Pierson Wireless Blog

T-Mobile US Prioritizing 600 MHz Repack in New York City Metro Area

T-Mobile US continues its effort to aggressively deploy its 600 MHz holdings. Following activation of rural sites in Maine and Wyoming, the carrier is now focusing its efforts on the high-value, high-density New York City metropolitan area. T-Mobile spent around $8 billion in the U.S. Federal Communications Commission auction of 600 MHz spectrum previously dedicated to television broadcasters. A key part of the immediate plans for the 600 MHz band is bringing “new competition and choice to rural areas previous unserved by T-Mobile,” according to the document, which summarizes an Aug. 2 conversation between T-Mobile execs and FCC representatives. The first deployment came in early August. T-Mobile worked used Nokia equipment to light up sites in Cheyenne, Wy., according to the carrier. Later that month the build-out expanded to Scarborough, Maine. In terms of device compatibility, the operator said it will begin selling the LG V30 device, which supports the 600 MHz band. Now the attention is on New York City. The 600 MHz airwaves were, in some cases, and are still in many more, occupied by television broadcasters. Per the FCC, there’s a 39-month timeline to make those frequencies available to T-Mobile. In NYC, the carrier is working with Fox affiliate WWOR to have the repack done by early 2018. WWOR serves around 19 million customers in the area. T-Mobile has a similar arrangement with PBS to facilitate a faster activation of the 600 MHz holdings. “We’re committed to working with broadcasters across the country to clear 600 MHz spectrum, so we can preserve programming and bring increased wireless choice and competition across the country!” said Neville Ray, Chief Technology Officer at T-Mobile. KEY TAKEAWAYS: Earlier this year at the Oppenheimer Technology, Internet and Communications Conference, Vice President of Investor Relations Nils Paellmann discussed the 600 MHz roll out in the context of 5G and the internet of things (IoT).  Clearly, for a lot of the IoT things you will need ubiquitous coverage. The high bandwidth spectrum, the millimeter wave that people talk about, will never give you the coverage. “We can basically use our roll out of the 600 with LTE to also lay the foundation of future 5G. A lot of the radios…will be upgradable, through a software upgrade, to 5G. We think the 600 [spectrum]could be very interesting for IoT applications. ” Original Source: https://www.rcrwireless.com/20171011/carriers/t-mobile-600-mhz-repack-new-york-city-tag17

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Minnesota Becomes 23rd State to ‘opt-in’ to FirstNet

  On October 4th, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton announced that he has accepted the nationwide public-safety broadband network (NPSBN) deployment plan offered by FirstNet and AT&T on behalf of his state, making Minnesota the 23rd state—not including two territories—to “opt-in” to the FirstNet system. “First responders across our state risk their lives every day to protect and serve the people of Minnesota,” Gov. Dayton said in a prepared statement. “Modernizing our communications infrastructure will allow our courageous first responders to coordinate and respond more quickly, effectively, and safely, creating better outcomes for them and the communities they serve.” Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner Mona Dohman echoed this sentiment. “The workgroups devoted numerous hours to ensure the dedicated wireless broadband network offered the tools needed for those on the front lines of an emergency,” Dohman said in a prepared statement. “FirstNet promises to change the way Minnesota’s public-safety personnel, in every corner of the state, do their jobs.” Also applauding Dayton’s decision was Richard Stanek, a FirstNet board member who has served as the sheriff of Hennepin County, Minn., since 2007. “Gov. Dayton’s decision to launch FirstNet in Minnesota will dramatically enhance police work across the state by giving law enforcement access to the most advanced communications capabilities available today,” Stanek said in a prepared statement. “It will also modernize communications used by fire, EMS, and other public-safety personnel, which will help all first responders maintain the safety of our neighborhoods and communities.” KEY TAKEAWAYS: AT&T will build the FirstNet RAN in “opt-in” states or territories at no cost to each jurisdiction, although local public-safety entities will be responsible for paying subscription costs and end-user device expenses. the law that established FirstNet stipulates that individual public-safety agencies and potential first-responder users are not required to subscribe to the FirstNet service. FirstNet and AT&T are pleased to have delivered a plan that meets Minnesota’s unique needs, and we look forward to bringing the network to public safety throughout the Land of 10,000 Lakes. “Under the law that established FirstNet, governors in all 56 states and territories have the choice of making an “opt-in” decision—accepting the FirstNet deployment plan and allowing AT&T to build the LTE radio access network (RAN) within the state’s borders at no cost to the state—or pursuing the “opt-out” alternative, which would require the state to be responsible for building and maintaining the RAN for the next 25 years.” FirstNet is a high speed data network for First Responders.  As the FirstNet network is deployed in Minnesota and throughout the country, building owners and operators should treat it like other public safety communication systems.   If the local AHJ requires enhancement for your existing Public Safety systems, there is a reasonable chance an enhancement solution might be needed for FirstNet as well.    Contact your local AHJ or public safety solution provider if you need more information. Original Source: http://urgentcomm.com/ntiafirstnet/minnesota-becomes-23rd-state-opt-firstnet

