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Australia’s Telstra Fires Up National WiFi Network

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Australia’s largest telecommunications company, Telstra, will install two million public hotspots that will be available for free to Telstra subscribers as part of a plan to blanket public spaces with internet access.

Trials of the $100m project will begin by November, reports The Guardian, and will allow Telstra customers who agree to share their bandwidth to get free access to any hotspot. The data they use will be deducted from their home allowance.

Non-Telstra customers, and those who don’t share their home connection, will be able to connect for an as yet undisclosed fee.

Many of the hotspots will be repurposed public phones which are mostly located in busy areas.

The trial will include busy spots such as Bondi Beach in Sydney, Bourke Street Mall in Melbourne and Rundle Mall in Adelaide. Popular holiday spots and parts of Perth, Brisbane, Hobart, Canberra and Darwin will also be included.

Some 1,000 hotspots should be operational by Christmas at sites that will include Telstra shops and exchange buildings.

Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) is a nation-wide, wholesale-only, open-access fiber data network delivering fixed line and wireless broadband connections that are sold to retail service providers, who then sell Internet access and other services to consumers.

The 2.3 GHz and 3.4 GHz radio spectrum will be used to provide LTE fixed wireless covering approximately 4 per cent of the population outside the fibre footprint. NBN Co has also contracted with Space Systems/Loral to build and launch two Ka band satellites in 2015 at a total cost of A$2 billion, for more rural areas.

The cost, estimated at A$37.4 billion, will be financed by a combination of a Federal Government investment of A$30.4 billion and private investment for the remainder. NBN Co intends to begin paying dividends back to the Federal Government in 2021, and to have fully repaid the Government’s contribution by 2034.

The concept is similar to those planned by Comcast and AT&T in North America. AT&T has built a network of free hotspots for customers at thousands of places—including train stations, as well as Starbucks and McDonald’s locations across the country. Comcast’s Xfinity wireless network turns customer’s cable modems into public Wi-Fi hotspots accessible with an Xfinity account login.

In June, Comcast said its Xfinity WiFi footprint had expanded to about 3 million hotspots nationwide, getting it closer toward a goal of expanding that footprint to 8 million hotspots by the end of 2014.

Hotspot 2.0 is a new set of protocols to enable cellular-like roaming. A variety of partnerships are developing nationwide and world-wide, including:

Infrastructure providers are also enabling small businesses and organizations to “roll their own” Hotspot 2.0 network:

Multi-User MIMO promises to handle large crowds better then Wave 1 802.11ac products since the different users can use different streams at the same time. Public Hotspots serving large crowds will benefit with MU-MIMO but enterprise and carrier-grade gear could be a year away, say industry observers.

The FCC has increased Wi-Fi power in the lower 5 GHz band at 5.15-5.25 GHz, making Comcast and mobile phone operators happy since they can make use of 802.11ac networks, both indoors and out, even utilizing all four channels for up to 1 Gbps wireless networking.

The FCC’s 5 GHz U-NII Report & Order allowed higher power in the 5.150 – 5.250 GHz band.

These FCC U-NII technical modifications are separate from another proposal currently under study by the FCC and NTIA that would add another 195 MHz of spectrum under U-NII rules in two new bands, U-NII 2B (5.350 – 5.470 GHz) and U-NII 4 (5.850 – 5.925 GHz).

Commercial entities, including cable operators, cellular operators, and independent companies seem destined to blanket every dense urban area in the country with high-power 5 GHz service – “free” if you’re already a subscriber on their subscription network

Related Dailywireless articles include; Comcast Buys Cloud Control WiFi Company, Gowex Declares Bankruptcy, Ruckus Announces Cloud-Based WiFi Services, Cloud4Wi: Cloud-Managed, Geo-enabled Hotspots, Ad-Sponsored WiFi Initiatives from Gowex & Facebook, FCC increases Wi-Fi power in the lower 5 GHz band at 5.15-5.25 GHz, Comcast Creates Hotspot 2.0 National Network,Cloud4Wi Annouces Cloud-Controlled WiFi , PowerCloud: Cloud-based WiFi: $100 a Pop , WiFi & Hotspot 2.0 at MWC, Hotspot 2.0 Moves Out, NYC & Cable Provide Hotspot 2.0 Service, Cities of San Jose and Santa Clara Get Free WiFi, Free Google WiFi for NYC Chelsea Neighborhood,Cloud-based WiFi: $100 a Pop , Meraki Cloud Managed Security

iPhone 6 Approved for China

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Apple® today announced that iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will be available in China beginning Friday, October 17 for all three major carriers. With support for TD-LTE and FDD-LTE, the new iPhones will provide access to the 4G/LTE networks from China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom across mainland China.

Reuters reports the phones received regulator scrutiny requiring Apple to reassure the Chinese government that the smartphones did not have security “backdoors” through which U.S. agencies can access users’ data.

