Friday, July 24, 2009

Americas: Operators have issued a policy document calling for better assignment of spectrum for mobile broadband

[Marketwire] 3G Americas, a wireless industry trade association representing the GSM family of technologies including HSPA and LTE, today announced that it has published key recommendations for utilizing non-standard spectrum bands in a white paper titled, "3GPP Technology Approaches for Maximizing Fragmented Spectrum Allocations." The paper discusses the emerging challenges for spectrum stakeholders involving how to permit wider spectrum usage by operators using various broadband technologies and current spectrum allocations. These challenges are especially poignant in "fragmented" spectrum bands (which depart from globally or regionally harmonized bands), such as the AWS III band in the U.S., and in the potential for country specific allocations of the 2.6 GHz IMT band and "Digital Dividend" spectrum outside of the U.S.

"Policymakers have an important and challenging role in obtaining additional spectrum and bringing it to the market to serve society and meet the growing demands of consumers," stated Chris Pearson, President of 3G Americas. "Smartphones and mobile Internet devices are moving from the headlines, out of the shops and into the hands of customers who are quickly exploring a wide variety of productive services and applications for education, healthcare and safety."

Various analyses have demonstrated the singular importance of spectrum harmonization in meeting emerging mobile broadband. Among the most serious impacts of spectrum fragmentation are the cost and performance of mobile devices. Handset size constraints and component costs place limits on the number of bands and technologies that wireless devices can efficiently incorporate. As a result, support for fragmented spectrum allocations is frequently minimized in favor of more common regional and global brands that leverage economies of scale as well as the capabilities for international roaming.

3G Americas emphasizes the criticality of spectrum harmonization. At the same time, it supports the efforts of standards bodies and industry players in developing techniques to put fragmented spectrum bands to use, while promoting service provider coexistence. In particular, the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) continues to develop technical approaches, including various carrier aggregation techniques (permitting the asymmetric pairing of radio channels), to address existing and potential spectrum fragmentation challenges. These approaches are showcased in the paper.

The white paper also reviews steps taken internationally by policymakers to maximize the use of spectrum by diverse parties while concurrently minimizing the potential for harmful inter-system interference. The report summarizes the important considerations for policymakers, which need to be factored hand-in-hand with the technical approaches. Conclusions of the white paper include:

-- Spectrum should be harmonized and coordinated to the maximum extent feasible
-- New spectrum should facilitate access by new technologies of all stripes
-- Appropriate protections should be established for incumbent and/or adjacent service providers to protect against interference
-- Spectrum policy should foster, as far as possible, the efficient use of spectrum
-- Rules covering the allocation, auction and deployment of spectrum should be predicable and transparent, prior to auctions

"Spectrum is a limited resource and yet it is a key ingredient to the success of mobile broadband in the Americas," Pearson added. "The challenge and opportunity for countries throughout the Americas is to properly inventory and identify new spectrum for the wireless industry."

3G Americas Recommends Plan to Maximize Broadband Spectrum
see also 3GPP Technology Approaches for Maximizing Fragmented Spectrum Allocations (registration required)

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