T-Mobile US selected 3GPP-backed LAA technology to spearhead its foray into unlicensed 5GHz spectrum.

  • NatCo outlines plans to start ‘upgrading’ LTE-U sites and devices.
  • Carrier flexibility and ecosystem momentum cited as reasons.
  • LAA demo with Ericsson trumpeted.

Mark McDiarmid, Vice-President of Network Engineering at T-Mobile US (TMUS), lauded the ability of Licence Assisted Access (LAA) technology to support Gigabit LTE and bolster the NatCo’s small-cell ‘densification‘ programme (Deutsche Telekomwatch, #41 and passim).

Speaking at an event co-hosted by TMUS and Qualcomm, McDiarmid enthused about the technology’s ability to combine unlicensed and licensed spectrum through carrier aggregation techniques and further enhance capacity. He also noted the backing of the standards body the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) for LAA.

“ [LAA is a] standardised technology, has a longer roadmap opportunity, has more spectrum, and it plays better, we think, with the 5GHz spectrum. So our plan is to centre around LAA. ” — McDiarmid.

The network engineering expert noted that, while LAA currently enables operators to link three 20MHz channels of unlicensed spectrum, the roadmap allows integration of another 20MHz chunk of licensed spectrum, raising the total to 80MHz. He said the next step will be to aggregate two channels of licensed spectrum with three blocks of unlicensed airwaves, and anticipated enabling speeds of up-to-1.2Gbps using this 100MHz platform.

TMUS breaking ground for now pro-USA DT

  • TMUS’s commitment to LAA accentuates the American NatCo’s position at the forefront of Deutsche Telekom’s mobile broadband spend and strategy, with huge funds being directed into progression of LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) techniques, and both network expansion and densification.
  • TMUS remains the only major Group NatCo to make obvious major investments in small cells, with 13, 000 deployed, and the operator running a two-year programme involving roll out of a further 25, 000 sites (Deutsche Telekomwatch, #66 and passim).
  • TMUS was reported in 2017 to have explored the idea of building a modular, LAA-compatible small-cell solution that could accommodate 40MHz of licensed Advanced Wireless Services and Broadband Personal Communications Service airwaves, combined with 60MHz of unlicensed spectrum. It was not clear from the FierceWireless report whether the LAA solution was commercially available, or who the NatCo’s suppliers were.
  • TMUS maintained that the solution was well geared for supporting large volumes of traffic in highly congested areas, such as malls and stadiums. The NatCo indicated it would take a modular rollout approach, designed to meet not only the “aesthetic needs” of relevant jurisdictions, but also to make deployment easier. With this model, there would be no need to get new infrastructure approved, said McDiarmid. “It’s a little bit of a breakthrough in thinking”, he said.
  • At the Qualcomm-TMUS event, TMUS announced that its three-pronged approach to LTE-A — involving carrier aggregation, 24×4 MIMO, and 256QAM techniques — was now live in 430 markets. According to TMUS, customers in these markets can access “Gigabit Class” LTE download speeds, provided they have suitable devices.
  • The addition of LAA small-cell deployment has “paved the way for 5G with a dense upgradable infrastructure”, according to Neville Ray, Chief Technology Officer of TMUS.

Gigabit LTE class

In a prepared statement to coincide with the Qualcomm co-hosted event, which focused on TMUS’s LTE-A progress, Ray gave further backing to LAA.

He went so far as describing TMUS’s commercial deployment of LTE-Unlicensed (LTE-U) in “selected locations” (flagged during June 2017) as nothing more than a “precursor” to LAA rollout (Deutsche Telekomwatch, #65). During the current financial quarter (to 31 March 2018), TMUS intends to start upgrading LTE-U base stations to LAA, as well as converting the “millions” of end-user devices eligible for LAA. This latter element requires a “simple software upgrade”, said TMUS.

Peter Carson, Senior Director of Marketing at Qualcomm, claimed LAA’s ability to combine licensed and unlicensed spectrum is vital for most operators if they are to achieve Gigabit LTE performance.

  • Although similar to LTE-U, and using unlicensed spectrum, LAA is not entirely the same. It is, for example, not covered by the co-existence test plan, covering Wi-Fi services — although this is something LAA proponents have claimed is unnecessary as LAA is inherently more Wi-Fi-friendly than LTE-U. 3GPP incorporated ‘Listen-Before-Talk’ (LBT) as part of LAA in its Release 13 standardisation phase, which is a technique whereby radio transmitters first ‘sense‘ the radio environment, and only allow transmission when a free channel is found. This was introduced primarily on account of Europe and Japan, where Wi-Fi operators have rights on specific-channel occupancy. LTE-U, which is not covered by the 3GPP, has no LBT requirement.

