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Demand for all forms of mobile communication continues to grow. Cellular voice telephony has evolved from being a niche business product to achieve mass market penetration levels of greater than 100% in many countries and there is an increasing emphasis on the delivery of broadband services over mobile networks. High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) technology has enhanced the capability of current third generation (3G) networks to enable peak bit rates of up to 7.2 Mbps.

The next generation of mobile standards is nearing completion and are collectively referred to as IMT-Advanced, to differentiate from the original IMT standards family developed for 3G, thought the term 4G is being increasingly used. IMT-Advanced includes the Long Term Evolution of the European UMTS standard (LTE) and the mobile variant of the WiMAX standard. The first LTE networks are expected to launch in 2010 and mobile WiMAX is already being deployed in some markets. In the longer term, depending on the available bandwidth per operator, LTE has the potential to deliver peak data rates of up to 277 Mbps in the downlink and 75 Mbps in the uplink.

Operators are seeking to deploy HSPA and other emerging mobile broadband platforms not only in the 2.1 GHz band originally licensed for 3G services but also in the 900 MHz spectrum currently used by GSM networks, to take advantage of the lower cost of providing high quality coverage in this band. This presents a challenge to national spectrum authorities, to ensure that such refarming of the band does not distort competition or adversely affect the users of existing GSM networks. Outside of Europe, many countries deploy CDMA technology for cellular services and this also presents a challenge in terms of future spectrum planning. Some networks have upgraded their CDMA networks to deliver 3G capabilities while others have decided to migrate to the HSPA / LTE platform.

There are also a number of initiatives underway globally to develop new services combining satellite and terrestrial connectivity to extend mobile coverage to areas currently unserved by terrestrial networks. For example the European Commission is in the process of licensing pan-European service providers with the potential to provide ubiquitous coverage of the entire continent using a mix of satellites and complementary ground stations.

Clients such as Vodafone, ComReg (the Irish regulator), ACMA (the Australian regulator) and OFTA (the regulator in Hong Kong) have all benefited from our hands-on experience of mobile technology acquired in both operational and regulatory environments. For example, we have:

  • provided technical support to ComReg relating to the licensing of 3rd generation mobile spectrum
  • advised OFTA on issues associated with spectrum award for mobile broadband services
  • examined mobile Internet interoperability issues for a UK-based middleware developer
  • advised on technical issues associated with liberalisation of the 900 and 1800 MHz bands
  • developed estimates for future spectrum requirements for broadband wireless services
  • advised on future UK policy, through the UK Spectrum Management Advisory Group, regarding use of the 2.4 GHz ISM band by Bluetooth, R-LANs and other technologies.

We have also been active participants on behalf of clients in ITU, CEPT and standards Forum task groups addressing standards and regulatory issues.

We have had extensive involvement in the planning of radio spectrum for both current and future generations of mobile satellite services. Our experience of both satellite and terrestrial systems enables us to address in detail sharing opportunities between the two, an increasingly important consideration for regulators and operators as demand for spectrum continues to grow.

For further information on how Aegis can help your organisation make the most of the opportunities that mobile systems can offer, contact us at enquiry-2015@aegis-systems.co.uk.

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See also:

Convergence | Fixed


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