Currently viewing the tag: "HSPA+"

 Just for consistency, want to point out that US operators ATT and VZW have not fully perfected 3G data, yet, either. I threw together a chart to show the efficiency just for the sake of being informed…

So there you have it. The best 3G typically seen is about 33% efficient and that’s drastically better than 2 years ago and so now they deploy 4G. The whole case of data vs voice is upside down from a business standpoint. We need to get the operators to 40-50% to make end users and operators happy else we get stuck with bandwidth caps and high rates forever…


 RootMetrics has been publishing network performance results. The latest one shows the discrepancies in LTE/WiMax/EVDO in the Las Vegas Market. It’s an interesting read but take this all with a large grain of salt as I have noticed that there are lots of reasons for the performance skews for ATT, MetroPCS, Sprint and VZW. Not saying their data is invalid but I do know of lots of issues behind their numbers that I’m probably not at liberty to discuss so draw your own conclusions… Full Las Vegas Report is here…

 All of their reports are here.

From the Las Vega$ report:

We’re back for more!

This report marks our second visit to the Las Vegas market, having also tested the area in November of 2011. We found some notable changes that might impact your mobile service decisions.

  • By far, the most significant change was AT&T’s LTE network upgrade and the dramatic impact it had on their data speeds: AT&T’s average download speed increased from 3.3 Mbps to 16.2 Mbps, while their average upload speed increased from 1.2 Mbps to 5.4 Mbps.
  • Though not nearly as dramatic as AT&T’s improvement, T-Mobile and Verizon each recorded faster average download speeds this visit compared to what we found in November.
  •  The speeds recorded by Cricket and Sprint showed small variation from what we found during our previous visit. MetroPCS was slower this time than what we found during our previous visit.

    Data performance

    RootScore Award winner: AT&T and Verizon


 Did you see this? 

Despite expected long-term success, LTE-A will initially create more confusion in mobile broadband standards, says Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider 


What a bunch a hooey!!


Heavy Reading is using FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) to pump up their sales of that $1595 or $900 report. Some of the more interesting claims from the press release are:


  • The first LTE-A devices won’t debut until 2014, a couple of quarters after the first commercial networks.
  • HSPA+ has the speeds, coverage and features to compete with LTE-A for at least the first few years.


Huh? There’s not a commercial network if there is no commerce, and there is no commerce if customers are not buying devices that work with it. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, so maybe they are thinking that the upgrades to the network would be in place and the spectrum exclusive to LTE-A users but there is no need to approach it that way. It’s more likely the vendors would do all spectrum simultaneously as there will be no disruption to the existing users. Either way, there is no LTE – Advanced commercial network without devices, as the network will only be LTE-A capable until that point. It’s just a little but irksome detail, I know….
Secondly, HSPA+ has the coverage and features to compete with LTE-A if you consider a race between a Tesla Roadster and Toyota Prius …a race of ‘equals’ since they are both can use electric motors to move and are small cars. 



Note, what the chart doesn’t relate is the ~60% on street advantages LTE has over HSPA+ nor the likelihood an operator would deploy more than 5MHz of HSPA+ or even MIMO HSPA+ without LTE Release 8 or 9 now. 


Don’t believe the hype. There will be no confusion. As a consumer you will have a choice of something like a 500MBps mobile device or a 30MBps 

device and of course will know the difference at the cash register. The primary difference to the end user will be speed, make no mistake.



Have a good day.


Full Press Release from PRNewswire…

 I try to stay away from UE commentary since there’s so much of my day job that overlaps with this, however it looks like I need to revisit the only device I have commented on for a 4th time. Hopefully this is it. Maybe I should take this as a lesson.

OK here are the previous comments firstly, if you want to catch up to my previous comments. 

No Surprise: New LTE iPad…Shock and Awe: Still 2 Models!! WTF???