Ericsson: unlicensed to kill

TMUS and Ericsson claimed to have been the first telecoms players in the world to use “twelve-layer” LAA in test conditions, to push unlicensed spectrum into Gigabit territory.

In a demonstration conducted in TMUS’s lab in Bellevue, Washington, the NatCo and Ericsson clocked up speeds of 1.1Gbps. The performance was achieved by combining 256 QAM, 4×4 MIMO, and LAA through the aggregation of two licensed carriers and three unlicensed carriers. Test gear from UK-based Cobham Wireless measured throughput.

  • In July 2017, TMUS claimed another first by completing a mobile broadband data session, live in the field, using LAA technology on its commercial network (Deutsche Telekomwatch, #65). TMUS reported that the test, conducted in Los Angeles, achieved a download speed of 741Mbps using 80MHz of aggregated spectrum.

Image: Deutsche Telekom.

Table of Contents

EXECUTIVE BRIEF

GROUP

Deals

DT seeks to sort two European convergence gaps [p6]

  • Austria to the power of two
  • Table 1: User base comparison, selected Austrian telecoms players, at 30 September 2017 unless stated
  • Going Dutch to tackle dominant rival duo
  • Table 2: User base comparison, selected Dutch telecoms players, at 30 September 2017 unless stated
  • Table 3: Spectrum holdings of Dutch mobile network operators, 2017
  • Canny Dutch deal has high asset impact
  • Butterflies and hurricanes
  • Table 4: Selected DT NatCo mobile-wireline broadband user base weighting, at 30 September 2017 (pre-latest M&A)
  • Is Dutch deal merely phase one?
  • Is “T-Mobile” still relevant?

Orange still pushing for BuyIn JV expansion [p12]

  • Table 5: People movement highlights

Technology & Innovation

DT back in UK mobile space with new Orbit offering [p16]

  • Bridging two very different worlds
  • Table 6: Telekom Innovation Pool overview
  • ST partnership moves on a step

DT supports 5G NR specs, but wants more from industry [p18]

  • A halfway house
  • You say you want a revolution
  • People get 5G-ready

GERMANY

Legal and regulatory

Höttges on FTTH collision course with BNetzA [p22]

  • Pruchnow’s partner push gaining steam
  • We’re at back of the FTTH field, moans BNetzA
  • Record breakers
  • Table 7: TDE claims broadband technology mix, but keeps soft spot for ‘last mile’ copper
  • Packing in the fibre
  • Testing FTTH demand

BNetzA chucks regulatory rocks into StreamOn [p26]

  • More regulatory friction
  • Table 8: Prohibited areas and amendments: StreamOn under BNetzA scrutiny
  • It’s been coming
  • To the courthouse, says TDE
  • Tightening in Europe offset by loosening in the USA

EUROPE

Region

DT pushes NB-IoT far and wide in Europe [p31]

  • TMCZ to meld Sigfox and NB-IoT
  • TMAT and TMPL make debuts
  • Full steam ahead in Germany…
  • Smart-parking consortium formed in the Netherlands

Albania

TA picks up spectrum from defunct rival Plus [p33]

  • Move eases spectrum pressures

Hungary

MT boosts SAP capabilities with ITgen add-on [p34]

Poland

TMPL looks to Orange for fixed-line leg-up [p35]

  • Playing piggyback may not be enough

Slovakia

NetCracker ticks box on ST billing to-do list [p36]

  • Swapping IT out

USA

Network

TMUS downgrades LTE-U as mere ‘precursor’ to LAA [p38]

  • TMUS breaking ground for now pro-USA DT
  • Gigabit LTE class
  • Ericsson: unlicensed to kill
  • Table 9: TMUS’s Cat-NB1 goes head-to-head with Cat-M1, backed by AT&T and Verizon Wireless

TMUS takes IoT fight to Verizon, AT&T [p41]

