Currently viewing the tag: "Band 17"

ATT deathstar

 Updated: Added mention of the recent Alltel deal.

The rich are hiding the opportunities from the not so rich.

Oh I mean spectrum ownership. 

So Verizon Wireless agreed to sell their 700MHz B spectrum to ATT.

If you are just looking for parrot/me too/copy+paste blogging, you should leave now.

This is bad for everyone else.

The primary reason goes like this.

ATT pushed through the Band 17 change (Lower 700MHz B+C) which essentially cuts the Band 12 to A channel widely held by multiple firms, B+C channel with different filtering requirements, thus forcing the component manufacturers to create special filters to comply/handle Band 17. Today, Band 12 is being EXCLUDED from chipset support at the expense of Band 17 (ATT) and Band 13 (Verizon.) 

So, Verizon sells the spectrum to ATT, the spectrum doesn’t diffuse, there is no compelling reason for hardware designers to facilitate Band 12 now because the spectrum ownership is fragmented and they can’t place a big order for devices like ATT can.

 leaving us out to dry I’m a free enterprise type of guy but this situation shameful and I think anti competitive to a great degree. The FCC should be ashamed at what they’ve done here. More competition is good for a developing (LTE) market, however the Big 2 and smaller 2 dominate, thus everything is sort of stagnant on pricing, innovation and other fronts as compared to more competitive markets like Asia and Europe.

Updated: I forgot to mention that the Alltel purchase by ATT is good for the Alltel ownership but again hoards more 700MHz spectrum.  From the ATT press release:

ATT and Alltel coverageATNI operates under the Alltel name in the U.S., and its network covers approximately 4.6 million people in primarily rural areas across six states — Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina. The acquisition includes spectrum in the 700 MHz, 850 MHz and 1900 MHz bands and is largely complementary to AT&T’s existing network.

Is a market in which there can only be a limited number of players due to the lack of resources (spectrum), where I wouldn’t be able to purchase any spectrum and create a lower 700MHz operator if I wanted to, a free and open market?

This spectrum should go back for rebid instead since the original terms and conditions from FCC auction weren’t met by original bidder (Verizon.) or FCC should make things right and sell off the upper 24MHz of the 600MHz band (further clearing down DTV) and rebid, with a 30-40% tax on bidders connected to Band 13 or Band 17 operators.

Can’t see the data pricing from ATT or VZW LTE going down anytime soon. They’re the only ones with more than 10MHz for LTE everywhere. No need to compete for LTE customers!

Horrible!

ATT Verizon Spectrum purchase Press release below. The ATT Alltel purchase PR is further below…

AT&T Agrees to Acquire 700 MHz Spectrum from Verizon Wireless

DallasTexasJanuary 25, 2013

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AT&T* announced in an 8-K filing today that it has agreed to acquire spectrum in the 700 MHz B band from Verizon Wireless for $1.9 billion in cash and Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum licenses in several markets, including Phoenix, Ariz., Los Angeles and Fresno, Calif. and Portland, Ore.

The 700 MHz licenses to be acquired by AT&T cover 42 million people in 18 states — California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.

This acquisition complements AT&T’s existing holdings in the 700 MHz B band and will allow AT&T to continue to quickly deploy 4G LTE services to meet demand for mobile Internet services on a wide array of smartphones, tablets and other devices. The company announced in November 2012 that it plans to reach 300 million people in the U.S. with its 4G LTE network by the end of 2014.

In conjunction with this transaction, AT&T will sell to Grain Management a single AWS license and will lease 700 MHz spectrum from Grain Management in three markets.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval. AT&T anticipates closing the transaction in the second half of 2013.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a premier communications holding company and one of the most honored companies in the world. Its subsidiaries and affiliates – AT&T operating companies – are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and internationally. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation’s largest 4G network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet, voice and cloud-based services. A leader in mobile Internet, AT&T also offers the best wireless coverage worldwide of any U.S. carrier, offering the most wireless phones that work in the most countries. It also offers advanced TV services under the AT&T U-verse® and AT&T |DIRECTV brands. The company’s suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in the world.

Additional information about AT&T Inc. and the products and services provided by AT&T subsidiaries and affiliates is available at http://www.att.com/aboutus or follow our news on @ATT, on Facebook athttp://www.facebook.com/att and YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/att.

© 2013 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. 4G not available everywhere. AT&T, the AT&T logo and all other marks contained herein are trademarks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. All other marks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.

Cautionary Language Concerning Forward-Looking Statements
Information set forth in this press release contains financial estimates and other forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties, and actual results might differ materially. A discussion of factors that may affect future results is contained in AT&T’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. AT&T disclaims any obligation to update and revise statements contained in this news release based on new information or otherwise.

