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Cisco Buys Ubiquisys

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Cisco is snapping up its fifth acquisition of the year with U.K.-based femtocell maker Ubiquisys, a maker of 3G and LTE small-cell technologies, for $310 million.

The mostly all-cash deal will absorb Ubiquisys employees as part of Cisco’s Small Cell Technology Group. The deal is expected to close by the end of Cisco’s fourth quarter 2013, ending in August this year.

Ubiquisys specializes in small-cell technologies, such as femtocells, which use licensed cellular spectrum to help patch together coverage for 3G and LTE for carriers. Carriers are moving into small cells, which can be mounted on light poles or placed indoors.

Small cells are a big deal. AT&T plans to install 40,000 small cells in the next few years. Cisco is clearly positioning itself to compete with Ericsson, Huawei, ZTE, Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia-Siemens and others.

Cisco recently bought cloud-controlled, mesh networking pioneer Meraki for $1.2 billion as well as Israel-based mobile software firm Intucell for $475 million, cyber threat protection company Cognitive Security, and cloud services firm SolveDirect.

Sprint will deploy Alcatel-Lucent’s lightRadio Metro Cells to augment coverage in high-traffic areas.

The Alcatel-Lucent 9768 Metrocell (left) integrates two lightRadio cubes and a full-sector remote radio head into a single compact unit. Sprint is deploying LTE on its 1900MHz spectrum this year and will start deploying LTE on its 800MHz spectrum in 2014.

Sprint may also use Clear’s TD-LTE-A service (at 2.6 GHz), which is scheduled to launch in the summer of 2013, for additional spectrum in high density urban cores. Clearwire will use Samsung and Huawei gear to upgrade its WiMAX network to TD-LTE.

Samsung will help Sprint develop their Small Cell Network Infrastructure. Samsung’s small cells will allow Sprint to consolidate multiple legacy networks and spectrum bands in a single platform,” said Dale Sohn, president of Samsung Mobile.

Related Dailywireless articles include; Cisco Small Cells, AT&T plans to install 40,000 small cells, Small Cells, Big Deal, Huawei Out for Sprint/SoftBank Infrastructure, Intelligence Committee: Huawei & ZTE Security Threats, Sprint & Softbank Discuss Merger, Japan & Korea: More LTE than USA , FirstNet: The Asymetrical Threat, Intel: Basestation in the Cloud , China Mobile Awards Contracts for TD-LTE, London: The Biggest Small Network in the World, AT&T: 40,000 Small Cells, Softbank & Sprint Do a Deal, WiMax Forum Embraces TD-LTE, Small Cell, Big Growth, Sprint to use LightRadio for Small Cells, London: The Biggest Small Network in the World, Alcatel-Lucent: Small Cell lightRadio,

1st Mobile Call: 40 Years Ago

Posted by Sam Churchill on

The first mobile phone call was made 40 years ago today, on 3 April 1973, reports the BBC. Martin Cooper, a senior engineer at Motorola, called a rival colleague at another telecoms company and announced he was speaking from “a ‘real’ cellular telephone”.

The DynaTAC 8000X, Motorola’s first commercial handheld cellular phone, was launched in 1983. The battery allowed for a call of up to 60 minutes. The Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS) became the first (analog) cellular network in the U.S. AMPS operated in the 850 MHz Cellular band.

For each market area, the United States the FCC allowed two licensees known as “A” and “B” carriers. Originally, the B (wireline) side license was usually owned by the local phone company, and the A (non-wireline) license was given to wireless telephone providers.

Here’s the 20th Anniversary of First GSM Call, which took place in Finland on 1 July 1991.

The “1G” system used analog channels, one per user. With the digital GSM system, multiple users could share a single channel (using Time Division Multiplex). The cost of the infrastructure and users devices soon plummeted with digital (GSM) technology. The GSM family of technologies, standardized by 3GPP, has evolved further to EDGE (for data on a 2G system), 3G (with HSPA data), and “4G” or LTE (all data, all the time).

There are now more than six billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide, reports the ITU.

Informa Telecoms & Media predicts that revenue from mobile services will surpass the $1 trillion mark in 2013.

To meet the needs of 7 billion mobile subs in 2015, flat-rate tariffs are likely to be abandoned due to dramatically different mobile data requirements, with some 3.5 billion broadband subscribers predicted by 2015.

Global smartphones sales will cross the billion-unit mark in 2014, helped by strong demand from China and the launch of cheaper low-end handsets, according to a Credit Suisse estimate.

See Dailywireless: 6 Billion!, 5 Billion!, Global Broadband Connections: 1.6 Billion

New Nexus 7 to Use Qualcomm Chips?

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Google will launch a new version of its Nexus 7 tablet powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor around July, two sources told Reuters. The new Asus tablet could be introduced for the same $199 starting price as the current tablet, but the source also added that a $149 starting price could be possible.

The new Nexus 7 will apparently make the screen’s bezels slightly thinner to reduce its overall size, increase the resolution from the current tablet’s 1280×800, and include a system-on-a-chip from Qualcomm rather than the current tablet’s Nvidia Tegra 3.

The decision to go with the as-yet unspecified Qualcomm chip instead of Nvidia’s next-generation Tegra 4 was made because of concerns with power consumption, according to Reuters’ sources, but it may also allows Google to add LTE more inexpensively. Support for the international 2.6 GHz LTE band would be especially helpful for sales in Europe and China.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips include the Snapdragon 600 which is inside the Galaxy S4 (in the United States), while the LG Optimus G, and Nexus 4, use an earlier Snapdragon 1.5 GHz quad-core 8064.

