Displaying items by tag: 4G

China’s largest mobile carrier, China Mobile, announced that its 4G subscriber base reached almost 510 million in November 2016. This reportedly represents a staggering 30% of the total number of 4G subscribers around the world. However, China Mobile added just over 12.5 million TD-LTE subscribers in November, compared with a net increase of 16.6 million 4G users in October, which represents slow growth for the company.

China Mobile’s growth still far outweighs its competitors, including China Unicom, which added 5 million 4G customers in November, taking its 4G LTE subscriber base to 99 million. China Mobile’s other rival, China Telecom, added 4.3 million 4G subscribers in November, bringing its total 4G user base to 117.3 million. The three mobile operators combined represent over 720 million new 4G subscribers in November.

China Mobile is currently involved with an IoT (Internet of Things) development project with Vodafone, Ericsson and Lenovo. The group recently signed a letter of intent. According to reports, China Mobile plans to connect its IoT connection management platform with Ericsson’s DCP platform and Vodafone’s IoT platform, which will provide its enterprise customers with a unified global network access, portal experience and Service Level Agreements (SLAs).

Through this, China Mobile wants to push forward its overseas market expansion and improve the company’s service capabilities. What’s more, China Mobile’s partnership with Lenovo will kick-start its plans to launch a range of notebooks with built-in 4G-LTE modules which will provide users with China Mobile’s high-speed 4G mobile internet services.

Published in Telecom Operators

Nokia and Vodafone trial cloud-based RAN architecture

Written on Wednesday, 14 December 2016 07:42

Leading players in the telecommunications industry Nokia and Vodafone have announced that they have trialed innovative cloud-based technology aimed at enabling a smooth transition from 4G to 5G services and IoT.

Nokia confirmed in a press release that results have indicated that macro Nokia Air-Scale Cloud RAN running on Air-Frame NFV infrastructure meets all key performance criteria to deliver same performance level of today’s RAN architecture with added efficiency and scalability of cloud technology.

 Nokia Cloud RAN architecture enables operators to use their radio assets more efficiently to meet future connectivity needs, with the Nokia Air-Scale Cloud RAN platform running on the Air=Frame NFV infrastructure and splitting baseband processing functionality between real-time and non-real time functions.

As a result, time-critical functions can be performed closer to end users at the edge of the network, while serving a wider area with Ethernet-based front-haul providing connectivity to the virtualized functions. Non-time-critical functions are centralized and virtualized in an NFV infrastructure platform located at the edge of the radio access network, offering a view across the network and allowing radio capacity to be scaled when and where it is required.

 The trial, which took place at Vodafone's testing facility in Italy, used the Nokia Cloud RAN platform to evaluate the performance of centralized 5G-ready architecture, measuring peak data rates as well as download and upload speeds in a range of scenarios on the macro network, containing high power macro cellular base stations.

As a result, the trial found that the Nokia Cloud RAN achieved all of Vodafone's key performance criteria for throughput, capacity and resiliency, demonstrating that a cloud-based RAN architecture can provide the same level of high-quality service provided by a conventional LTE network, but with the added scalability, flexibility and efficiency delivered by cloud technology. Nokia and Vodafone will continue to collaborate on this project with the aim of deploying the technology commercially. 

Senior Analyst for Mobile Access Infrastructure, Current Analysis, Ed Gubbins said: "Nokia has been a leader in driving and commercializing Cloud RAN innovations. The timely launches of Nokia's AirScale and AirFrame solutions give it an edge in this space, and its proactive moves to develop Multi-access Edge Computing technology - earlier than most rivals - give it added credibility."

 Santiago Tenorio, Head of Networks, Vodafone Group, added: "Working with Nokia on this trial we have seen how the application of Cloud RAN architecture can help the network react to changing demands quickly. It speeds up the delivery of services and will help with the transition to 5G."

Head of Vodafone Global Customer Business Team at Nokia, Robert Loiola said: "Our Cloud RAN technology can help operators optimize network performance even as they cope with the increasing demands being placed upon them. This trial with Vodafone builds on this promise, enabling Nokia to apply its longstanding working relationship with them to explore how we can enable the smooth and efficient transition from 4G to 5G."

