Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., urged the Internet community on Tuesday to rally to push Congress to free up more unlicensed spectrum for Wi-Fi and other new wireless technologies.
“It’s going to take your voices and the voices of a whole bunch of folks similar to what happened a few weeks ago … to just rise up and make clear that that freedom, that the accessibility, capacity for innovation is vital to our future competitive position,” said Kerry, chairman of the Senate Commerce Communications Subcommittee.
“Maximizing efficiency, innovation, competition, and the public interest are the goals that should guide our spectrum policies. Filling the public coffers with auction money is good, but it is not the highest good. And protecting large incumbents from more competition is not our role.”
The event was sponsored by the Wireless Innovation Alliance and the New America Foundation, which was called “Unlicensed Spectrum, White Spaces, and The American Economy“.
Dr. Mark Cooper, Director of Research for the Consumer Federation of America, says that Congress should continue to put the public back in the public air waves and promote the mutually beneficial and complementary relationship between the licensed and unlicensed models.
He unveiled a report today (pdf) titled “Efficiency Gains and Consumer Benefits of Unlicensed access to the public airwaves”.
According to his executive summary:
“My analysis shows that by every measure of economic performance – device shipments, users, usage, efficiency, value and innovation – the unlicensed model has equaled or exceeded the exclusive licensed model in the past decade. Simply put, without access to unlicensed spectrum, wireless broadband service would be much more costly and far less valuable. Consumers would buy less of it resulting in fewer jobs and less tax revenue.”
Cooper believes Congress should ensure that the TV white spaces are made available for shared use and that the unlicensed model receives no less than one-sixth of any future high quality spectrum (between 500 MHz and 1 GHz) that is cleared by relocating TV broadcaster.
The House GOP spectrum bill would bar the FCC from reserving some spectrum for unlicensed uses and would restrict the ability of the FCC to structure the auctions as they see fit. Incentive auctions are aimed at getting broadcasters to give up some of their spectrum for a share in the revenues.
The Senate Commerce Committee approved its own spectrum legislation last summer (S.911). The Wireless Innovation Alliance, a coalition of tech companies, public-interest groups and others, prefers Senate Commerce’s language on the issue, which would permit some unlicensed use of the White Spaces, as well as incentive auctions to enable carriers to expand their licensed spectrum holdings.
Republicans hold a majority in the House, and the House Commerce Committee. On December 1, 2011, the HCC’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology approved, over opposition from some Democrats, a discussion draft [113 pages in PDF] of the “Jumpstarting Opportunity with Broadband Spectrum Act of 2011″ or “JOBS Act of 2011″. The National Association of Broadcasters also supports Greg Walden’s bill, which would eliminate unlicensed use of White Spaces.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski at CES last month said (pdf) that “Wi-Fi as an unlicensed innovation has gone from something that wireless carriers opposed and that wireless devices didn’t accommodate, to something that wireless carriers embrace as indispensible to their networks.
FCC Commissioner McDowell opposes setting aside Unlicensed Spectrum, a position that is held by most incumbant cellular carriers and the National Association of Broadcasters.
“At this early stage, it is not apparent that we should stop the progress well under way in the white spaces arena to create a solution for a problem – an alleged shortage of unlicensed spectrum in the 700 MHz Band — that may never exist. Given today’s unprecedented budget deficits, I question whether the U.S. can afford not to auction any and all spectrum recovered in this band,” he said.
On November 4, 2008, the FCC voted 5-0 to approve the unlicensed use of white space.
The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) have asked a Federal court to shut down the FCC’s authorization of white space wireless devices. The plaintiffs allege that portable, unlicensed personal devices operating in the same band as TV broadcasts have been “proven” to cause interference despite FCC tests to the contrary.
Related Dailywireless articles include; Genachowski Lobbies for Unlicensed White Spaces, Universal Service Reform Passed, Microsoft Announced Narrow Channel Whitespace, FCC Authorizes White Space Service in Wilmington, White Space Legislation Goes Dark, White Space War, Bills to Kill Unlicensed White Space?, White Space Trial Completed, White Space Trialed, Huawei to Trial White Space TD-LTE, NTIA “Finds” 1.5 GHz of Federal Spectrum, UK Delays 4G Auction Ofcom: White Spaces by 2013, UK Gets Free Public WiFi, Europe’s Digital Divide Auction,
India’s Supreme Court sent shockwaves through the country’s mobile sector earlier today by cancelling all 122 of the 2G licenses that were awarded under controversial circumstances in 2008.
The markets reacted swiftly. Stocks of telecom companies whose licenses have been scrapped, like DB Realty, whose promoters are invested in Etisalat DB, Unitech and Videocon, tanked instantly. Stocks of Bharti Airtel were trading up – older players like Airtel have no exposure to these licenses.
The administration at the time – led by former telecoms minister A Raja – is accused of selling-off the 2G licences on a first-come-first served basis and potentially costing the country $39 billion it would have made if it had conducted a competitive bidding auction.
In 2008, Mr Raja ignored advice to hold an auction for licenses and spectrum. Instead, he followed a first-come-first-serve policy. But he twisted the guidelines so that companies who he allegedly colluded with jumped to the head of the queue and won licenses out of turn. They paid a pittance- the rates used in 2008 were based on the prices of 2001, even though India had many more mobile phone users by then. 122 licenses were issued.
At the end of 2008, India’s mobile service providers boasted nearly 347 million connections, a year-on-year increase of nearly 50 percent. The government expects the subscriber base for combined wireless and wireline connections to touch 600 million by the end of 2012.
The allocation of spectrum and licences by the government in 2008, led to the arrest of a former communications minister Andimuthu Raja, a member of Parliament, business executives, and government officials. The 2G licences were issued at 2001 prices without an auction, even though other government agencies, such as the Ministry of Finance, had asked the Department of Telecommunications (DOT) to review the decision
In cancelling the licences, the court declared that their award had been “totally arbitrary and unconstitutional,” reports the Financial Times. “This is a major step forward for us in the war against corruption,” said Subramanian Swamy, one of the petitioners in the case before the Supreme Court and the head of the Janata Party.
