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Deregulation Smoke and Mirrors



14th IST Mobile & Wireless Communications Summit
By John Latta,
WAVE 0528 7/15/05

Dresden, Germany
June 20 - 22, 2005

We are seeing a significant change this year at this conference. OFDM is a major topic of conversation. In fact, it is seriously being considered by 3GPP in the standards efforts. The implications of this can be significant in that OFDM is the technology under WiMAX. Many US companies have much to gain if OFDM becomes the technology foundation for the next generation wireless standard in Europe, and by default the rest of the world.

The conference enrollment is up to 800. In spite of this being the premier event for the presentation of research funded by the EU under the IST program there are many participants from around the world. We note an especially strong presence from Asia but virtually nothing from the U.S.

We were frankly mystified that there was no U.S. presence. There was a special panel on 4G efforts in Asia and the pace there is even faster than in Europe. But it is like the U.S. does not exist. But contrary to last year WiMAX, that is, OFDM and MIMO, is being taken very seriously.

The IST event remains the best forum to understand what is happening in Europe in mobile communications.

Europe Launches i2010

The European Commission announced i2010 as a major initiative to improve competitiveness of Europe. When the member states of the EU can agree on a budget for the period from 2007 to 2012 this initiative will result in spending of nearly $1B € a year for research. If successful, one of the intents is to create a single European information space and vault Europe ahead of the U.S. in terms of the impact of ICT.

i2010 – Will Europe Vault Ahead of the U.S. in ICT?

Joao Shcwarz Da Silva, the Director of Communication and Network Technologies, under the DG Information Society and Media, European Commission, gave the first talk. Last week the EC announced the i2010 initiative. It said much about global competitiveness and the role of technology.

The EU Lisbon Summit was held in 2000. This is the basis for much of the planning in the EU. The bad news is that the average growth rate for the EU member states was set at 3% but it has declined since then and is now near ½%.

At the same time there is a widening gap between labor productivity in the U.S. and the EU. In 2000 this gap was – 5%, that is, of the GDP per hour worked, and has now grown to – 8% in 2003.

One of the reasons for this is that the U.S. ICT productivity growth in the services sector has been at 2.45% while it is only 1.54% in the EU-15. The most dramatic improvement in growth in the U.S. has been in the ICT Using Services sector. That is, the sector which could be seen as the most important, the use of ICT, is where the EU-15 has lagged the most.

There is concern also about the sustainability of the world. It is here where the EU leads the U.S. It is the expectation that with rapid adoption of ICT it is possible to match the demands on the planet to what it can support. According to the World3 HEF (Human Ecological Footprint) we are moving to a condition, without action, that will require 2.5 planets in resources by 2050 to sustain the world.

A major issue is the continuing digital divides. Data was shown for the penetration of digital technologies that includes: broadband, wireline and mobile. In some countries in Europe the penetration of broadband and wireline remains near zero while in Luxembourg the wireless penetration is above 120%.

To address these issues a two areas are the focus:

To create a single European Information space

This includes NGN, IP based core, security, open source and spectrum trading.

Innovation and investment in R&D

The budget would rise 28% and reach approximately 1B € a year.

The scope of the program is very broad.

Inclusion, better public services and quality of life.

Particular emphasis was paid to the aging population.

This is a very ambitious effort. If successful it could change the role that Europe plays in information technology. We can already see the leadership that Europe plays in the research efforts in wireless and in other areas such as Ambient Intelligence.

The implementation of this plan is on hold. The inability of the member EU member states to agree on the 2007 – 2012 budget framework has left the research investment portion in limbo. It remains to be seen how this will unfold and the impact that it has in the research investment.

Vodafone Shouts about UMTS

The CTO of Vodafone, Hartmut Kremling discussed going from Technology Push to Market Pull.

Vodafone now offers in Germany access on the UMTS network:

Mobile TV with 15 channels including CNN. Video telephony is possible between cellular users. MP3 music can be downloaded as a service.

The Vodafone card for the Notebook makes possible the wireless office and data solutions for the enterprise market.