  • Broader than Narrowband
  • Sierra and u-blox get NB-IoT certified

FURTHER READING

INDEX

Index

Symbols

3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) 18, 19, 38, 40, 41, 42

A

Albtelecom 33
Allianz 8
Alphabet
Google 16
YouTube 25
Amazon.com Inc. 13, 39
Amdocs 36
Americas
Latin America 20
– North America 14
– United States of America (USA) 7, 10, 11, 14, 17, 18, 28, 37, 38, 39
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 28
– – States
Illinois 38
– – – Iowa 38
– – – Nebraska 38
– – – Washington 38, 40
Apple 16
App Store 16
Asia-Pacific
China 24
– India 14
– Japan 40
– Sri Lanka 14
Atos 14, 36
AT&T 14, 41, 42
Automobile Association 41
Axel Springer AG 8
Axiata Group Bhd (TM International) 14
Singapore (Mobile One, see separate listing) 41, 42

B

Bharti Group 13
Bharti Airtel 13
BT Group 11, 12, 16
EE 13

C

Cellnex Telecom
Swiss Towers 11
Cisco Systems 17
Comarch SA 17, 36
Credit Suisse 6
CTIA 14

D

Daimler AG 8
Deutsche Bank 8
Deutsche Telekom 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42
Corporate
Headquarters 17, 22, 27
Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners 17
BENOCS 17
– – Deutsche Sportwetten 17
– – Deutsche Telekom Strategic Investments 17
– – Digital Media Audience Products 17
– – Kumukan 17
– – Lite Elements 17
– – Motionlogic 17
– – Next Generation Enterprise Network Alliance (ngena) 17
– – SoundCall 17
– – SureNow 17
– – Swiss Towers (see separate) 11
– – The Digitale 17
– – Trust2Core 17
– – xplosion interactive 17
Europe
Austria 6, 7, 10, 11, 13, 31, 35, 36
tele.ring 13
Croatia (Hrvatski Telekom) 11, 13, 26, 32, 36
– – Czech Republic 11, 18, 26, 31, 36
– – Greece (see OTE) 11, 26
– – Hungary (see Magyar Telekom) 11, 34
– – Montenegro (see Magyar Telekom) 36
– – Netherlands 6, 8, 9, 11, 31, 32, 35, 36
– – Poland (Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa/PTC) 6, 11, 13, 31, 35
NetWorkS! 35
Slovakia (Slovak Telekom/T-Mobile) 11, 17, 34, 36
– – UK (EE) 13
European Aviation Network 6
– Executives
Ashouriha, Arash 19
– – Bierwirth, Andreas 7
– – Bothe, Sabine 13
– – Chocholek, Mariusz 13
– – Dannenfeldt, Thomas 14
– – Deutschmann, Rainer 14
– – Elsner, Andreas 13
– – Goldenits, Walter 24
– – Gopalan, Srini 7
– – Höttges, Timotheus 8, 22
– – Jacobfeuerborn, Bruno 18
– – Legere, John 38
– – Leukert, Peter 13
– – Maierhofer, Andreas 35
– – McClean, Campbell 13
– – McDiarmid, Mark 38
– – Nemat, Claudia 17
– – Pruchnow, Johannes 23
– – Ray, Neville 14, 18, 39
– – Sesar, Boris 13
– – Sievert, Mike 41
– – Staneff, Matt 14
– – Trajanovski, Goran 13
– – Walden, Alexander 14
Ex-executives
Ostrowski, Artur 13
Germany 7, 11, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 32, 36
– InteractiveMedia 17
– Investments
Magyar Telekom (see separate) 11, 34
– – OTE (see separate) 11, 32, 33
Product and Innovation
Developer Garden 14
Products and services
Binge On 26
– – immmr 16, 17
– – QIVICON 13
– – StreamOn 26, 27
Systems Solutions
T-Systems 10, 11, 13, 14, 17, 34
Detecon 13, 14
– – – Telekom Security 14
USA 6, 11, 14, 17, 18, 26, 28, 32, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42
Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners 17
Deutsche Telekom Strategic Investments 14, 17
Dialog Telekom 14

E

Elisa 6
Ericsson 18, 20, 36, 38, 40, 41
Europe
Albania 33
Autoriteti i Komunikimeve Elektronike dhe Postare (AKEP) 33
Austria 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 31, 35
– Croatia 10, 17, 25, 32, 36
– Czech Republic 17, 31
– Estonia 6
– Finland 6
– Germany 8, 10, 11, 14, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 31, 32
Bundesnetzagentur für Elektrizität, Gas, Telekommunikation, Post und Eisenbahnen (BNetzA, RegTP, FNA, or German Federal Network Agency) 22, 23, 26, 27
Greece 11, 25, 32
– Hungary 25, 32, 34
– Ireland 16, 17
– Latvia 6
– Lithuania 6
– Macedonia 10, 13
– Netherlands 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 31, 32
Agentschap Telecom 9
– – Government 9
Poland 13, 17, 31, 35
– Portugal 6
– Romania 11, 25, 33
– Slovakia 17, 25, 32, 34, 36
– Sweden 8, 25
– Switzerland 11, 14, 42
– United Kingdom (UK) 10, 11, 14, 16, 40
European Union 19, 26, 27, 34
European Commission 8, 19, 23, 34
– European Parliament 23
EWE
EWE Tel 22