The country was divided into 23 circles when the mobile phones were introduced in the country. Separate licenses were given out for each of the circles in 1994. The circles were classified as Metros, A, B or C depending upon the revenue potential for the circle.
In India, fixed line subscribers are not even 10% of the mobile subscriber base. The Indian telecommunications industry includes some 706 Million telephone (landlines and mobile) subscribers with 670 Million mobile phone connections as of Aug 2010. Virtually none are yet 3G. According to Informa Telecoms latest forecast, the number of active mobile subscriptions in India will rise to 1.159 billion by the end of 2013, making it the world’s largest mobile market.
Only nine million of India’s 1 billion people have access to broadband. India’s Department of Telecoms hopes the country will have about 48 million broadband users by 2012, and 100 million by 2014.
Big winners in the 2.3 GHz (4G) auction held in 2010 included Bharti Airtel, Aircel, Vodafone Essar, and Tikona Digital Networks. The decision by Reliance and Qualcomm to back LTE TDD, made the LTE standard an unstoppable force, especially when combined with China’s support for Time Division LTE.
Related Dailywireless articles include; India’s Broadband Auction: It’s Done, Qualcomm Gets Indian Partners, Vendors Scramble for Indian Backhaul, TD-LTE: It’s Alive!, China Mobile + Clearwire + Apple?, Sprint’s Network Vision Detailed, Vendors & Spectrum Fund Clearwire TD-LTE, World’s First TD-LTE Service Launched by Mobily, Clearwire Chooses LTE Advanced, Yota: Planetary LTE Swap, Yota Dumps WiMAX,
Of Facebook’s 845 million monthly active users, 425 million accessed Facebook in December alone through a smart-or feature phone app or through its mobile-optimized website. In 2011, 85 percent of Facebook’s $3.7 billion in revenues came from advertising, but none of it from its mobile platforms, notes Kevin Fitchard.
As the S-1 says:
We do not currently directly generate any meaningful revenue from the use of Facebook mobile products, and our ability to do so successfully is unproven. Accordingly, if users continue to increasingly access Facebook mobile products as a substitute for access through personal computers, and if we are unable to successfully implement monetization strategies for our mobile users, our revenue and financial results may be negatively affected.
Of course Facebook’s problem has an easy fix: it can simply start putting ads in its mobile apps and website, notes Fitchard.
In its S-1 Facebook also mentioned the possibility of inserting “sponsored stories” in its members news feeds.
There are 700 million to 800 million potential Indian customers for Facebook. Facebook’s estimates of its penetration in India, is estimated between 20 to 30 percent. India is the world’s second largest market, but very few of its 1 billion-plus people have PCs or the means to access one.
Clearly Facebook’s mobile strategy is going to have a huge impact, whichever way it rolls.
Qualcomm today announced a LTE to WCDMA call using one of its MSM8960 Snapdragon S4 chipset, and a VoIP-over-LTE connection. Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) is a 3GPP specified feature that enables continuity of service by seamlessly switching to a WCDMA network when a consumer on a VoLTE call leaves LTE coverage.
Up until this point, the main use of LTE has been for mobile data traffic. The LTE standard only supports packet switching with its all-IP network. Voice calls in GSM, UMTS and CDMA2000 are circuit switched, so with the adoption of LTE, carriers will have to re-engineer their voice call network.
Voice-over-LTE enables new globally interoperable multimedia services on LTE smartphones with handover of a voice call from LTE to WCDMA. The lack of software support in initial LTE devices as well as core network devices however led to a number of carriers promoting VoLGA (Voice over LTE Generic Access) as an interim solution.
MetroPCS may deploy VoLTE in the first quarter of this year, making it the first operator worldwide to commercially launch VoLTE, the GSMA-backed standard for delivering voice calls over LTE networks. MetroPCS uses CDMA technology to offer service in addition to its 4G network using LTE technology. AT&T Mobility uses UMTS for their voice service and offers LTE on 700 MHz.
Verizon Wireless does not plan to let LTE voice calls roam on to its CDMA network, says Wireless Week, when it introduces voice over LTE (VoLTE) smartphones later this year.
“VoLTE will not hand down to 1X,” Verizon Wireless product development executive Marjorie Hsu told Wireless Week, referring to Verizon’s CDMA 1X Advanced network.
Supporters of VoLTE include nearly all of the major operators as well as equipment vendors such as Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and more. Infonetics Research predicts that 78 percent of the operators that participated in its study said that they will have VoLTE, RCS (rich communication service) and/or VoIP over 3G deployed by 2013.
Last month, Microsoft demonstrate pre-release Windows 8 on Snapdragon S4 processors with LTE support. Demonstrations of pre-release Windows 8 on the Snapdragon S4 MSM8960 reference hardware tablet with LTE were held during Dr. Paul E. Jacobs’ opening keynote address at CES in Las Vegas.
The handover mechanism is supported on Ericsson’s carrier products, including LTE/WCDMA/GSM RAN, Evolved Packet Core, MSC and IMS to work towards VoLTE enabled LTE smartphones.
Two options for carriers have momentum: Circuit Switched Fall Back (CSFB) and LTE VoIP-based Single Radio Voice Call Continuity (SRVCC). The latter is widely supported in the industry and has been recommended by the LTE OneVoice Initiative, which has the support of some of the world’s largest operators and network equipment providers and has been endorsed by the GSM Association (GSMA).
The first operators are expected to begin deploying Single Radio Voice Call Continuity (SRVCC) during 2012, followed by more global commercial launches in 2013.
This video compilation of thought leaders at Digital Book World has some interesting takes on eBooks and publishing. The model that the big six publisher, Random House, Hachette, Macmillan, Penguin, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster is seen by many as “time limited.”
Mike Shatzkin says, “The big six is run by the smartest group, the most innovative group, the most forward thinking group across the board that major publishing has ever had. Each and every one of these companies is run by a legitimately smart, forward thinking leadership. And, yes, they are in a very, very difficult position.”