ATNI operates under the Alltel name in the U.S., and its network covers approximately 4.6 million people in primarily rural areas across six states — Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina. The acquisition includes spectrum in the 700 MHz, 850 MHz and 1900 MHz bands and is largely complementary to AT&T’s existing network.

AT&T to Acquire Wireless Spectrum and Assets from Atlantic Tele-Network, Inc., Enhance Wireless Coverage in Rural Areas

DallasTexasJanuary 22, 2013

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AT&T* today announced that it has signed an agreement with Atlantic Tele-Network, Inc. (ATNI) to acquire the company’s U.S. retail wireless operations, operated under the Alltel brand, for $780 million in cash. Under terms of the agreement, AT&T will acquire wireless properties, including licenses, network assets, retail stores and approximately 585,000 subscribers.

ATNI operates under the Alltel name in the U.S., and its network covers approximately 4.6 million people in primarily rural areas across six states — Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina. The acquisition includes spectrum in the 700 MHz, 850 MHz and 1900 MHz bands and is largely complementary to AT&T’s existing network. ATNI currently operates a retail CDMA network for its subscribers in these areas. AT&T expects that as it upgrades the network, ATNI customers and existing AT&T customers who roam in these areas will enjoy an enhanced mobile Internet experience.

AT&T expects integration costs for network conversion from CDMA will not result in significant dilution to EPS or impact to cash flow. The transaction is subject to review by the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice and to other customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the second half of 2013.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a premier communications holding company and one of the most honored companies in the world. Its subsidiaries and affiliates – AT&T operating companies – are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and internationally. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation’s largest 4G network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet, voice and cloud-based services. A leader in mobile Internet, AT&T also offers the best wireless coverage worldwide of any U.S. carrier, offering the most wireless phones that work in the most countries. It also offers advanced TV services under the AT&T U-verse® and AT&T |DIRECTV brands. The company’s suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in the world.

Additional information about AT&T Inc. and the products and services provided by AT&T subsidiaries and affiliates is available at http://www.att.com/aboutus or follow our news on @ATT, on Facebook athttp://www.facebook.com/att and YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/att.

© 2013 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. 4G not available everywhere. AT&T, the AT&T logo and all other marks contained herein are trademarks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. All other marks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.

Cautionary Language Concerning Forward-Looking Statements
Information set forth in this press release contains financial estimates and other forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties, and actual results might differ materially. A discussion of factors that may affect future results is contained in AT&T’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. AT&T disclaims any obligation to update and revise statements contained in this news release based on new information or otherwise.

iPad LTE pic I have written about my ire with Apple regarding their design decisionsThe basic complaint I have with the OEMs (Apple, Samsung, etc…) is that their LTE product design forces the end user to purchase a network specific mobile device. For example, I purchase a Band 13 device (VZW), I cannot then change my mind and go to ATT (Band 17) etc… Of course network operators don’t prefer this capability but let’s ignore that for the moment. Technologically, the ability to do this was limited by (A) the requirements of the devices and (B) the capability of the components in the devices.

Requirements as drivers to network locked devices.

Today’s mobile networks topologically, in the US from a data perspective,  are LTE overlays on existing 2G and 3G network coverage. This is a deployment scenario caused by the reality of the economy, risk aversion of operators etc and whatever. The requirement/expectation is end user  device is usable throughout the entire network coverage area of the network’s operator. Thus, if the LTE coverage ends, the device must gracefully hand down/over to 3G and resume data communications. This means a 3G radio and 4G radio is required to interact with the 2 networks (3G/4G.) 

Currently voice is carried over 3G and not VoLTE yet so this sets up more of the same 3G/4G multi-radio requirements.

Summary: Pure LTE device like a smartphone that uses something like VoLTE  for voice requires one radio and path at a time, today’s voice enabled devices require 2 radio paths. Data only devices can utilize a single radio path but are still hamstrung by the spectrum used for EVDO/HSPA as a fallback to LTE coverage holes ultimately requiring dual radio performance for smooth transitions. Oh yeah, CDMA EVDO handovers are better with eHRPD blah blah but I’m assuming a perfectly state of the art, fully capable device and network.

Capability of components

ipad3 teardown picI have written about the iPad radio design, and the key take aways were the RF chain required Apple to include band specific components to facilitate the multiple radio and/or paths required. There have been some improvements since I’ve moaned and I will go through some of those.

