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ALSO FEATURING Making sense of the world’s mobile networks

30 STADIUM DESIGN // 38 LTE IN JAPAN // 42 MOBILE’S NEW HORIZON // MORE... 2013 // Issue 01



















SDN Defined


Anatomy of a Mobile Operator SK Telecom has a long history of technical innovation, which is why it calls itself the “The world’s most innovative service provider”. We look at its recent developments.


LTE in Japan Japan’s LTE and Wifi rollouts have plenty to teach the rest of the world, and vendors are starting to focus innovation on the country too.

What does the the rise of the SDN mean for mobile operators? How could they benefit and what does it mean for those who sell them equipment?


Jargon Buster Key terms explained.


Automation Generation If 4G is LTE-A, then what does that make 5G? Maybe it will be defined in terms of intelligence, rather than data speeds.


Going Underground Why doesn’t London have mobile coverage on the Tube, and other stories.

LTE From our Correspondent

07 Latin America 08 India 09 Europe 12 China 13 South Africa 15 Russia/USA



EDITOR Hello and welcome to


this launch issue of The Mobile Network Quarterly.

What is The Mobile Network?


I want it to be a site, a place, where we can discuss the technology and services that go together to make mobile networks work. That’s everything from the chip developers, to the platform providers, the NEPs and the services and software providers in design, planning, optimisation and operation of a mobile network.

Stadium Design


Designing wireless coverage in stadia comes with its own challenges, but it’s an important one for operators to get right. How do you get 30,000 people online at the same time?

I think there’s room for something that puts the different areas of mobile network tech in context, and writes about the whole wide range of companies operating in the mobile network.


The Mobile Network Quarterly is our print thing, as you can see, and will be published quarterly. It’s about having great-looking, information-rich coverage of key topics and presenting information in a highly visual manner.

Picture Story A new beginning for MWC.

Online we’ll be covering the mobile network tech news every day, and showcasing the best writing about mobile network technology. We’re at As well as writing about the network, we want to be a network. So please get involved: write something, leave a comment, come to one of our events.

Creative Direction and Design // SG Design //


Keith Dyer

© 2013 TMN Communications Ltd.



FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT “From Our Correspondent” collects writing from around the world, covering mobile network stories in local markets.

If you would like to contribute to this section, mail TMN’s editor





LATIN AMERICA Across Latin America operators and regulators have looked at the US band plan for LTE at 700MHz and have decided that they’d rather harmonise with our Asian cousins than Uncle Sam to the North. Mexico was the first to break ranks, opting back in September 2012 to use the APT (Asia Pacific Telecommunity) band plan for mobile services in 700MHz (698MHz-806MHz). The fact that Mexico shares a border with the US, and is likely to have a large amount of in-bound and out-bound roaming LTE traffic, was not enough to persuade it that it would be better off adopting US band plans at 700MHz. Mexico’s regulator Cofetel was impressed by the “high efficiency” of spectrum usage claiming that by using the APT plan, the band could support seven operators instead of the USA’s paltry four and reach 10 times more users. APT splits the spectrum into two chunks of 45MHz, with 10MHz subbands for transmission and reception, and guard bands to protect interference with TV services sitting just above and below. The regulator said this approach provides:

As well as Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama and Uruguay are also on the 700MHz path. Chile has already announced auction plans, and just recently Brazil, our largest market, gave the go-ahead for 700MHz freedom. The country is going to get on with auctioning the spectrum next year, although if you are coming for either our World Cup or Olympics and fancy trying some 700MHz LTE while you’re here, I wouldn’t get too excited - the spectum will not be cleared and ready to use until 2016. Although it hasn’t said so, it’s clear that Brazil will join the others in adopting the APT plan. Despite having already raised $1.4 billion from regional LTE licences, communications minister Paulo Bernardo claims that raising money isn’t the motive behind putting 700MHz spectrum up for sale so long before it will be available. Instead, he claims that the auction rules may instead obligate operators on coverage and capacity, such as laying down fibre to guarantee a speed of at least 10 megabits per second in about 700 to 800 of Brazil’s largest

“greater flexibility in spectrum use and caters to the future demands of mobile broadband services”.

cities. What that has to do with 700MHz wireless spectrum is anyone’s guess. Meanwhile, Claro remains our carrier to have launched LTE services. Vivo, TIM and OI have until April to launch services in the cities that will host FIFA Confederations Cup.

The GSMA likes the look of what’s happening across the continent, having lobbied hard for harmonised spectrum in our markets before. Sebastian Cabello, director of GSMA Latin America, said, “The GSMA encourages countries in Latin America to work together to implement a harmonised 700MHz band plan for mobile services. Spectrum harmonisation is essential to generate cost efficiencies in both network technology and devices.” So what of it? What goes on in Latin America stays in Latin America, right? Well, not quite. Our European partners, many of them parent operators of our national players, are also eyeing up 700MHz spectrum for LTE. A significant Asia-Latin America harmonisation around the APT plan could have an impact on you in Europe as well.



INDIA Four years later, the ramifications of our spectrum auction in 2008 rumble on. You may be aware that operators in the country were made to hand in their licences after allegations of “irregularities” in the auction. The government then re-auctioned the spectrum in November of last year, but many of the expected bidders stayed away, not fancying the look of the reserve prices.


As a result, the auction raised only a quarter of its target, with all CDMA spectrum and 70% of GSM spectrum left unsold. So the government is going back to the market to hold a second round, starting 11 March 2013. This auction will include the 1800MHz band, unsold previously, and licenses at 900MHz bands that are due for renewal in 2014. 800MHz spectrum, currently used for CDMA operation is also included in the auction. This time around the government is cutting its expectations in the hope of attracting some of the players back to the table - reducing its target price by 30% for 1800MHz spectrum in Delhi, Karnataka, Mumbai and Rajasthan. It has cut the CDMA spectrum reserve price by 50%, having originally asked for $660 million per megahertz for all of India’s 22 telecommunication zones, or 30 percent higher than the price of “GSM airwaves”. Sistema Shyam TeleServices, set to lose its permits in all but one of India’s 22 telecommunication zones, was among the carriers that did not participate in the November auction, saying the price was too high. The CDMA operators, Reliance among them, are still not happy even at the 50% cut, seeing CDMA as a declining market opportunity. Neither are the GSM operators and likely bidders too happy with their 30% cut, seeing the prices as still too high, and don’t see why spectrum at 900MHz should be more expensive than its near-neighbour at 800MHz. Meanwhile, Vodafone, not one of the original companies that had to hand

back its licence decided that the new auction was a good opportunity to boost its existing properties, and so it was one of the companies that bid - laying out $212 million for spectrum in 14 of the 22 telecom service areas that India is divided into. It paid around a third of that right away, as part of a staggered payment process. The only problem is that, according to Vodafone, companies that are supposed to have exited stage left are still playing centre-stage, i.e. still operating services in spectrum that it, Vodafone, now officially owns. In a letter sent to India’s Telecom Secretary R. Chandrashekha, Vodafone alleged that Spectrum in service areas like Assam, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and Orissa, which were awarded to Vodafone in the November auctions, are still being used by operators whose licenses were cancelled in 2012.

Operators that had their permits quashed had until 4 February 2013 to keep operating, unless they intend to bid in the (second) round of auction for the spectrum. The only problem is, for these permits, Vodafone already holds them.


Was there ever a weirder reason for a CEO to leave? ANSWER

“If you look at the task at hand, it is focused on execution,” said Alcatel-Lucent’s CEO Ben Verwaayen as he waved the white handkerchief and announced he would soon be spending more time with his lack of execution skills.