Related articles on Dailywireless include; Audio Books: Future Unlimited?, Digital Book Conference, Tablet Ownership Doubled Over Holidays, iBooks: Cellular’s Big Bang?, Kindle Fire: Profitable, Apple Textbook App, XO-3: OLPC’s $99 Tablet, Barnes & Noble: Getting Out of Publishing?, E-Books: Banner Year , Barnes & Noble Introduces $249 Media Tablet, Nook Tablet: $249, Kindle: Ignition Point,
Oregonian reporter Joseph Rose puts Apple’s Siri to the test when he takes his iPhone out for a drive to try hands-free texting.
An iPhone ad on the Apple website shows a driver receiving and flawlessly sending a handsfree text with Siri.
Rose was not so lucky. He also mentions a new Canadian study showing “drivers using hands-free devices to make calls can be just as distracted as someone fumbling with a phone.”
On The Big Bang Theory, Raj falls for Siri.
The Federal Communications Commission today voted to approve a comprehensive overhaul of Lifeline service, which helps tens of millions of low-income Americans afford basic phone service. The FCC also voted to improve data collection and a database to make it easier to verify a consumer’s eligibility and ensure one home doesn’t receive multiple reimbursements for service.
The changes are part of bigger efforts to reform the $9 billion universal service fund which subsidizes phone and Internet service to rural areas. The Universal Service High-Cost program, a part of the larger USF fund, is designed to ensure that consumers in rural and high-cost areas have access to telecommunications services at rates that are affordable and reasonably comparable to those in urban areas.
The Low Income program: provides discounts on the installation of telephone and monthly telephone service to low-income consumers. This program has been divided into two programs; Link Up America, which provides a discount on the cost of commencing phone service, and the Lifeline program, with discounts on monthly phone service.
The High-Cost program: is meant to ensure that consumers in rural, insular, and high-cost areas have access to telecommunications services at rates that can be afforded and reasonably comparable to those in urban areas. For this, the program provides subsidies to carriers.
The FCC estimates that its reforms will save the government $2 billion over the next three years. Key elements of the reforms include:
- Setting a savings target of $200 million for 2012, and putting the Commission in a position to adopt an appropriate budget for the program in early 2013 after review of a six-month report and one-year report on the effects of the Order.
- Creation of a National Lifeline Accountability Database to prevent multiple carriers from receiving support for the same subscriber. The database will build on FCC efforts in 2011 that eliminated nearly 270,000 duplicate subscriptions in 12 states following review of over 3.6 million subscriber records, saving $33 million.
- Creation of eligibility databases from governmental data sources, enabling fully automated verification of consumers’ initial and ongoing Lifeline eligibility. This would reduce the potential for fraud while cutting red tape for consumers and providers. A database based on the three most common federal benefit programs through which consumers qualify for Lifeline will be created no later than the end of 2013.
- Establishing a one-per-household rule applicable to all providers in the program, defining household as an “economic unit” so that separate low-income families living at the same address can get connected.
- Establishing clear goals and metrics to measure program performance and effectiveness.
- Phasing out support for services such as Toll Limitation – subsidies to carriers for blocking or restricting long-distance service—and ending Link Up – subsidies to carriers for initial connection charges. Link Up will continue in Tribal lands.
- Reducing burdens on carriers by establishing a uniform, interim flat rate of reimbursement, allowing carriers to obtain a subscriber’s signature electronically, and streamlining enrollment through uniform, nationwide eligibility criteria.
- Adopting an express goal for the program of ensuring availability of broadband for all low-income Americans.
- Establish a Broadband Adoption Pilot Program using up to $25 million in savings from other reforms to test and determine how Lifeline can best be used to increase broadband adoption among Lifeline-eligible consumers. Starting this year, the program will solicit applications from broadband providers and will select a number of projects to fund. Lifeline will help reduce the monthly cost of broadband service, but applicants will be expected to help address other challenges to broadband adoption, including the cost of devices and digital literacy.
- Proposes increasing digital literacy training at libraries and schools.
The reforms met a largely positive response from the wireless industry. CTIA President and CEO Steve Largent said the association was “pleased” that consumers would still be able to choose wireless service under the program and urged the FCC to move quickly on its proposed database.
Bob Quinn, AT&T’s chief privacy officer and head of federal regulatory affairs, was less chairitable.
“No one must pay an 18 percent tax on the electric bill to fund the low-income electric programs,” he said. “One has to wonder why communications consumers are treated differently in this regard.”
The FCC estimated that 9.2 million U.S. households, or about 26 million people, didn’t have access to wired broadband in 2010. Excluding those who can get broadband wirelessly, the number shrinks to 5 million households or 14 million people. That’s 4.5 percent of the population.
Andrew Seybold, in a think piece posted on Fierce Wireless says it’s doubtful that the FCC could meet its five-year goal of freeing up 300 MHz of spectrum.
“It takes months to prepare for such an auction, then it takes a few years to relocate those already on the spectrum, first finding a place to move them and then to pay for the move out of the proceeds of the auction or perhaps require the successful bidders to move the incumbents. After all that is done, the auction winners must build out the spectrum and the device vendors must build smartphones and other devices that will work on the new spectrum. This entire process is likely to take another five years or more.
But it is not the FCC’s fault that these auctions are not already underway. The hold-up is that the auction authorization bill is sitting in Congress and is not moving. In the Senate, S.911 is the bill that authorizes the auctions and lists the spectrum that can be auctioned right away, and it sets the stage for incentive auctions of additional TV spectrum that is to be voluntarily given up by TV broadcasters in return for a portion of the auction proceeds.
In the House, a different bill was introduced and attached to the recent tax relief bill. The National Association of Broadcasters is lobbying hard against the incentive auction portion of the spectrum bill saying that commercial networks don’t need more spectrum.
It is my opinion that the educational efforts by the Public Safety Alliance, the network operators, and organizations such as the CTIA helped in the writing of S.911 and moving it out of committee with a large bipartisan majority.
In the House of Representatives however, the bill that was introduced was influenced more by the NAB and other organizations that oppose the incentive auctions.