Published in Telecom Vendors

Malaysian telecom operator, YTL Communication, has deployed a revenue and customer management platform from Sterlite Technologies’ telecom software division, Elitecore, to support the rollout its LTE data and VoLTE services.

According to Sterlite, the platform will enable YTL Communications to roll out new business models like HD voice (VoLTE), enterprise LTE and LTE roaming, making YTL Communication the only operator in Asia-Pacific to commercially launch nationwide Voice over LTE (VoLTE) services.

YTL Communications’ COO, Ali Tabassi, said:  “Elitecore’s product roadmap alignment with YTLC’s business vision and proven experience in convergent billing and integrated policy and charging supports our growth strategy and helped us migrate from our legacy billing and operational support systems. The platform offers high agility for faster time-to-market and feature rich functionalities.”

Elitecore’s NFV ready and virtualised platform comprises of integrated policy and charging, 3GPP AAA, convergent billing, fulfillment, mobile self care catering to voice, data and VAS services supporting multiple networks. LTE, Wi-Fi and WiMAX.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Nokia has announced the formation of the Mission Critical Communications Alliance, a global collaboration of mobile operators, national and local-level public authorities and first response agencies to formalize standards in the use of LTE for public safety, while enabling new ideas and partnerships to bolster momentum in application of the technology in this area.

The Alliance will bring various stakeholders to a single platform with which to inform and guide policy makers on the benefits of LTE-based public safety solutions for the provision of high-quality and robust critical communications services. More than 10 leading service providers and agencies such as Mobile Radio Center from Japan and Vodafone Hutchison Australia are participating in the Alliance program.  

"Having worked with the various Governments in the public safety field for over 60 years, we are happy to facilitate a broad group of stakeholders in the global public safety community to drive the adoption of LTE in critical communications,” said Ashish Chowdhary, Chief Customer Operations Officer at Nokia.

“The Mission Critical Communications Alliance will work towards realizing the unique benefits of LTE in public safety, enabling national, regional and local authorities to provide a higher level of safety and security for their citizens, while creating innovative new business models for service providers. We look forward to welcoming other members to the Alliance who are committed to using 4G technology to enhance the effectiveness of mission-critical services."

4G LTE provides public safety services including first responders with mission-critical features such as real-time high-definition video streaming, remote data access and location-based services. Several countries are already upgrading their public safety systems to leverage LTE technology, Nokia and Korea's SK Telecom have recently demonstrated the capabilities of Ultra Compact Network, a portable small cell based LTE network that can provide 4G connectivity for public safety and other mission- and business-critical services in remote locations.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Nokia and Ooredoo Myanmar shared a milestone recently, completing the roll-out and launch of the first 4G service in Myanmar, meeting the mobile data demands of residents and visitors with increased speeds and capacity. To ensure seamless network operations, the companies have also extended their existing managed services agreement to incorporate the 4G network.

Nokia completed the initial 4G roll-out in under three months by upgrading Ooredoo Myanmar's existing 3G network using the Nokia Single RAN and Packet Core platforms. This fast deployment time allowed Ooredoo to launch its high-capacity service in Yangon, Nay Phi Daw, Mandalay, and Bagan and continue the country's digital transformation.

"We have come a long way in developing the telecommunications market in Myanmar,” said Rene Meza, chief executive officer, Ooredoo Myanmar. “Using Nokia's innovative 4G technology and Managed Services expertise, we can continue to lead the way in delivering the most advanced high-speed data-intensive services to our customers in the fastest time. We are proud to be the first to launch 4G services in Myanmar and plan to extend the network further in the future.”

Nokia has deployed the network across the Yangon region, the largest and most densely populated region in Myanmar. This has enabled Ooredoo Myanmar to offer high-speed mobile services to subscribers in some areas for the first time while meeting future data demands in a country with a thriving economy and ever-growing tourist industry.

Nokia previously provided its Managed Services expertise to Ooredoo Myanmar's 3G network, providing support from its global delivery center in Chennai, India, as well as in-country support in Myanmar. By extending these services to the 4G network, Nokia will provide a simplified management and reporting structure ensuring seamless service for the operator's seven million subscribers.