Vodafone is going right to the center of the fixed line market with is Universal Fixed Home Access. That is, there is a box one can buy from Vodafone that will connect to the UMTS network and is provides for all home telephony, using existing phones in the home, and broadband to the PCs in the home.

Last Christmas Vodafone offered a special deal at launch and since then the traffic on UMTS has exceeded that of the GPRS network.

In a subsequent talk, Hartmut asked the question – as the rates increase and the density of the network rises it appears that the willingness of consumer to pay goes down at the same rate. Where are the economics under these conditions he asked?

Seimens Shows 1GB/s

Seimens took a view beyond 3G. Helmut Lagger looked the future.

They predict that the total market for VoIP will cross the PSTN by 2010 and totally dominate voice by 2016.

Siemens is prepared to have complete HSDPA end-to-end solutions ready for commercial use by the second half of 2005.

In November 2004 Siemens demonstrated 1Gb/s over 100 MHz of spectrum using 3 X 5 antennas in a MIMO OFDM demonstration. They see the future direction going to N X M antennas with MIMO OFDM.

What is the Role of OFDM?

G. Winder of the Fraunhofer German-Sino Lab in Berlin presented a paper on “Concept of an OFDM HSDPA Air Interface for UMTS DL.” He cited as part of the talk the increasing interest in OFDM at 3GPP. His talk showed how OFDM could be used as part of the interface with UMTS. We wonder how practical the approach is but to have looked at this is intriguing. One of the most interesting charts was about the motivation for the study. It said:

The reason for the OFDM air interface as a downlink in 3GPP is that it has:

Higher implementation efficiency
Higher throughput
MIMO from scratch

An HSDPA extension that uses OFDM HSDPA has these advantages:

Higher granularity
Even higher throughput
More fairness and
Coordinated interference control

Thus there is much to watch from the increasing interests in OFDM in Europe.

4G in Asia

At special session, presenters from Asia discussed efforts on 4G in their respective countries. The development efforts, including China, are well along. This poses significant challenges to the European efforts to continue to lead in wireless communications technology as the transition is made from 3G to 4G.

We summarize comments made by country in the assessment of 4G technologies and deployment.


One of the requirements for 4G terminals is that they be a personal mobile gateway. Modules which can support this gateway include:

Fuel Cells
Low power MPU
Intelligent terminal Software platform
Personal networking
Multi-antenna array
SDR based multi-air interface module

4G has become a battle ground with the attempt by two different technologies to reach standardization. Coming from the narrow band mobile side is cellular. Its path is 3G, HSDPA and to 4G. On the fixed wireless side 802.16 technologies are seeking a position in mobile as a direct competitor to cellular – this is the nomadic approach.

It is not clear which will dominate 4G or if it will be both.

The position of 3GPP is that this is an evolution of WCDMA. The expected data rate is 100Mb/s downlink with 50Mb/s uplink at 20MHz bandwidth. It is expected that the specification for this will be completed in 2006.

Within the 3GPP2 there is an evolution plan which has as a strong candidate OFDM. The target here is also 100Mb/s at 20MHz spectrum.

WiBro on Korea has, in fact, become 802.16e. A standard is expected for this in mid-2005 and it has 50Mb/s with AAS and MIMO. Note this is approximately the same target as 3GPP and the accelerated pace of 802.16e is putting pressure on 3GPP.

The ITU has cited that the frequency around 3.4GHz as the most promising for 4G. Korea and Japan and most European countries are considering the spectrum from 3 – 4GHz for 4G. It is expected that WRC-07 will identify and allocate spectrum for 4G.

The WiBro terminals will begin as cards or the radios will be built into notebooks, then migrate to smartphones and in phase 3 become converged terminals.

Three operators have been selected for WiBro: KT, SK Telecom and Hanaro-telecom.

There is to be a service demonstration at APEC Summit in 2005.

Operations are to begin by 2Q 2006 in Seoul.


4G will initially migrate from HSDPA and evolve from 3G (Super 3G). Japan, NTT DoCoMo, has submitted a study item called UTRA and UTRAN to the 3GPP. One of the intents of this study item is that there will be a smooth introduction of 4G from 3G.