How it will end is anyone’s guess. If logic were applied to the situation new spectrum would be made available quickly and public safety would be allocated its needed spectrum. But in Washington D.C. it is not logic that wins the day but rather those who have the clout to convince the staffers to convince their bosses how to vote on an issue.
Seybold has valid points. The NAB no longer is required to provide public interest programing. The small number of group owners that run local television stations get their spectrum free, courtesy of U.S. taxpayers.
That’s not fair. Broadcasters should pay for their spectrum – like everyone else.
Big media is inimical to Democracy. Local ownership, diverse voices, and truly competitive media markets serve the public interest. It’s the LAST thing the NAB wants.
- Smaller broadcasters might vacate their dedicated channel and co-habitate on a digitial subchannel on a competitor’s channel.
- Currently unused television channels “white spaces” would be sold to the highest bidder (probably big telcos).
Negotiations between the House and Senate to resolve differences over spectrum bills stalled. The Senate bill (S.911) calls for a national governance model while the House (JOBS) bill relies on a regional model run by the states.
Walden’s FCC Process Reform Act would take power away from the FCC. Walden is unlikely to give the FCC free rein to conduct the auctions without strict guidelines. His JOBS bill, with the help of NAB, would eliminate unlicensed White Spaces.
On Tuesday, the FCC adopted an order that will eliminate the FCC’s Link Up program, which offers a one-time $30 credit for the installation of landlines or activation fee for cell phones. And it announced a new pilot program that will direct universal service funds to offer subsidies for basic broadband. The commission also pledged to root out waste, fraud and abuse in another program called Lifeline, which provides a $10 monthly credit to help defray the cost of phone service.
Eliminating unlicensed White Spaces would seem to guarantee that the multi-billion dollar the Universal Service Fee – a Big Government, Big Tax program if there ever was one – will continue to bail out rural telecom companies.
Unlicensed White Spaces – like WiFi – could save everyone money.
Related Dailywireless articles include; White Space War, Bills to Kill Unlicensed White Space?, Public Safety Net Removed from Debt Ceiling Bill, The D-Block Gamble, D-Block Gets a Hearing, National Wireless Initiative, White House: D-Block to Police/Fire, State of the Spectrum, NTIA “Finds” 1.5 GHz of Federal Spectrum, National Wireless Initiative, White House: D-Block to Police/Fire, White Space War, White Space To Go, White Spaces Get IEEE Standard, Broadcasters: Portable Devices Kill DTV, Mud Fight in White Space.
Some amazing formation flying experiments have been performed with a team of nano quadrotors at the University of Pennsylvania’s the GRASP Lab. The Quadcopter vehicles were developed by KMel Robotics.
The quadrotors are X-shaped with a central control unit at their center. Based on commands, 16 quadcopters change direction, land, navigate past obstacles, and even fly in a figure-eight formation. When tossed into the air, a quadrotor is able to reorient itself automatically into an upright position.
The General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania demonstrates Scalable sWarms of Autonomous Robots and Mobile Sensors (swarms.org), flying in air-born coordinated swarms that are dynamically reconfigurable.
DIY Drones like the ArduCopter offer both remote control and autonomous flight, including waypoints, mission planning and telemetry. Dronepedia is an open source effort to collect knowledge about amateur UAVs. ArduPilot is an autopilot, based on the Arduino platform. The PhoneDrone board connects Android devices to RC and UAVs controllers. DroneCell uses a cell connection.
Very large Multiple In, Multiple Out (MIMO) antennas in 16×16, 32×32, 64×64 and even larger arrays are, no doubt, being studied by Mitre, Aerospace.org and others. They might be installed in the surface of high altitude airships or integrated into satellite swarms
Fractionated Spacecraft operate like a WiFi mesh in the sky. QB50 will use 50 double CubeSats, separated by a few hundred kilometres, and carrying identical sensors for multi-point, in-situ measurements. Limited orbit control using micropropulsion are now used.
But imagine 8, 16, 32 or 64 MIMO arrays, mounted on Quadcopter swarms, shape-shifting as demand requires.
Related DailyWireless stories include; Small Satellite Conference Celebrates 25 Years, Communications in Libya, FabFi: Cell Network in a Suitcase, Rebel Phone Network, High School Builds Police Robot, Atom Shrinks
A Senate antitrust panel is planning a hearing to discuss Verizon Wireless’s multibillion dollar deals to buy wireless airwaves from cable operators, reports Reuters. Senator Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.), chairman of the Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights subcommittee, said the hearing will include a review of a cross-marketing agreement between Verizon Wireless and cable firms including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House.
The Justice Department’s antitrust division is also looking at the two deals, which critics oppose because they would mean that companies that are rivals in some businesses, like cable and Internet, would become allies in the wireless business.
Verizon Wireless said on December 2 that it would pay Comcast Corp and Time Warner Cable Inc $3.6 billion in a spectrum/marketing deal. A similar deal with privately held cable operator Cox Communications, worth $315 million, was announced in mid-December.
Consumer advocates are worried that Verizon’s co-marketing partnership and spectrum deal with the cable industry contains either a documented or undocumented “gentlemen’s agreement” that Verizon will limit future expansion of FiOS. Some rivals, such as Sprint Nextel, have argued that any review of the spectrum sale by regulators should include other elements of the companies’ agreements.
The hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee will likely be in March, a committee staffer said.
According to Neil Smit, President, Comcast Cable, four years from signing, Comcast could become a reseller of Verizon Wireless’ service through a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) agreement. Comcast could then purchase wireless service at wholesale rates and sell its own, branded wireless service.
The Verizon-SpectrumCo deal would combine the spectrum with its other AWS holdings for 20 MHz channels, which coupled with LTE-Advanced technology could give it significant throughput gains. First, however, Verizon Wireless has to build and open their AWS spectrum. That could take years. Currently, Verizon only offers LTE on the 700 MHz band.
The $3.6 billion Verizon/Cable deal values the spectrum purchased at $0.69 per MHz-POP (the number of people covered by each megahertz). That’s a big jump from the $0.45 per MHz-POP that cable operators paid in 2006.