 

Firstly, let’s look at the antenna. If your load (includes antenna) is RF mismatched in the circuit with the amplifiers, duplexers, filters etc…the efficiency of the radio transmission/reception could suffer a great deal. This means more energy required to transmit/receive, possible harmful interference control measures required and end users end up paying more for poor performance in the end. I mention this because the previous crop of device antennae were not well suited for wide band use, like 700MHz through AWS 2100MHz in the same elements. 

Skycross,Skycross Logo a Fremont, CA company has recently announced some technology that can be helpful here. Here is information from their site:

SkyCross’ three core technologies contribute to addressing the growing number of frequency bands required for LTE and carrier aggregation.

  • iMAT allows a single antenna to act like multiple antennas through the use of multiple feedpoints. Each feedpoint accesses the single antenna as if it were two or more independent antennas, highly isolated from each other. This enables very efficient and compact antenna designs. Developers can combine the iMAT design with other antenna requirements to form a multi-band, multi-protocol antenna module.
  • VersiTune provides an advanced tunable antenna solution for multi-band 4G LTE devices in a single antenna structure. SkyCross can therefore actively tune an antenna from frequency band to frequency band accurately so that the antenna meets the many needs of a single operator or the frequency band requirements of multiple operators simultaneously.
  • MatchTune enables a single antenna structure to uniquely fine tune within a given LTE frequency band, which both enhances performance for a given frequency or for multiple simultaneous frequencies when employing carrier aggregation.

These technologies also enable ODMs and OEMs to improve the performance of their mobile devices, while concurrently reducing costs and shrinking the form factor of their products.

Here’s a good paper about their Isolated Mode Antennas (iMat).

So, yesterday’s devices required either poor efficiency or multiple antennas to support multiple air technologies and bands and now there is Skycross technologies that address these issues. OEMs can design true MIMO devices with good efficiency, in a reasonably small package. I think Apple at some point mentioned this problem with respect to their support for SVLTE in the Verizon version of their devices. Check this off the list of problems.

The next item on the list is the transceiver. I have mentioned Qualcomm’s WTR1605 previously, and this part essentially offers an expansion of bands and radio technologies over previous generations such that a typical 3G/4G band scenario that requires support for Bands 1,4, 12,13, 17 and 25 for LTE and PCS/AWS/800MHz cellular for CDMA. Furthermore, simultaneous support for 11 RX ports and 9 TX ports allow simultaneous multiple radio paths with dedicated PA/LNAs.

AnandTech went into some detail on the WTR1605L for your purchasing or RF hardware engineering pleasure in their blog: The State of Qualcomm’s Modems – WTR1605 and MDM9x25 (Actually, I liked the detail since Qualcomm didn’t publish any.)

WTR1605L RFIC by QualcommQualcomm says:

The WTR1605 will be Qualcomm’s first Radio Transceiver in Wafer Level Package and will be a highly integrated radio transceiver with multi-mode (LTE FDD, LTE TDD, CDMA, WCDMA, TD-SCDMA, GSM) and multi-band support. The WTR1605 will be optimized for low power consumption and small footprint and will integrate a high performance GPS core with GLONASS support. Samples of the MDM9615, MDM8215, WTR1605 and PM8018 are anticipated to be available in late 2011.

Lastly, the 3G/4G MODEM (baseband) is solved with Qualcomm’s 9200/9215 and 9600/9615/9625 parts support GSM/EDGE/WCDMA/CDMA/EVDO/and LTE the technologies of interest here. So we are nearly there with 3 parts. There is something missing though.

The Missing Link

the missing link image

So what’s stopping us from a single multimode multi-band design to serve all networks and end users? The Power Amplifier (PA) and Low Noise Amplifier (LNA) situation. I’m not going to go too deep here because for multiple reasons but on the face of it there are many extra components that would be needed to support all of the Bands 1,4, 12,13, 17 and 25 with MIMO for LTE and PCS/AWS/800MHz cellular for CDMA. It’s not impossible and there are some design decisions that can be made if the OEM is willing to live with extra band specific LNA/PA’s on board. The downside is without any magic, they will take up extra space, create more heat and consume power with or without use. I think there is a better way (Custom silicon) that Apple and Samsung could probably bring to bear more quickly than any other OEMs.  

There You Go

So as you can see, there are 2 paths and on 1, we are tantalizingly close to having universal mobile devices. Oh yeah, as I have mentioned before you will probably need a removable UICC too and Apple has this design presently.  The Path 1 fix with a universal mobile device, when to expect the LNA/PA/duplexor/filter solution? Like I said, an innovator like Apple or Samsung could knock it out rapidly (assuming quickly with core purchased IP from SkyWorks, TriQuint etc…) like mid this year. Else, the groundhog will see it’s shadow and we’ll be having to check at the end of next winter. On the Path 2 fix, implement VoLTE, make LTE ubiquitous and stop using 3G networks, that will take a wee bit longer.