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Connected Cities and Their Role in the Wireless Ecosystem

Internet connectivity, at its core, is a civilization changer on the same level as roadways, water systems and electric grids. It is redefining the way people interact with the world, access and share information, and improving the way we live work and play. It’s a universal, global need that supersedes economic status, language and location. Having a global connectivity infrastructure provides the real potential to transform civilization forever. This quote, taken from the Connected City Advisory Board (CCAB)’s literature, is an excellent summary of the ways in which bringing connectivity to citizens on a global level is as important as it is. For the last few years, the Wireless Broadband Alliance has used its many platforms (including the CCAB, World Wi-Fi Day, and bi-annual Wireless Global Congress events, to name a few) to draw attention to the significance of Connected Cities to the overall wireless ecosystem. With that being said, it’s crucial to understand that Connected Cities are equally as important to their citizens and visitors. While the connecting of ‘things’ and services is a major part of their success, it is truly the ‘connecting’ of people that makes them invaluable on the global stage. This is especially true when looking at a UN report that states the overall growth of the world’s population could add another 2.5 billion people to urban populations by 2050. Connecting people will go a long way towards strengthening a city’s (and country’s) social and economic health. KEY TAKEAWAYS: Internet connectivity is a civilization changer on the same level as roadways, water systems and electric grids. Having a global connectivity infrastructure provides the real potential to transform civilization forever. Connecting people will go a long way towards strengthening a city’s (and country’s) social and economic health. “The upcoming Congress in New York City (13-16 November) will include both a dedicated Conference Track and Workshop focusing on Connected Cities. It’s fitting, too, that our event is taking place in New York City, which over the last couple of years has become a shining example of a Connected City with the launch of its LinkNYC initiative.” Original Source: https://www.wballiance.com/connected-cities-and-their-role-in-the-wireless-ecosystem/

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New SoftBank Test Builds on Trial Focused on 28 GHz

Japanese mobile telephony operator SoftBank plans to work with Ericsson to conduct a joint trial of 5G in the 4.5 GHz band in dense, urban areas of Tokyo. The two companies said this 5G trial will involve two new radios, virtualized radio access network and evolved packet core RAN, beamforming, massive multiple input multiple output (MIMO) functionality and support services. In March, SoftBank and Ericsson teamed up for a 5G trial in the 28 GHz millimeter wave band, which followed earlier tests in the 4.5 GHz and 15 GHz bands in Tokyo in 2016. SoftBank also recently announced plans to deploy Ericsson’s Radio Dot system across Japan to improve indoor coverage in high-density urban areas. Softbank has been testing the technology since 2015. Hidebumi Kitahara, senior director of mobile netowrk planning at SoftBank, said in December 2016 during a media briefing in Tokyo, that a total of 100 cell sites, mostly in Tokyo, had already been upgraded with the technology. Kitahara also said the technology would be deployed in “a few thousand sites” across Japan next year, with equipment provided by ZTE and Huawei. KEY TAKEAWAYS: SoftBank, Ericsson to test 5G in Tokyo. SoftBank believes MIMO technology will represent a key part of the firm’s 5G strategy. Ericsson said that the trial is set to commence once the Japanese telco obtains an experimental 5G license. “The newly developed lower latency technology is expected to facilitate the development of diverse real-time services such as autonomous driving, and augmented and virtual services – which will become widespread in the 5G era, SK Telecom said.” Original Source: https://www.rcrwireless.com/20170904/5g/softbank-ericsson-5g-tokyo-tag23

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Small Cells Are the Great Enabler

The unprecedented growth of demand for wireless data is radically reshaping the telecommunications landscape. The extraordinary thing is that despite this explosion, the likelihood is that even more dramatic growth lies ahead. Currently, advanced forms of LTE are being deployed. These will be followed by 5G, which is moving from carrier and vendor labs to field tests. Indeed, 5G is running ahead of schedule. Demand has sparked the development ecosystem and commercial deployments will start before the initial 2020 target. A more basic first step underlies all this, however. These developments depend upon the creation of a far deeper physical infrastructure than has sufficed in the past. Macro base stations must be supplemented by a far more sophisticated and deeper infrastructure. Many types of small cells will be used to “densify” networks. That’s an awkward word, but a good description of the goal, which is to use small cells and other equipment to add capacity to the network that is already in place. KEY TAKEAWAYS: Small cells are a key to fulfilling the new requirements. 5G will feature higher frequency approaches than previously used. At this point, a good deal of the focus is on using 5G for fixed wireless applications. “The signs seem to be good for the sector. Some, however, say that it has not yet taken off. To date, according to Paul Hanna, the vice president of Global Marketing for Casa Systems, shipments have been a bit disappointing.” Original Source: http://www.itbusinessedge.com/articles/small-cells-are-the-great-enabler.html