See Dailywireless: Verizon-Cable Deal: Too Cozy?, Cross Marketing of Verizon & Cable Begins, Verizon Buying Nationwide AWS Spectrum from Cable, Comcast Adds Wireless Tower Business, BelAir: We’re MIMO, Too! , Wavion: 3X3 MIMO for Muni Wi-Fi, Carrier-run Public WiFi Nets Expand, Towerstream Launches Wholesale MuniFi, AT&T Moves to Hotzones and Picocells, AT&T Hotzone in Wrigleyville, Free AT&T Wi-Fi for Charlotte and NYC Gets Another Free WiFi Proposal
Sprint Nextel will give LightSquared an additional six weeks to get approval to build its nationwide 4G LTE wireless network from the FCC or it will terminate its agreement with the company, according to Dow Jones Newswires.
Sprint had previously extended its deadline from the end of 2011 until Jan. 31. Last summer Sprint and LightSquared announced a 15-year, $9 billion network-hosting deal, recounts Fierce Wireless, whereby Sprint will build out LightSquared’s radio access network as part of Sprint’s own network upgrade. LightSquared would operate its own, separate core network but be hosted on Sprint towers.
LightSquared said it will save $13 billion over eight years by using Sprint’s network infrastructure, including cell towers and cell sites and other terrestrial locations.
Lightsquared has a working satellite system (but no phone). Lightsquared’s billion dollar satellite platform has always been something of a Trojan Horse. The real value of Lightsquared was on the ground – using the spectrum for a nationwide LTE network. Verizon paid nearly $10 billion just for their 700 MHz spectrum, some 20MHz wide. Lightsquared planned to re-use their 40 MHz swath of 1.6 GHz satellite spectrum terrestrially – essentially for free.
The FCC acknowledged the domestic satellite phone business needed help. Getting tentative FCC approval to use phones that DIDN’T have the capability to communicate with their satellite directly, would have lowered Lightsquared’s device cost. Things were looking up for Lightsquared a couple of years ago.
The history of satellite phones is less than sterling. Iridium and GlobalStar, using the 1.6GHz band in Low Earth Orbit, provide world-wide coverage. They both spent upwards of $5 billion on their systems before declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy, selling their assets for pennies on the dollar. The Globalstar constellation orbits 48 satellites, some 1,414 kilometers (878 miles) above the earth’s surface. The Iridium constellation orbits 66 satellites some 485 miles above the earth’s surface. But the phones are large and time is expensive
The potential to deliver cheaper service over a large, fixed region was the promise of the Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) band, between 2.0 and 2.2 GHz (pdf). Geo-synchronous satellite platforms, such as Thuraya in the middle East, stare down some 22,500 miles, use huge dishes and spot-beams.
But satphone service didn’t work inside cars or under a roof. In order to strengthen the business case for satellite phones, the satphone industry lobbied for and received the okay to use technology borrowed from satellite radio – terrestrial repeaters. Terrestrial repeaters, it was thought, would make geosynchronous satphones a viable business.
But the rise of 3G and 4G cellular networks in the United States came at a bad time for ICO and Terrestar – they both declared bankruptcy and were subsequently bought by EchoStar. Lightsquared is still hanging on – but their terrestrial repeaters (Ancillary Terrestrial Component), threatens to overwhelm many GPS devices, say many industry representatives.
LightSquared hopes to roll out an LTE broadband network to cover 260 million Americans by 2016. Last month, LightSquared pressed the FCC to rule that it had no obligation to pay for any fixes to address the GPS interference.
Prior to the FCC Order and Authorization of January 2011, the National Coordination Office and multiple federal agencies expressed concern about potential GPS interference from LightSquared.
In addition to the FCC’s monitoring the situation, the NTIA requested an interference test. According to the NTIA draft summary, some 75 percent of the GPS devices tested had experienced interference from LightSquared’s 4G network.
LightSquared officials have said the start-up has enough cash to operate until after an FCC ruling, though the company will need to find an additional $3.5 billion to be cash-flow positive over the next two years.
Related Satellite phone stories on Dailywireless include; Lightsquared Short on Cash, Lightsquared Battles The Force, Lightsquared: A Hardware Solution, Lightsquared Files Official FCC Report, More Testing for Lightsquared, Lightsquared: Another Plan, Lightsquared & Sprint Announce Sharing Agreement, Lightsquared Files Official FCC Report , Lightsquared: Plan “B”, Lightsquared: Lawmakers Skeptical, Lightsquared + Sprint Deal Done?, Lightsquared Gets 2-week Extension, Ergen Likely Got TerreStar, Charlie Ergen’s Spectacular Triple Play, Lightsquared Interference: No Immediate Fix?, LightSquared: GPS Interference Found, Lightsquared: Plan B from Outer Space?, Harbinger: 59MHz or What?. Time Warner Cable + Lightstream?, Lightsquared Signs Cricket Wireless, Another Rumor: Lightsquared + Sprint?, Lightsquared + Sprint?, Charlie’s Big Play, LTE Spectrum: It’s War
Lightsquared filed a petition for declaratory ruling to the FCC last month. The request is for input on LightSquared’s request for a finding on the FCC’s decision that GPS gear doesn’t merit legal protection from interference caused by LightSquared’s proposed wireless service.
On January 13, the National Executive Committee for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing found GPS interference would result from LightSquared’s original and modified plans for its proposed mobile network.
LightSquared wants to operate a 4G network using radio spectrum next to the GPS band. Tests have shown interference between that proposed network and GPS, and under a conditional waiver from the FCC, LightSquared can’t launch until interference concerns have been resolved.
In other news, AT&T urged the FCC to impose buildout conditions on DISH similar to those imposed on LightSquared (260M POPs within 5 years 9 months). AT&T also asks for conditions to be imposed on DISH’s 700MHz spectrum in line with the conditions imposed on AT&T’s recent purchase of spectrum from Qualcomm.
This submission is a blatant attempt by AT&T to put a thumb on the scales, opines satellite consultant Tim Farrar.
