Saturday, April 30, 2011

Huawei & ZTE sue each other over LTE patents

First Huawei filed lawsuits in Germany, France, and Hungary against ZTE for patent and trade mark infringement on the basis that ZTE is infringing a series of Huawei’s patents relating to data card and LTE. As per Huawei, ZTE illegally used a Huawei-registered trademark on some of its data card products.

ZTE has fired back with it's own lawsuit against Huawei for patent infringement over its LTE technologies in China. In the lawsuit, ZTE requested that Huawei stops its violation, pays compensation to ZTE and takes up the legal responsibilities caused by the infringement.

ZTE also said that there will also be a series of legal action taken globally to protect ZTE’s rights on intellectual properties, ensuring its legitimate rights and interests will not be compromised.

Huawei had said earlier that These lawsuits were commenced after ZTE failed to respond to cease and desist letters requiring the company to stop carrying out the infringing acts that are the basis for these proceedings. Huawei had also actively invited ZTE on numerous occasions to enter into cross-patent licensing negotiations but was equally unsuccessful," company said in the statement.

Both companies claim to hold a large set of LTE related patents. As per ZTE, it has a 7% share of the total LTE essential patentsdeclared on the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) online database of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute as of 30th November 2010.

Source: LteWorld

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Achieving Capital and Spectral Efficiency Beyond 4G Standards

The industry has come a long way towards developing the new platform for ICT communications:
Pre-4G networks that have demonstrated significant performance and capital efficiency improvements over 3G networks have been deployed.
The IMT-Advanced standards frameworks have been approved – LTE-Advanced and 802.16m, WiMAX 2, based on MIMO-OFDMA.
The preparation for widespread use of SDWN (Smart Distributed WBB Networks) technologies has taken place in the standards and early commercial implementations of SONs and distributed architecture deployments.

What differentiates 4G and beyond from prior network technologies is the use of frequency domain technologies that enable a new pathway for organization of networks. This will improve bandwidth density performance by a factor of up to ten times the level of 3G. It is good to witness the advanced MIMO-AAS, multi-carrier and architecture methods being pursued broadly across the industry: 802.16m, 3GPP Rel 10 LTE-Advanced and 802.11ac as well.

What confounds these efforts, particularly for 802.11 and 802.16, is gaining access to spectrum of sufficient BW and quality. The mobile industry has gained more access to spectrum and capital with which to deliver the vision of 4G networks. However, a significant contributor to the success of current wireless networks and devices is the off-load capability of 802.11 Wi-Fi.

The huge success of the mobile phone industry and need for access to licensed spectrum and capital to build nationwide managed networks has led to consolidation in the hands of a few operators in most parts of the world. The situation in the US shows that despite efforts by the FCC to set rules on licensing and encourage smaller operators and aggregations, spectrum has nonetheless been acquired in the initial auctions or later consolidated by the top four operators. This may soon be reduced to the top three as a result of AT&T's acquisition of T-Mobile.

This has raised a high level of concern and should instigate some fresh thinking regarding how to go about making spectrum available in the most efficient and thorough way, while increasingly innovation and broad economic opportunity.

Incumbents Strongly Argue the Case for Licensed Network Dominance

Operators argue that their control over spectrum has resulted in widespread use and industry development. The role of consolidated licensed operators has been necessary to assemble the skills, organized operation, and the several tens of billions of dollars of capital needed for large-scale deployments. Furthermore, past auction results show that small or localized operators have not developed the critical mass needed to deliver similar levels of products and services. Large national operators are needed to deliver the broad fabric of increasingly complex services that will be developed on the 4G ICT platform.

On the other hand, practical experience and detailed studies show that while mobile networks occupy the majority of available spectrum, the results in terms of both utilization of capital and spectrum has been sub-par compared to Wi-Fi. This is, perhaps, a startling claim: mobile/ICT networks and Wi-Fi are very different types of networks. Nonetheless, Wi-Fi has come to be almost universally adopted because it has proven of great benefit.

Considering that Wi-Fi has been allocated a band of global spectrum that has been called 'junk spectrum' because it falls in with use of portable phones, microwave ovens, and other interferers, and studies show that managed spectrum access is technically more efficient (less signaling overhead than collision based MACs), Wi-Fi has delivered incredible performance. The simplified reasons for this are: 1) the cost of installing Wi-Fi is low due to low equipment cost and low-cost deployment. 2) The use is naturally organized on a microcell architecture that makes extended reuse of the spectrum. 3) Management and maintenance costs are low compared to large-scale networks despite their size advantage. It can be argued that some costs of Wi-Fi are hidden: people may spend considerable personal/company time that is ignored in a comparison. However, costs are significantly counter-balanced by the similar time spent for 3G-4G.

Wi-Fi also stands out in efficiency of spectrum utilization, particularly when measured on a bit/Hz/area saturation/time duty cycle basis. Studies in the US by the FCC as well as overseas demonstrate that Wi-Fi achieves 2X-5X better utilization of spectrum. What makes this even more remarkable is that the spectrum used is 2.4GHz: while good for implementing MIMO and having high reuse factors due to limited penetration of signals and range, the use is conflicted by short range, signal loss due to foliage, precipitation, and low power limits.