 

 

 For those of you that haven’t seen the movie “Groundhog Day“, it’s a 1993 vintage movie starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell in which the main character, Bill Murray playing a weatherman named Phil Connors, is stuck in a time loop, reliving the same day over and over again. So I feel like it’s Groundhog Day. Again.

Mea Culpa, I started thinking this way about the football team I coach. We just relive it over and over each practice and each game, and I’m like Phil Connors, trying everything to break out of the loop but I digress here. This context is about the state of the LTE marketplace. 

So the US LTE market is searching around for equilibrium and has temporarily stabilized on operators offering LTE as a premium service with ATT and Verizon coming in at nearly the same costs per Megabyte at various usage points, the large OEMs offering nearly the same eNB/EPC packages everywhere (with the same old incentives etc…) in the same old business models, hearing about the upcoming small cell revolution ad infinitum, the daily PRs about an iPhone/iPad killer, the yearly iPhone/iOS release hype, Samsung and Apple lawsuits over LTE, on and on. Maybe I’m just being cranky but there seems to be a whole lot of ho hum same as it ever was marketing and product and service designs just being recycled. 

Networks aren’t being run autonomously by SON (yet)…heck most large US operators haven’t invested in Remote Electrical Tilt (RET) for their sites yet. There’s no LTE roaming yet. 

Even 

the most interesting developments are ghosts like SuperWifi (whitespace radio), Lightsquared’s GPS fizzle, news like Clear just turned down their heat considerably with their TDD LTE plans, and band 12 deployments are nowhere, VoLTE is LaTE. 

I mean, even TDD-LTE and 802.11ac are becoming increasingly blurry to the point it’s hard to tell which is which. The future of Release 10 and VoLTE etc aren’t here yet so I can’t consider these things.

There are a couple of outliers, like the crazy things that Lemko claims and so on but I’m talking about real change.

The future seems promising and a break from the blase but how long are we going to be stuck in this loop? Where is the REAL innovation? Where’s all the startups with the innovative SDR, noise canceling thing we can’t even imagine but will change things forever? I’m ready for more intelligence, faster gratification, less suffering all that good stuff technology promises. 

I can’t stand to read any more PRs about a LTE enabled Band 17 or Band 13 device that is better than an iPhone/iPad that I can have for $200 on a year contract extension. 

Previous wishing:

LTE Market Next Steps 

5G candidate technologies 

OK, just feeling a little sorry for myself may this will pass so I’m going to curl up with my Gartner Hype Cycle, maybe watch a little Star Trek and dream… 

So I’m trolling the internet during a conference call and whoa, what’s this? An article in CNET about LTE speeds. Seems like everyone is interested in LTE all of a sudden. Anyway here’s the page:

 Don’t get me wrong, I laugh at Verizon and AT&T’s LTE implementations but this article makes me want to cry. The REAL reason the speeds in NYC are averaging in the 20MBps range and Sydney is like 40MBps is…

 

Verizon and ATT have 1/2 the bandwidth deployed that Optus (Australia) does! (FCC Hear that?) The US operators’ Verizon (Band 13) and ATT (Band 17) have deployed 10MHz channels in lower 700MHz with 2×2 MIMO whereas Optus (Band 3) has a 20MHz channel with 2×2 MIMO. Double the resource, double the rate.

 

 Lemko managed to get my attention with a PR that teases about demonstrating Band 12 and Band 17 device interoperability. Quick refresher: this Band 17 in Lower 700MHz was created by AT&T to make something unique/non-operable with the existing Band 12 under the guise of interference protection but I have sort of talked through those points before. Anyway, good business for AT&T. So if Lemko has something that allows more compatibility for existing devices let’s see it. Unfortunately, there is no information in the PR nor their web site… Caught my eye though since this is such a big problem (like FCC required 35% geographic coverage by EOY 2012 if you purchased the lower 700MHz spectrum in the auctions) and not a lot of solutions. Would be cool to see some details from Lemko, I will reach out, but all we got is the PR for now. Enjoy…

 

Links: Lemko, sonlte.com, FCC.gov

Full PR;

Lemko Demonstrates 700 MHz Band Class 12 and 17 Interoperability

Schaumburg, Illinois

July 25, 2012

Lemko Corporation, the leader in the development of all IP distributed mobile wireless network architecture, announced today another 4G broadband innovation by demonstrating interoperability between 700 MHz LTE lower band classes. Lemko has successfully demonstrated mobile devices operating between 700 MHz band class12 and band class 17. This provides the critical interoperability to support roaming between the lower 700 MHz bands opening the door for full network build-outs in support of the imminent FCC 2012 build out deadline. Lemko LTE provides a DiMoWiNe (distributed mobile wireless network) solution that is designed to keep network operators profitable by offering the lowest total cost of ownership and superior end-user experience.

