|Issue:||Europe I 2011|
|Topic:||Facilitating LTE Advanced – the regulatory challenges|
|Title:||Director General Communications Regulatory Agency|
|Organisation:||Bosnia and Herzegovina|
Kemal Huseinović, PhD, is the Director General of the Communications Regulatory Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mr Huseinovic is a frequent speaker at international conferences on telecommunication and audiovisual topics, as well as being an eager promoter and implementer of global regulatory policies in the Bosnia and Herzegovina communications market. Kemal Huseinović’s PhD thesis was titled “Competition Enlargement through Establishment and Development of Regulatory Authorities of Communication Market”. He earned a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering Science from the University of Sarajevo titled and a second one in Economic Science and Business Administration from the University of Ljubljana, Republic of Slovenia.
In many developing countries, 4G networks are the quickest and most economical way to make broadband services widely available. Unfortunately, the frequencies needed for 4G are not readily available. Operators in countries converting from analogue to digital TV hope that the bandwidth liberated by the switch will be assigned to 4G. By cooperating, regulators within each region can make it easier to expand 4G. Regulators can also facilitate the growth of 4G by liberating the use of cognitive radio systems.
According to the ITU, mobile cellular has been the most rapidly adopted technology in history. Today, it is the most popular and widespread personal technology on the planet. A modern man requires mobile service around the clock regardless of place and time zone. Demand for mobile Internet and mobile television continuously grows at an enormous pace. Additionally, ease of use of multimedia services is a key requirement for each such service. Multimedia service users require easy and fast access to find, download and use multimedia content. Mobile television, on the other hand, means much more than simple transmission of traditional television programmes on the mobile telephone screen. The experience of searching for mobile TV content is quite different in many ways than sitting in front of a traditional TV set. Apart from the fact that mobility enables viewing a programme anywhere, mobile TV lets one personalize their TV content viewing, giving an opportunity to select different types of video reports from sports, business or other events. So far, to fully satisfy their appetites for high-bandwidth applications, consumers need access to 4G networks. LTE Advanced – the technology of choice The mobile technology world is rapidly moving to 4G, and it seems that Long Term Evolution Advanced (LTE Advanced) is the technology of choice. According to the Global Mobile Suppliers’ Association’s (GSA) latest analysis, Long Term Evolution mobile technology will be the “fastest developing mobile system technology ever”. Compared with existing and competing technologies, LTE Advanced will enable significant further development and more efficient delivery of new data-rich services, promising faster data rates at lower cost. For consumers, the LTE-enriched user experience will be typified by large-scale streaming, downloading and sharing of video, music and rich multimedia content. All of these services will need significantly greater throughput to provide adequate quality of service, particularly when the user’s expectations are increased by the growing popularity of such high-bandwidth platforms as high-definition TV transmission. For business customers, LTE brings high-speed transfer of large files, high-quality videoconferencing and secure nomadic access to corporate networks. LTE Advanced has arrived, but it is still at a very early stage and will take several years to reach most markets, especially in developing and underdeveloped countries. Frequency demands and cognitive radio With the rapid development of communications technologies, the demand for radio spectrum – a limited and valuable resource – is increasing quickly. It is difficult to satisfy the high bandwidth requirements of many advanced wireless services. Traditional wireless communication techniques are designed to provide stable, continuous usage of a defined spectrum range, but the sort of wide continuous spectrum bands some recent applications call for are rarely available given the current policies of stable, fixed, licensed spectrum utilization. The spectrum requirements for 4G technologies, as defined by the ITU, must support a variety of bandwidth allocations up to 100Mhz and peak data rates of up to 1Gbps for stationary terminals. LTE aspires to considerably improve the efficiency of spectrum usage, lower costs, improve services, make use of new spectrum opportunities, and provide better integration with other open standards. LTE’s advantages include high throughput, low latency, simple architectures that result in low operating expenditures and plug-and-play from day one. Concretely, LTE Advanced requirements are: peak download (DL) data rate of 1Gbps, upload (UL) rates of 500Mbps, transmission bandwidth wider than approximately 70Mhz for download and 40Mhz for upload, capacity (spectrum efficiency) three times higher than LTE, support of scalable bandwidth and spectrum aggregation, etc. Source: Nomor Research GmbH – www.nomor.de Frequency spectrum is a valuable and tightly regulated resource. Cognitive radios that are aware of the radio environment and can dynamically program their parameters to efficiently use vacant spectrum without causing harmful interference to another users could well be the solution to the shortage of available frequencies. Cognitive radio is also important in heterogeneous networks where mobile users (or their handsets) can select between multiple wireless networks – Worldwide Interoperabilty for Microwave Access, Inc. (WiMAX), LTE, digital video broadcasting (DVB), Wireless Fidelity (WiFi), etc. – and maintain multiple links simultaneously. The ideal cognitive radio ‘knows’ everything about user requirements, the capability of the radio device, the network requirements and the external environment – including the radio environment. The radio could plan ahead and negotiate for the best available part of the spectrum. A unique LTE possibility is to use different UL and DL bandwidths, allowing for asymmetric spectrum utilisation. This is possible since cognitive radios can support both paired Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) and unpaired Time Division Duplexing (TDD) band operations. For FDD, UL and DL transmissions use separate frequency bands, whereas in the case of TDD, UL and DL transmissions share the same frequency band. The use of FDD in the network, to some extent, limits the flexibility needed to keep track of changing traffic conditions and requirements. Actually, TDD better suited for flexible spectrum usage and supports data traffic applications better. Regulatory challenges A number of countries are still making the transition from analogue to digital TV broadcasting. The transition will free the part of the frequency spectrum used for analogue transmission and create a ‘digital dividend’. In many countries, the frequencies liberated in this manner will be allocated to new services – including LTE. Enough bandwidth will be liberated to let three mobile operators provide new services in each country. Accordingly, it would be highly advantageous to build 4G networks using these frequencies. The use of 4G networks would lower the cost of mobile services, make them more affordable and efficient, and stimulate the development of new technology and services. Operators are seeking common ground with regulatory bodies regarding the allocation of the digital dividend spectrum; operators would like to see these frequencies allocated to the implementation of LTE networks. Regulations ought to allow the use of Cognitive Radio systems in the interest of technological neutrality, reduced cost and better use of existing frequency resources. Every country should seek to ensure that its legislation does not hinder the development of cognitive radio and thus the efficient use of spectrum. Legislation concerning radio spectrum needs to take into account the recently perceived needs of efficient cognitive radio spectrum usage. Since many technical, managerial, and financial aspects are associated with cognitive radio concepts – including software-defined radio (SDR) – there is a need to standardize processes, terms, and so on to facilitate its development and use. Until now, the initiatives of the many groups interested in cognitive radio have been incoherent and uncoordinated. Coordination between regulators, academia and product developers is urgently needed. Although the 4G is moving steadily forward in developed countries, to accelerate the growth of 4G in developing countries, and especially in Southeast Europe, regulatory bodies must work together and strengthen their cooperative ties to create a stronger, more dynamic, regulatory environment.