of LTE & Connectivity

  • There are some reports that have been recently published on connectivity and connection numbers. This post intends to provide this info.

    Facebook released "State of connectivity 2015" report. As can be seen in the picture above, at the end of 2015, estimates showed that 3.2 billion people were online. This increase (up from 3 billion in 2014) is partly attributed to more affordable data and rising global incomes in 2014. Over the past 10 years, connectivity increased by approximately 200 to 300 million people per year.

    While this is positive news in terms of growth, it also means that globally, 4.1 billion people were still not internet users in 2015.

    The four key barriers to internet access include:

    Availability: Proximity of the necessary infrastructure required for access.
    Affordability: The cost of access relative to income.
    Relevance: A reason for access, such as primary language content.
    Readiness: The capacity to access, including skills, awareness and cultural acceptance.

    The PDF version of report is available here.


    The number of LTE users crossed 1 Billion, end of 2015 according to a report by GSA. OpenSignal has a summary blog post on this here.



    Finally, Open Signal has published Global State of LTE Market report that provides coverage, speeds and a lot more information.

    South Korea and Singapore have set themselves apart from the main body of global operators, providing both superior coverage and speed. The biggest standouts were South Korea’s Olleh and Singapore’s Singtel. Olleh excelled in coverage, but also provided one of the fastest connections speeds in our report, 34 Mbps. Meanwhile Singtel hit the 40 Mbps mark in speed while still maintaining a coverage rating of 86%. There are other notable country clusters in the upper right-hand quadrant as well, for instance operators from the Netherlands, Canada and Hungary.

    Meanwhile, other countries have staked positions for themselves in specific regions of the plot. U.S. and Kuwaiti operators are tightly clustered in the lower right, meaning they offer excellent coverage but poor 4G speeds. Japan and Taiwan congregate in the middle far right with their exceptional coverage but only average speeds. Most of New Zealand and Romania’s operators hover at the center top of the chart, indicating impressive bandwidth but a general lack of availability.

    Its makes interesting reading, PDF available here.

    *** Added Later: 25/03/16:12.15 ***

    A good breakdown of LTE subscriptions by countries by Ovum:




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    This is from a Linkedin post by Eiko Seidel.

    Earlier this month (7-10 March 2016), 3GPP TSG RAN Plenary RAN Meeting #71 took place in Göteborg, Sweden. The first 5G study item for the working groups is was approved. It involves RAN1, RAN2, RAN3 and RAN4. For details please have a look at RP-160671

    The study aims to develop an next generation radio access technology to meet a broad range of use cases including enhanced mobile broadband, massive MTC, critical MTC, and additional requirements defined during the RAN requirements study. 

    The new RAT will consider frequency ranges up to 100 GHz. 

    Detailed objectives of the study item is a single technical framework addressing all usage scenarios, requirements and deployment scenarios including Enhanced mobile broadband, Massive machine-type-communications and Ultra reliable and low latency communications. 

    The new RAT shall be inherently forward compatible. It is assumed that the normative specification would occur in two phases: Phase I (to be completed in June 2018) and Phase II (to be completed in December 2019). 

    The fundamental physical layer signal waveform will be based on OFDM, with potential support of non-orthogonal waveform and multiple access. Basic frame structure(s) and Channel coding scheme(s) will be developed. 

    Architecture work is going to be interesting, with a study of different options of splitting the architecture into a “central unit” and a “distributed unit”, with potential interface in between, including transport, configuration and other required functional interactions between these nodes. Furthermore RAN-CN interface and functional split needs to be studied, the realization of Network Slicing, QoS support etc.


    The proposed timeline for 5G was also presented in a presentation as follows:




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    Smartphones have replaced so many of our gadgets. The picture above is a witness to how all the gadgets have now been replaced by smartphones. To some extent hardware requirements have been transferred to software requirements (Apps). But the smartphones does a lot more than just hardware to software translation.

    Most youngsters no longer have bookshelves or the encyclopedia collections. eBooks and Wikipedia have replaced them. We no longer need sticky notes and physical calendars, there are Apps for them.

    Back in 2014, Benedict Evans posted his "Mobile is Eating the world" presentation. His presentation has received over 700K views. I know its not as much as Justin Bieber's songs views but its still a lot in the tech world. He has recently updated his presentation (embedded below) and its now called "Mobile ate the world".

    Quite rightly, the job is not done yet. There is still long way to go. The fact that this tweet has over 600 retweets is a witness to this fact. Here are some of the slides that I really liked (and links reltaed to them - opens in a new window).
    While we can see how Smartphones are getting ever more popular and how other gadgets that its replacing is suffering, I know people who own a smartphone for everything except voice call and have a feature phone for voice calls. Other people (including myself) rely on OTT for calls as its guaranteed better quality most of the time (at least indoors).

    Smartphones have already replaced a lot of gadgets and other day to day necessities but the fact is that it can do a lot more. Payments is one such thing. The fact that I still carry a physical wallet means that the environment around me hasn't transformed enough for it to be made redundant. If I look in my wallet, I have some cash, a credit and debit card, driving license, some store loyalty cards and my business cards. There is no reason why all of these cannot be digital and/or virtual.
    A Connected Car is a Smartphone on/with wheels.


    A connected drone can be considered as smartphone that flies.
    The Smartphones today are more than just hardware/software. They are a complete ecosystem. We can argue if only 2 options for OSs is good or bad. From developers point of view, two is just about right.
    Another very important point to remember that smartphones enable different platforms.

    While we may just have messaging apps that are acting as platforms, there is a potential for a lot more.

    Here is the presentation, worth reflecting on each slide:



    If you haven't heard Benedict Evans speak, you can refer to a recent video by him on this topic:



    Related posts on the web:




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