Posts Categorised: Mobile

But the company is still committed to unlocking the FM chip in all phones and carriers

INDIANAPOLIS — NextRadio recently announced the launch of FM radio streaming capabilities for all smartphones, including an iOS version for iPhone mobile device users in Mexico , according to TagStation .

TagStation’s NextRadio app utilizes the enabled FM chip inside select Android devices to tune to local FM stations; if a listener’s Android device has the FM chip enabled, NextRadio saves data and battery life (when compared to streaming) and works when power is out and cell towers are down.

“We want to empower all users to enjoy local FM radio without having their content restricted by geographic location or choice of device,” Tagstation President Paul Brenner said in a press release.

Even though NextRadio now features the option to stream on unsupported devices, it is still committed to unlocking the FM chip in all phones. However, NextRadio developed this streaming version until the goal becomes a reality.

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Verizon’s fixed 5G service is intended to compete with wired internet services and cable MSOs by “blasting” a 5G connection from a nearby cell site to receivers

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Samsung recently acknowledged the FCC certified both the company’s indoor and outdoor 5G home routers. The company said the new routers are meant to work with Verizon’s 28 GHz fixed wireless deployment, according to .

Samsung described the router as “a small consumer device that receives and transmits the 5G signal to provide ultra-high speed broadband wireless service…[that] can enable broadband service up to 18x greater than the current average U.S. broadband.”

Verizon’s fixed 5G service is intended to compete with wired internet services and cable MSOs by “blasting” a 5G connection from a nearby cell site to receivers either outside or inside users’ homes or offices. Mobile 5G, on the other hand, is designed for portable devices like smartphones and tablets. Verizon announced late last year that it would turn on fixed 5G services in up to five cities, including Sacramento , in the second half of 2018.

Verizon’s mobile 5G service will launch around six months after the carrier turns on its fixed 5G service, according to Verizon’s CEO Lowell McAdam. “Those comments are notable because Verizon hasn’t offered too much detail about how it might roll out mobile 5G — although Verizon’s CFO said last year the carrier wouldn’t launch mobile 5G services in 2018,” according to the same article.

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If approved by regulators, the new company would be henceforth known as T-Mobile

BELLEVUE, Wash., and OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — T-Mobile US and Sprint Corporation on Sunday announced they have entered into a definitive agreement to merge. The combined company will be called T-Mobile.

The combined company will have “lower costs, greater economies of scale, and the resources to provide U.S. consumers and businesses with lower prices, better quality, unmatched value, and greater competition,” according to this press release about the merger. “The New T-Mobile will employ more people than both companies separately and create thousands of new American jobs.” The same document goes on to say that from the first day Sprint and T-Mobile combine and every year thereafter, the new company will employ more people in the U.S. than both companies would separately; more than 200,000 people will work on behalf of the combined company in the US at the start.

[Read about Sprint and T-Mobile’s on again , off again merger history.]

The question is, how and why will that happen? According to the same release, “the New T-Mobile plans to invest up to $40 billion in its new network and business in the first three years alone, a massive capital outlay that will fuel job growth at the new company and across related sectors. This is 46% more than T-Mobile and Sprint spent combined in the past three years.”

“This combination will also force AT&T, Charter, Comcast, Verizon, and others to make investments of their own to compete, driving billions more in accelerated investment.”

You really need to take what is said in press releases like this with a grain of salt but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt right now.

“Neither company standing alone can create a nationwide 5G network with the breadth and depth required to fuel the next wave of mobile Internet innovation in the U.S. and answer competitive challenges from abroad. Only the combined company will have the network capacity required to quickly create a broad and deep 5G nationwide network in the critical first years of the 5G innovation cycle – the years that will determine if American firms lead or follow in the 5G digital economy.” 

This will be accomplished using Sprint’s 2.5 GHz spectrum and T-Mobile’s nationwide 600 MHz spectrum, and other combined assets. “Compared to T-Mobile’s network today, the combined company’s network is expected to deliver 15x faster speeds on average nationwide by 2024, with many customers experiencing up to 100x faster speeds than early 4G.”

Time will tell if that comes true of course. First the merger has to really happen. Following the closing, the new company will be headquartered in Bellevue with a second headquarters in Overland Park.

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This launch will increase the total number of Iridium Next satellites in space to 55

Iridium Next satellite

HAWTHORNE, Calif. — Iridium Communications announced that its sixth batch of five Iridium Next satellites are in processing at SpaceX’s west coast launch site, Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. This launch will increase the total number of Iridium Next satellites in space to 55.

Iridium Certus is the new service platform powered by the Iridium NEXT constellation. 

“With better coverage than any other mobile wireless network and a wide range of available speeds, it will deliver global, reliable, enterprise-grade services while redefining the capabilities of mobile satellite communications,” according to Iridium. The service will offer speeds between 22 kbps up to 1.4 Mbps once fully deployed, offering everything from low-bandwidth data applications and email to full internet and HD video.

The Iridium constellation now comprises a total of 66 satellites divided into six polar orbiting planes with 11 satellites in each plane. All five satellites from the next launch will be deployed to orbital plane six. To date, five Iridium Next launches carrying 10 satellites each have been completed, and over half of the Iridium Next constellation were activated. 