“Looking in the mirror, I felt maybe that’s not my natural strength, and maybe it will be good for the company to get fresh perspective.”

If Verwaayen, one of Europe’s most high profile CEOs is no good at execution, then what is he good at? < The vision thing? > At BT the company executed rather well on the 21CN vision, transforming itself for the most part from retail voice provider to broadband entity (don’t laugh at the back there) more equipped to deal with the modern world. Let’s not forget what the middle letter or CEO actually stands for. At Al-Lu, the problems were rather different. There’s been a large, large amount of operational and efficiency savings to date. Conference call after conference call has seen Verwaayen and his CFO talk the markets through the underlying costs they have got hold of. Wasn’t that execution? Sure, in four years there the company has lost 70% of its value on the stock market, as it has been unable to benefit from operator fibre, service and mobile

broadband upgrades. The truth is, there are too many telecoms equipment vendors. NSN knew this two years ago, and made the decision to exit many of the areas Al-Lu still battles on in. Its award winning lightRadio products don’t seem yet to have been contractwinning. Its not least in France where the previously protected Alcatel has seen just what the winds of competition can do. When the national carrier says of the national telecoms equipment provider, “We are still waiting for Alcatel-Lucent to come up with a strategy,” then you know something is wrong. French operators are rolling out LTE networks. In the past they would have been stuffed with Nortel and Alcatel gear, on pain of severe trouble from the French Government. Such protection no longer exists. It’s enough for AL-Lu to be allowed in on a trial. “It’s not a matter of size,” AlcatelLucent’s Mr. Verwaayen said in an interview in November, talking about the scope and scale of the companies’ operations. “It’s a matter of choices that we make.” In other words, it is a matter of size, and it wasn’t the execution that was wrong, it was the choices, the vision. It’s not too late for Al-Lu, but the mirror on the wall has a few home truths still to deliver, before it can deliver Al-Lu the fairest of them all.





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perators that have rolled out LTE networks are now turning to VoLTE and Rich Communications Services (RCS) delivering HD voice, along with value-added services such as video ringback tones, Interactive

Voice and Video Response (IVVR), or mobile conferencing. IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) architectures, with a versatile Radisys MRFthat can process and transcode thousands of real-time audio and video media streams.

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LIVE DEMO VoLTE, Mobile Video Services and Telecom Cloud Technology Showcase MWC “Technology Showcase” showing our end-to-end LTE Infrastructure solution comprising of: Small Cells Virtualized EPC running on ATCA MRF showing live HD VoLTE calls and Video RCS including Video Ringback tones, video conferencing and more. All the live calls will be shown using latest devices, including iPhones, etc; and will be enabled by Radisys infrastructure solutions.

As your trusted partner, we look forward to seeing you at MWC and showing you how we enable wireless infrastructure solutions.


CHINA China Mobile, which you will know as the largest operator (by subscribers)


in the world, with 722 million, has spent two years developing and getting ready for the deployment of the TDD version of LTE, has laid out its

product strategy for 2013. Crucial in its plans is its willingness not to shut itself off from device compatibility with the FDD path. “We plan to adopt multi-mode, multi-band terminals, with basic terminals supporting 5 modes and 10 spectrum bands, and ideally supporting 5 modes and 12 bands. By 2014, we will require that terminals support Band 41,” Wang Hengjiang, director of the products division of China Mobile Terminal, said. (That followed a decision from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to allocate Band 41 for TD-LTE usage, China Mobile said it would be needing Band 41-compatible handsets by 2014.) The operator will begin trials of LTE Mi-Fi and other related products in the first half of 2013, with selected users, with commercial deployment in the second half of 2013. As for handsets (phones), push that back a quarter or so, with trials in the second half of 2013 and a commercial trial in Q4 2013. Up to now China Mobile, something of a standard bearer for TD-LTE, has been trialling the technology on around 20,000 base stations across ten major cities (the equivalent of the entire national network of an operator like SK Telecom), which is set to expand to 100 cities through 2013, covering up to 35 percent of the population using 200,000 base stations. In order to encourage the take up of dual-mode, multi-band devices around the world, China Mobile is employing dual path technology strategy and is

working on a global roaming plan for smartphones with TD-LTE and FDD-LTE support. The company expects TD-LTE coverage to reach 30%-35% on the Chinese mainland in 2013.

Evidence of its dual mode commitment came as China Mobile Hong Kong (CMHK) launched the world’s first converged Long Term Evolution (LTE) FDD/TDD network on 18 December 2012. At the official launch one of its two network technology suppliers Ericsson demonstrated the world’s first live seamless bi-directional LTE FDD/TDD interworking on the converged 4G network. As part of the launch Ericsson also assisted CMHK and parent China Mobile with the first TD-LTE roaming services between Hong Kong and mainland China. The launch event showcased a series of applications based on TD-LTE

data roaming between Hong Kong and Shenzhen in China’s Guangdong Province. The demonstration was supported by the LTE FDD/TDD converged commercial network in Hong Kong, as well as the TDLTE Evolved Packet Core (EPC), In-Building Solution (IBS) site and universal SIM (USIM) deployed by Ericsson in Shenzhen. The demonstration showcased real-time high-definition video interaction between the two cities on TD-LTE networks for the first time, involving the LTE FDD/ TDD dual-mode terminal in Hong Kong providing roaming to Shenzhen, as well as the TD-LTE terminal in Shenzhen providing roaming to Hong Kong.

China Mobile knows that the economies of scale it can provide to chip and devices makers for TD-LTE is critical to the global success of the TD mode. Its dual-mode commitment is equally revealing in its recognition of the importance of roaming traffic and dual mode operation to its future business model.


AFRICA While much of the rest of the world is talking about integrated WiFi and cellular networks, here in South Africa we have been witnessing a battle between Vodacom and WiFi provider WirelessG. The dispute centres on clauses in a shareholder agreement that, according to WirelessG, essentially commit Vodacom to using WirelessG services as part of any WiFi services Vodacom offers or operates. WirelessG has claimed that the following two clauses in its shareholder agreement with Vodacom (Vodacom is a 26% owner of WirelessG) give it that exclusivity.

Unfortunately, Vodacom probably realises that too,hence WirelessG’s accusations that it has been playing away with other wireless providers. Not that WirelessG is backing down. Its CEO Carel van der Merwe apparently emailed the tech site Tech Central accusing Vodacom of reaching “a state of total incompetence”, following some shenanigans relating to unsigned court affidavits. Vodacom has persistently refused to comment, pending a court hearing in mid March 2013, although it did tell Tech Central that Van der Merwe’s comments are “very much wide of the mark”. “The matter is proceeding and we’re not going to get drawn into commenting on each stage of the legal process,” the operator said, despite having just commented on them.

“Vodacom will extend APN data access to WirelessG at a rate equal to Vodacom’s best wholesale data price as offered to its retailers.” “…Vodacom Ventures (and/or any of its affiliated companies [which hence includes Vodacom]) is not permitted to provide Wi-Fi services independently from WirelessG…” In a court filing made in January, WirelessG claimed that Vodacom has been using other providers, and is therefore in breach of its undertakings.“ CLAUSE 2

What WirelessG wants to see is Vodacom offering bundled cellular/WiFi packages, using its WiFi. It points out that a WiFi offloading model could be to Vodacom’s benefit, as well as to its consumers.


