Monday 25 November 2013

Wi-Fi as the preferred cellular access and barriers to roaming

Republic Wireless, a regional carrier in the USA is doing some interesting stuff with Wi-Fi and is possibly going to create some interesting challenges for established cellular carriers. An extract from a recent article in Washington post as follows:

Consider Republic Wireless, a Raleigh-based business that announced this month it would sell Motorola's new flagship phone, the Moto X. Republic enjoys all the traditional advantages of an MVNO — low capital expenditures on infrastructure and spectrum — but it's taken the additional step of cutting out 3G and 4G data use whenever it can. Technically, Republic operates on Sprint's network, but it's more appropriate to think of Sprint as a backup for when a call or message can't be completed over WiFi.
Yes, you read that right: WiFi. Republic's business depends on shunting all of your communications — data, voice, everything — onto the free stuff you get in your office or in coffee shops. What makes this beautiful is that whenever a Republic customer chooses to place a call over WiFi, that saves Republic money. As a result, Republic can offer a $5-a-month plan for unlimited talk, text and data. For another $5 a month, customers get access to Sprint's cellular network (minus 3G). Higher-tier plans provide 3G and 4G Internet on Sprint, though it's almost a joke to call them "higher-tier" when the most expensive plan tops out at just $40 a month. The tiered plan supersedes an old, $19-a-month all-you-can-eat plan.
"The crazy plans at $5 and $10 have never been tried," said CEO David Morken. "That's because we focus on unlicensed spectrum as the primary, and licensed spectrum as the secondary."
This approach can be quite disruptive for the MNO's. With NGH / HS2, soon MVNO's like republic wireless will be able to offer roaming on WiFi, thereby cutting the costs while not in the home market.

WBA released an Industry report recently (embedded below) which had some interesting findings.

Industry bodies, vendors and device manufacturers are working hard to get rid of some of these limitations and barriers. Once these limitations are gone, there is going to be a good business case for offering of global Wi-Fi roaming for example.

Another interesting question in the survey was what would be your preferred means of building Wi-Fi footprint. One of the answers is shown above, a similar question was asked in a webinar and posted in the 3G4G blog post here.

Finally, since the WBA report mentions about Wi-Fi and Small cells data offload, you may find a previous post of interest here.

The complete WBA report as follows:

Sunday 17 November 2013

SUPER cell, by SK Telecom (SKT)

This looks very interesting and similar to some other concepts that I have discussed on 3G4G blog. One of them is the Multi-stream Aggregation (MSA) that allows aggregation of data from different radio access technologies. Another is the Phantom Cell concept, proposed by NTT Docomo, where control plane is handles by one cell and data by another. Small cells would generally do only data or larger cells would do control plane. Of course you can have different combinations as can be seen in the picture above.

This also reminds me of the earlier post about Super Macros. Is this SUPER cell a Phase 2 of the Super Macro kind of architecture? Or is it just a future 5G concept? Please feel free to add your comments.

Here is the embed of their complete presentation:

Saturday 9 November 2013

What are Homespots?

Recently I got introduced to the term 'Homespots'. While I knew what they are, I wasn't aware there was a term for them

The slide above and below are from a recent webinar by Maravedis-Rethink (embedded at the end of the post)

In UK we have BT FON and Openzone which are both Wi-Fi hotspot services. Openzone is actually a hotspot deployed and maintained by them while FON is actually a Homespot, which uses spare capacity from the open Home Hubs deployed in the homes. BT has some details about it here.

Anyfi whitepaper shows (see above pic) some of the technical challenges that need to be kept in mind while deploying Homespots.

Anyway, here is complete presentation from the webinar mentioned above

Sunday 3 November 2013

KDDI Japan, Traffic Offloading Strategy

While going through some KDDI presentations, came across how they planned and perform Offloading. In fact, even before the deployment of LTE, they were aware that the network capacity would not be enough for the savvy Japanese mobile phone users. They had to start planning for how to offload the users as soon as possible. 

au Wi-Fi is their Wi-Fi offloading strategy where they make Wi-Fi hotspots available for the users. They even claim that with Wi-Fi on, the baattery life could be 1.5 times the normal 3G battery life.

UQ WiMAX is another KDDI company that allows users with compatible handsets to offload to WiMAX. KDDI have their own WiMAX branded services as well, see here.

Finally, with the LTE rollout they have different hierarchical cells available that the user could be moved to if one of the layers is congested.