A real 4G system could required up to 100MHz of bandwidth.

The UTRA air interface have support for multiple bandwidths but the emphasis is on bandwidths greater than 5MHz. The data rate is to be 100Mb/s downlink and 50MB/s uplink. In the downlink it is expected that the radio access will be OFDM.

The target for 4G is 1Gb/s in low mobileity conditions and 100Mb/s in high mobileity. The proposal by NTT DoCoMo is that the same air interface be used for hot spots as isolated cells as indoor environments. Only the radio parameters would change. This technique is called Variable Spreading Factor (VSF) – Spread OFDM.

Note that this proposal overcomes one of the shortfalls of 802.16 where the fixed and mobile versions cannot be implemented in the same radio.

Tests have been done in a dense NLOS environment in Japan that achieved 200 – 300 Mb/s. The vehicle speed was 30km/hour. A throughput of 100Mb/s was accomplished over 90% of the measure course of the test area.

In the laboratory tests were accomplished with MIMO of greater than 1Gb/s.


China is implementing the FuTURE program. This is a radio experiment environment to meet the wireless needs of China.

Phase III which runs from 2005 to 2010 focuses on a trial and pre-commercial system based on standards.

The target is a 40 – 100Mb/s at high moving speeds and 100Mb/s second at low speeds. The transmission method will be OFDM with MIMO.

Siemens – A Download Away

HSDPA will be available for Siemens base stations by the end of 2005. We should expect to see offerings of a service in early 2006. No operators have announced service plans and it is normal that they not do this until just before service availability.

The data rates for mobile are 1 – 2Mb/s and fixed 14Mb/s.

An operating base station was being shown in the booth. Only one company has shown terminals, handsets for HSDPA, Samsung had a prototype at CeBIT. But it is not expected that terminals will happen at roll out. As with UMTS when it rolled out, it is expected that the sales will be of cards which plug into the PC Card slot on notebooks. Later there will be terminals, cell phones, once the service offerings are in place.

Where is the US?

Again, we find it curious that both Europe and Asia are well represented here but not the U.S. This is a discussion and networking forum for B3G and 4G technologies. 802.16 is a major player. We did not see one individual on the attendee list from the U.S.

BMW – Loading a Car with Wireless Technologies

At CeBIT the WAVE saw the BMW Connected Drive. Here, BMW was showing an example of the efforts of Research and Technology within the BMW Group. This adds a whole meaning to being connected.

It was the only car on the show floor. It was always busy. The Germans love their automobiles. None of this is for production and it was clear that the demo was only to show what can be done.

The car has WiFi, UMTS, Ku Band satellite receiver for direct broadcast television, and Bluetooth. It is the intent that it will automatically connect to each radio technology based on the function and best technology to use. The driver does not have to worry about technology, signal strength or any such issues. I asked about the CAT 5 cable and got stares – something like – “A cable on a BMW?”

The front panel was impressive. 10” high resolution touch screen. One can control music tastes just by the touch of a button.

The cache is 40GB but as it was said – storage is cheap. This is a part of BMW/DW/IRT personal radio service based on a carousel fed cache.

The vehicle had FhG SatCom which allowed IPv6 broadcast over DVB.

When asked about driver distraction, that was put off as an actual design issue for a production automobile. Put in another way – “Someone could really get sucked into this.”

BMW is a part of these European efforts where the car is involved.


teleco platforms for provisioning and delivery of pervasive services


Telematics framework and safety oriented broadcast services, all car companies in Europe are a part of this.


Vehicle to Vehicle geocast safety applications. This is an active implement to avoid collisions.

Mobile Ky-Band Demonstrator

Mobile Ku-Band television and personal radio data broadcast service

With BMW Connected Drive, a driver can get a BMW e-mail address – for some worth the price of the car alone. With this research car one can link up anywhere at any speed and watch digital television at the same time. The WAVE left with:

Just cool technology but on second thought I better be in the back seat and not driving. All that is needed now is a CAT 5 cable.