The court application said that although Vodacom is not permitted to provide WiFi independently from WirelessG, Vodacom is offering WiFi services, and is using other companies to offer WiFi without giving WirelessG first right of refusal. Further, the filing alleged that Vodacom is obliged to offer WirelessG’s WiFi as an integral part of its data bundles, something it is not doing. Just to add to the highly charged atmosphere, the WiFi provider also argued that Vodacom had reneged on a deal to offer it the best “Vodacom agreed to extend to WirelessG a wholesale data rates it first right of refusal to operate a channel could. to integrate to other (than WirelessG) Wi-Fi Again quoting a clause infrastructure providers that Vodacom would from the shareholder want to bring on board on offering Wi-Fi to agreement, WirelessG Vodacom customers (a right of first refusal/ claimed: exclusivity in providing Wi-Fi services to Vodacom’s customers)”. CLAUSE 1

A strange state of affairs indeed. The case, as the old court reports used to say, continues.



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RUSSIA Our confused LTE market, in which one entity offers wholesale LTE services to three other operators, one of whom is majority shareholder in the networkowning entity, got more confused before the new year as state-owned industrial conglomerate Russian Technologies revealed that it plans to dispose of its indirect stakes in MegaFon and WiMAX-turned-Long Term Evolution (LTE) provider Scartel (Yota). Sergei Chemezov, the head of Russian Technologies, told Reuters that the telecoms assets constituted ‘non-core business’, suggesting that the stake would be sold ‘over time’. Russian Technologies owns a 4.5% stake in Garsdale, which in turn holds 50% of MegaFon and 100% of Scartel. Scartel is the wholesale operator that operates under the Yota brand (keeping up?) and that provides MVNO LTE access to MTS and MegaFon. It was originally formed as a JV between Yota and Megafon, before Megafon made a move in mid 2012 to take control of the whole lot. Now Scartel (Yota) itself has said it plans to start offering smartphone services to its users, rather than just fixed wireless broadband, as it previously did as a WiMax operator. Vimpelcom plans to start offering LTE services from June 2013, joining MegaFone and MTS, and will also be using Scartel’s network. As Scartel has room for only four operators, that now looks likely to be itself, MegaFon, MTS and Vimpelcom. That leaves no room for state owned Rostelecom, probably explaining the government’s decision to sell out of the wholesale provider, which now looks unlikely to be able to provide access to the operator. Previously, perhaps seeing which way the wind was blowing, Rostelecom filed a lawsuit against Scartel in the Moscow

Commercial Court, regarding wholesale access to the latter’s LTE network. It was the latest action in disputes dating back nearly two years, since Scartel shocked the other operators with the initial, $1 billion, valuation of its wholesale network. As all this happens, Tele2, our only foreign operator, and one which ploughs a hard furrow as the fourth player and one with no 3G or 4G spectrum, awaits news of whether it will be allowed to refarm its existing spectrum for 3G. It will not have been amused to see press reports that Usmanov’s Garsdale vehicle has been running an eye over it. According to the reports, since denied by Garsdale, the idea was to buy the operator and then divide its assets out amongst the Big Three. Tele2 recently changed its Russian CEO, and managed to get its Group CEO into a meeting with our communcations minister for the first time. Tele2 is concerned to make the point that it invests $250 million annually in Russia, and isn’t ready to leave just yet.

USA Those of us unfortunate enough to read the Washington Post woke up to a story in early February that informed us: “The federal government wants to create super Wi-Fi networks across the nation, so powerful and broad in reach that consumers could use them to make calls or surf the Internet without paying a cellphone bill every month.” The piece continued: “If all goes as planned, free access to the Web would be available in just about every metropolitan area and in many rural areas,” the paper reported.

Wow, wait. Government-backed, nationwide, free WiFi? Sounds great. The only problem was that the story, as any reader could reasonably understand it, was wrong. What the Post had picked up on, late in the day, was plans to auction spectrum at 600MHz to be added to TV White Spaces spectrum. White Spaces spectrum was a big deal a few years ago, as you know. This latest nugget came about as a result of the FCC taking consultation on what to do with some spectrum at 600MHz. Some of it may be unlicensed, and could then be added to the databases of available TV White Spaces spectrum. One of the issues of White Space is that to get wider understanding of what it means, it has often been tagged as WiFi of some sort, which confuses people’s thinking about the best applications for this sort of free spectrum. Some see it as far better suited to M2M networking, carrying smart metering signals and the like, or for rural coverage taking advantage of the extended coverage you get at 60MHz, say. But TV White Spaces is not WiFi, and that’s the official position of the Wireless Broadband Alliance, which pointed out a year ago that TVWS does not interoperate with the billions of Wi-Fi devices in use today and that is currently no Wi-Fi technology that operates in this spectrum So, back to the story. And this free, nationwide, government-backed WiFi network. Turns out it’s not governmentbacked, not nationwide, couldn’t be free, and is not even WiFi.





THE BASICS: SKT OPERATES CDMA, WIDEBAND CDMA, WIFI AND LTE NETWORKS. IN ADDITION, THE COMPANY OFFERS WIRELESS BROADBAND INTERNET ACCESS THROUGH ITS WIBRO SERVICES. SKT is headquartered in Seoul, Korea and employs approximately 20,000 people. Full year revenues for 2012 were KRW16.30 trillion, an increase 2.3% on 2011, although operating income was down 6.8% as a result of increased investment in networks - capex was up 25% compared to 2011 - and of increased user subsidies.

23m customers

50% market share

It has around 23 million customers in total, giving it around a 50% market share. 7.5 million of these are classified as LTE subscribers.

7.5m LTE subscribers


SERVICES: AS WELL AS VOICE AND DATA SERVICES, SKT HAS A STRONG CONTENT AND APPLICATIONS STRATEGY THOUGH ITS NATE PORTAL. This includes services such as Melon (a music service), mobile money and navigation services. 11th Street, an online shopping mall, and T Store, an online open marketplace for mobile applications. T Store and 11th Street are managed through a spin-off subsidiary called SK Planet. The operator also has a strategy to address eight core B2B areas with mobility services.


CORPORATE Sung Min Ha, CEO (pictured right)

NETWORKS & TECHNOLOGY Byun Jae-woan, CTO and Head of Technology Division

Dong Seob Jee, Executive Vice President, Corp. Strategy & Planning Office

Kwon Hyuk-Sang, Executive Vice President and Head of Network Division

Jang Dong-hyun, Executive Vice President and Head of Marketing

Bae Joon-dong, President of Network Operation Business Wi Eui- Seok, Senior Vice President and Head of Product Planning Office Kang Jong-ryeol, Head of Network Technology R&D Center



INNOVATION: SKT IS NOTABLE FOR A SERIES OF TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATIONS. The company prides itself on this, and is willing to use its network as a live test bed for many technologies, and likes to be first or among the first to bring new features of functions to market. Recently, these have focussed on LTE. LTE services began in July 2011 and LTE smartphone services in September 2011. LTE services were available nationwide by April 2012. The company has 10MHz each at the 800MHz and 1800MHz bands, giving it a combined 20MHz band for LTE. It expects to surpass the

14 million LTE subscriber mark by the end of 2013 as LTE becomes the mainstream service. The operator also has 120,000 Wi-Fi hotspots (called T Wi-Fi Zones) in public areas such as shopping malls, restaurants, coffee shops, subways and airports. In the future, the operator hopes to create greater convergence opportunities across its various network platforms through various acquisitions, such as the acquisition of an equity stake in SK Broadband, Korea’s second largest fixed-line operator, or the acquisition of a leased-line business from SK Networks.


“By investing in the export-driven semiconductor business, we plan to achieve a more diversified business portfolio, as well as seek global growth opportunities utilising Hynix’s overseas network.”