Updated, Even More Digging on ‘The New iPad’ Regarding Carrier Lock Down

Follow Up Thinking on ‘The New iPad’ with LTE

In summary, I erroneously assumed Apple would have designed The New iPad with a WTR1605, or equivalent such as the new Fujitsu (see very bottom for specs) RF components. They did not, instead using the RTR8600 (Magellan) and therefore can claim to have spectrum issues to blame on not having a universal iPad that supports all carriers. This was a mistake on my part.

I just want to take this moment to examine why Apple has recently begun issuing refunds to Australian LTE customers on the basis they advertised it to the customers as 4G.

So the logical conclusion is the iPad doesn’t support their spectrum. Telstra has deployed LTE at 1800MHz, which is gaining a lot of worldwide popularity as an LTE band. No, The existing part, RTR8600 DOES have the capability of LTE on this band. So the design issue is not the transceivers it’s the amplifiers (RX and TX.) Here’s‘s picture of the board space for cellular RF and (large)    TechRepublic’s zoom in on the components… (large) 

There’s a TriQuint TQM7M5013 Quad-Band GSM / GPRS / EDGE-Linear Power Amplifier Module…and Skyworks 77460 LIPA  Module for WCDMA / HSPA+ Band IV (1710–1755 MHz)…so the ATT version is in these pictures. This is why Apple has separate versions and why they are having difficulty with Telstra’s 1800MHz LTE with Next G (850 WCDMA) deployment. There’s very limited space plus they’re trying to keep heat dissipation/power consumption down and these constraints together are tough to find parts for.

Regarding Australia, it is possible to cover the bands in the same spaces they have today so I’m only guessing logistics is the issue there. Until then, they will need to back off the 4G claims. 

Here is the confusing amount of possible bands….

I had assumed that there was more space allocated for more silicon so I was wrong about a universal iPad. The way forward for Apple and others is fairly straightforward, to make a universal version, they can:

  1. Create a modular RF section that can be user changed, perhaps embedded with the SIM holder???
  2. Shrink something like battery or use next generation MDM9625/WTR1605  to save some space to allocate for more chips. (Still, doubt you will get all PA/LNA combinations plus you need duplexers etc…)
  3. Go SDR!!! (Software Defined Radio..) Screw this approach, use their existing Cortex type of cores, license some IP from the myriad of A/D and LNA/PA guys out there create a solution that covers all bands.  
#3 is most difficult from a size and power consumption point of view but exactly the type of problem Apple is suited to attack given their resources, desire to create better solutions and end user device pricing. Perhaps one more process shrink of that hardware, like 28um at TMSC or IBM would get them to a ‘close enough for horseshoes and hand grenades so let’s go do it’ ability, I’m not sure. 
Here’s an article on a Wideband Power Amp for SDR that could be a model for the end device.
Lastly, an SDR project would benefit the end users greatly, but I don’t think Samsung or STEricsson would take the initial risk based on their previous performance. On the other hand, for Apple this doesn’t seem risky at all. They are moving something like at least 20M units of mobile devices annually, so developing this module would make sense for the upstream partners that would help make it happen. Apple could organize the effort on a project or tiger team basis with the expectation that the industry will adopt the approach once they have pioneered it. How much of a head start would this give Apple in the marketplace? Guessing about 12months or so at least. Not only that, platforms allows flexibility to really improve RF like through better interference cancellations and so on… Gets me excited to build one just thinking about it.

That’s it folks….

 Oh yeah, Fujitsu transceiver launched the other day and would work here too…

MB86L13A LTE-Optimized Transceiver

 Mike Thelander, CEO of Signals Research has driven ATT, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile networks with the help of Accuver’s XCAL drive test tools. I know what is being broadcast but I am curious as to how these guys will interpret it. Anyhow, if you subscribe to their service they will tell you how it all went. I think the reports are multi-volume and go for $1495 each. He covers some hypotheses on network maturity and touches on OEM equipment used and throughput so it could be interesting…And I’ll play nice (to SRG) and not tell you (for free) what is wrong and right with these WiMAX, LTE and HSPA+ deployments and encourage you to have a look yourself. :)

