Mobile Backhaul

“Mobile Backhaul Ericsson Doubts WiMAX Future”
While mobile access technologies has the potential to rapidly expand broadband coverage in South East Asia, the need to provide robust backhaul links to support the resultant surge in data traffic will result in a major bottleneck for network service operators, according to the head of Ericsson in the region.
Jan Signell, president of Ericsson South East Asia, says that there are now more PCs in cording to him, data shows that in the SEA, there are now 40 million PCs, compared to eight million broadband connections.

Today a PC without broadband is considered a dumb box, Signell says, adding, “At the same time, there’s very little copper in the ground, and no operator will dig up the streets to put in copper, so the DSL model will not work here. Operators, if they are building a fixed network, will go with fiber, but it will take years to cover the SEA region with fiber”. He Says, “This leaves wireless technology, even platforms with limited broadband speeds like EDGE, as viable and increasingly popular alternatives to extend internet access to users. Radio is much easier to deploy”. Signell cities an example from Bangladesh, where one operator that has upgraded their network to EDGE with no marketing support, found a surprisingly rapid adoption of the technology.


They went to the market to find out what was happening and fojnd that the main customers for the EDGE service were street corner kiosks offering internet access”, Signell adds, maintaining, “So customers did find a value is paying a fee for 30 minutes of internet access”.
Citing an Ericsson survey of consumers with PCs in Bangladesh, Signell reveals that over 50 percent of the respondents said they would be willing to pay US$10 a month for broadband access. Even at US$20 a month, some 20 percent of PC owners in the country would pay for broadband access.
According to Signell, if all the pent up demand for broadband services in SEA is met through mobile technologies, the amount of data traffic on mobile networks in the region will equal some 80 Tera bytes per second per month by 2011 and account for 90 percent of the total traffic load.
The transmission capacity for the backhaul of mobile networks would be “the single biggest bottleneck” for the SEA region, he opines.
“Operators, if they are building a fixed network, will go with take years to cover the SEA region with fiber”


In developed markets such as Singapore, network speeds would get faster with the implementation of HSPA Evolved, he says, adding that SingTel has already committed to an upgrade to boost data speeds to 14.4 Mbps, with plans to migrate the network to 42 Mbps in the future.
Meanwhile, Ulf Ewaldsson, Ericsson vice president and head of product area, says that the company has developed a full TD-SCDMA solution and is ready to supply China Mobile if the platform is deployed.
“We will provide them with equipment for TD-SCDMA and will be part of their purchasing going forward”, Ewaldsson vows. We are doing entire network for TD-SCDMA and we will be able to offer a complete portfolio if they have the desire to move forward. We will be able to provide what we believe is the world’s best possible TD-SCDMA solution, he asserts.
Ewaldsson also says that the company has “very big doubts” on WiMAX. First of all, it’s an indication that we have decided not to develop our own equipment. And then we have very big doubts that it will really take off due to the cost of deployment, which I think will be far higher than HSPA, he reveals.

Going forward, he sees LTE network terminals would come to market by 2010.
Interestingly, Ewaldsson predicts that the first adopters of LTE would be CDMA operators, saying, CDMA has really no good way forward, so if you are on the CDMA track, it’s very difficult to move forward because UMB doesn’t look like it will materialize. And when UMB doesn’t materialise, these operators are stuck on a 2Mbps maximum level, which is what EV-DO gives. Therefore, they are looking, over time, to move to LTE. LTE has big advantage because it is also candidate for the 3GPP for 4G, or what we call IMT-advance-that decision was taken in January by the 3GPP.
According to him, that mean when 4G is being defined, IMT-Advance as it is called by the ITU, and when that is being done in 2010, it’s likely that it will be an evolution of LTE. Ericsson’s proposal includes raising the carrier size of LTE from a maximum of 20MHz to 100 MHz, he adds.

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