Technology advancements will help to achieve higher bandwidth throughput, extended range/multi-hop range, and self-organized and ‘smart networking’ capabilities that increase the range of applications for Wi-Fi and 4G network technologies.

While we appreciate the benefits delivered to operators and users by Wi-Fi, we think the industry can go beyond that in the use of paired licensed-unlicensed network technologies using specifically allocated spectrum and clear rules.

What we hope to see is more spectrum to be ordained by regulators for unlicensed/quasi-unlicensed use. What makes the most sense is for a new paradigm of spectrum licensing to develop: co-allocation and development of joint licensed and unlicensed bands. A crude but effective precedent for this is the harnessing of Wi-Fi as the low cost, prolific, and easiest way operators have found to offload the tremendous ramp in broadband demand. If only regulators and industry would plan for similar availability of spectrum and development with the unlicensed portion serving longer range, say up to 2-5 kilometers in normal operation, this would address problems we now face in rural access, achieving world-competitive rates and bandwidths, and stimulating high level of innovation. This would assure a higher level of competition and openness of access with less need to for detailed regulation and policing. The licensed portion of spectrum could be allowed to use aggressive QoS mechanisms and higher specialization needed to fulfill needs of vertical markets and applications while the quasi-unlicensed portion can be commercially ‘self-organized,’ with fundamental open access as the frontier for new stakeholders.

The development of framework technologies for use dual-MAC networks and devices has come far enough to make this a near-term possibility under enhanced LTE-Advanced and WiMAX 2 standards.

The benefit of this approach has more to do with the harnessing of business and user models than technology. The technology is here. While we face many opportunities, government regulators and the industry must figure out the best way to further all segments of ICT industries, and fan the flames capital and spectrum efficiency that are foundational to US and worldwide prosperity and ecology.
MARAVEDIS is a leading analyst firm focusing on 4G and broadband wireless technologies and markets.
Author: Robert Syputa, Partner & Strategic Analyst

Source: LteWorld

17.25 million BWA/WiMAX and 320 thousand LTE subscribers reached in Q1 2011

3.7 million new BWA/WiMAX subscribers were added in Q4 2010, and 5.5 million will be added throughout 2011, according to the 14th issue of the 4GCounts Quarterly Report from Maravedis. The subscriber base for WiMAX and LTE reached 17.25 million and 320,000 respectively at the end of March 2011. The WiMAX subscriber increase represents a 32.7% jump quarter-over-quarter, from 13 million reported at the end of Q4 2010.

Maravedis anticipates that 59 FDD-LTE and 3 LTE TDD networks will be operational worldwide by the end of this year. “There will be 305 million LTE subscribers by 2016, of which 14%, or 44 million, will be TD-LTE users and the rest (86%, or 261 million) will be FDD-LTE,” said Esteban Monturus, co-author of the quarterly report.

TD-LTE has gained global momentum and attracted attention to TDD spectrum. Maravedis anticipates that commercial TD-LTE networks could begin in more than 10 countries or areas in 2011-2012, even ahead of China Mobile's deployment. On the regulatory side, additional spectrum made available for 4G has seen much more progress in GSM refarming than in the digital dividend initiative. The latter is still many years away from full availability.

One of the most notable events that took place during the first quarter of 2011 in Europe was the Swedish 800 MHz band auction in March 2011. TeliaSonera, Net4Mobility and Hutchison 3G each won 2X10MHz of spectrum in the 800MHz for 4G network deployment. The UK´s telecom regulator announced an incoming spectrum auction, which is expected to pave the way for 4G services in the country. According to the proposed details, the auction will be for the 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz bands.

Handsets are surpassing fixed modems and USB dongles. These three are the preferred devices among the top 50 WiMAX operators, representing the 34%, 25% and 30% of the device market share respectively. Handsets and smartphones are taking off thanks to the aggressive deployment of these devices by Clearwire (USA), Yota (Russia) and Korea Telecom (South Korea). We believe that tablets and flip phones that convert into tablets will be the next wave for 2011 in terms of devices.

Applications and devices are driving the use of mobile broadband and consequently increasing the mobile traffic. Mobile video today accounts for 40% of mobile traffic worldwide, and will become the dominant feature of the mobile web. 3D video will become a popular application for mobile broadband, since portable devices allow end users to watch 3D content without uncomfortable glasses. There will be approximately 450 billion mobile video users globally by 2014. In this latest quarterly report we will analyze the alternatives 4G operators have for traffic offloading including using new spectrum, adding more cell sites, deploying new technologies, offloading data onto other networks, and introducing tiered pricing plans.

For more information on 4GCounts Tracking Service, please visit http://www.
MARAVEDIS is a leading analyst firm focusing on 4G and broadband wireless technologies and markets.
Author: Cintia Garza, Team Leader 4GCounts & Market Analyst CALA

source: LteWorld