A new bill being introduced by Massachusetts Representative Ed Markey would require cell phone makers and network operators to inform consumers about any location-tracking or information-sharing software/services that are installed on the device.
Rep. Markey (D-Mass.), co-Chair of the Bi-Partisan Congressional Privacy Caucus, today released a discussion draft of “The Mobile Device Privacy Act,” legislation (pdf), that would require companies to disclose to consumers the capability to monitor telephone usage, as well as require express consent of the consumer prior to monitoring.
Last month it was revealed that Carrier IQ software was installed on millions of smart phones and mobile devices, tracking keystrokes and sending information back to the software company without user knowledge or permission. Markey asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether Carrier IQ was being unfair or deceptive toward consumers.
“Consumers have the right to know and to say no to the presence of software on their mobile devices that can collect and transmit their personal and sensitive information,” said Rep. Markey, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and former chairman of the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet.
The “Mobile Device Privacy Act” would protect consumers by requiring:
- Disclosure of mobile telephone monitoring software, including when a consumer buys a mobile phone; after sale, if the carrier, manufacturer, or operating system later installs monitoring software; and if a consumer downloads an app and that app contains monitoring software.
- Disclosure to include the fact that the monitoring software has been installed on the phone, the types of information that are collected, the identity of the third party to which the information is transmitted, and how such information will be used.
- Consumer consent be obtained before monitoring software begins collecting and transmitting information.
Markey was also one of eight U.S. lawmakers who sent a letter to Google expressing concern that a planned consolidation of user information may make it more difficult for consumers to protect their privacy.
Related Dailywireless articles include Carrier IQ Questioned, How Your Location & Preferences are Recorded, Behavioral Targeting: Kill/Capture, Google Vs The Feds, Inside the Libyan Uprising, Internet Traffic: 18 Minute Gap?, Communications Law: Net Neutrality & Surveillence and Spy Squirrels Captured.
Android Pit says Samsung’s next great Android super phone could in the form of an 11.6” Samsung tablet. The massive 11.6” display may feature 2560×1600 pixel resolution and could be driven by a 2 GHz Exynos 5250 dual-core processor.
Last year’s Mobile World Congress saw Samsung introduce the Galaxy S2, notes Android Pit, which became a huge, world-wide hit. Samsung sold five million Galaxy S2s just in South Korea since the phone’s late April debut, accounting for 1 in 4 of all smartphones sold in South Korea.
The Galaxy S3, Samsung’s smartphone follow-on ,could have similar resolution and processing power with a Samsung Exynos 4412 chipset, a quad-core 1.5GHz processor, or a Exynos 4212 chipset, a dual-core ARM9 chipset. The S-3 would likely feature Ice Cream Sandwich with a 4.5″ screen and 4G connectivity.
Meanwhile, rumors abound for the iPad 3. Apple’s anticipated A6 processor may be a quad-core or a more power-efficient dual-core processor. Many are hoping for a “Retina” display, doubling the current iPad’s resolution to 2048-by-1536. DigiTimes says it’s scheduled to launch at the end of the first quarter (March).
Samsung’s Galaxy Note, the 5.3-inch smartphone/tablet hybrid device, will launch on Feb. 19 for $300 with a two-year contract from AT&T. Pre-orders begin Feb. 5.
The Galaxy Note’s 5.3-inch screen straddles the line between smartphone and tablet. The Galaxy Note will be powered by a 1.5-Ghz, dual-core processor, with 16GB of built-in memory. It has a stylus for handwriting recognition and will run on AT&T’s 700 MHz LTE network. The device has proven popular overseas, especially in Europe and Korea.
Apple’s sales in China could soon reach 60 million per year, predicts Morgan Stanley. Apple sold 68.5 million iPhones worldwide in fiscal 2011, although the iPhone 4S, launched in October, sold more than half that many (37 million) in just one quarter.
- That there are roughly 150 million high-end subscribers in China currently paying at least RMB 100 ($16) per month for mobile phone service.
- China Unicom, currently Apple’s only official carrier, has 15 million of those subscribers, or roughly 10%.
- Late this year or early next, Apple will begin selling next-generation iPhones through China Mobile (120 million high-end subscribers) and China Telecom (15 million).
- Assuming 20% penetration, Apple should see, at a minimum, 24 million addition iPhone sales in 2013.
- As the iPhone catches on and the middle class expands, that number could grow to nearly 40 million next year, adding $10 to Apple’s earnings per share.
- Eventually the iPhone in China will reach penetration levels comparable to those of AT&T, where 63% of smartphone customers currently choose iPhones.
- In Morgan Stanley’s scenario, Apple within a couple of years will be selling an additional 57 million iPhones per year in China alone.
As of January 2012, China Mobile is the world’s largest mobile phone operator with about 650 million subscribers. By the June 2010, China had 420 million internet users. That’s greater than the population of the USA, however penetration rate is still relatively low at just under 32%
China Mobile is driving TD-LTE in China. The company is testing TD-LTE in 6 cities, including Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Xiamen. Telecom giants such as Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Huawei, and ZTE, have participated in technical trials of TD-LTE technology with China Mobile since the end of 2008.
Related LTE stories on Dailywireless include; Clearwire and China Mobile Announce TD-LTE Testing Plan, China Mobile + Clearwire + Apple?, China Mobile Talks Up TD-LTE iPhone, World’s First TD-LTE Service Launched by Mobily, China: The Big Picture, TD-LTE for China Mobile, China Mobile: Slow TD-SCDMA Sales, South Korea: SK Telecom Goes LTE, World’s First TD-LTE Data Call, End Near for Indian WiMAX?
The Wi-Fi Alliance and ZigBee Alliance got together this week in a public demonstration of interoperability between Wi-Fi devices and ZigBee-enabled smart energy meters at DistribuTECH in San Antonio. They were promoting the new Smart Energy Profile 2.0, designed for energy meters.
The multi-vendor demonstration established Wi-Fi device connectivity to both Wi-Fi and ZigBee meters, reports Fierce Wireless. It was reportedly the first time that this kind of mixed technology has been publicly demonstrated.