 

“This is a very significant innovation achievement for the LTE 700 MHz market since it shows that interoperability is possible for carriers planning LTE network build-outs in the lower A band channel blocks”, says David Dombrowski, Lemko Senior Director of Product Management. “Carriers can now move forward deploying their 700 MHz LTE networks knowing that the technology exists to support contiguous, homogeneous services regardless of band class.”

 

For details about DiMoWiNe please visit www.lemko.com or call 847-240-1990.
About Lemko Corporation

Lemko is the leading provider of DiMoWiNe (Distributed Mobile Wireless Network) solutions that change the way mobile operators maintain and develop voice, SMS and data businesses over 2G, 3G and 4G broadband networks. Lemko provides an entire cellular system powered by an all IP mobile infrastructure which includes radio access equipment as well as virtualized 2G, 3G and LTE core network functionality. The virtualized core functionality (including EPC, IMS, VoLTE, policy control, multimedia telephony and data off-load) sits at each RAN site with immediate connection to the cloud for delivery of voice, SMS, data and broadband functionality.

 

This approach lowers up-front capital expense and dramatically lowers on-going operational expenses. The company’s market leading solutions are deployed with Tier 3 as well as Tier 1 carriers, and government and military private network operators. Lemko is headquartered in Schaumburg, Illinois, USA.

 

More About Lemko Corp.

March 21st FCC kicked off an industry discussion with their FCC Docket No. 12-69

Promoting Interoperability in the 700 MHz Commercial Spectrum

Last Friday, (1st of June), Qualcomm shoots over some comments to the FCC in response. Specifically, a document titled:

Promoting Interoperability in the 700 MHz Commercial Spectrum

Interoperability of Mobile User Equipment
Across Paired Commercial Spectrum Blocks in the 700 MHz Band

12-69 06-01-2012 QUALCOMM Incorporated 7021921420

So normally I see things like this come and go and I don’t utter a word, however I would like to point out a few things about Qualcomm’s position that I feel like should be made more clear.

Below is a diagram of the lower 700MHz spectrum. A key problem for everyone today is there are DTV broadcasts in many urban areas with extremely high power transmitters. The current FCC requirements allow DTV stations on Channel 50 and 51 to spew interference into the lower portions of the 700MHz spectrum (See Channel A, B and C.) Furthermore, there are 2 blocks, the D and E block in the lower 700MHz that also allow high power (think 50KW of RF power) to be broadcast. For LTE this could be a huge issue to both devices and base stations. Fundamentally, this is an unfair situation to those that purchased spectrum in the lower 700MHz areas and ultimately a problem for end users due to the limitations this places on what we can or can’t do now.

OK so Qualcomm didn’t create this problem but they are aware of it as they have been working on providing components to handset OEMs that utilize this spectrum. So they are trying to facilitate the use of multiple radio bands into the devices we love so dearly but it’s complicated. See their list of spectrum’s they are interesting in building to:

  • 700 MHz 3GPP bands (Band Classes 12, 13, 14, 17);
  • 850 MHz cellular band (Band Class 5);
  • Original PCS band (Band Class 2);
  • PCS Block G (Band Class 25);
  • AWS-1 band (Band Class 4);
  • Potential AWS-4 band (Band Class 23);
  • Original 800 MHz iDEN band (Band Class 26); and
  • BRS band (Band Class 41). 
So Band 12 is the original band plan, that is channels A, B and C of lower 700MHz that 3GPP put into their specification to allow the use of this portion of the spectrum. ATT later came back and requested/received a different plan. The just happened to purchase mostly B and C channels in the auctions, so their proposal was to create a band around B and C called Band 17. The 3GPP approved it so it’s part of the build specifications in the devices. Unfortunately it’s not fashionable to support Band 17 and Band 12. Qualcomm’s document to the FCC explains their logic on why this can’t happen. Therefore, components from Qualcomm today support Lower 700MHz Band 17 (ATT), Upper 700MHz (VZW) and now Band 25 (Sprint), with AWS support (Band 4) for others like Metro etc… If you are not ATT, VZW, Sprint, or AWS spectrum holder, you are not supported for LTE essentially.
Qualcomm developed more stringent filter requirements for Band 17 than Band 12, partially by utilizing the Channel A/Band 12 as a guard band of 6MHz, but there is more to it than just that. 
Their justification looks like this:
Qualcomm’s tests and analyses demonstrate that consumer devices operating on the Lower B and/or C blocks using the Band 12 filter will suffer harmful interference from E Block and Channel 51 signals, while the Band 17 filter provides these devices with an effective defense. More specifically, these comments will show that without the Band 17 filter:
  • High-power E Block signals would cause blocking interference to consumer devices seeking to receive a 5 MHz signal on the B Block or a 10 MHz signal on the B and C Blocks;
  • High-power E Block signals would cause intermodulation interference to consumer devices seeking to receive a 5 MHz signal on the B or C Block or a 10 MHz signal on the B and C Block; and
  • Channel 51 television signals would cause reverse intermodulation interference to consumer devices seeking to receive a 5 MHz signal on the C Block or a 10 MHz signal on the B and C Blocks.