F

Facebook 39
France Télécom
Orange 6, 12, 13, 19, 35
Poland (see Telekomunikacja Polska) 6, 13, 35
– – UK (see EE, DT) 13

G

Giesecke & Devrient 8
Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd 42
Gogo 42
GSM Association
Mobile World Congress 42
GSM Association (GSMA) 41
GTS Central Europe 13, 35

H

Hewlett-Packard 41
Hrvatski Telekom (see DT, Croatia) 11, 13, 26, 32, 36
Huawei Technologies 7, 18, 24
Hutchison Whampoa 7

I

IBM 36
Inmarsat 6
Intel 14

J

JPMorgan Chase 6

K

KPN 8, 9, 11

L

Liberty Global
UPC Austria 6, 7, 13, 35, 36
Liberty Global Inc. 7, 8
UPC Broadband 6, 7, 10, 13, 35, 36
Lufthansa 8

M

Magyar Telekom (see DT) 11, 34
Macedonia (Makedonski Telekom/T-Mobile) 13
– Montenegro (Crnogorski Telekom) 36
– T-Systems Hungary 34
Market segments
Machine-to-machine (M2M) 42
– Mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) 7, 9
MetroPCS Communications Inc. 14
Carter, Braxton 14
Middle East
Israel 42
Mobile One (Singapore) 41, 42
Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. 14

N

NEC 36
Netflix 25
Nokia 6, 19, 41

O

Openet 36
OTE (Hellenic Telecom. Org. SA, see DT) 11, 32, 33
Cosmote 11, 26
Albania (Telekom Albania) 11, 33
– – Greece 11, 26
Germanos 33

Q

Qualcomm 38, 39, 40

R

Reliance-Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group
Reliance Communications (RCom) 14
RWE AG 23

S

SAP 34
Sequans 41
Sierra Wireless 41, 42
Sigfox 31
Slovak Telekom (see DT, Slovakia) 11, 17, 34, 36
Sprint Corporation 6, 42
Sunlight 33

T

Target Corporation 41
Technology
2G 20, 38
CDMA 33
– – GSM 41
3G 20, 42
Evolved HSPA (HSPA+/I-HSPA)
MIMO 39, 40
4G 7, 20, 38
Long Term Evolution (LTE) 6, 7, 9, 19, 31, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42
5G 7, 9, 14, 18, 19, 20, 34, 39
– Billing 14
– Bluetooth 32
– BSS 36
– CRM 17
– DSL 7
– Fibre 7, 22, 23, 24, 25, 32, 35, 42
– Fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) 19
– FTTH 22, 23, 24, 25
– IP 16, 24, 38
– IPTV 25
– LTE machine-type communications (LTE-MTC/eMTC) 41
– M2M 42
– Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) 10, 31, 32, 41, 42
– OSS 20, 36
– R&D 10, 17
– SIM 16
– Smartphone 26, 32
– Spectrum 9
450 MHz 34
– – 800 MHz 9, 33, 34
– – 900 MHz 9, 33, 34
– – 1800 MHz 9, 33, 34
– – 1900 MHz 9
– – 2100 MHz 9, 33, 34
– – 2600 MHz 9, 33, 34
– – Digital dividend 33
Telemedicine 10
– VDSL 23, 24, 32
– Web Services 13
– W-LAN 40
Tele2 6, 8, 9, 11
Netherlands 6
Telefonica Group 13, 19
Telekom Austria 7, 35
Austria
A1 7, 10, 13, 35
Telenet 23
Telenor ASA 12
TeliaSonera 12

U

UBS 22
USA
Communications Workers of America (CWA) 39

V

Verimi 8
Verizon Communications 41, 42
Verizon Wireless 41
Vodafone 10, 22, 33
Africa, Middle East, and Asia Pacific Region (AMAP)
India 13
Europe Region
Albania 33
– – Czech Republic 14
– – Germany 22

W

World Bank 32

Z

Zenterio 25

About

About Deutsche Telekomwatch

Report: #69
Published: January 2018
Next report: February 2018
For more information visit: Deutsche Telekomwatch