Iridium contracted with SpaceX to deliver 75 Iridium Next satellites to orbit, 66 operational and nine on-orbit spares, through a series of eight launches, according to .

The next launch, the third Iridium launch to use a “flight-proven” SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, is scheduled for May 19 at 1:04:24 pm PDT (20:04:24 UTC). 

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And how do these cell companies prevent interference to the little guys using unlicensed spectrum in the vicinity?

DALLAS — The big cellular companies are now making use of LTE-LAA. It’s been a while since we looked at just what that means, so let’s review some, with the help of Qualcomm .

“Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) is introduced in 3GPP release 13 as part of LTE Advanced Pro. It uses carrier aggregation in the downlink to combine LTE in unlicensed spectrum (5 GHz) with LTE in the licensed band. This aggregation of spectrum provides for a fatter pipe with faster data rates and more responsive user experience. For example, a mobile operator using LAA can support Gigabit Class LTE with as little as 20 MHz of licensed spectrum. By maintaining a persistent anchor in the license spectrum that carries all of the control and signaling information, the user experience is both seamless and reliable.”

So just how do these big cell companies prevent interference to the little guys (like you and me) using unlicensed spectrum in the vicinity? 

“Fair Wi-Fi coexistence is a key principle in LAA. This is accomplished by dynamically selecting clear channels in 5 GHz to avoid Wi-Fi users. If there is no clear channel available, LAA will share a channel fairly with others. This is accomplished by a feature called Listen Before Talk (LBT). LBT will be used by all technologies in unlicensed spectrum to ensure fair coexistence globally.”

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The mobile carrier asked the FCC for permission to demo 5G in the 28 GHz band during June’s SHAPE event

BURBANK, Calif. — AT&T has asked the FCC for permission to demonstrate 5G in the 28 GHz (millimeter wave) band during the SHAPE event, set for June 2–3 at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, Calif.

The SHAPE conference is described by AT&T as “an immersive event exploring the convergence of technology and entertainment.” Attendees will discover how the cutting edge of content creation and distribution will usher in a new era of audience experiences, according to .

AT&T plans to use a “puck” as a mobile hot spot device, with using millimeter wave connectivity back to their network, in the initial for mobile 5G deployments, which will be in Atlanta, and Dallas and Waco, Texas. Last January AT&T said it would offer 5G services based on the 3GPP non-standalone 5G NR specification in more than 12 markets by the end of 2018, although the carrier has only identified the three aforementioned markets, according to the same article.

Also, Charter, the second-largest cable operator in the US, is undertaking more fixed 5G tests in Los Angeles, reports .

Charter has been approved for an experimental 28 GHz license using 25 antennas in Los Angeles for the tests, which could start as soon as early April and run until October. The outdoor tests will utilize fixed transmitters with a 1 km or smaller effective radius, using 28 GHz equipment from Ericsson AB.

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But many do not know about the FM chip for smartphones

PARIS — In France, a study commissioned by SIRTI , an interest group of 165 French independent radio broadcasters, indicates that 94% of French people see radio as a universal right and 88% believe that listening to the radio must continue to happen completely anonymously — in other words, radio should remain free and independent of telephone networks and the internet, according to .

Conversely, 68% of the respondents said they would listen to FM or DAB + via smartphone, if this is made technically possible — but more than half of the French do not know that it is (theoretically) possible to listen to the radio on their smartphone already.

According to Alain Liberty, president of SIRTI, the study shows that the listeners are connected to the radio and that they want this model to continue to support them in their new media use. The listeners also want to see their anonymity and pluralism legally protected, according to the same article.

90 percent of the respondents think that the government must make every effort to ensure access to the radio in all situations, especially in the car — 70% are even convinced that “free access to radio media in vehicles” should be laid down in the constitution. Eighty-three % of the French listen to radio in the car, and use of smartphones for radio listening has grown to 23% of listeners. 

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“White box” routers are being deployed at cell towers because carriers expect more data processing will occur at the network edge

DALLAS — Cell telephone base station manufacturers, like Ericsson and Nokia, may play a smaller role in emerging 5G networks than they did in LTE networks, and 3G and 2G networks prior to that. 

AT&T, for example, is determined to replace proprietary hardware with open source software as part of an initiative to take costs out of its network while increasing capacity, according to .

The carrier has announced plans to replace the routers at 60,000 cell towers with “white box” hardware over the next several years. No vendors were named for the white box router project, but last year when it announced a related project, Barefoot Networks, Broadcom, Delta Electronics, Edgecore Networks, Intel Corporation and SnapRoute provided the standardized hardware and open source software for that trial, according to the same article.

[Will 5G Be an Effective Medium for Broadcast Radio in the Future?]

White box routers are being deployed at cell tower locations because the carriers expect more and more data processing will occur at the network edge. Low-latency applications such as self-driving cars and virtual reality will rely on servers placed close to the network endpoints rather than in a distant data center.

