Head of the radio technologies & spectrum practice, IDATE
LTE-Advanced will represent 30-40% of the total LTE subscriber base at the end of 2017
LTE networks in operation today mainly use LTE Release 8 of the 3GPP standard. LTE-Advanced (Release 10) brings many technological innovations which enable higher data rates on both the uplink and the downlink and deliver better performance at the cell edge:
- LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) enables higher data rates: theoretically, 150 Mbps on the downlink and as high as 3 Gbps in the years ahead. An uplink maximum of 1.5 Gbps will be possible.
- LTE-Advanced brings many enhancements to LTE networks. LTE operators can ‘pick and choose’ the functionalities such as carrier aggregation, enhanced Inter-Cell Interference Coordination (eICIC), HetNets and enhanced MIMO.
- Carrier aggregation: a total up to 100 MHz bandwidth can be aggregated with a maximum of five component carriers. This will enable higher user peak throughput.
- Heterogeneous Networks (HetNets): LTE-A enables operators to deploy low-power small-cells in addition to macrocells in the same channel.
- Enhanced MIMO: up to eight multiplexed layers for downlink and up to four multiplexed layers for uplink.
- Relay function.
- Spectrum efficiency: 1.4 to 1.6 times better than on LTE Release 8.
- LTE-Advanced compatible smartphones were launched in Q2 2013 by Samsung and LG.Apple is expected to follow in H2 2013 or early 2014.
The first LTE-Advanced networks were launched in early H2 2013 and the mass market for LTE-Advanced is expected to have taken shape by 2014-2015. USA, South Korea and Japan are currently the front runners regarding LTE-Advanced implementation. The leaders in LTE-Advanced deployment are South Korean operators, headed by SKT and LG U+. Actually SK Telecom places much emphasis on carrier aggregation but many other players in the industry indicate that higher-order MIMO and HetNets are also key elements in LTE Advanced.On 26 June 2013, SK Telecom, the pioneer in LTE-Advanced, launched its LTE-A services in parallel with the Samsung Galaxy S4 LTE-A enabled version. At the end of July 2013, SK Telecom reported 300,000 LTE-Advanced subscribers in South Korea, out of a total LTE base of 11 million.
Roadmap of LTE-Advanced implementations
The LTE-Advanced market will soon follow in opening in Japan and the USA. New markets will open in 2014 and mass adoption will start in 2015. We forecast that LTE-Advanced will represent 30-40% of the total LTE subscriber base at the end of 2017 and should reach a half-billion LTE-Advanced subscriptions worldwide.
This analysis is an excerpt of our LTE-Advanced Market Insight
Published in COMMUNICATIONS & STRATEGIES No. 90, 2nd Quarter 2013
The radio spectrum: A shift in paradigms?
Summary of this issue: Demand for the use of the radio spectrum is constantly and rapidly growing, not only as a means of carrying Internet traffic, but also for new or expanding use by the military, public protection and disaster relief, at the same time that more traditional applications such as aeronautical, maritime, and radio astronomy remain. Is spectrum policy entering a trackless wilderness, or can a new direction and a new set of paradigms be expected to emerge? The contributions to this special issue of Communications & Strategies cover a great deal of ground. They serve to provide valuable signposts for spectrum policy going forward.
Interview with Gilles BRÉGANT
CEO of ANFR.
(French national spectrum agency)
Conducted by Frédéric PUJOL,
Head of the radio technologies & spectrum practice, IDATE
C&S: What are ANFR's main priorities in the coming two years as far as Spectrum management is concerned?
The Agence nationale des Fréquences (ANFR) is the French public Agency in charge of radio spectrum management. It is placed under the jurisdiction of the Minister responsible for Electronic Communications (Mr. Arnaud Montebourg and Ms. Fleur Pellerin since May 2012) but all the Ministries using spectrum are represented at ANFR's board. Besides, ANFR's decisions regarding spectrum allocation are actually taken by the Prime Minister since spectrum, in France, is a state affair.
Spectrum management priorities will be closely linked to the governmental decisions and digital economy needs for the following years and to the international and European agenda.
A. Create the conditions of mobile broadband (4G) success in France
4G allows very high data flow rates and significantly increased user comfort: lightning-fast downloads, and a more fluid navigation become possible on smartphones or tablets. This opens up opportunities for new services in mobility, such as access to audiovisual content. A factor of innovation, growth and job creation, 4G is one of the priorities of the Government. ANFR has been deeply involved for the development of European harmonized conditions for the usage of 4G and is currently mobilized to make a success for the introduction of this new technology.
Since December 2012, the Agency has published a 4G roll out observatory. This tool will be key to monitor 4G infrastructures deployment, carrier by carrier.