…blah blah…

In fact, Qualcomm’s innovations and ongoing work with carriers and manufacturers demonstrate that there is no need for any FCC mandate.7 Because of the difficult interference challenges described herein, the fact that existing technology does not offer a solution to these challenges, and Qualcomm’s ongoing innovation and collaboration with all carriers and manufacturers, the Commission should not require mobile equipment to be capable of operating over all paired commercial spectrum blocks in the Lower 700 MHz band

In reviewing their document it’s clear that they are protecting their interests, that is they are developing and have been shipping products around Band 17 and Band 13, where their orders have been coming from. I read it as they (QCOM) are not interested in the 700MHz Band 12 spectrum holder issues as much since these smaller interests represent a greater deal of complexity and will have less payback than serving the larger operators. The issue they hold up as the big fish is the fact a large signal from Channel 51 or D/E block causes blocking and IM at the device receivers.

Sooo naturally

 part of the American experience (IMHO) is the fight for the little guy. If Qualcomm is allowed to ignore Band 12 issues and only sell to the big guys then big business wins and the little guy loses. 

It doesn’t have to be this way, there is a way to get what you want but some things will have to change. 

Let me take a moment to crow, and eat crow. I wrote a series of posts deriding Apple for its design choices regarding the Qualcomm transceivers. I only went off of publicly available information to keep everything on the up and up. 

Apple, I’m sorry for putting it all on you. It wasn’t all your fault. My last post I did say you needed to get off your duff and fight for the little guy by making your own transceiver and or doing some band stitching solutions but it’s not all your fault.
My original Posts:

On the other hand, I was right about everything I said in the corrections on the Qualcomm parts. My assertions are backed up in Qualcomm’s document. The reason I say that is because this story is possible to resolve amicably and my assumptions are built on some truths.

Key point is new components such as Qualcomm’s WTR1605L make Band 12 deployment possible, just not supported without changes to the propagation environment of the broadcasters thanks to Qualcomm not wanting to go any further on the solution development.

Recommendations!

  1. FCC doesn’t need to mandate the world to use Qualcomm’s products, much less the WTR1605L, the MDM9615/MFM8930 etc… There’s already a huge challenge getting multiple suppliers in the space and layers and layers IPR issues that haven’t even been made public yet….
  2. The rules on the side skirts of the Channel 51 and D and E block spectrum holders is causing harm to a greater number of people than changes to these rules would. Make the roll off’s sharp such that interference is minimized. Be more fair and only make it an optional mitigation to be whipped out in case an operator actually wants to deploy in the A, B or C blocks (Band 12) and not just for Band 17.
  3. Qualcomm could feel free to improve the Band 12 filter.
  4. Baseband interference cancellation would be a good part of a solution too.
  5. Utilize a small cell strategy to target users very effectively. It’s one thing dealing with interference from a 1000′ tower to the users served by your 200′ tower and another when the device and base station are within 100 meters of each other. I can help you do this if you don’t know how to make it happen.
  6. Lower 700MHz spectrum holders can consider a fixed deployment instead of mobile. It’s less difficult to null out interferers.
  7. If all else fails, just contact me directly. I will sell you TX filters to reduce the transmission of the interference and help you work it out with the broadcasters to boot.

  At the end of the day, it’s up to the little guy to fight the power. People need to voice their opinions on this matter. Do you want better LTE data coverage? Do you want more companies to be able to offer LTE? More devices? Are you completely confident that Verizon and ATT will pass any device savings on to you that they could get from locking out variations?

Contact the FCC and let them know what you think.