"The ability to roll-out 4G services mainly via a software upgrade meant that we could complete deployment in the quickest time and in the most cost-effective way, allowing Ooredoo Myanmar to leverage its existing infrastructure,” said Harald Preiss, head of Asia North at Nokia. “The upgraded network offers superior indoor coverage and increased capacity to meet future demand. And by extending our leading Managed Services expertise, we can ensure transparent operations across the network."

Published in Telecom Operators

Alfa, the first Lebanese mobile operator managed by Orascom Telecom, and Nokia have launched Lebanon’s first 4G LTE-Advanced network, as part of an agreement signed between the two companies. The network enables Alfa to offer its subscribers significantly higher download speeds of up to 262.5 Mbits/sec for accessing high-definition video and other data-intensive applications.

The 4G LTE-A network implementation is enabled by carrier aggregation technology, which combines two frequencies in order to significantly improve throughput and spectral efficiency. For Alfa, Nokia combined 20 MHz on the 1800 MHz frequency band with 15 MHz on the 800 MHz band.

With data subscribers exceeding 74 percent of Alfa's subscriber base, the deployment of Nokia's carrier aggregation technology will allow the operator to offer innovative and high-definition services.

"This deployment lets Alfa provide a high-quality enhanced mobile broadband experience over its LTE network,” said Roger Ghorayeb, Nokia's customer team head for growth west ME. “We are excited about the foundation this builds for Nokia and Alfa, and the opportunities for future work with our partner as it evolves its network for 5G and IoT capabilities in smart Lebanese cities."

This deployment is a crucial step that will also help Alfa take advantage of opportunities emerging from 5G and IoT technology. The two companies earlier signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 5G to explore possibilities for the Alfa network and pave the way for Alfa to install its first 5G site in Lebanon in 2018. These agreements are part of the Lebanese Ministry of Telecommunications' National 2020 Digital Telecom Vision to upgrade the country's Internet infrastructure and deploy 4G LTE-A across the Lebanese territory.

Alfa Chairman and CEO Marwan Hayek, said: "With the unprecedented surge in data traffic over the Alfa network to 15,000 terabytes per year, the deployment of 4G LTE-A across Lebanon will not only advance the quality of our 4G network but will also help us quickly move toward next-generation technologies like 5G, which is a top priority for us to maintain our technology innovation leadership. We are extremely satisfied with Nokia's efficient implementation of the project."

Published in Telecom Operators

Nokia unveils ultra-compact 4G network

Written on Tuesday, 31 May 2016 07:14

Nokia has unveiled a light and ultra-compact 4G network, based on a small cell that will allow secure mobile broadband connectivity in minutes for mission- and business-critical services. The network can provide voice, video and data services in emergency situations, remote locations and events, and act as a hotspot for public safety organizations, industries and operators.

Having pioneered the development of low-footprint networking technology with its Network in a Box last year, Nokia has taken the concept of creating rapidly deployable networks further with its Ultra Compact Network. Based on small cells technology, it provides secure indoor and outdoor 4G coverage wherever it is deployed with a range of 75 km for up to 400 users. In remote, underserved areas it can provide capacity and coverage, and can utilize cable, satellite or microwave technologies for backhaul to extend an operator's existing macro network.

The Ultra Compact Network will allow first response units to utilize voice and video as well as other data-based services in emergency situations when mobile networks have been compromised. Where there is no road access it can be carried in a backpack, or elevated via a drone or weather balloon, providing vital connectivity for search and rescue missions or to help control disasters such as forest fires or floods over wide areas.

When deployed at remote industrial sites, such as mines, petrochemical plants and oil rigs, the Ultra Compact Network can provide business-critical communications, while mobile operators can use the technology to rapidly bridge network coverage gaps or provide temporary additional coverage and capacity in high-traffic locations and events such as outdoor music festivals.

"EE had the opportunity to trial Nokia's latest innovation, the Ultra Compact Network, in indoor and outdoor environments in May 2016,” said Mansoor Hanif, Director of RAN at EE. “We were very impressed with the capabilities of this lightweight, easily deployable small cell system. It is an ideal solution for disaster recovery and to deliver temporary coverage both for public and private sector customers."

