Contrary to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) warning of a “looming spectrum crisis”, there is no shortage of radio spectrum in the USA, according to an analyst note from Citi Investment Research & Analysis. However, too much of the spectrum is in the wrong hands, it warned.
India’s state-owned operator BSNL has offered to hand back its Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum for 17 states to the government , and is seeking a $1.67bn refund. The firm wants to hand spectrum back to the goevrnment after having made a loss of $1.2bn over the past 12 months, primarily due to high staff cost and payments made for acquiring 3G and BWA spectrum.
The incumbent operator in the Philippines has offered to give up some of its excess 3G spectrum, in an effort to clear the way for regulatory approval of the acquisition of a rival.
Bulgarian communications regulator the CRC has issued a tender for a fourth 3G licensee in the country. Prospective bidders will be allowed to submit applications for the UMTS licence until November 14, with the award due to take place December 7. The licence will be valid for 15 years and will consist of 2 х 15MHz blocks of FDD spectrum in the 2GHz band.
With the LTE Asia conference imminent, Telecoms.com speaks to Alan Hadden, president of the Global Mobile Suppliers Association, about the spectrum challenges facing the Asian LTE market. Fragmentation is as much of an issue in Asia Pacific as it is in the rest of the world, with early movers trying to muster support for their competing strategies.
The fragmented nature of potential LTE spectrum across the world is slowing down operator decision making processes, a report claims. The LTE Spectrum Strategies and Forecasts to 2016 report from Informa Telecoms and Media, reveals that despite a near universal commitment to LTE as a standard, there is still widespread uncertainly over spectrum policy and availability worldwide.
Spain’s leading carriers shelled out more than €1.65bn between them in the latest round of LTE spectrum auctions to take place in Europe. Telefónica, Orange and Vodafone walked away with spectral spoils in the 800MHz and 2.6GHz band after an auction process last week.
The Greek mobile market is in a spin this week after national regulator the EETT issued a proposal for the re-auctioning of GSM spectrum licenses which are due to expire in 2012. The move is controversial because it is an unusual renewal process, but also because the authority has set reserve prices at more than double the European average.
LightSquared has announced that it has raised an additional $265m in additional funding, bringing the company’s total investment haul for the past year to more than $2.3bn. According to LightSquared, the capital was drawn from both existing as well as new investors; beyond that, it’s not naming names. The deal comes amid a period of turbulence for LIghtSquared, which is facing opposition from the GPS establishment over interference issues.
Australia may be physically located a long way from the pioneering LTE hubs of Europe and North America but in terms of next generation mobile networks it’s on track to become one of the leaders of the pack.
A consortium of companies led by Microsoft and including Nokia, the BBC, BSkyB and Samsung, has begun a test program in Cambridge, England to discover if un-required TV spectrum could be reused to create so called “super Wi-Fi hotspots.” These would provide internet coverage to provide offload for areas where there is too much data traffic, or for those where there is no broadband at all.
Surging mobile data growth and network congestion have created demand for additional spectrum. Governments seeking to reduce national borrowing are anxious to auction additional spectrum to raise revenue whilst also promoting access to broadband services. Mobile operators have little choice but to participate or potentially suffer a loss of competitive advantage.
The UK’s incumbent mobile networks could be beaten to the LTE punch by Hong Kong based telecoms company PCCW, according to a report in the Financial Times. The operator is looking to build out an LTE network as early as 2012, the report states, via its British subsidiary UK Broadband.
The UK arm of Telefónica, O2, has released a statement blasting UK regulator Ofcom’s consultation over the forthcoming digital dividend spectrum auction.
The operator is objecting to the use of spectrum floors, whereby at least four operators will get at least 10MHz of spectrum below 1GHz. However, O2 believe that these spectrum floors amount to a state aid, which would make them illegal under EU law.
While operators and network vendors tend to make a name for themselves through headline grabbing deployments in the LTE sector, there are companies working in other areas on the new technology that command less of the limelight but nonetheless play a vital role in a successful LTE network roll out. Test and Measurement is one such area, and JDSU one such company. But, says Per Kangru, head of Business Development for LTE at JDSU, there are more benefits to a proactive T&M strategy than people might realise.
The French auction for LTE spectrum is now imminent after French digital economy minister Éric Besson signed a decree launching the tender for operators to submit their bids, The process will begin in the coming days, French newspaper Le Monde reported, once the announcement is published in an official gazette. Operators will have until September to submit their bids.
Frequencies as high as 5GHz could be allocated for mobile broadband, according to Brian Miller, general manager of Australian telco Telstra. The comments were made during Miller’s speech at the Radcomms 2011 conference in Sydney, according to a report from local publication Australian IT.
Research undertaken by Informa indicates that, when it comes to LTE launches, eight core bands are emerging as the most popular choices for initial rollouts. In a survey of 150 operators and 50 national regulators, Informa found that these core bands are concentrated around the 700-800MHz, 1800-2100MHz and 2500-2600MHz bands. More than half of the mobile operators surveyed said they were planning to launch LTE in the 2.6GHz band initially.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority(ACMA) has released two papers outlining its intentions for the development of a future spectrum strategy. Chairman Chris Chapman has called for input from industry stakeholders “on a number of relevant issues”.
The European Commission has agreed technical rules for how the opening up of spectrum in the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands should take place. The rules are designed to avoid interference between 4G and existing 3G and GSM devices and, according to the Commission, must be implemented by member states before the end of this year.
The rules put in place a mechanism for the adoption of technical harmonisation rules that will allow GSM bands to be made available for LTE and WiMAX systems. Under EU telecoms regulations, member states have already had to examine competition between operators and address “any distortions of competition.”