In July, Chinese state media accused Apple of providing user data to U.S. agencies and called for ‘severe punishment’. Apple responded by publicly denying the existence of backdoors.

Apple won approval to sell the phones after also addressing risks of personal information leaks related to the operating system’s diagnostic tools, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said on its website on Tuesday.

Apple earlier this month was hiring a head of law enforcement in Beijing to deal with user data requests from China’s government, reports Reuters, after it began storing private data on Chinese soil for the first time last month.

Apple Sells 10M iPhones First Weekend

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Apple says the company sold 10M iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices in first weekend. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are available in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the UK and will be available in more than 20 additional countries on September 26. The new iPhones will be available in 115 countries by the end of the year.

Apple last week said customers preordered more than 4 million iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 devices in the first 24 hours after advance sales began. By comparison, Apple two years ago received over 2 million preorders for the iPhone 5 within 24 hours, and first weekend sales totaled more than 5 million.

Apple reportedly has asked manufacturing partners to produce about 70 million to 80 million units of its larger-screen iPhones by December 30, which is about 30 percent to 40 percent more iPhones than it ordered for its initial run of last year’s iPhone 5S and 5C.

Apple “could have sold many more iPhones with greater supply, and we are working hard to fill orders as quickly as possible,” Apple CEO Tim Cook, said in a statement.

The latest iPhones also missed out on a big market: China, reports the NY Times. Apple has delayed the release of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus there, apparently because the devices have not yet received approval from Chinese regulators.

Despite missing out on hundreds of millions of potential Chinese customers, Apple impressed analysts with its weekend performance.

“Even without China, Apple was able to move $6.5 billion of product in three days which would be impressive for any industry,” said Walter Piecyk, managing director at BTIG Research.

According to Chitika Insights, iPhone 6 users are generating a steadily growing portion of North American iPhone Web traffic, surpassing a 1.5% usage share less than two days following the September 19 launch. That figure is roughly one percentage point behind the iPhone 5 over the same time period following its public release, but it took North American Samsung Galaxy S5 users over a week to generate a 1.5% share of Samsung smartphone Web traffic.

New Paperwhite & HDX Kindles

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Yesterday Amazon introduced the all-new Fire HDX 8.9 which features a high resolution HDX display (339 ppi) with a more powerful processor, exclusive Dolby Audio, and all-new Fire OS 4 “Sangria” with new features and services. The new Fire HDX is available for pre-order starting at $379.

Fire OS 4 is based on KitKat and adds features and services to make it faster and easier to use. For example, Fire OS includes ASAP (Advanced Streaming and Prediction) which predicts the movies and TV episodes you’ll want to watch and starts them instantly.

Fire OS 4 will be available on all 4th generation Fire tablets and will be available for all 3rd generation Fire tablets via a free, over-the-air software update. Firefly will be available on Fire HDX 8.9. Fire OS 4 will be available on Fire phone early next year.

Amazon also introduced the new Fire HD, featuring a quad-core processor, front and rear-facing cameras, an HD display. The High-definition display has 252 ppi for 6”, 216 ppi for 7” model and is now brighter than the previous generation Kindle Fire HD. The new Fire HD tablets are available in two sizes—6” for $99 and 7” for $139.

Amazon today introduced three new Kindles: a $79/$99 Kindle, the $119/$139 Kindle Paperwhite, and the $199/$219 Kindle Voyage.

A new Paperwhite display, has the highest resolution, highest contrast, and highest brightness of any Kindle, says Amazon, with 300 pixels per inch. All E Ink Kindles have the same 1GHz processor, and they have 256MB of RAM, except the new Kindle Voyage, with 512MB of RAM. The $79 entry-level Kindle uses an infrared touchscreen instead of capacitive like the Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Voyage.

The $120 Paperwhite is getting upgraded from 2GB to 4GB of storage. The budget $79 Kindle is getting a relatively significant revamp with the navigation buttons all gone and in place of an all-touch interface. The new design is almost indistinguishable from the earlier Paperwhite.

The $200 Kindle Voyage introduces PagePress, a new way to turn pages. PagePress uses a custom-designed force sensor that sits directly under the bezel. You simply rest your thumb on the bezel and turn the page by lightly pressing. When you turn the page, Kindle Voyage delivers tactile feedback from a haptic actuator. The screen on the $200 Kindle Voyage is flush with the body and the shell is made of matte magnesium with strengthened glass resistant to scratches and micro-etched to reduce glare and feel more like paper. A new adaptive front light automatically adjusts the brightness of the display based on the surrounding light.

In addition to the $199 base model, Amazon is offering a Voyage with built-in 3G data (for Amazon content downloads only) for $269. Both models require an additional $20 charge to remove the embedded ads on the home screen and lock screen.