SKT brands as HD Voice in September 2012. Commercially, the operator was able to exploit the lower call set-up times and increased quality of VoLTE, with set up times of 0.5 seconds, and 2.2 times wider frequency bandwidths (50–7000 Hz) than that of 3G voice using the Adapted Multi-Rate Wide Band (AMR-WB) codec. To support the introduction of VoLTE, the company prioritised voice data packets by applying QoS Class Identifier (QCI) to its LTE network in order to handle HD Voice speech data first.

In July 2012 SKT announced plans to deploy Multi Carrier (MC) technology to utilise both its existing 800MHz frequency band and the 1.8GHz band it newly acquired in the second half of 2011. With an additional 20MHz uplink/downlink spectrum, it will be using a total of 40MHz for its LTE services. MC chooses the faster available frequency band, distributing data optimally distributed to each frequency band, with the aim of reducing network overload. The plan is for 24 major cities to have MC capability by early 2013.



Development and deployment of LTE-A features. The operator demonstrated a core LTE-Advanced technology named ‘Enhanced Inter-Cell Interference Coordination (eICIC)’ in cooperation with Qualcomm and Nokia Siemens Networks, adding this to its support for CoMP and Carrier Aggregation. The company commercialised CoMP in January 2012 and plans to achieve commercialise eICIC and Carrier Aggregation in the second half of 2013. In January 2012 the operator announced its Advanced-SCAN (Smart Cloud Access Network), a technology that uses virtualisation technology to ensure up to four times better call quality in base station boundary areas, and it will evolve that to standardised CoMP.

As well as combining LTE frequencies, the company also developed HIS (Hybrid Network Integrated Solution) a technology designed to enable simultaneous use of LTE and Wi-Fi networks. SKT said HIS could provide data rates of up to 127Mbps (LTE 75Mbps + Wi-Fi 52Mbps), which is 70 percent faster than that of current LTE network.

TDD-LTE Although the company has no plans for TD in its own markets, it is developing, with Altair and Ericsson, a dual-mode handover solution that will enable users to roam between FDD and TDD networks.

FEMTOCELLS Allied to this development is the introduction of the first LTE femtocell, from Contela, and a commitment to using outdoor LTE small cells to densify the network and improve capacities. SKT claims to have installed around 44,000 femtocells in data-concentrated areas and indoors, and commercialised an LTE femtocell, an ultra-mini base station, for the first time in the world in June 2012. To co-ordinate this layer of the network, it has developed and applied what it claims is the world’s first Femtocell Interference Coordination System (FICS) in order to

improve the performance of LTE femtocell by controlling interference between LTE femtocells.

LTE-A TRANSMISSION MODE 9 In January 2013, SKT announced that it successfully performed the world’s first demonstration of an LTE-A technology named Transmission Mode 9 (TM-9) in partnership with Ericsson. TM-9 is a Het Net coordination technology that can enhance the performance of small cells within large cells. In mobile networks, data transmission rates decrease in boundary areas between base stations and overlapping areas covered by multiple adjacent base stations. TM-9 allows base stations to distinguish mobile devices and send different demodulation reference signals (DM-RS) to each mobile device located within the coverage area. In addition, each base station uses its unique channel information reference signal (CSI-RS) to communicate with devices. The development and demonstration of TM-9 at SKT began in October 2012. SKT said that the results of the demonstration showed that TM-9 was able to increase data transmission rate of mobile devices by 10 to 15% areas of inter-cell interference.

RCS The company has launched Joyn.T, its RCS-based messaging service, as an Andoird application. It plans to launch joyn.T 2.0, an upgraded version of joyn.T, in 2013 and extend joyn.T to PC clients in the first quarter of 2013.













operators have to sustain to manage and modify the network infrastructure. SDN brings the potential now to start orchestrating the network changes through a centralised place, giving you a real vertical view of the entire L2/L3 network. So the orchestration layer takes care of really programming the routers and switches consistently and very efficiently. So there’s huge potential there.” If it were merely about cost control, then SDN would be just another tool, but it is because it goes further towards achieving a strategic goal of many operators that it is rising up the “must explore” list. Mike Heffner, Director of Product Management, Tekelec, makes the point. “The carriers need to evolve their business models so they can become digital lifestyle providers in this mobile-social ecosystem. The carriers need to have a way of getting involved in that monetisation of the value chain. So with the application of SDN we give them a way of architecting the network in such a way that we can deliver a network that is aware of what apps and what content subscribers are trying to access, so that in the last mile of the delivery chain the operator can add value to the content and media that is going over to their subscribers and take advantage of that monetisation value chain.” Radisys’ Singh also sees SDN as an enabler of a more responsive, contextaware network. “The most interesting thing beyond the capex and opex that SDN brings to the table is the potential for the operators to really start giving applications a virtual slice of the network, in a very well defined very well controlled way. Think of it as applications that could have varying degrees of QoS requirements, so you want to have very different apps control lists for these types of applications. The potential for the mobile networks is can you start managing the underlying network infrastructure, the L2-L3 very


efficiently, and enable applications to get a virtual slice of the network depending on the requirements a particular application may have. That also ties in to an interesting emerging area of the mobile network which happens to be DPI, which does the opposite thing in that you are looking at the flows and intelligently trying to look at traffic and understand what specific flows are supposed to be and how can you give them specific QoS. If you really look at SDN, and ask if DPI is a friend or foe in an SDN, the conclusion is that the two technologies are very complementary. The DPI for example in itself today can in real time look at the flows, do the DPI, figure out what kind of traffic it is and try to tweak QOS characteristics on the fly. However, with SDN comes the potential to have the PCRF in the networks and really start interacting with the SDN controllers to start delivering very granular QoS to specific applications, carving out virtual slices of the network for those applications. That’s a huge potential for everything from monetisation on to service delivery to QoS. Are we there yet? No. But have we started the dialogue.”

NFV Because interest in SDN has arisen at the same time as increasing virtualisation, and because SDN has been adopted first in cloud and data centre environments, there has been a slight tendency to conflate SDN with virtualisation. This is furthered by the fact that to many it makes sense to take advantage of virtualisation to increase the flexibility and cost effectiveness of the new architecture. Heffner makes the point that the two don’t have to go together: “We define SDN and NFV as essentially two independent things, that are highly complementary but don’t have to have each other to exist. You can do SDN, the separation of the control plane and the consolidation of the control plane across various network services into

a more centralised architecture that takes advantage of other intelligence around network subscribers and services so that it can make better decisions around how it may interact with the control plane. But that can actually be done outside of virtualisation, although obviously with virtualisation the combination becomes very powerful.” Discussions around how to virtualise the telco space have recently centred around Network Functions Virtualisation. In October of 2012 AT&T, BT, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom and other operators introduced the NFV Call to Action document. In order to increase velocity, a new committee was set up under the ETSI the European Telecommunications Standards Institute. (The 3rd ETSI Future Networks Technologies Workshop, April 9-11, 2013 at Sophia Antipolis, will be dedicated to Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV). Many in the industry think that there is a need for a standards body to start the definition of virtualising the network itself, and delineate what are services and benefits that can be delivered to the operator. That is a debate that is just beginning.

Jargon Buster SDN

Software Defined Networks: where network control functions are encapsulated in software and sit as centralised, programmable, controllers that can manage forwarding layer elements in the network.


OpenFlow is a proposed standard protocol that is intended to enable control between the controller and the forwarding entity.

NFV - Network Functions Virtualisation

You can have SDN without NFV. But virtualisation is often associated with SDN because as network functions are centralised, there is an additional potential benefit for operators to be able to take advantage of virtualised instances of those.


CISCO Is massively interested in the role of analytics, big data and network visibility in next gen telco networks. So where Cisco may seem to be threatened by the ìdumbed down routerî aspect of SDN, it sees opportunity in many other aspects of SDN, and of course in the related NFV drive.