Solution details at a glance:

  • Built around Nokia's Flexi Zone Small Cells family, the Ultra Compact Network is ready to deploy mobile broadband coverage and connectivity for mission- and business-critical services.
  • Weighing approximately 5kg and requiring a power supply of about 100 W, it can be easily powered by a car-based inverter or small portable generator to support up to 400 active users across a cell range of 75 km.
  • Field tested and hardened for outdoor usage, external DC battery integration enables the Ultra Compact Network to be fully portable for remote deployments. A rapidly deployable network means voice, video and data services are available within minutes of arriving on site.
  • Embedded LTE core network for Evolved Packet Core functions eliminates the need for additional equipment when establishing a closed mobile broadband network.
  • Nokia Services expertise enables customization to meet specific requirements
Published in Telecom Vendors

Ooredoo Myanmar set to introduce 4G in two cities

Written on Monday, 16 May 2016 13:12

Ooredoo Myanmar is going to break a new record in the vast South Asian country, revealing plans to launch the very first 4G services in two cities, making it the first operator to ever introduce 4G to the Myanmar market. According to Ooredoo Myanmar CEO, Rene Meza who spoke to Myanmar Times, the operator plans to introduce 4G to the cities of Yangon and Mandalay.

Mr. Meza told Myanmar Times that more spectrum will be required in order to execute a widespread deployment of 4G across the country. In order to do this, Ooredoo Myanmar has applied to purchase additional spectrum as stipulated in the terms of its license. According to a report by Telecom Asia, the application was recently granted to Ooredoo. Meza sad that the government has not yet provided an official date for when the additional spectrum will be released, but it is expected to be sometime over the next 12 months.

The availability of spectrum is a widely discussed issue within the mobile industry in Myanmar. The country’s telecom industry is reportedly considering making spectrum in the 900-MHz, 2100-MHz bands available for use, as well as the 700-MHz, 1800-MHz, 2300-MHz and 2600-MHz bands. Since Myanmar’s liberalization of the telecom sector in 2013, the country’s mobile industry has developed rapidly, contributing to growing demand for more spectrum.

The Myanmar Government recently selected Viettel for the position of foreign partner for a consortium of local companies to be granted the market’s fourth telecoms license. This consortium will compete directly against Ooredoo Myanmar, Telenor Myanmar, as well as the joint venture between Japan’s KDDI and Myanmar’s MPT.

Published in Telecom Operators

In light of the fact that Nokia has recently been identified by Current Analysis as the number 1 vendor of 4G public safety technology in a study involving 100 global operators, Noel Kirkaldy, head of Vertical Solutions Business Development, Middle East and Africa, Nokia discusses the company’s involvement with critical communications, as well as its selection by Nedaa in Dubai to deploy smart city solutions based on a 5G-ready next generation network.

Nokia has been identified as #1 vendor of 4G public safety technology by Current Analysis in a global study of 100 operators. Can you shed more light on this?

We are very pleased to have been identified by 100 global operators when they were asked the question of which vendor they see as taking a market leading position in the area of mission critical communications network technology for public safety. Operators from all regions including Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and the Americas were surveyed. It was conducted on a global basis which reflects a couple of things: Nokia is seen globally as the leading vendor of 4G-based public safety technology, and as a global vendor driving the required investments in the research and development activities to support this industry moving forward.

How has Nokia evolved over the years to reach this #1 position?

You need to go back in time. We’ve worked in a number of government initiatives primarily based around the TETRA space (back in 2000-2006). Nokia was manufacturing TETRA equipment, and many deployments you see in the Middle East and Europe today were made by Nokia. These deployments are still active with many customers today. Nokia divested that business in 2006, nevertheless, a lot of the support is still continuing with Nokia Research and Development capabilities. Nokia has been heavily involved in understanding these market requirements, and what we see now is the convergence of voice, data and video moving back towards 3GPP technologies like LTE – an area where we are getting more involved with.

At Critical Communications World, Middle East, in October 2015, Nokia announced that it would be moving back into the public safety market. The interesting thing when we look at public safety, we take a step back and look at critical communications, which can be mission critical, public safety (police cars, ambulances), as well as business critical (oil and gas, logistics). This is how critical communications begins to play into the smart city initiatives.