Products to be certified with the Smart Energy Profile are expected to include thermostats, appliances, electric meters, gateways, electric vehicles, and countless other devices in the Smart Grid. Eight vendors: Aclara, Broadcom, Elbrys Networks, Gainspan, Grid2Home, Intwine Energy Networks, Qualcomm Atheros and Texas Instruments demonstrated interoperability.
Texas Instruments announced 2.4 GHz Zigbee radio, with an integrated ARM Cortex-M3 processor, Smart Energy 2.0 hardware security acceleration, enabling simplified, cost-effective, smart grid connectivity for electricity, gas or water smart meters and in-home displays.
ZigBee is a low-cost, low-power, wireless mesh network standard. It runs on the 915 MHz and 2.4 GHz band, but is cheaper and slower than Bluetooth with a defined rate of 250 kbps. It’s used for intermittent data from sensors or input devices.
The Wi-Fi Alliance said it is now working to develop a certification program for SEP 2.0 products. Interoperability with WiFi will allow appliances to “talk” to to each other and connect to the internet.
The world’s first commercial White Spaces network launched Thursday in North Carolina. So far, the FCC has only approved one white spaces device — a 1.5-lb. rectangular-shaped radio from Florida-based KTS Wireless.
The KTS device, used in the Hanover NC network, is a small, last-mile, transmitter. It uses the company’s frequency agile radio which received FCC approval Dec. 26, making it the first unlicensed transmitter allowed to operate in the TV band.
The white space device operates on all TV channels (174-216 MHz and 470-698 MHz), as well as in the unlicensed 900 MHz frequencies–at data rates from 1.5 to 3.1 MBps. The Hanover launch marks the inauguration of the AWSR, which will provide the Internet access in public parks in Hanover.
White Spaces are unused television channels. TV frequencies are lower, enabling signals to travel further, and penetrate foliage and walls better. It’s slower than WiFi but has better range. The digital television conversion has freed up lots of channels because digital tv allows tv stations, for the first time, to use utilize adjacent channels in the same market without interference.
Spectrum Bridge was the first company approved by the FCC to operate the associated spectrum database. It keeps track of all occupied and unoccupied TV frequencies. Devices automatically check the database to prevent interference with local TV signals. Peter Stanforth, Chief Technology Officer of Spectrum Bridge, says the first commercial white space devices could be available in one to two years.
The City of Wilmington is using white space radios to provide free Internet access in city parks, for traffic cams, and environmental monitoring. The technology transmits data from a water monitoring station to a firehouse more than a mile away, says Leslie Chaney, information technology director for New Hanover County.
Today’s launch also marks the debut of a White-Fi chipset that could one day be used in handsets. InterDigital of King of Prussia, Pa., is collaborating with Spectrum Bridge on a “spectrum-harvesting” chipset, said to extend “legacy systems such as Wi-Fi and cellular into under-utilized frequency bands.”
InterDigital is among the leading contributors to the standardization process for LTE and LTE-Advanced, and IEEE 802 groups, including 802.21 (seamless mobility).
The FCC started crafting rules to allow unlicensed devices in the TV band in 2007 and voted 5-0 in September to approve white-space devices and services. The final order went into effect in January of 2011. Wilmington was targeted for “White-Fi” tests in part because it was the first to complete the digital TV transition in 2008, freeing up spectrum for broadband.
Nine more companies, including Google and Microsoft, are being vetted by the FCC to manage white-space databases. Each will be required to conduct a 45-day trial with the FCC to ensure its database protects incumbent TV broadcasters. New Jersey-based Telcordia is believed to be the next hardware company to get FCC approval, likely within the next few months.
The IEEE 802.22-2011 is the first IEEE 802 Standard for operation in television whitespaces. It is also the first IEEE standard that focuses on broadband connectivity in rural areas where most vacant TV channels can be found. It delivers 22 Mbps to 29 Mbps, depending upon the country of deployment, without interfering with reception of existing TV broadcast stations.
Carlson unveiled its RuralConnect IP radio last year, and the CEO said he sees a market not only for rural broadband services but municipal and smart energy applications in smaller markets where white space spectrum is more plentiful.
The total spectrum potentially available in the television bands is over 200 MHz and the highest frequency is below 700 MHz. This makes it a good alternative for over-burdened 900 MHz and 2.4 GHz unlicensed bands.
The FCC hopes to utilize auction off the now freed up television spectrum, which could be worth an estimated $25 billion. It believes a portion of those frequencies should be available for unlicensed use. WiFi in the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands has had a huge impact on the world-wide economy, while thousands of enterprises and utilities also depend on unlicensed 900 MHz and 60 GHz radios.
The FCC Chairman gave a speech at CES earlier this month on the need for expanded spectrum offerings and then sat down to chat with the host of the event, CEA CEO Gary Shapiro.
Some legislators in Congress, such as Greg Walden (above) are trying to take power away from the FCC. They argue the FCC has too much control over spectrum auctions — and the money they generate. Conservative legislators want to maximize “incentive auction” revenue by auctioning off ALL the spectrum to large telecom companies. That would raise more revenue for deficit reduction but would eliminate “free” unlicensed use of the broadcast frequencies.
Chairman Genachowski argues that attempts to eliminate unlicensed spectrum would hurt, not help the economy. He says unlicensed “white spaces” could close the gap of the nearly 100 million Americans who do not have broadband at home today, and will keep the United States an innovative leader in broadband wireless technology.
“We shouldn’t ignore history,” said Genachowski.
Related Dailywireless articles include; Genachowski Lobbies for Unlicensed White Spaces, Microsoft Announced Narrow Channel Whitespace, FCC Authorizes White Space Service in Wilmington, White Space Legislation Goes Dark, White Space War, Bills to Kill Unlicensed White Space?, White Space Trial Completed, White Space Trialed, Huawei to Trial White Space TD-LTE, NTIA “Finds” 1.5 GHz of Federal Spectrum, UK Delays 4G Auction Ofcom: White Spaces by 2013, UK Gets Free Public WiFi, Europe’s Digital Divide Auction,
Today the WiMAX Forum announced that effective February 1st, 2012, Ronald Resnick will retire from his role as the President of the WiMAX Forum.