A platform provider that sees opportunity in SDN because there is a chance that SDN could enable a new breed of routing and switching provider to spring up t provider the controllers and forwarding engines for the network. If they do, they will need platforms upon which to develop, and that’s where Radisys, with its embedded architecture, comes in.

Ericsson Ericsson was among the first to establish a SDN research project with Stanford University, in 2008-2009, and one of the founders of the Open Networking Research Centre. It has also taken part in standardisation through the Open Networking Foundation. For Ericsson, it’s about more than routers and switchers: ìWeíre not only talking about how SDN affects a router, which some of our competitors do, but how it impacts the whole network and how to make it optimal for the operators.

Alcatel-Lucent The company has invested in a cloud-service provider focussed company called Nuage, which doesn’t launch officially till April 2013. †Nuage has said that its products will will support OpenFlow as one of many control protocols, and will be “agnostic” to others like OpenStack, CloudStack, VMware vCenter.





The vendor is big on virtualisation, developing its Liquid Core virtualised network on COTS hardware. But where the vendor is in terms of SDN is less clear, as the it has been externally quiet about SDN, and using the term. It is a member of the NFV Forum, however.

As quoted in this article, the company sees SDN giving operators more of a monetisation path by being able to architect networks that are more flexible and can take advantage of the intelligence provided by the policy, signalling and subscriber data elements that Tekelec provides.

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THE AUTOMATION GENERATION? 4G has been portrayed only in terms of increased bandwidths and performance, but could it also give birth to a new, more intelligent, generation of networks?


nalysts and writers have good times working out exactly what is 4G and what is not. It’s a sort of parlour game for people with a working knowledge of ITU-T and access to a Twitter account. The situation has broken down thus: operators calling HSPA+ have a bit of a cheek. LTE is not “real” 4G but nobody’s got the energy to fight that fight any more. LTE-A probably is 4G but LTE-A isn’t really a thing, more a group of features that come under the Advanced umbrella. But 5G? Well, few have gone there. One proposition is that the 5G network will not be defined in terms of end user speeds, peak data rates and so forth, but in terms of intelligence. Of course, this is industry talk, not a consumer definition. But it’s a proposition that says, as we nudge up against Shannons limit, there will be nowhere left to go in terms of raw spectral efficiency. Instead, the network of the future will be the smartest. The major operators are heading this way. Vodafone has been working on something it calls OneSON, an automated system that the operator wants to use to optimise the characteristics of its 3G, LTE and then WiFi networks in combination.



Starting its work with Huawei, which calls its SON product SingleSON, the company has made OneSON a strategic goal as it seeks to define and measure a seamless customer experience across its access channels, and maximise its own available network resources. One of the project leads, Andy Dunkin, told a conference in 2012 that the OneSON automation wasn’t about replacing people with processes, but allowing the same teams to achieve more in more complex networks. He said that the automated processes reach into four core areas of Vodafone’s network operations teams, affecting planning, deployment, maintenance and optimisation. If you wanted to read which way the major NEPs are heading, consider that last year NSN brought its SON for Core concept to Mobile World Congress, and markets its Intelligent SON (iSON) system as offering “self-healing, self-optimisation and self-configuration across Radio Access, OSS and Mobile Core”. One of the drivers for the likes of NSN is that they want to be in a position to act as a multivendor operator of networks, alongside the operator, or acting as a managed services partner.

It’s a long game Technology that lets operators build multi-vendor networks, but operating under a common SON umbrella, is a great enabler of a NEP’s claim to act as an independent, trusted network partner. It also plays strongly into the NEPS desire to become experts in building Customer Experience Management strategies for mobile operators. It’s a long game, aimed at delivering customerresponsive networks where the planning, design and optimisation decisions and

configuration are informed by data that has been derived from actual customer information. Data analysis over here drives network optimisation over there largely automated and close to “real time”. This is a process that is only augmented by the increasing push to Cloud RAN architectures, and the virtualisation of network functions - steps that could provide more dynamic resource allocation, or prioritised QoS-based traffic flows.

To date, much of the drive to automation has centred around planning and optimisation But let’s not get carried away. To date, much of the drive to automation has centred around planning and optimisation - two areas that often sit together for obvious reasons. These have been ripe candidates because they have been manually intensive, requiring often as not fleets of people on foot and in cars delivering data from which to build network models and maps. There are a range of companies with solutions here, from Amdocs with its automated capacity planning solutions, to the likes of Aircom, Actix or Mentum. These companies have developed SON products that can stand alone, to act on network data and optimise networks or in some cases be OEM’d into other vendors’ products (as NEC does with Actix’s SON platform). Many of the SON providers make the point that it is the Het Net that will really drive the need for increased automation. In the past, operators could undertake network planning, deployment and optimisation sequentially. Automating these processes that will be instrumental in maximising LTE network coverage and



capacity. Take just one area, managing active, adaptive antennas. Operators deploying LTE already have 2G and or 3G networks that are using individual or shared multiband antennas. Shared multiband antennas enable individual electrical tilts for each band as a means to target network coverage and capacity where it is needed most. New active antenna innovation offers the potential for LTE capabilities to be added to this multiband equation as a means for operators to maximise existing investment and drive spectrum efficiency. To achieve this, however, operators must plan all of the radio networks in tandem, to ensure they are fully optimised.

Automated network optimisation will take more and more account of key customer-related metrics This is also true for operators contemplating MIMO for its network capacity gains. MIMO promises massive gains that are however highly sensitive to network interference. Crucially, MIMO has a role to play in helping operators maximising network throughput and capacity, but these benefits can only be realised if its deployment is preceded by careful planning and optimisation. Automated optimisation of course relies on network level data discovery, as well as user experience data and service and application data - and here there has been another great push into automated processes and systems, from the likes of the traditional service assurance and performance assurance players. If you read the piece that goes with this article from Lyn Cantor at Tektronix, you will see how one of these companies is now positioning itself as a provider of real time, all-seeing, systems that are specifically intended to drive increased intelligence


in how an operator delivers services across its network. Increased automation will impact on design, planning and optimisation processes. As networks develop, automated network optimisation will take more and more account of key customerrelated metrics. Operators will need to decide where best to derive the data from, how to analyse it, and how to then use that data to optimise their network resources. The network that can do that, be a thinking network, may be the first true 5G network, irrespective of what the standards say.


One area of the network that is as yet relatively under-exploited in terms of

automated intelligence is the very edge. There are some who think that there is a role for smart cells that can make decisions about what traffic to send to the core, what content to cache locally, and what traffic can remain local or be offloaded. Why? Well the aim is to reduce bandwidth demand on the backhaul link - often a key constraint, and especially so in dense or remote deployments - and also to reduce the load on the core and signalling networks.

A smart small cell or edge cell, allied to smarts at the backhaul switch, would be equipped with increased compute power to make decisions about what to do with traffic on the uplink and downlink. For instance, popular content could be cached at the edge, to stop multiple streams of the content across the backhaul. Or traffic could be intelligently offloaded to the best available route for the operator. A voice call or message intended for

The network you can see versus the one you can’t In 2012, Tektronix Communications’ systems shipped over 17 Petabytes of data, which is a 5th of Facebook’s stored data capacity. What can operators do with that data? Lyn Cantor, President and CEO, tells us.

a subscriber on the same cell could be kept local (something of particular value in remote applications). One of the major companies making the case for increased edge intelligence is Intel. Of course the chip player is keen to see its platforms integrated into more telco equipment as it opens up a new market. At the moment, Intel hardware is integrated by platform providers such as Kontron for high capacity solutions in the core. But Intel is gunning for more of a role across the network. Ubiquisys is using Intel processors allied to its small cell platform to provide the capability to provide functions such as content and DNS caching at the edge - and has demonstrated applications with optimisation company Saguna, for example. Other companies in this area include Altobridge, which optimises and caches content using a concept it calls Data at the Edge. Altobridge has claimed it can reduce backhaul payloads by 40% by implementing these WAN data optimisation techniques. Altobridge builds its solutions on Intel hardware, incorporating its remote gateway into an enclosure with a small cell from Argela, optimising data within the encrytped iUB interface to the RNC.

