4G's awesome big brother [New Straits Time (Malaysia)]
(New Straits Time (Malaysia) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) WITH the recent MCMC announcement of the 2.6Ghz spectrum award, there has been many queries about what time-division long-term evolution (TD-LTE) is and how this new allocation of spectrum affects or benefits industry players and consumers in general.
In a nutshell, LTE is 4G's awesome big brother after WiMAX.
It's faster, offers more capacity, larger cell size and is at the same time compatible with existing standards. It offers higher data rates and shorter latency times as well. There are two variants of LTE - TD-LTE and Frequency-Division LTE (FD-LTE).
Allow me to take you back into the past a little in order to paint a clearer picture.
Through the years, we have seen rapid changes in the telecommunications landscape.
From the days where phone calls and Internet access were limited to your home, to the dawn of smartphones and Internet on the go, we are more connected than ever before.
Fuelling this progress are the waves of wireless and mobile technologies that are allowing us to do more.
First, there were 1G and 2G, then 3G, the beginning of mobile broadband and followed by 4G, allowing us to taste the real fast speed mobile broadband.
We see this technology evolution in two megatrends.
The first megatrend was mobile voice that had totally changed the way we talked to the world.
The second megatrend that's happening now, it is the mobile broadband evolution.
On the horizon and approaching quickly is the next wave of mobile broadband, namely the LTE.
In February 2011, five world giants namely China Mobile, Bharti Airtel, Clearwire, Softbank and Vodafone, came together and formed Global TDD-LTE Initiative (GTI).
GTI is formed with the vision to make TD-LTE a world standard. With that vision in mind, GTI is to ensure:
* Technology evolution of TD-LTE where a clear roadmap is developed and the development of next generation mobile broadband network;
* Strong support for TD-LTE ecosystem ranging from chipmakers, network vendors and device makers; and
* Economies of scale for TD-LTE devices and network
The momentum of TD-LTE is gearing up and widely adopted by operators around the world. This is because data world is an asymmetric world. It simply means the downlink (DL) and uplink (UL) ratio is not even.
In our four-year of pure data experience, the subscriber's usage pattern is about 5:1 (DL:UL) ratio. Whereas for voice, it is a symmetric world as the downlink and uplink are always the same.
Hence, in the new data world, TD technology provides a better spectral efficiency.
How will the industry evolve from here on
As the broadband adoption continues to grow, the evolution of Telecom DNA (Device, Network and Applications) will be even more exciting and thrilling.
There are two major factors, in my opinion, which will determine the cost of mobile smart devices over the next few years.
1. The influx of mobile applications
People would want to "Facebook", "tweet", watch movie, share photos, get the latest news on-the-go.
Imagine how wonderful it is if you can broadcast your wedding live to the smartphones of relatives overseas.
2. When China and India start to deploy 4G technology.
The whole ecosystem and economy of scale will be formed. With the ubiquitous of 4G networks and volume of demand, cost of devices will come down naturally.
As for applications, I am seeing trends of three major happenings:
1. Innovation of "Cloud in the air".
As I always said, Internet is the mother of all cloud. Cloud in the air has since evolved to public, private and even hybrid models. In the very near future, you may have your very own private cloud, where only you can access or you can make it hybrid by allowing your friends and family to access certain information.
2. The evolution "Apps in your hands"
The adoption of mobile apps is still at its very beginning. Most businesses now will have website and email addresses.
But the time will come very soon where every small and big businesses will have its mobile apps presence. With mobile apps, businesses can now reach out to their market proactively via mobile smart devices anytime, anywhere, anyhow.
3. The coming of M2M (Man-to-Man, Machine-to-Machine and Man-to- Machine)
Today, whatever communications service we have are focusing on man-to-man.
The bigger potential of communications is actually man-to- machine and machine-to-machine. With M2M, the day will come where we can activate, monitor and control our smart devices from anywhere around the world.
There are seven billion people on this planet earth today. But, there are 50 billion machines and 100 billion devices waiting to be intelligently connected.
The benefits of M2M world are unimaginable. For example, a hypermarket can update the price tags on any aisle with just a click from anywhere in the world.
The hypermarket could then run a special promotion easily and the customers will be informed through mobile apps instantaneously.
Communications and engagement are now live and instantaneous!
Moving forward with LTE
It will be natural to see LTE to be widely embraced by the world's operators in the next five years.
For instance, China Mobile, one of the largest mobile operators in the world, has already rolled out a large scale TD-LTE trial covering 13 cities with a combined population of 150 million people in China.
Most importantly, according to the latest report from GSA, there are 105 commercial LTE networks in 48 countries around the globe in 2012.
Additionally, Ericsson reported that by mid-2012, LTE has already covered about 455 million people globally.
4G LTE will open up new avenues for service providers to tap into the true power of mobile broadband.
The Cloud, MobileApps and M2M markets are poised to flourish with virtually limitless opportunities.
In all, 4G LTE is set to turbo-up life!
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