 

BTW, Mariam Sorond, VP of Technology Development at DISH networks states that TX filters are sufficient to allow normal operations and no FCC rule changes like reducing TX power of D/E block (DISH broadcast) is required…. See her response.

http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view;jsessionid=f796PTRD1w7bWhL1w1BnJdbpT1jT52XDGhMGQzMqsGvb0QMQxlGj!-1221852939!-1969853125?id=7021921464

 I’m still irritated about the LTE iPads being carrier specific. Looking at what public information has been let out here and there, there’s nothing I can discern that really makes me feel a lot better. Let me explain: 

The baseband is most likely the Qualcomm MDM9615. This 28nm processor supports LTE (FDD and TDD), DC-HSPA+, (assuming 1xRTT up to…) EV-DO Rev-B and TD-SCDMA. Essentially most 3G + LTE technologies on one floor plan. Interesting to me is that Qualcomm also points out they have Qualcomm’s Interference Cancellation & Equalization (Q-ICE) algorithm implemented. So no challenges there.

Next, the RF front end (RFFE) or RF interface , the 65nm Qualcomm WTR1605L is a single wafer with a radio transceiver with multi-mode (LTE FDD, LTE TDD, CDMA, WCDMA, TD-SCDMA, GSM, GPS/GLONASS) and multi-band support. Piecing through the various Apple specs, Qualcomm PRs, etc… the bands supported are: GPS, PCS, AWS (Band 4), Lower (Band 12/17) /Upper 700MHz (Band 13) and Cellular (Band 5.) What is unclear is if this revision support for PCS is Band 2 only or includes the G Block as Band 25. Sprint is deploying in Band 25 so this is important. I am going to hazard a guess here, this is a SVLTE capable architecture, it seems to be SVDO capable from the specs. I don’t know if the WTR1605L is dual transceiver or you need to have a 2nd WTR1605L. I suspect it’s dual transceiver, either way Band 13 and Band 17 don’t seem to require anything separate. So there’s enough here to have a voice path too! OK, we don’t explicitly need that so there is enough with the MDM9615 or MDM9625 (It’s shipping NOW!) + WTR1605 to solve the problem of consolidating the design to a single design fits all (but Sprint.) 

The long and short of it is there seems to be no physical reason why Verizon (Band 13) and ATT (Band 17) need to be in different iPad SKUs. Is this problem caused by Qualcomm, perhaps not coming clean on their specs at the behest of the operators? Is this problem caused by Apple in collusion with the operators?

Our world should have a single SKU for iPad supporting all networks, thus allowing us to purchase a single unit which further gives us the flexibility to switch providers over time (I’m ok with contract fees etc…the carriers can trade a subsidy for a penalty.) Heck, why not allow us to tether to this and use it as a hotspot in a pinch. It’s not like I’m going to power up my iPad and leave it in a fixed location for along time to provide WiFi for more than a pinch of time. Furthermore, why not allow me to subscribe to multiple carrier LTE networks so I can switch to the best one in the area, I may be willing to pay them both or all for that privilege. 

It’s not clear who is causing this situation but this is serious BS my fellow consumer!! At the worst case, there should only be 2 SKU’s, a Sprint model and rest of world only until Qualcomm revises its WTR1605L to support Band 25 for Sprint.

Brief Update:

Of course The New iPad is a data only device, thus the RF plumbing is sufficient with the MSM9615 for VZW/ATT support. Assuming Qualcomm updates the WTR1605 to support band 25, then nothing substantially new except a new HW spin will get you to ATT/Sprint/VZW single iPad. If this doesn’t happen in a timely fashion or Apple is willing to invest another $10-$15/unit, they could add other manufacturer parts such as the Fujitsu’s MB86L11A.  This little beast of a transceiver is only 6.6×6.6mm and does most of what the WTR1605 does with the inclusion of Band 25 and others. This is not that hard. The $10 or so of increased cost could be offset with fewer SKUs while the power could be controlled just as effectively so there is not any showstoppers why this isn’t a viable solution to the Band 25 issue. 

For the curious, the Fujitsu MB86L11A data sheet is here.

Now, for the icing on the cake, if Apple was able to score the MSM9625 they would also support Clear (TDD-LTE) and China Mobile (TD-SCDMA/TDD LTE.) Since Qualcomm is shipping this part now there is no need to do anything radical. What this all means is that with a revision to the WTR1605 or different RFFE such as the Fujitsu MB86L11A and plus the MSM6225 instead of the MSM6215, Apple could have a truly single world iPad for the rest of us.