There are many mobile operators who regard a ‘green’ indication for their network as a sign that their subscribers are satisfied. Yet problems occur in areas not always revealed in the network overview. Dropped calls, failed handovers, interrupted videos, delayed receipt of messages, and the many other glitches that may have passed unnoticed in the mobile world of yesteryear are unacceptable today. To interpret and monetise the data available to them mobile operators have to approach it on a micro level, rather than as indicative trend data. Without a view of precisely what’s going on, from a user perspective, there can never be a truly endto-end solution that eradicates the glitches. The days of one-dimensional and two-dimensional passive monitoring are over; operators need to appreciate the rich insights hidden in the wealth of data stored across their networks. If operators fail to follow and analyse every path of the data journey they will miss valuable insights and will never deliver the customer experience their users demand.

The ability to extract information historically, and in real-time, provides the operator with an unparalleled breadth and depth of insight into the subscriber’s behaviour, the services and applications they’re consuming, the performance of the network they’re using and the different technology standards it supports. In 2012 we shipped over 17 Petabytes of data, which is a 5th of Facebook’s stored data capacity. The combination of ‘Big Data’ and the granular detail that we can provide has presented the carriers with more intelligence about their business, and their customers, than they have previously had access to. Real-time end-to-end data collection and analysis can give operators the visibility they need, to deliver the experience and services their customers want. Operators are using this information to develop new business models rooted in security and quality of service. Lyn Cantor, President, Tektronix Communications



STADIUM DESIGN Stadium wireless design has come a long way. London managed to get through the most connected Olympics yet with barely a flicker. How are operators protecting their brand and revenues by ensuring stadiums, and their users, remain connected?


erving a decent wireless experience to attendees at large stadium events is becoming crucial to the brand reputation of the major mobile operators. The lights may have gone out at the latest Superbowl, but the wireless stayed on. One journalist held his phone out the window of the media booth during half time (a time when you would expect an awful lot of people to have their phones out to send a message or tweet ) and recorded latency of 109ms, downlink speeds of 22.5Mbps and uplink of 43.5Mbps. During the recent London Olympic Games, concerns before the event that London’s mobile operators would not be able to meet demand for wireless capacity proved largely unfounded. The Joint Olympic Operating Group of operators, formed to make sure that the videos kept playing, and the Tweets kept flowing, had achieved their aim. For the World Cup in South Africa in 2010, host operators worked with optimisation companies to make sure that mobile networks would be able to cope with a large influx of roaming traffic, much of it likely to be data-heavy and potentially lucrative.


Vendors too are increasingly aware of the need to target the stadium use case. Ericsson’ first WiFi product launch post its acquisition of Belair Networks was tagged stadium optimised - the 5114 access point and the WIC 8000 Wi-Fi controller. Cisco’s Aironet 3500p includes directional, narrow beamwidth external antennas for targeted coverage and minimised interference. Cisco also wraps services around mere connectivity with one notable European example being its Connected WiFi deployment at Real Madrid’s Bernabau stadium, where the WiFi network supported not just mobile data offload but the connection of high definition screens around the stadium displaying content exclusive to those attending the match. Aruba markets Adaptive Radio Management alongside stateful policy management specifically for high density WiFi situations such as stadium WiFi. Enterasys provides a 300 access point system at the New England Patriot’s stadium - combining access points with S Class switches, indentity and access Management for BYOD authentication services, as well as its OneFabric Control Center to centrally manage the network.


Overheard, on the inside track... However carefully you plan, you can always fall prey to the unexpected. When the first American football game was played at London’s Wembley, the teams brought in their own communication systems and headsets. Unfortunately, the headsets were on the same frequency as the UK defence system...

OLYMPIC VENUES 2012: Olympic Stadium



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At the latest Superbowl in New Orleans, the lights may have gone out, but the wireless networks stayed up. That may partly have been a result of the NFL’s IT team’s decision to scan every WiFi capable device that came into the venue, to check for compatibility with the host system and reduce interference. Wireless cameras were the chief target. MiFi devices were banned in the Olympic Park during the London 2012 games.

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Axell Wireless’ Element Manager system monitored 46 remotes just in the stadium itself. Networks were monitored 24/7 before and during the Games.




n some cases, it is the stadium owners and team franchises that contract to cover the stadium, but it is a costly investment - one US stadium WiFi deployment has been costed at $6 million - something that is crucial for WiFi where the actual financial return can be negligible. That is why the more common model is for a multi-operator approach, so that one infrastructure is funded by and serves multiple operators. Doug Lodder, VP of business development at Boingo, the WiFi service provider that installs and runs wireless coverage solutions into stadia (including Chicago’s Soldier Field) says that multiservice infrastructure makes more economic sense in some cases than a pure WiFi installation. “We always try convince the stadium owners to deploy DAS and WiFi at the same time. In terms of actual consumption, the business case for WiFi is not that compelling. Compare the South Coast plaza (a shopping mall) that has 26 million people annually with the LA Angels’ baseball stadium - a much bigger area to cover but with attendance of three million.”

iBwave models wireless coverage at a hockey stadium. Stadium design can do more than just enhance the match experience it could teach the wider wireless world about how to provide coverage to densely populated areas.


“Chicago’s Soldier Field, where Boingo is conducting initial offload trials with select carrier partners.”

“Comparing August-October 2011 to August-October 2012 we’ve seen data uploaded via the network by all Wi-Fi enabled devices more than double. This demand for connectivity has stadium owners moving quickly to upgrade their networks and deploy DAS and Wi-Fi HetNets that can handle the network load efficiently. The HetNets that we manage operate with a neutral host model, which gives customers of all carriers access to the network without bias. The networks are designed to allow cellular traffic to be offloaded to Wi-Fi at peak usage times, to ensure the best possible fan experience.” Lodder concludes. “We think that you’ll see a lot more stadiums with converged DAS and Wi-Fi networks rolling out in the near term.” Stadiums are like very dense metropolitan “villages” that require a wide range of wireless solutions - such as small cells, distributed antenna systems (DAS) and Wi-Fi as a complement to the existing macro network - to address all of the coverage and capacity requirements. As such, things that planners learn from deployments in stadia could in theory be passed on to other environments. Outdoor DAS, for example, could offer a neutral host model that keeps costs

down for operators considering small cell deployments in metro or dense urban areas. At present, we are seeing operators enter, or consider entering, a landgrab for access rights to the real estate they need to roll out small cell networks. These are often complicated negotiations, with exclusive rights. Operators may see a competitive advantage in being the sole operator with rights to the light poles in a certain city, but their competitor may well have the rights in the next borough along. In that case, we may already be looking at some de facto sharing of infrastrcture. So rather than roll out 3-4 small cell networks, with 3-4 sets of negotiations, 3-4 sets of equipment and backhaul investments, the neutral host could well have a roll to play. Indeed, we’re already seeing wholesale operators with extensive fibre assets begin to form thoughts around how they could use that to provide a hosted small cell access network.