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There’s More to In-building Wireless Than DAS and Small Cells

In-building wireless is a red hot market, particularly given the shift from carrier subsidized deployments to enterprise- or neutral-host led financing models. To better enable enterprise buyers, equipment vendors are looking for ways to take cost and complexity out of DAS and small cells, the two solutions that get the majority of the mindshare when considering the in-building space. But there are more tools in the kit. Warner Sievers, CEO of Nextivity, said during an interview at the recent DAS and Small Cells Congress event that many companies are “trying to bring the price point down to $1-per-square-foot. We’re operating at half that price point today.” They do that through a hybrid approach that, as the company describes it, “combines the best of active DAS and smart booster technologies,” for in-building wireless coverage in venues up to 200,000-square-feet. In an off-air application, Sievers said the company has seen lots of international attention, particularly from South America, as it relates to Cel-Fi Quatra. “In this environment, there’s a lot of off-air connectivity. We’re able to really optimize signals to improve the indoor experience of a moderate outdoor signal.” KEY TAKEAWAYS: From a product perspective, that’s accomplished by Cel-Fi Quatra, which supports either an off-air application, or deployment in conjunction with a small cell. Nextivity’s network unit can attach to a small cell, then feed the signal to up to four coverage units supplying RF and power over Ethernet cabling. The fear with operators around the world is if you say anyone can hang things off-air, you get these heavily-laden systems that create noise and interference for the base stations that serve them. “In this scenario, Sievers said Cel-Fi Quatra can cover up to a 50,000-square-foot space, and, in a bid to further make the offering appeal to the enterprise, can generally be installed by IT staff with no specific RF experience.” Original Source: http://www.rcrwireless.com/20170614/carriers/in-building-wireless-das-small-cells-tag17

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A New Approach to Indoor LTE Coverage

Commercial Mobile Networks have been around for over thirty years.  They began as simple voice networks but have evolved to sophisticated data networks where voice is but one of the many applications supported by the network.  Those early voice networks were analog based: AMPS in North America, TACS/ETACS/JTACS in Europe and Japan, and NMT in the Nordic countries.  As mobile voice networks picked up popularity, digital voice networks replaced these analog networks.  The digital networks were based on a variety of different standards, however most deployments worldwide were based on standards being developed by two global initiatives.  The Third-Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) developed the GSM family which evolved to HSPA and eventually LTE.  GSM based networks were deployed all over the world and were the basis of the largest percentage of mobile networks deployed worldwide.  In a parallel effort, separate but similar affiliated groups, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and later The Third-Generation Partnership Project 2 (3GPP2) developed the CDMA family which evolved to EVDO.  CDMA based networks made up the second largest percentage of mobile networks deployed worldwide. Mobile networks continued to evolve and the 3GPP, 3GPP2 and a new entrant in the broadband mobile network space, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) who developed the standards for Wi-Fi, competed to develop and gain adoption of new 4G network standards. Generation Standards Organization Technology 1G AMPS, TAC, ETAC, JTAC, NMT 2G 3GPP GSM ITU cdmaOne 3G 3GPP UTMS 3GPP2 CDMA2000 1xEV-DO Rev 0 4G 3GPP LTE Advanced 3GPP2 UMB IEEE WiMAX Mobile Network Progression The 3GPP2, which included standards bodies from around the globe representing CDMA networks, developed a 4G network standard called Ultra Mobile Broadband (UMB) or EV-DO Rev C.  UMB was based on an IP connected core with a next generation radio network using advanced techniques such as Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) and Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) to obtain peak data rates up to 280 Mbps. Due to lack of interest by the major CDMA network operators, UMB development was abandoned and no commercial networks were ever deployed. IEEE an organization whose standards attained worldwide adoption for the deployment of WLANs developed a 4G WAN standard called WiMAX.  WiMAX was intended to leverage the popularity of Wi-Fi as a complementary standard.  WiMAX was designed such that Wi-Fi devices would connect to WiMAX subscriber nodes therefore enabling the use of existing Wi-Fi devices and making it easy for user adoption.  WiMAX was deployed in a few countries with moderate early success however lost momentum after a short period of time. The 3GPP developed a standard called Long Term Evolution or more commonly known as LTE.  The initial definition did not meet the IMT-Advanced requirements of a 4G network, however the 3GPP developed enhancements called LTE Advanced which make LTE a true 4G network standard.   LTE shares several similarities to the 3GPP2 UMB standard such as OFDM and MIMO and were both thought to prevail as a widely adopted 4G network standard.  However, both standards