Nokia has been commissioned by Nedaa, the Dubai government security networks provider, to deploy smart city solutions based on a 5G-ready next generation network. Can you tell us more details about this deal?

Nedaa made a decision back in 2000-2001 to use TETRA technology designed for mission critical voice and low speed data. What we saw with the unfortunate incident when fire caught a hotel in Dubai on New Year’s Eve was that people were able to be evacuated at prime time, which was due to dedicated spectrum and dedicated TETRA technology to spread the awareness. However, now we need to look at the next generation of technology. Nedaa is making the right decision and investing effectively for the next five to 10 years.

If you’re looking at where we stand today, LTE as a technology first started back in 2009-2010, while 2016-2018 timeframe will see 5G getting built on top of LTE, and then the specifications will be defined. If you take 5G, what we’re looking at is ultra-massive broadband, critical communications and low latency. These three elements are what these types of critical communications or public safety organizations are looking for. That’s why Nedaa went with 5G ready next generation network looking to the future.

What are the technologies Nokia offers to build a reliable network that can fully address not only the stringent requirements of critical communications and public safety, but also lay the solid foundation for IoT and smart city?

The baseline technology we’re working with is telco grade carrier 4G LTE network. As you head towards 5G, LTE will continue to be the underlying technology and that will be the base for other technologies to be built on top. Nedaa is effectively starting with a clean slate from the mobile broadband requirements for mission critical communications; so it’s not starting with 2G, 3G or the early LTE, but going straight to the LTE-Advanced and 5G-ready solutions.

On top of that they’re looking at high resilience network both on core and radio access as well as mobile backhauling; all these requirements can be supported by Nokia products and solutions. Whether it’s a traffic signal or someone working on an incident as a responder, it’s all based on critical communications. A lot of the 5G requirements are based around critical communications, for both commercial, mission-critical and business-critical. That’s how we see this moving forward. All of these technologies are being made commercially available. Many of these technologies were demonstrated live by Nokia at the Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona.

How do you see the market in critical communications, IoT and smart city space for Nokia in the Middle East and Africa market?

We see the Middle East playing a pivotal role in safety and security, and a lot of the investments are going into smart city initiatives not only in the UAE, but also in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and in other regions like North Africa. The area that we like to refer to is not only safe and smart cities, but safe, sustainable and smart cities. I think sustainability is very important for many of the African markets.

When we look at some of the other markets globally, the safe, smart and sustainable city is a key area. We are working with a number of leading operators and have signed a number of agreements already, as we gradually move towards IoT and smart city initiatives. The term smart city is thrown around quite easily, meaning different things to different people, but we in Nokia see the baseline of it coming back to critical communications and how we build on that. I think in the future we will see more government involvement with open data initiatives, for example, and more convergence of services from commercial operators, for the betterment of everyone – a very positive sign.

What challenges do you foresee for this smart city solutions project?

One of the key challenges we face is working between multiple sectors. The way we tend to see ourselves is horizontal, providing the baseline solutions with very specific verticals that we will be working into. For example, oil and gas industry has different requirements to transport. We see Nokia’s strength as providing horizontal solutions so we can start to provide the baseline to connect. This is not a single industry initiative. Some use cases need ultra-low latency, while other use case applications need a higher level of security; hence, Nokia delivers a solution that is fully compatible and flexible to meet multiple vertical applications use cases.

Published in Interviews

LTE & wearables: When connectivity collides

Written on Thursday, 28 April 2016 12:27

The 2016 Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast reported that global mobile data traffic already grew a total of 74 percent in 2015. It had reached 3.7 exabytes per month at the end of 2015, which is up from the 2.1 exabytes per month at the end of 2014. This shows that mobile data technology has been growing consistently and has escalated 4000-fold over the past 10 years.

The expansion of mobile data traffic can be somewhat attributed to the continuous rollout of LTE globally. In fact, in the CVNI report, it was on an upward trend. It stated that fourth generation (4G) traffic accounts for 47 percent of mobile data traffic. 3G connections represent 34 percent of mobile connections and 43 percent of traffic. The report also stated that 4G connections generate six times more traffic on average than a non-4G connection.