Where stadia lead, then, metro wireless networks could follow.

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Football world cup South Africa. Arieso work with MTN to optimise stadium coverage

Cisco floods Bernabau with WiFi

Olympic park merges small cell coverage with WiFi.

Superbowl in New Orleans has WiFi for 30,000 concurrent connections.

Ready for the FIFA World Cup. Delegates from Brazil visited London 2012 to observe its operating model. TMNQUARTERLY 33


t ’s larges ld r o w e h ? one of t e mobile n o g r e v Why has e tworks n metro ne

MS E T S Y S D UN O R G D R L E R D O UN W E TH D N U O R A There are currently 15 rapid transit systems around the world with in-building wireless network projects in progress. ALGIERS


















of the ins why one la p x e k r o Netw ers The Mobile takes its us s m te s y s o est metr world’s larg . e black hole into a mobil The London Underground is the fourth largest metro system in the world in terms of track mileage, with only Seoul, Beijing and Shanghai laying down more steel. 45% of its 400km or so is underground, and that means that for almost all those 180km, there is no mobile coverage. It often intrigues visitors who see Londoners apparently glued to their phones in bars, at work, on buses and as they walk along the street. Yet step underground and the chatting, messaging and browsing stops, and commuters are reduced to stabbing at a game, or to switching devices to a Kindle or even a book. Some have even been known to engage in conversation, although this is officially frowned upon by local bylaws. 1.2 billion journeys were made on the system during 2012, and for most of those journeys London’s commuters, day trippers and tourists were left to stare at



SFR & RATP are also partnering to provide Wi-Fi in 47 metro and RER stations.



By 2015, all smartphone and tablet users can use data whether on a platform or in the train





MOBILE COVERAGE FIRST PROPOSED London Underground invites tenders for a commercial trial of coverage on two lines. It receives three tenders, none of which it considers commercially viable, and the project is shelved.



OFFER COMES FROM LEFT-FIELD A strange development sees Huawei offer £50 million worth of services and equipment to get mobile coverage in stations and tunnels. The solution proposed siting mobile base stations on platforms and concourses. The idea is dropped, being both politically controversial, and technically a bit of a challenge, even by Huawei’s own admission.





> 201

Objective is to cover 75% of metro and RER users by the end of 2014, meaning service in 170 of the major metro and RER stations.




empty bars of coverage on their screen. Why? Why, when most metro systems in the world have long carried signal throughout the map, has London never followed suit? It’s a question that many Londoners don’t have the answer to. They just sort of shrug and accept it as some natural law: it’s cold at the poles, the sun rises in the East, and the London Underground doesn’t have mobile coverage. Of course, it should be pointed out that many Londoners don’t want mobile coverage on the Tube. It’s the last haven, they say, of peace away from intrusive ring tones and snatches of other peoples’ conversations. A not exactly scientific poll carried out in February 2011 found that 75% of respondents didn’t want to see mobile coverage on the Tube. Yet many find it strange that the Tube remains dark.


If we can’t get cellular coverage down there, we can at least get some WiFi going, thinks Transport for London. Virgin installs Cisco WiFi APs across a range of stations. Mobile customers can now log-on through partnership deals struck with EE and Vodafone. At one stage, 90,000 users a day were signing on.



But what of the operators, wouldn’t they like to see their services extended to a domain in which over a billion journeys are made every year? Well yes, they would. The issue is, it’s not up to them. CityLink, the consortium that rolled out emergency service coverage (TETRA) to the entire network, in a project that took years, incurred a legal dispute halfway through, and finished in 2008, still holds the access rights to the Tube. TFL (Transport for London) of course owns and operates the system, and would need to commission any installation. All the operators can do is show willing, and agree commercial terms for a share network, as they have recently done in the case of the Channel Tunnel. And it’s not as if there haven’t been attempts. In 2011, news broke that Huawei was willing to “donate” £50 million worth of equipment and services to the Tube. Boris Johnson, mayor of London, seemed keen to have a win on the Underground in time for the Olympics. Huawei, which has courted politicians and officials in the UK, seemed keen to help. Perhaps the company thought the donation would buy it some goodwill. But the idea collapsed as Huawei’s technical outline proved too difficult to be successful. Even Huawei’s own document, as reported on website The Register at the time, warned: “Low ceiling heights, complex inter-connecting corridors and concourses, escalators and staircases, limits the choice of antennas and radiating power elements... tunnels have to have adequate and uniform signal coverage.” The issue with Huawei’s approach was that it proposed installing a base station, or multiple base stations, at every station, directing coverage down tunnels and into walkways and so on. That meant getting power and physicals, as well as backhaul, to the base stations down at tunnel level, as well as dealing with cooling and protecting the base stations from the


S L OPTION ROUND A IC N H C E T RG ON UNDE ON LOND Space: these tunnels are 100 years old

and very narrow - sometimes only a few cms between the train and the wall. Allowing space for radiating cable or remote radio nodes was never in the original design brief.

Cooling: It’s hot down there. Sticking in

even low power equipment is not a great idea. Base stations pumping out heat would be even worse.

Power: Again, allowing for power supplies

through stations and along tunnels was not in the original plans.

Busy: You need to get into tunnels to install - you’ve got a shutdown period of perhaps 2-3 hours.

elements - underground systems being humid, very variable in temperature, and dusty. The project was abandoned. Instead, TFL and the Mayor’s office settled for installing WiFi in selected stations. Operated by Virgin, these Cisco units offer WiFI coverage in the station concourses and platform areas, affording a quick glimpse of connectivity for users as they enter and exit the trains. The first units were online in June 2012, and Vodafone and EE now offer their users authentication onto the access points through arrangements with Virgin Media Business. So, back to Huawei - does the failure of their suggested approach mean that covering London cannot be done, technically? Ian Brown, CEO of Axell, a company whose DAS systems are installed in some 90 underground systems worldwide, says that Distributed Antenna Systems are the much better option. DAS distribute coverage along fibre to remote nodes fed by a base station or base stations that can be housed in an environmentallycontrolled room above ground.

“Where there’s a will there’s a way,” Brown says “There’s no technical reason not to do so. The tunnels are small, there’s not a lot of space, the system also runs very busy and there’s not a lot of down time. But it can be done - it’s a question of commercial and poltical will.”

“Where there’s a will there’s a way,” Brown says “There’s no technical reason not to do so.” Although London tends to have longer tunnels between stations, the tunnels themselves are much narrower than on metro systems, and the tunnels are also bendier, Brown sees no technical reason why a DAS couldn’t be used to cover London. Meanwhile, Londoners wait, either in trepidation or anticipation, for the political will to materialise. See this upcoming webinar: Designing Seamless Networks in Rapid Transit Systems KD (

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Once an interesting anomaly that the rest of the world marvelled at but

largely ignored, Japan is becoming a

proving ground for some of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest wireless network tech vendors.

LTE IN JAPAN Japan has been viewed as a mobile Galapagos - interesting and fascinating but ultimately separate from the rest of the world.


ith LTE, however, it has lead the way on several technological fronts, and now major vendors are beginning to apply in other markets what they have learnt in Japan. Japan has always looked a bit different from other markets. Its penetration of smartphones that the rest of the world knows is quite low, yet has data of between 50-60% of overall ARPUs, where European markets trot along in the mid-20% and even the LTE operators


in the USA are in the mid 40% range. Its operators can do crazy things like switch off 2G (NTT terminated its 2G service in March 2012, shifting 99% of its users to 3G or LTE) and even target the switch off of 3G, releasing large chunks of spectrum for 4G. Famously, the operators exert a degree of control over handset specifications, as well as committing large sums to infrastructure R&D. They also have a much firmer grip on the applications and content side of things than their global counterparts.

