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Sustaining the Mobile Miracle

by david.nunes

Sustaining the Mobile Miracle

A 4G Americas Blueprint for Securing Mobile Broadband Spectrum in this Decade

March 17 2011

BELLEVUE, Wash. – 4G Americas, a wireless industry trade association representing the 3GPP family of technologies, today announced that it has published a new white paper regarding strategies and policies addressing the vital need for additional spectrum for mobile broadband services. The white paper, Sustaining the Mobile Miracle: A 4G Americas Blueprint for Securing Mobile Broadband Spectrum in this Decade, provides a guide for securing a bright mobile broadband future to serve society’s wireless and technology needs.

In a May 2010 report, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), remarked that the astounding developments in the growth of mobile broadband are “nothing short of a mobile miracle.” The ITU added that: “Promising developments are currently taking place in the mobile broadband sector. The introduction of high-speed mobile Internet access in an increasing number of countries will further boost the number of Internet users, particularly in the developing world. Indeed, the number of mobile broadband subscriptions has grown steadily and in 2008 surpassed those for fixed broadband. At the end of 2009, there were an estimated 640 million mobile and 490 million fixed broadband subscriptions.”

Informa Telecoms & Media forecasts 1.3 billion mobile broadband subscriptions worldwide by year-end 2011 and 4.2 billion by year-end 2012. The 4G Americas white paper explores the growing demand for wireless services and the consequences of satisfying this demand for capacity in today’s mobile broadband networks. Additionally, the white paper highlights the need for countries in the region to act soon to ensure that a key resource, spectrum, is available in short order to meet society’s demand for mobile broadband services in the region.

The major points contained in the blueprint are as follows:

  • Well-considered spectrum allocation policies are imperative
    • Configure licenses with wider bandwidths
    • Group like services together
    • Be mindful of global technology standards
    • Pursue harmonized/contiguous spectrum allocations
    • Exhaust exclusive use options before pursuing shared use
    • Not all spectrum is fungible – align allocation with demand
  • Market-oriented spectrum assignment approaches work – spectrum caps should be disfavored
  • There is no time to lose – spectrum allocations can take years to effectuate

“The white paper is an easy-to-read, accessible reference document about the upcoming spectrum scarcity and the opportunity for regulators in the region to take action today to preserve the progress of mobile broadband for their citizens,” said Chris Pearson, President of 4G Americas. “The mobile broadband demand forecasts in the paper are irrefutable in their showcasing of the challenge. Wireless investment in technology innovation will continue, but another indispensible ingredient to sustainable progress is spectrum.”

Sustaining the Mobile Miracle: A 4G Americas Blueprint for Securing Mobile Broadband Spectrum in this Decade cites numerous studies as well as country-specific illustrations of progressive spectrum regulatory actions. Pearson added, “One particularly promising development consists of efforts recently initiated in both Mexico and the United States to free up additional, regionally harmonized spectrum in the 1755/2175 MHz spectrum band and above, in alignment with 3GPP band class 10.”

Key to the conclusions provided in the white paper is an analysis of traffic demand,  a review of global and regional spectrum forecasts and reasonable inferences that can be drawn from the available data. Specifically, the white paper cites a 2010 U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) technical paper, Mobile Broadband: the Benefits of Additional Spectrum, which concluded it is likely that mobile data demand will exhaust spectrum resources in the next five years. The 4G Americas white paper supports the premise that more spectrum is needed for mobile services throughout the hemisphere in this same time period.

In Latin America, wireless has had tremendous growth in both voice and data services with data contributing an average of 20 percent of ARPU. Additionally, HSPA mobile broadband is providing a strong alternative to fixed broadband in the region. Yet, the white paper highlights the downsides of restrictive spectrum caps in many countries throughout Latin America.

Erasmo Rojas, Director of Latin America and the Caribbean for 4G Americas, stated, “Mobile broadband has the opportunity to further lift economies throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, but advanced technologies like HSPA and LTE are not enough. It will be up to the telecommunications regulators and policy makers to ensure the technological advancements are enabled by administering modern spectrum policies for mobile broadband and data centric services, not legacy voice centric spectrum regulations of the past.”

“As the paper summarizes, we are at a perilous time for the mobile broadband industry,” Pearson added. “Everyone needs to work together to provide the raw material — spectrum — to continue the tremendous technological progress that is serving our societies so well. Operators and investors are spending billions of dollars to enhance mobile broadband infrastructure; regulators in the region need to invest in progressive telecom policies to ensure there are not spectrum shortages in the near future.”

The white paper, Sustaining the Mobile Miracle: A 4G Americas Blueprint for Securing Mobile Broadband Spectrum in this Decade, was written collaboratively by members of 4G Americas and is available for free download at: www.4gamericas.org


About 4G Americas: Unifying the Americas through Mobile Broadband Technology
4G Americas is an industry trade organization composed of leading telecommunications service providers and manufacturers. The organization’s mission is to promote, facilitate and advocate for the deployment and adoption of the 3GPP family of technologies throughout the Americas. 4G Americas contributes to the successful commercial rollout of 3GPP mobile broadband technologies across the Americas and their place as the No. 1 technology family in the region. The organization aims to develop the expansive wireless ecosystem of networks, devices, and applications enabled by GSM and its evolution to LTE. 4G Americas is headquartered in Bellevue, Wash., with an office for Latin America and the Caribbean in Dallas. More information is available at www.4gamericas.org.

4G Americas’ Board of Governors members include: Alcatel-Lucent, América Móvil, AT&T, Cable & Wireless, CommScope, Ericsson, Gemalto, HP, Huawei, Motorola, Nokia Siemens Networks, Openwave, Powerwave, Qualcomm, Research In Motion (RIM), Rogers, Shaw Communications, T-Mobile USA and Telefónica.

Vicki Livingston
4G Americas
+1 262 242 3458

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