“Mr. Resnick has been a valued part of the WiMAX leadership for the past eight years,” said Dr. Mohammad Shakouri, Interim Chairperson of the WiMAX Forum. “The WiMAX Forum would like to thank Mr. Resnick for building a strong foundation for this organization, which will continue its work in standardizing and certifying technology to bring broadband to underserved markets across the world. We all wish Mr. Resnick the best of luck in his future endeavors.”
The WiMAX Forum also announced that Declan Byrne has been unanimously elected as Acting President of the WiMAX Forum. Declan Byrne joined the WiMAX Forum in 2010 as the Senior Director of Marketing. Prior to joining the WiMAX Forum, Byrne worked for Airspan as Chief Marketing Officer.
The WiMAX Forum performs a similar function as the WiFi Alliance; it promotes the use of the technology and tests compatibility. WiMAX Forum-certified gear is tested to for compatibility to the standard, so for example, a Samsung WiMAX basestation will work with a Huawei WiMAX client.
Last week the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) approved the “WirelessMAN-Advanced” as part of IMT-Advanced world-wide 4G technology standard. WirelessMAN-Advanced is based on the IEEE 802.16m. The WiMAX Forum calls it WiMax 2.0 (pdf)
Key features of WiMAX 2.0 include:
- Radio specification for FDD and TDD
- Support of IMT-A frequency bands
- At least 2 times the average data throughput of current Release 1.5 in similar spectrum
- Advanced interference management methods to support true reuse 1 deployments as compared to current reuse 3 deployments
- Round trip access latency is reduced to less than 10-20 ms levels which will allow more demanding services like online gaming etc.
- Support for self organizing networks
- Support for femtocells
- Support of relay stations
- Multicarrier aggregation up to 100 MHz
- Co-existence of 16e and 16m base stations and backward compatibility
- Over 70 VoIP call per MHz
Analysts say there is perhaps a 75% technology overlap between the two dominant broadband wireless standards, LTE and WiMAX. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses.
Advantages of WiMAX 2 over LTE Advanced:
- Simple, fast and cheap
- Compatible with WiMax 1.0 and 1.5
- Can use licensed or unlicensed spectrum
- Fewer patent issues
- Less telco overhead and control
Dailywireless depends 100% on my single WiMax connection. It’s been (mostly) reliable since 2009, and costs me only $40/month. I get truly unlimited service, use my WiMAX dongle for both my laptop and my desktop, and watch Netflix at night.
You can’t do that on LTE. You’d go broke. It’s that simple.
WiMax combines the simplicity and speed of Wi-Fi with the mobility of cellular. It’s fast, cheap, and effective. WiMAX never got the adoption rates it’s proponents had anticipated. I’m heartbroken. Maybe WiMAX 2 is the ticket.
Related Dailywireless articles include; China: The Big Picture, End Near for Indian WiMAX?, Internet Traffic: 18 Minute Gap?, LTE Vs WiMAX in Asia: World War IV?, Age of Exascale, LTE in Japan by December, ZTE Criticized, Big Contracts for Alcatel-Lucent, 3G Launches in India, Qualcomm India: For Sale?, Qualcomm Gets Indian Partners, Vendors Scramble for Indian Backhaul, India’s Broadband Auction: It’s Done, WiMAX & LTE: Policy Vs Pragmatism, WiMAX: Good News, Bad News, Yota: Planetary LTE Swap, Yota Dumps WiMAX, WiMAX Forum: Not Dead Yet
BelAir gear is used extensively by AT&T (in NYC, Chicago and San Francisco), Cablevision (with a large-scale deployment in the NY area), and Time Warner Cable (with a large-scale deployment in the Los Angeles area). Bright House Networks turned on a 2,000 hotspot network across Florida.
Belair’s outdoor metropolitan picocells, including the BelAir100SP Strand Picocell, which can be mounted outdoors on cable coax. The BelAir100SP combines both 3G and dual 802.11n radios with a built-in a DOCSIS 3.0 Modem, plant power supply, and power protection/splitter.
“Ericsson does not comment on rumors or speculation,” Ericsson spokesman Jimmy Duvall said via email.
With cable operators and Verizon now merging their interests, Belair’s (Ericsson’s) strand-mounted hotspots seem likely to add Verizon 3G and LTE to strand-mounted gear.
Carriers typically offer free WiFi access – if you’re a subscriber. All others pay.
Carriers are embracing Wi-Fi and major mobile network equipment providers such as Alcatel-Lucent, Motorola and Ericsson are endorsing access agnostic (licensed/unlicensed) small cell networks.
LTE-Advanced also includes features to enable faster and easier implementation of het-nets.
A wireless heterogeneous network is able to maintain service when switching between a cellular network and WiFi.
Competitors include Ruckus Wireless and Israel’s Wavion, which is re-introducing their beamforming gear. Each has landed big deals in Europe and Asia. Ruckus and KDDI have teamed on a 100,000-hotspot network in Japan. Ruckus has announced a large number of installations around the world.
Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent have become the early LTE leaders as a result of modernization contracts with Verizon and AT&T, according to In-Stat analyst Chris Kissel. The top LTE Vendors have their eye on het-nets.
Ten, $5,000 strand-mounted LTE picocells (with free WiFi for subs) beat one $250,000 cell tower, anyway you cut it.
See Dailywireless: Verizon-Cable Deal: Too Cozy?, Cross Marketing of Verizon & Cable Begins, Verizon Buying Nationwide AWS Spectrum from Cable, Comcast Adds Wireless Tower Business, BelAir: We’re MIMO, Too! , Wavion: 3X3 MIMO for Muni Wi-Fi, Carrier-run Public WiFi Nets Expand, Towerstream Launches Wholesale MuniFi, AT&T Moves to Hotzones and Picocells, AT&T Hotzone in Wrigleyville, Free AT&T Wi-Fi for Charlotte and NYC Gets Another Free WiFi Proposal