It is this that has lead the rest of the world to view Japan as interesting, but of little relevance to the rest of the world. LTE changes that. It is becoming the first truly global mobile standard, even if it comes in two variants, TDD and FDD, and is being deployed in a range of different spectrum bands. But compared to the mishmash of CDMA, GSM-WCDMA, PHS, WiMax that existed in 2G and 3G, LTE brings a certain homogeneity. That brings Japan back into play. This is not just theory, one of the leading European




} { NTT Group owns NTT DoCoMo


KDDi operates brands au and UQ Communications (WiMax)

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SoftBank Mobile operates Wireless City Planning CP (TD-LTE) and FDD LTE

NEPs in-country heads told TMN that the company is now actively hosting R&D in Japan with a view to exporting what it has learnt back into other markets. Why is this? Well, for one, Japan is further on with LTE than many markets, giving us the chance to actually see technology in the wild. Second, Japan presents many issues that are giving planners and designers headaches in other territories. These include the issues of dense, urban outdoor deployments, how to manage proliferating outdoor WiFi, intended for offload but becoming a mess, and what to do with paired and unpaired spectrum.

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total subscriber base of 60 million. Of those, nearly nine million have shifted from its FOMA 3G network to the Xi LTE service - 15.6%. This represented a slight missing of its own internal target, which was to have 11 million LTE subscribers by the end of 2012. Its aim through 2012 was to achieve 60% of smartphone sales to be LTE enabled, and of the 14 million devices it sold in 2012, 8.4 million were LTE devices. After NTT, other operators followed. SoftBank Mobile which launched services in February 2011 based on AXGP, a similar technology to TD-LTE (it now offers TD-

Japanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s largest operator, NTT Docomo, launched LTE in December 2010 and saw steady subscriber growth. By March 2012 it claimed two million subscribers, by June that was 3 million and the operator had five million subscribers to its Xi (pronounced Crossy) LTE service by September. It now has a

LTE services), and had 132K subs on the network by the end of June. EMOBILE (purchased and now being re-sold by SoftBank) launched LTE in March 2012. KDDi did not launch LTE services until

late 2012, with the launch of the iPhone 5, and now manages a CDMA2000 1X EV-DO network, fixed broadband through FTTH and ADSL, WiMAX through its affiliate UQ Communications, and cable TV.

TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION In terms of its network, NTT DoCOMo has said it will have 115Mbps connections in 50 cities by June 2013, and max download speeds of 75Mmbps, in 4,000 sites by March 2013 and 10,000 sites by June 2013. All 97 Shinkansen bullet trains are covered with plans for other route coverage by June 2013. 50 airports are covered. NTT will also have 700MHz LTE by 2015, to add to its spectrum bands supporting LTE. As early as February 2011, the operator was announcing plans to conduct field experiments in LTE-A functionality, such as carrier



aggregation, uplink MIMO transmission, Downlink multiuser MIMO transmission, downlink coordinated multi-point (CoMP) transmission. NTT is aware that traffic will be videocentric, rather than voice or mail-centric. “How we distribute the video efficiently over the network is a very big concern,” says Kiyoyuki Tsujimura, who heads the networking subsidiary of NTT DoCoMo. SoftBank has taken the real estate it acquired with the purchase of small operator Willcom, and has rolled out low power TDD sites across the country - deploying an active antenna plus base station hotel architecture, that is enabled by affordable fibre connections. CTO Yoshioki Chika told telecoms site Global Telecoms Business in January 2012: “Here in Japan dark fibre is very cheap. It is only $40 per month for backhaul. We connect base station base band units to the local exchange carrier office. Therefore with the microcell [architecture], 100 sites work like one single base station.” SoftBank has also now launched LTE in FDD spectrum it owns at 900Mhz, making it one of the first operators to

be operating both TDD and FDD modes of LTE. The company also hosted the first iteration globally of NSN’s iSON (intelligent Self Organising Networks) product. KDDI said that its LTE launch would offer about twice the capacity of EV-DO Rev. A, but it is also looking to increase base station density, developing the co-existence of macro and pico eNodeBs, with 500-meter spacing in residential areas for its macro layer it sees the only feasible way to increase capacity is by introducing picocells and femtocells. Allied to increased spectrum allocation, KDDI currently thinks it will see a 40 times (2×2×10) capacity increase. By March 2015, KDDI aims to have covered 96.5% of the population, equivalent to its EV-Do Rev. A coverage area, deploying LTE at 800MHz (10MHz × 2) for nationwide coverage and 1.5GHz (10MHz × 2) for urban/suburban areas. That will include RF equipment sharing between LTE and CDMA2000, introduction of SON, and backhaul migration to Giga bit Ethernet (GbE) over optics. As an interim solution, it plans to adopt CSFB and has started technical evaluation of VoIP

over LTE (VoLTE). Not only has Japan acted as a crucible for LTE technology development, it has also resulted in some insane outdoor WiFi strategies. SoftBank’s mobile networks head told the LTE World Summit in May 2012 that outdoor WiFi was now all but unusable in parts of major cities because of interference caused by the sheer number of access points. The problem is, Japanese operators feel they are in an arms race to deploy. If one operator releases a statement that it has 100,000 access points, the other operator will up the ante. So in WiFi too we are seeing innovation. NTT DoCoMo has claimed that it has developed the first dual-mode small-cell base station, or femtocell, supporting 3G (W-CDMA) and LTE simultaneously. WiFi offload is critical to the network strategies of operators, however. So whether it is in the scale of LTE deployments, the mix of technologies, or the introduction of joint WiFi-LTE Het Nets, with SON support, Japan is solving problems that the rest of the world should, at the very least, be aware of.

Adoption of LTE technology As of January 2013

Countries with commercial LTE service Countries with commercial LTE network deployment on-going or planned

13 commercial LTE TDD networks are launched

40% of commercial LTE networks have deplyed LTE 1800

Countries with LTE trial systems (pre-commitment) Figures from the GSA. 40 TMNQUARTERLY





- Softbank’s outdoor WiFi access points

passengers a day at Shinjuku station

270,000 - KDDI’s WiFi access points


Amount of data traffic KDDI wants to offload to WiFi/WiMax by March 2013


Japan will have a total of 2 percent of the connections i the globe by 2017

However it will be responsible for more than 16 percent of the global traffic


Number of mobile subscribers (Aug. 2012) NTT DOCOMO 60,628,000 KDDI (au) 35,885,500 Softbank mobile 30,141,100 emobile 4,138,000


131,054,000 WORLDWIDE


WCP 261,400

 mount of data traffic a KDDI offload to WiFi in March 2012 TMNQUARTERLY 41




he mobile industryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s annual meeting moves across the city of Barcelona, now given the title of Mobile World Capital, to the new exhibition and conference halls of Fira Gran Via. Coining the strapline New Mobile Horizon for the event, the GSMA is invoking a new era in mobileâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s development. The message? That the industry is moving beyond pure connectivity and communications to acting as an enabler of societal change. Mobileâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s impact will be felt in industry, in health, in transport, in banking, in retail and in the home. The mobile operators have been portrayed as the victims of disruption; their core revenues at the mercy of slicker rivals. Expect MWC2013 to develop the theme of mobile itself as a disruptor of other industries and business models. To support this vision, the industry will need suppliers and partners that enable it to build its goal of intelligent, efficient networks that are user, application and context aware, enabling mobile operators and all their partners to extract value from the New Mobile Horizon. The horizon may be new, but the path towards it is still built from the bricks and blocks of The Mobile Network.



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