However, the 4G challenge will be a tricky one when it comes to spectrum management since the 800 MHz 4G can interfere with DTT. ANFR uses its resources devoted to the protection of TV reception so that the 4G 800 MHz and TNT coexist harmoniously.
The ANFR intervenes at every stage of the deployment:
- it actively participates in the communication towards local elected officials, professionals and the general public on these operations;
- during the phases of deployment, it collects and instructs the claims of viewers through its call center;
- it oversees the resolution of the problem by operators if the interference comes from the 4G 800 MHz. A professional intervenes, most often to insert a filter in the reception of the TNT facility.
The TV reception is therefore guaranteed for each viewer. The full cost of interventions is supported by mobile operators.
B. Prepare the next World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC)
In 2012, we have drawn the immediate consequences of the WRC-12. In 2014, the delegations will develop first arbitrations of WRC-15. In 2013, national positions must be taken.
One of the challenges of this Conference will be the question of the future of the 700 MHz band. In France, it is now assigned to audiovisual. Since the debates on the first digital dividend, five years ago, the terms of the problem have been well known: the use of mobile Internet is expected to grow regularly in the coming years to meet the expectations of very mobile broadband. But this demand for broadband is common to all sectors: the audiovisual sector wants to keep these frequencies to offer new services: generalization of high definition, introduction of ultra high definition or 4K for example. And Government services, such as those of the Ministry of the Interior, also want to access services such as video for safety services.
In this debate, three ideas seem inevitable:
- there is not enough spectrum available under 1 GHz to satisfy fully each need;
- France is not an island, and it will have to act in harmony with its Western European neighbors;
- Europe will have to play an important role.
ANFR, as it manages the entire spectrum and guaranties technical neutrality, is coordinating the preparatory work at the national and international levels. ANFR, which is already contributing to the preparation of the next WRC, is involved in various entities in CEPT and UIT involved in this process and is bringing its technical expertise to the Government so that a decision can be taken in the best conditions.
ANFR is also an active member of the RSPG ad hoc group, which will provide recommendation to European Commission on WRC issues and on the identification of 1200 MHz for wireless broadband.
C. Facilitate the deployment of the 6 new DTT channels
Since December 12, 2012, 25% of the French population can access 6 new HD channels with their DTT HD TV sets. Free to air TV is no longer limited to generalist channels. Every French citizen, and not only the ones with cable, satellite or IPTV subscriptions, will be able to watch specialized channels on areas such as sports, travels, diversity and so on by 2015.
The years to come will see more of the French population covered by the new HD DTT channels.
The Agency, together with the CSA, has the mission to assist viewers in solving their TV reception problems through its call center and its dedicated website, "www.recevoirlatnt.fr", in collaboration with local aerial installers. If necessary, it will grant funding provided by the State to viewers who have lost DTT reception.
What are the expected evolutions as far as new ways of sharing spectrum are concerned? What are their consequences on spectrum management?
First, it is important to recall that spectrum sharing is already a reality with short range devices operating under a general authorization on a non interference and non protection basis. This is the case for Wifi in the 2.45 GHz and 5 GHz bands. This is also the case of all applications using ultra wide band devices which are sharing spectrum thanks to a very low power density. UWB technology was also used in sectors such as automobile and aeronautics.
What about Licensed Shared Access (LSA)?
The objective of an LSA approach is to facilitate the introduction of additional users operating with individual spectrum rights of use in specific bands and on a shared basis with an incumbent user, thus allowing predictable quality of service for all rights holders. These arrangements will need sufficient flexibility in order to account for national particularities, in relation to the administration of spectrum.
LSA could be introduced as a regulatory approach to release spectrum. In addition to conventional planning methods, cognitive radio technologies and their capabilities (geolocation databases, sensing, etc.) could be taken into account as enablers for sharing under the LSA approach.
ANFR engineers are actively participating in European works, at the ECC level for instance, on this issue, which is still in its early stages.
700 MHz band: what are the stakes and constraints?
World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) 2012 decided that for the Region 1 the 694-790 MHz band will be allocated to mobile service co primary with broadcast services, this allocation becoming effective after WRC-15.
The issues at stake in the preparatory works for the WRC-15 are each tied to technical and negotiated matters. The possible refinement of the lower band edge (694 MHz) is one issue up for debate during the preparatory works. The second stake is the identification of a harmonized channelling arrangement, that is to say, the uplink and downlink bands. Finally, technical matters such as sharing studies between mobile and DTT at 694 MHz and the consequence of this on the necessary guard band are also to be clarified through the preparatory works for the WRC-15.