Verizon Adds 22 XLTE Markets

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Verizon Wireless announced that it has launched XLTE in 22 new markets, bringing LTE to the AWS band (1700/2100 MHz), in addition to its 700 MHz LTE service. Verizon says that 4 out of 5 LTE markets, large and small, now have Verizon Wireless XLTE service.

According to Open Signal, T-Mobile is the fastest network in the US, with average speeds of 11.5 Mbps. Sprint performs worst of all US networks, according to Open Signal, posting LTE speeds that are scarcely faster than existing HSPA+, with their average speed of 4.3Mbps ranking as one of the slowest networks worldwide.

Open Signal collects data from users of their Android and iPhone application. This data is then stripped of any identifying information, uploaded to their servers, and made openly available.

T-Mobile has been pursuing spectrum license swaps and acquisitions (from AT&T and MetroPCS) to reach the goal of supporting the 20+20 MHz (40MHz) LTE bandwidth.

Sprint is rolling out 8T8R in its latest 2.5GHz installations (8 transmitters, 8 receivers). That results in better range and speed. Unfortunately, Sprint’s subscribers may not see much improvement since current WiMax subscribers utilize 30 MHz (10 MHz times 3 sectors).

Sprint has said they will utilize the same spectrum footprint with LTE, allocating it differently. With Sprint Spark, apparently, the same 2.5 GHz bandwidth will now be shared among both WiMax subscribers (10 MHZ across 3 sectors) and TD-LTE subscribers (20 Mhz across 3 sectors). The net result of this approach is still unclear. It may be that 2.5 GHz will not be the salvation Sprint had hoped.

Sprint doesn’t need 120 MHz of 2.5 GHz – but other carriers – especially AT&T – might find it useful for small cells. Sprint’s John Saw says the company wants to use Sprint Spark and TDD-LTE for small cell solutions to add capacity in densely populated areas.

Verizon is opened up to the possibility of selling its wireless towers, according to FierceWireless, because of AT&T’s agreement last year to sell and lease 9,700 of its cell towers to Crown Castle in a $4.85 billion deal. Verizon has between 12,000 to 15,000 towers and may be looking to sell about 12,500 sites.

Crown Castle acquired the rights to operate 7,200 T-Mobile towers for $2.4 billion in 2012. Tower operators like Crown Castle, American Tower and SBA Communications provide lease space to a variety of carriers.

Any Dish/Sprint or Dish/T-Mobile deal is reportedly unlikely — until after the 600 MHz auction. As a consumer, I’m partial to a move by Google or Facebook into telecommunications. Dish might be a good partner for Google – particularly if it could acquire 40 MHz of 2.5 GHz for small cells. Maybe Starbucks will be the next “carrier”.

4G Americas reports that in North America, LTE technology represented 33 percent or 127 million LTE connections of the total 391 million mobile connections in North America. It’s the largest market share for LTE (45%), compared to any country or region in the world.

Super Mobility Week

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Meanwhile, at CTIA’s Super Mobility Week in Las Vegas last week, Ericsson launched a new small cell that integrates 3G, LTE and Wi-Fi. Ericsson’s new picocell supports 10 different bands through carrier aggregation, with two 3GPP bands (LTE and WCDMA) as well as 802.11ac Wi-Fi. Philips is offering municipalities street lights that can include small cells, and Ericsson is offering carriers the opportunity to rent space on Philips street lights for small cell installations.

CommScope camouflages cell radios in an eye-level structure that is well suited for advertising. The structure is about the size of a tall cylindrical parking meter.

RCR Wireless has posted lots of videos from the show.

Martha DeGrass interviews Derek Peterson (CTO) of Boingo Wireless at CTIA #SuperMobility Week. Derek gives his take on the Cable Operators and Wireless Carriers getting involved in WiFi.

But Dr. Martin Nuss, CTO of Vitesse Semiconductor, says the rapid growth of the BYOD market, coupled with an explosion in 4G networks and small cell deployment, is creating an IT security threat that the global market needs to urgently address, reports Fierce Wireless.

The connected car was all over CTIA’s Super Mobility Week, in Las Vegas with many booths showing vehicles and demos along with keynote addresses.

Airbiquity, a global leader in connected vehicle services, announced both Yelp and Reuters are now included in their connected car platform, Choreo.

Fifty developer teams were invited to compete in the Ford Connected Car-Connected City App Pursuit. In addition to the Ford vehicle data, hackathon participants will have access to the more than 200 data sets recently released by the City of Los Angeles (data.lacity.org) to create their apps. Ten finalists will be invited to compete in the Pursuit finals, displaying their innovations during the Connected Car Expo at the LA Auto Show, Nov. 18-20.

IDC reported that 1.25 billion smartphones were shipped in 2014 more than 23% over the previous year. Infonetics Research predicts small cell shipments will rise to 1.8 billion annually by 2018, with Japan, South Korea, the UK and US driving early adoption.