Aside from the increasing footprint of LTE, there are more and more devices going online. Smartphones remain the top contributor on the device side, but tablets, phablets and other devices are making headway to the online space, particularly with those trendy wearable devices.

In 2015, the average amount of traffic per smartphone was 929 MB per month compared to 648 MB per month for the same period the year before, according to Cisco. They reported that 97 million wearable devices in 2015 generated 15 petabytes of monthly traffic globally. This traffic is very significant given the young age of patrons embracing the wearable industry. Most wearables that connect through a network that is dedicated to 3G or tethered through a smartphone, have limited connectivity and capabilities.

This is about to change. There are recent developments in their respective chipsets and the opportunity for devices to jump right into LTE networks is now possible. Plus, in the next few months, it will have the "always-on" capability.

The idea for these devices to automatically connect to a network is not new. The concept of the internet of things (IoT) and how it relates to wearables and embedded connectivity are inter-dependent. In the absence of technology to support the enigmatic concept, the currently-available ones have to adjust and fit in to what is required to be an IoT device.

Given the advancement in IoT, particularly in the wearable manufacturing ecosystem, any set-backs should soon be fixed. Qualcomm has announced that it will bring LTE connectivity to wearables with its new Wear platform. The leading chipmaker mentioned that with the entry of the new Snapdragon Wear platform in the market, it will drive the development of sleek wearables that offer long battery life, such as smartwatches, smartbands and smartglasses. It will power the devices sufficiently to connect and transfer data over the internet rather being dependent on a smartphone for connection.

Chipmaker describes the new chip as more fitting for the wearable segment given its specification that is smaller in size, about 30 percent smaller than the popular Snapdragon 400. Moreover, it has lower power consumption, 25 percent lower power than the Snapdragon 400 across both tethered and connected use cases that allow devices to have longer battery life. The feature has smarter sensors with integrated, ultra-low power sensor hub. Snapdragon Wear 2100 enables richer algorithms with greater accuracy than the Snapdragon 400. The“always-connected, next generation of LTE modem with integrated GNSS, along with low power WiFi and Bluetooth, delivers an always-connected experience.

However, power of the chip cannot stand on its own; it has to sit right in the heart of a device. One of the pioneers in wearable technologies is LG. According to David Yoon, vice president, Wearables, LG Electronics, LG and Qualcomm Technologies have led the wearable technology space with close collaboration over the last two years and have launched multiple smartwatches and kid’s watches.”

Qualcomm Technologies Snapdragon processors already power the majority of Android Wear smartwatches. In fact, Qualcomm Technologies noted that their technologies are used in 65 wearable devices across 30 countries, while 50 more are expected to launch later this year.

There are other companies bringing wearable devices into the LTE space. Ericsson, Sony Mobile and SK Telecom are continuously testing and trialing new devices and network innovations to support the secure and ubiquitous LTE network connectivity for lower cost and using reduced-power IoT devices.

Park Jin-hyo, senior vice president and head of Network R&D Center, SK Telecom, confirmed that they are working with Ericsson and Sony Mobile to trial both mobile network technologies and new IoT devices that would improve their customer’s lives both at home and work. These tests and trials reflect their commitment to establish a stronger IoT ecosystem not only in South Korea, but globally.

Last year, one of China’s leading handset makers, Huawei, launched a 4.5G Smartband at an event in London. The company boasts next generation 4.5G connectivity and has announced that it will be commercially available this year. The firm also revealed that, like most wearables, the Huawei 4.5G Smartband will be capable of tracking a wearer's fitness level and heart rate, and will be able to pair with other IoT devices, such as smart thermostats and energy readers. The device will use an LTE-M chip made by Neul, following its acquisition of the startup last year. The new chip will be able to support up to 100K per cell connections via LTE-M, which is 100 times that of 4G. This is something to look forward to in the wearable space!

As these wearable devices enter the LTE space and advance, perhaps this will be the year when we can empower these devices to function as professed with the concept of the internet of things. By providing autonomy and accelerated connectivity, the potential of wearables will be met.

Published in Reports
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