Regarding the choice, and its consequences, between IMT and broadcast, WRC was the starting point. The next steps are European decisions and national arbitrages.
2013 will be the year of public exposure to electromagnetic fields in France (ANSES report, Abeille Bill…): what is the role of ANFR as far as exposition control is concerned?
First, the Agency has no sanitary or health prerogatives, its expertise and missions only rely on technical matters.
The Agency monitors the respect by radiocommunication network operators of the public exposure to electromagnetic fields limits. The legal limits are the ones of a 1999 European Recommendation. Besides, by Law, the Agency has to make an inventory of "atypical" points, that is, the points where the exposure is significantly above the national average (while still below the limits). ANFR also elaborates the protocol used to measure the public exposure to electromagnetic fields. ANFR is also in charge of devices monitoring (phones, smartphones, tablets…). We insure that DAS limits (2 W/kg) are respected. We also check if the necessary information is properly provided to consumers.
2013 will indeed be the year of public exposure to electromagnetic fields. It began with the Bill introduced by MP Ms. Abeille from the Environmentalist Party. This Bill was forwarded to the Parliament Economic Commission for further analysis.
In 2013, we will publish our report on technical experiments which were lead in France to assess the possibility to reduce public exposure to electromagnetic fields due to mobile operators antennae without decreasing coverage and quality of service. Such experiment is a world premiere until now. 2013 will also be the year when ANSES, the French sanitary authorities, publishes its new report on the sanitary effects of such a field.
The Agency is a neutral, technical expert in that area. By participating in public meetings, advising elected officials and also the general public through its website Cartoradio, the Agency participates in turning this potential concern into a serene public debate. Finally, in 2013 we will provide a mobile version of Cartoradio, with the location of all mobile based-stations and the results of more than 26,000 field measures.
The ANFR organizes an international Conference on June 26 and 27 2013 entitled "Spectrum & Innovation": what is it about?
The Conference "Spectrum and Innovation" was instigated by Ms. Fleur Pellerin, delegated Minister in charge of Small businesses, Innovation and Digital Economy. We want the Conference to be a major event in 2013 for the digital economy sector in general and radiofrequencies in particular. The objective is to show to a large audience of professionals from the digital economy how spectrum is key to their sector and how this resource is crucial to economic growth in the coming years.
Different themes will be dealt with: how mobility is shaping our society and stimulating innovation, how radiofrequencies constitute a growth leverage for industry and small businesses, or even the spectrum needs for 2020. To debate on these subjects only experts in their fields have been chosen. The Conference will also be a chance to listen to influential and renowned speakers: Ministers, European and foreign institutions officials, renowned academics and business leaders (BBC, Bouygues Telecom, Cisco, Eutelsat, France Télévisions, Free Mobile, IBM, M6, NRJ Group, Orange, Qualcomm, Renault, SFR, TDF, TF1…).
We expect these two days to shows us what exciting new developments can be in store in the coming years. The Conference will prove how spectrum can foster innovation, growth and job creation.
Gilles BRÉGANT was born in Chambery in September 1963. He graduated from Ecole Polytechnique (1986) and from Telecom ParisTech (1988). Following an 8-year-career at France Telecom research center, Gilles Brégant was appointed technical adviser to the Minister in charge of Research (1996-1997). He had to coordinate international projects and themes in relation with information technology. He then worked for the department of trade and industry as deputy director in charge of Prospective. He was appointed secretary general of the ministerial task force "Digital Economy" (2001-2005). He was then appointed Technical Director of Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel (the French Media Regulator) in 2005. Gilles Brégant is the CEO of ANFR since 2011.
Published in COMMUNICATIONS & STRATEGIES No. 90, 2nd Quarter 2013
- For more information about our activities: www.comstrat.org
COMMUNICATIONS & STRATEGIES
Head of Mobile & Spectrum Practice at IDATE
Finding spectrum for mobile broadband
The continuous explosion of mobile data traffic is fuelling demand for more mobile spectrum, the world over. IDATE has just published the 6th edition of its study “Radio Spectrum” which provides its readers with an overview of major trends in radio spectrum management in Europe, the USA and Asia-Pacific, this report reviews the main issues raised in WRC-12, the regulatory environment, spectrum refarming and new bands, and spectrum valuation. It features the spectrum database with details of the regulatory situation and updates on spectrum auctions.