Links: Signals Research Group

 Battlefield Technical Systems (BTS) and Radisys are enabling LTE on the battlefield. BTS demonstrated a ‘femto/pico’ class eNB at their place that proved in the mashup nature of the evolving marketplace. Essential hardware and software pieces were integrated into a final LTE solution…What all of this means is Public Safety and wireless network operators can expect more innovative gear coming out of the LTE front. A very good development for all! BTW, the main product here is a complete base station in a boxed kit, so open box, dodge bullets, plug into power, turn on, dodge bullets, connect to random fiber optic cable laying on desert floor, play WoW, etc…

Now as far as enabling 4G in the battlefield, I’m a little gray on the benefits in a strategic sense but the soldiers will definitely appreciate getting their gaming groove on.


Links:, Radisys, BTS



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Qualcomm introduces its’ Snapdragon S4 LTE/3G SoC within their whitepaper. It’s your basic 28nm, multicore, HSPA/EVDO/LTE System on a Chip that supports the 700MHz spectrum (finally!) in addition to the ‘usual’ suspect bands. On the CDMA site, its dual radio paths enable Simultaneous LTE and and Voice (SVLTE) and on both side supports Circuit Switched Fall Back (CSFB.) This is pretty hot little number for future smart phones….ok QCOM would argue the 28nm size and power conservation would not let it be a hot little number but you get the gist… Could be what the VoLTE Dr. ordered too…

White paper in the full smash below…

Links: Qualcomm

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Marvell is unleashing it’s PXA1801 world (device) MODEM on us. So now we may all rest assured that if we’re traveling and only encounter 3GPP networks, we can LTE or HSPA or EDGE our hearts out. It’s a fabulous technology too that is ready to go with R9 so we can get our beam forming on!





Links: Marvell


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I took my time reviewing the Root Metrics report regarding mobile wireless data services in Seattle, WA. because I wanted to understand what the point was they were trying to make. As an aside, I try my best to focus on the key piece(s) of information being presented in the LTE/SON marketplace so that’s why I don’t simply repost hastily… Anyway, Root Metrics has an app/client for iPhone-iOS, Android and Blackberry called CoverageMap that resides in the device/UE and collects service related metrics during operation, much like Carrier IQ except more deliberate (I think) action via the end user, not passive tracking via the carrier… Right now they are advertising this as a crowd sourced informational look at carrier performance, whose results are available at  Now the surprise, Verizon LTE outperformed HSPA, WiMAX and yes, even HSPA+ in their testing, but note I don’t see Clearwire for WiMAX unfortunately. (Seattle is their backyard after all.) Ok not really a surprise but I surprised you by mentioning it was a surprise.
All in all a pretty interesting use of crowdsourcing, and pretty well laid out findings.

Links: RootMetrics

Full report after the …
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My spin on the proposed US $39B merger of ATT and TMO is that ATT primarily gets to sell iPhones to a 40M customers that didn’t have access to it directly, and can add the TMO PCS 1900MHz and AWS 2100MHz spectrum in ATTs existing portfolio of 700MHz/850MHz/1900MHz/2100MHz. The additional sites are only a minor part of the interest from ATT. The CEO De La Vega mentioned today that the AWS would be used for LTE, thus the current HSPA+ (HSPA Evolution) use of AWS would cease and users would need to ensure their device could be updated to see 3G at 1900MHz, and/or replaced to do that and use LTE at 2100MHz.

Remember, Verizon played the 700MHz spectrum auctions very well and avoided having to deal with the lower 700MHz interference initially, has consistent channels/bands everywhere and gets to start with 10MHz channels at a pretty good price. ATT was not so tuned into this opportunity and has more variable 700MHz spectrum. At the moment they are purchasing Qualcomm’s unpaired upper D/E block chunks but that wont be useful for a while.



This is also more good for Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson for upgrades but less good in the long run for Nokia-Siemens.


More to come as is revealed…

Links: TMO & ATT via



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