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AT&T plans further tests at 28 GHz

WASHINGTON — We’ve been covering the coming of 5G a lot in the virtual pages of Radio Magazine Today. I’m left wondering if there is more hype than substance though, due to the nature of propagation of millimeter wave radio signals. 

“The classic mobile business model is built on “outside-in” network coverage using radio base-stations deployed hundreds of meters, or even kilometers, apart,” according to this article in . “Each base-station can connect 1,000 or so users making it a very efficient way to connect large numbers of customers to a valuable service.”

“The issue is that a lot of the growth in demand is indoors. The penetration loss from buildings turns these indoor users into, effectively, cell edge users, reducing cell capacity/efficiency and limiting end-user performance. Energy efficient windows, now often fitted as standard in new buildings or renovations, only add to the problem,” according to the same article.

[Will 5G Be an Effective Media for Broadcast Radio in the Future?]

So, will that model limit the success of 5G? It turns out that the changing nature of the business of “mobile” may be a saving grace for the millimeter-wave bands though, and 5G may very well rely on a different model altogether—with small cells being built indoors. “In the enterprise, there are some interesting new approaches to small cells that can loosely be described as vRAN architectures…There are also opportunities in mmWave, which is a technology well-suited to indoor environments with lots of multipath. And given the large amount of spectrum in these bands, there are some very interesting opportunities for mesh systems using relaying and multi-hopping techniques,” the same article goes on to say.

Perhaps concerns about poor propagation at milli-meter frequencies are overblown. “Millimeter-wave signals were more found to be more robust than expected and provided high speeds — although not gigabit speeds — at distances of several thousand feet from a node, Signals Research Group found in recent testing of Verizon’s 28 GHz fixed wireless access network in Houston, reports . “Millimeter wave signals are far more resilient than we expected, even at distances exceeding several thousand feet. Tree foliage, passing school buses, buildings, glass, and parked cars impacted the received signal, but the resultant signals were still capable of delivering meaningful data rates,” SRG concluded.

Despite those concerns, it’s full speed ahead on 5G for AT&T. The company wants to demonstrate 5G using the 28 GHz band when it hosts its SHAPE conference on June 2–3 at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California, according to , and it applied with the FCC for Special Temporary Authority (STA) to demonstrate the functionality, features and capabilities of 5G using experimental equipment.

The plan for the demo will involve communications between three fixed base stations and six user equipment (UE) devices within 100 meters of the base station antennas. The base station and the UE antennas will be placed indoors at a height of less than four meters in a room or open space inside a building or on the ground in front of a building within the Warner Bros. Studios perimeters in Burbank.

AT&T has promised to launch a “standards-based” mobile 5G service in a dozen cities in the United States before the end of this year, according to the same article. Company executives have said the operator will offer a mobile “puck” device in time for the launch. 5G smartphones are not expected to be available until 2019.

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In Austria, radio’s future may not only include digital terrestrial broadcasting

LOS ANGELES — Often we cover digital radio and 5G as separate topics. This time, however, we have an opportunity to cover both in the same article. 

Let’s turn our attention towards Austria, where the new federal government “in addition to the clear commitment to the digitization of terrestrial broadcasting, also anchors the goal of making Austria one of the leading countries in 5G expansion,” according to this article in

Several questions are posed:

  • What potential does 5G offer for the classic medium of radio?
  • What features can this technology fulfill?
  • Which new program formats and business models are possible?
  • What investments could be necessary as a result?

The Association of Austrian Private Broadcasters (VÖP), Association of Austrian Newspapers (VÖZ) and the Association Digital Radio Austria were invited to consider possible scenarios of technology 5G in the field of radio.

“The 5G standard could be a newly developed market in the terminal sector from 2025 onwards. However, many other applications are likely to rely on the bandwidth of 5G, so it is questionable whether 5G could succeed as an important digital transmission path for radio at all,” according to Reiner Müller, the Deputy Managing Director and Division Manager Technology / IT of the Bavarian State Center for New Media in Munich.

“The analog-terrestrial possibilities in the radio sector (FM) are qualitatively and quantitatively limited by the regulated market and the free access for the listeners,” according to Wolfgang Struber of the Digital Radio Austria Association, from the same article. “That’s why digital terrestrial is the way to bring radio into the digital future, complemented by the possibilities of the 5G standard, i.e., an unregulated market with restricted access for listeners.”

“For the future of the medium of radio, it is crucial that it is available on all platforms,” said Corinna Drumm, the VÖP managing director. “The commercially most important distribution path for them is VHF. In addition, IP-based distribution via streams, podcasts and more would become increasingly important. In addition, there will be digital terrestrial in the form of DAB +, which will be available in Austria from 2018. The rapid expansion of the DAB + network and rapid market penetration with DAB + terminals are critical for success.” According to Drumm the expansion of a high-performance 5G network is important, not only for the supply of the population with broadband Internet, but also with Austrian broadcasting services. “When auctioning future mobile radio frequency spectrum, the Republic must ensure through appropriate conditions that the mobile access to the streaming offers of Austrian broadcasters for the public and broadcasters is free,” said Drumm.

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