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MulteFire Releases Version 1 of Its Specification

MulteFire Alliance released version 1.0 of its specification, according to the consortium’s press release, is based on Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) releases 13 and 14. Release 1.0 enables LTE to operate in unlicensed, shared spectrum. Essentially, as I wrote last week, there are two kinds of spectrum: licensed and unlicensed. The capacity and cost advantages of unlicensed spectrum have led powerful cellular companies and their ecosystems to try to solve the sticky issues that were a barrier to their use of the bandwidth. MulteFire is one such effort. Unlicensed spectrum is as available to mobile cellular companies as it is to anyone else. The challenge is that their technology was developed in a landscape in which an individual cellular company plunked down a lot of money and got exclusive rights to a portion of bandwidth. For this reason, technology enabling cellular systems to share spectrum – a huge requirement in the fractious world of unlicensed spectrum – was not needed and never developed. That is not wholly a technical question. There is a lot of money in unlicensed spectrum. The politics of how cellular access is written into networks using unlicensed spectrum is tricky and controversial. The issue is even more of a wildcard as a new administration – and one with a very different philosophical orientation – takes the reins. KEY TAKEAWAYS:  There are two kinds of spectrum: licensed and unlicensed. The question now is the fairest system way to give cellular carriers that capability. The full specification will initially be available to consortium members, with outsiders gaining access mid-year. “The spec implements “Listen-Before-Talk for fair coexistence with technologies using the same spectrum such as Wi-Fi and LAA, as well as co-existence between different MulteFire networks.”” ORIGINAL SOURCE: http://www.itbusinessedge.com/blogs/data-and-telecom/multefire-releases-version-1-of-its-specification.html

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2017 Predictions: LTE for Public Safety, Evolution of In-Building and NB-IoT

During 2017, the public safety industry will continue to work towards making LTE the long-term answer for emergency services communication. The U.S. has already begun planning for the introduction of LTE to deliver public safety applications, recognizing the success the technology has had for business and consumer communication. FirstNet has been tasked with delivering a nationwide LTE public safety service across the country, with reports that AT&T will likely be selected to build the network. We can expect a lot of interesting announcements relating to the nationwide network to be made in the next year, including a formal decision about who will be building the network in March. Although there will not be an operational LTE public safety network in place in 2017, it is likely that a lot of the standards and regulations will be implemented in advance of a possible 2018 deployment. Other countries will follow in the footsteps of the U.S., leveraging LTE to deliver critical communications applications such as facial recognition capabilities to aid police officers in finding out if someone has a criminal record. One major consideration is that operators will not want to give up their valuable LTE spectrum, which is needed for data hungry business and consumer customers. KEY TAKEAWAYS: In the U.S. and United Arab Emirates, the 700 MHz and 800 MHz spectrum bands are being earmarked for public safety communications. Until vital decisions are made, terrestrial trunked radio will continue to be used as a short-term solution, due to its proven ability to deliver reliable communication services. Venues have to install mobile coverage themselves in order to provide the connectivity that is demanded of them. “The neutral host model has already proven popular in the U.S. and the trend is likely to take off in other parts of the world next year as venues look to benefit from high-quality indoor coverage.” Original Source: http://www.rcrwireless.com/20170117/opinion/2017-predictions-lte-for-public-safety-evolution-of-in-building-and-nb-iot-tag10

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Cable Operators Projected To Offer Mobile Phone Service by 2018

Cable operators will claim 10% of the U.S. wireless market by 2020, New Street Research predicted, stealing most of those customers from the biggest wireless carriers. T-Mobile and Sprint have increased their share of the U.S. mobile market in recent quarters, New Street analysts observed in a research note this week, even as growth in the industry has slowed to a crawl. And while the market has seen some aggressive promotions, the smaller operators haven’t had to engage in an all-out price war to poach customers from Verizon and AT&T. The two companies—and perhaps other cable operators—will combine to capture 23 million wireless customers by 2020, New Street said. T-Mobile and Sprint are “relatively insulated” from those newcomers, according to the analysts, and may actually benefit from increased competition. But the nation’s two largest mobile network operators are vulnerable. KEY TAKEAWAYS: The cable operator will market mobile services within its existing footprint rather than launching a nationwide offering, bundling wireless with its existing TV, internet and landline phone services. The incumbents may bear even more of the losses given their dominance at the high end of the market where cable companies will be focused. Verizon is working to add Yahoo to a portfolio that includes AOL and its own Go90 video offering, while AT&T hopes to acquire Time Warner for $85 billion after pocketing DirecTV last year. “Comcast will be marketing an offer by the middle of next year; we expect Charter to be a couple of quarters behind,” the analysts wrote. Original Source: http://www.fiercewireless.com/wireless/verizon-at-t-set-to-lose-9m-customers-to-cable-operators-by-2018-new-street-says

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