Note regarding iPhone: mostly the same comments apply! It’s 2012, only need 1 device! Since it’s voice device and CDMA needs SVLTE, then I would add a 2nd transceiver. Since takes more cash, more space, more heat and more battery, I would take a serious look at using their Apple modded Cortex processor instead to create a soft transceiver and put some RF HW in front of it first. They have it off the shelf to begin with, secondly they could add RF chains for things like using DUAL polarized diversity antenna in the devices to give us a better user experience (higher rates, fewer drops) to differentiate their premium products. If that’s too tall of an order, then look to other OEM SDR parts second and lastly the tried and true approach of discreet HW as above for the iPad. 

Ok NOW that’s it. I’m done fixing the broken.

 I am amazed and just about stunned speechless that The New iPad, as Apple calls it, has 2 models still. Yeah yeah, the rumor blogs got the guesswork or leaks correct so the iPad not a big shock, however I thought for sure that Apple would like to minimize SKUs and maximize profits with a single model. The only thing that could possibly need to be different is the RF chain component and that’s questionable. Qualcomm MSM96XX baseband processing wouldn’t be the issue since it does everything commonly required for 3G and 4G. Seriously, if there HAS to be 2 models, and they are truly different then the consumer lost this round and ATT and VZW may need to face the wrath of the people. Who wouldn’t want the ability to switch providers with a single device? Who wants device lock in? We were willing to tolerate it because we mentally ‘grandfathered’ the bad behavior as vestiges from ye olde days of technology. 

I may be biting the hand that feeds me but this is getting out of control. Surely the FCC will step up. VZW’s Band 13  (Upper 700MHz) was sort of understandable although very opportunistic. Stupid Band 17 (F2+F3 of lower 700MHz) was ATT’s way of trying to lock the world out, especially those tons of small companies that purchased Band 12 (F1, F2 and F3 of lower 700MHz) spectrum. FCC if you are unwilling to take action then consider this, the precedent has been set such that these operators are jeopardizing/limiting compatibility with future public safety/first responder and governmental use of LTE too (Upper 700MHz). That means more costly devices for you and me to buy them. That probably means government will be forced to pay ATT/VZW for shared commercial infrastructure for profit instead of more secure, more optimized and lower cost self owned infrastructure. 

Apple’s specs:

Wi-Fi

  • Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)
  • Bluetooth 4.0 technology

Carriers

Wi-Fi + 4G for AT&T

  • LTE (700, 2100 MHz)2; UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • Data only3

Wi-Fi + 4G for Verizon

  • LTE (700 MHz)2; CDMA EV-DO Rev. A (800, 1900 MHz); UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • Data only3

So at the end of the day, the cool New iPad will be world phone capable on 3G (Either one) but carrier specific on 4G. Stupid, unfair and begs a fix.

I wonder if you can truly use The New iPad in 3G only mode on both Verizon and ATT without issues? There’s no HW/RF chain issues nor baseband, nor even SIM holder (LTE has a SIM/UICC requirement.)

Back to LTE, we may get a second chance from better RF chain components but it will be interesting to see if those see the light of day. BTW it’s not unfathomable to build the right RF front end to serve both bands right now.

BTW, what happened to the Sprint version?

Get the pitchforks and torches!

 I don’t normally talk about device rumors, however Apple has been in a class by itself this past few years and I am interested in how it will drive the LTE ecosystem. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) is reporting that the iPAD 3 is LTE capable on Verizon and ATT. It’s worth noting that the Qualcomm MDM96xx series is technically able to operate in Band 13 (VZW) upper 700MHz and Band 17 (ATT) lower 700MHz and of course Sprint’s PCS G/Band 25. Apple had resisted the multi-chip approach that the Samsung’s etc have taken to launching LTE enabled tablets based on power consumption. This chipset would be a milestone in power consumption for LTE devices but I don’t think it would meet Apple’s expectations unless they agree to go with slightly higher consumption. On the one hand I’m thinking why is this so important yet I hope this pans out!

Links: WSJ, macrumors.com

 

So with respect to Sierra Wireless the PR in and of itself is not really surprising. What caught my eye was not the fact they have certified a device

for a network with a launch date in the far future (ATT) but they definitely have 2 devices, one for each network. That should put to rest any unrest regarding roaming and using a single device. This is a coup for these large operators, but not very economically efficient for the rest of us. Remember, ATT owns spectrum in the lower 700MHz, like A, B, C depending on the market, starting at 698MHz (UL), whereas VZW has the hill, 

 

upper 700MHz Channel C, 746MHz (UL.) Since these are so far away from each other, and there is the channel 51 interference issues that plague the lower 700MHz bands, devices are designed, at present, for one block or the other. This too shall pass…

 

The situation…

Links: MarketWatch, Sierra Wireless

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