“The World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) which is the place for international negotiation of spectrum allocation took place in Geneva in January and February 2012", says Frédéric Pujol, Head of the Mobile & Spectrum practice. He adds: "At WRC-07, the band 790-862 MHz had been allocated to the mobile service in Europe and Africa (ITU Region 1) and was identified for IMT (International Mobile Communications) at worldwide level. The decision of WRC-12 to launch studies for a second Digital Dividend in Region 1 (Europe, Africa) is good news for the mobile broadband sector in Europe. This new frequency band could match with the 700 MHz Digital Dividend identified for the Asia-Pacific region. Harmonisation with other geographical areas would enable significant economies of scale for LTE devices and would facilitate international roaming."
Spectrum trends and critical issues
The European Commission together with all Members States will work on the following concrete actions up to 2015: ensuring that at least 1200 MHz spectrum is identified to address the increasing demand for wireless data traffic and that the need for additional harmonised spectrum bands is assessed.
New spectrum sharing schemes should be used in the coming years as they can enhance the overall spectrum efficiency. The FCC and the European Commission are pushing for more spectrum sharing: either through more unlicenced bands or through more sharing of frequency bands between users. Solutions such as Authorised Shared Access (ASA) represent an interesting evolution of the regulatory framework and could accelerate the use of frequency bands with limited harmonisation such as the 2.3 GHz band.
We consider that white space technologies today represent niche markets and that they cannot be used to provide mobile service on a commercial basis in the UHF band. The concept could be extended to other frequency bands where sharing with incumbent users could be easier.
Existing spectrum for mobile broadband
In Western Europe, spectrum allocated to mobile broadband is generally 590 MHz covering multiple harmonised frequency bands: 800 MHz (FDD – 2 x 30 MHz), 900 MHz (FDD - 2x35 MHz), 1800 MHz (FDD - 2x75 MHz), 2100 MHz (FDD - 2x60 MHz), 2100 MHz (TDD - 15+20 MHz), 2600 MHz (FDD - 2x70 MHz), 2600 MHz (TDD - 50 MHz).
In the USA, a total of 413.5 MHz of spectrum is available for mobile use.
Spectrum refarming is accelerating
In order to maximise the use of the scarce resources, more frequency bands are being refarmed in order to be used by the LTE technology and replace 2G or 3G systems. AWS (Advanced Wireless Spectrum – 1.7/2.1 GHz) and 1900 MHz in the USA, 1800 MHz across Europe and Asia-Pacific are being used by LTE. This process will lead to accelerated shut-down of 2G networks, as has been recently seen in South Korea.
Regulatory bodies and ministries around the world are looking for freeing spectrum used by public users to provide additional capacity to mobile broadband. The objectives are close to 500 MHz of additional spectrum for mobile broadband in the five coming years. In the USA, the FCC has defined a spectrum deficit of 275 MHz in 2014 based upon its mobile traffic growth estimate.
LTE spectrum fragmentation and the importance of band plans
Spectrum aggregation and Supplemental Downlink (SDL): supplemental downlink uses additional unpaired spectrum to enhance the downlink capability of mobile broadband networks. Mobile operators such as AT&T and Orange are currently investigating SDL as a solution to meet traffic demands.
In Japan, the 700 MHz band has been awarded by the Ministry of Communications to KDDI, NTT DOCOMO and eMobile, enabling them to roll out LTE in a sub-1 GHz frequency band.
The Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT) has finalised a harmonised band plan for 698-806 MHz for the Region 3 (Asia-Pacific). It is expected to be approved by ITU shortly. As in the APT band plan, 2x45 MHz of spectrum will be available.
The APT band plans include two versions, the first one compatible with Europe and the second one which would allow for worldwide operation.
The allocation of the 800 MHz band is going on in Europe with LTE commercial services expected grow quickly in 2013.
New resources for mobile broadband
New frequency bands are currently being or will be allocated in the years to come to mobile services and IMT technologies. In Europe, the new bands for mobile terrestrial systems, identified during WRC-07, are 450-470 MHz, 790-862 MHz, 2300-2400 MHz and 3400-3600 MHz.
New frequency bands for Mobile Broadband: L-Band, 2.3 GHz, 3.6-3.8 GHz…
- The L-Band (1452 MHz to 1492 MHz) is widely available today across Europe as well as in other such countries as Canada or Brazil and could provide SDL for inter-band carrier aggregation.
- 2.3 GHz: this frequency band is used by TDD networks in Asia and could be used as a supplemental downlink resource in Europe
- 3.4-3.8 GHz: currently used by WiMAX networks which will migrate to TD-LTE.
The latest auctions confirm the trends identified last year with digital dividend spectrum (800 MHz band) sold for EUR 40-80 cents per MHz per pop.
For the 2.6 GHz spectrum, the valuation ranges from EUR 0.2 to 4.6 cents per MHz per pop.
Head of Mobile & Spectrum Practice at IDATE
> Visit our website for more information on this topic