Simplicity – Talk Talk Talk - Words are Easier than Actions

This panel session explored the critical issue of taking complexity out of technology. The focus is the cellular phone. Here is a summary of what the speakers said.

Nokia Research

We need consumer research.

University College London

I have an 8 week old daughter and do not want to be here. I tried to get a picture of her on my cell phone and even send a picture from my cell phone home. Nothing worked. It was miserable.

University of Roma

Intel’s Public HotSpot instructions are a nightmare. In all we have lots of problems with simplicity of devices and how to use them. The simplicity project in the EU is to add another layer to simplify. And we need standards.



We need simplicity because consumers demand it and if we do not do it we cannot enter emerging markets. As a result Motorola has designed a phone which is easy to use.



Philips has announced it has embraced simplicity with the new slogan – Sense and Simplicity. We will do better and we are researching the issue.



Vodafone has introduced the Vodafone Simply handsets. These have simple features. Even the contract is “transparent.” Our technicians in the call center are not to use phone jargon.


KDDI (Japan)

It is not clear that Japanese customer wants a phone with simplicity, We like complex devices. But we did introduce the TU-KA simple mobile phone. We are the only carrier with such a phone.

This phone was the simplest of all shown. It was just like a regular land line phone with only one function – dial numbers and connect. KDDI got it right,

NO Daaa.

In the end we were left feeling hollow. Here are all these high powered individuals talking about doing something and only one really did much.

In the Vodafone presentation interesting statistics were quoted – by April 2006 60% of the German population would have access to UMTS indoors and 74% outdoors. This has allowed Vodafone to offer Universal Fixed Access. One only has to disconnect the land line phone, fax and even CAT 5 to the computer and plug it into this router. Bingo – everything in the home now works over the wireless network. In the booth I asked – Deutsch Telecom must hate Vodafone?

As the bandwidth and penetration increases there is the opportunity to further erode existing businesses. Another example of this was cited in Korea where the television habits are changing. Individuals will now watch the news on television on their mobile phones during lunch at work and on the evening commute home.

This is but the beginning of the impact of 3G and the level of the service offerings will significantly increase with 4G, which is not likely to roll out until 2010.


WAVE Comments

Much was made in Joao Shcwarz Da Silva’s talk about the lack of European competitiveness in the services sector and with a particular emphasis on labor productivity. It is the premise that ICT can improve this. Further, the EU GDP growth is stalled. Nothing was said about why these are happening. One has to only be in Europe for a short time to realize that the social state conditions are very different than in the U.S. The public expects more in the way of social services. This creates a significant drain on the economies. Also the EU has very strict work rules, which compared to the U.S., is a drag on productivity. Even in one small area, for example, there seems to be far more holidays for the workers in Germany. In sum, it seems a lot to ask for ICT technology to address these issues.

It has been 10 years in coming but 3G with UMTS is a major step forward. Here in Europe it is not infrequent that one sees the bright red Vodafone adapter cards plugged into notebooks. Vodafone was singing the praises for what UMTS has done in terms of traffic generation. One even has a choice of 15 television channels on a cell phone. But as the WAVE saw at 3GSM World, the next step is close at hand – HSDPA. This promises 1 – 2Mb/s in mobile and 14Mb/s in fixed. The major advantage of HSDPA is that it is only a software upgrade to the existing UMTS base stations. The software will be available by the end of the year and services should begin in early 2006. As the WAVE found out, both at 3GSM and here at IST Wireless, do not expect to see phones but PC Cards when the service begins. The target market is the mobile professional with a notebook.

The WAVE has been critical of the viability of the triple play on cell phones. We are seeing early reports on the usage of cell phones for television. It is too early to tell if this is a significant revenue generator. Certainly Vodafone hopes so. But the bigger issue is: from a consumer standpoint there is no bandwidth need on the horizon beyond television. Thus, we are left wondering why is there such great emphasis on reaching 100Mb/s and even 1Gb/s wireless? Even at 1Gb/s the speakers said that the users will only want the channel for a very short period of time. Thus, one has to seriously question the premise:

Make wireless bandwidth available and they will come?

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