More than 44 percent of commercial LTE networks now use Band 3, at 1800 MHz, according to GSA. The second most popular band used in commercially launched LTE networks is band 7 (2.6 GHz) followed by band 20 (800 MHz), then band 4 (AWS). Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 600 or the 8064 could cover them all relatively inexpensively.

Analysts estimate that about 4.6 million Nexus 7 tablets were sold in the last half of 2012, and Google reportedly wants to bump that up to eight million with the new model.

If the new tablet starts shipping in July, it will likely be revealed at this year’s Google I/O in May as the original Nexus 7 was.

HTC One Coming to AT&T and Sprint

Posted by Sam Churchill on

The HTC One smartphone is coming to AT&T and Sprint. Both have both announced that they’ll offer HTC’s flagship handset starting April 19th.

Both carriers will sell the phone for $199.99 to customers who sign up for a 2-year service plan. AT&T pre-orders start April 4th, while Sprint will begin taking pre-orders on April 5th.

In other news, AT&T said it will roll out support for HD Voice later this year, as it begins to route voice over its LTE network. HD Voice doubles the sampling rate and more than doubles the width of the sound spectrum, from 50Hz to 7KHz. It also reduces the bandwidth requirement to 32Kbps, half that of PSTN transmission.

T-Mobile plans to deploy HD Voice, starting with the arrival of its iPhone 5 later this month. To experience HD Voice, both parties on the call must use capable T-Mobile 4G smartphones such as the HTC One S, Nokia Astound and Samsung Galaxy S III on T-Mobile’s HD Voice-enabled nationwide network.

T-Mobile is the first GSM/UMTS based network in the US to enable AMR-WB (Adaptive Multi Rate Wideband), but not the first operator in the US to deploy “HD Voice”. Sprint has been rolling out 1x-Advanced’s EVRC-NW (EVRC-Narrowband Wideband) wherever their network modernization and LTE upgrades are.

The CDMA2000 and GSM variants of HD voice are not interoperable, explains ExtremeTech, so GSM calls to CDMA phones and vice versa will drop down to narrowband codecs. In LTE, HD voice is actually built into the VoLTE standard, because VoLTE uses AMR-WB.

AT&T and Verizon to Buy Vodafone?

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Verizon could buy back the 45% that Vodafone owns in its company, while AT&T would acquire all non-U.S. assets, reports C/Net. The Financial Times is reporting today, citing “usually reliable people” who claim to have knowledge of the deal. If signed, Vodafone would be valued at $245 billion.

In a statement Tuesday, Verizon said it continues to be interested in buying out Vodafone’s stake in Verizon Wireless, but it did not “currently have any intention to merge with or make an offer for Vodafone, whether alone or in conjunction with others.”.

Vodafone is the world’s second-largest carrier behind China Mobile with 403 million customers. The company operates in a slew of countries around the world and has a strong presence in Europe.

AT&T Mobility, according to the rumor, would get entree into the European market while Verizon would finally be able to control its own operation without oversight from Vodafone.

Verizon, which co-owns Verizon Wireless with Vodafone in the U.S., and AT&T have been working on putting together a breakup bid for Vodafone, the FT Alphaville blog said today, citing “usually reliable people” it didn’t name, reports Bloomberg.

The plan outlined by Alphaville has Verizon buying out Vodafone’s 45 percent stake, while AT&T buys the rest of the British company.

Despite the collapse of the T-Mobile deal, AT&T has still sought to grow. With American antitrust regulators unlikely to let it buy anything of scale at home, AT&T has turned its eyes abroad for possible opportunities.

Vodafone’s stock price shot up around 6 percent on the London Stock Exchange as a result of the rumor. AT&T is up slightly, as is Verizon.

The top five spots–held by China Mobile, Vodafone, América Móvil, Telefónica, and Bharti Airtel–have remained unchanged during the past year. They are have over 200 million subscribers each.

In other news, Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), the leading telecommunications operator in Russia and the CIS, and VimpelCom, based in Amsterdam, and the sixth largest mobile network operator in the world by subscribers, made a joint bid to acquire a subsidiary of Tele2 AB, Tele2 Russia, for between US$ 4.0 – 4.25 billion, including US$1.15 billion of net debt. This represents a premium of up to 30% for Tele2 AB. Tele2 AB has about 34 million customers in 11 countries. Russia is Tele2′s largest market with over 21 million subscribers.

But Tele2 AB has completed its recently announced sale of all of its Russian operations, Tele2 Russia, to VTB Group, one of the leading banks of Russia.

OJSC VimpelCom is the third-largest wireless and second-largest telecom operator in Russia (209 million mobile subs). VimpelCom’s main competitors in Russia are Mobile TeleSystems (100+ million subs) and MegaFon (62 mln subs).

Russia’s big four mobile carriers have won LTE licenses across the nation. State-run land-line giant Rostelecom won the frequency range of 791-798.5/832-839.5 MHz, MTS won 798.5-806/839.5-847 MHz, MegaFon won 806-813.5/847-854.5 MHz and VimpelCom got 813.5-821/854.50862 MHz. The auction winners will also receive frequencies in the 2.5-2.69 GHz bandwidth.

Alisher Usmanov, the Russian billionaire and majority owner of MegaFon, the second largest mobile phone operator in Russia, combined the telecoms assets of MegaFon with Scartel, the firm that runs Russia’s Yota-branded LTE network, last year.

According to Russia’s Vedomosti business daily, the combined holding will give Usmanov access to more than 50 percent of Russia’s LTE spectrum ahead of the 800 MHz auctions.

Earlier reports suggest that the merger will see Usmanov own 80 percent in a holding company, which in turn would own 100 percent of Scartel and 50 percent plus one share of MegaFon.

Scartel’s Yota – a former WiMAX operator – was transformed last year into a joint venture between MegaFon, MTS, VimpelCom and Rostelecom to build a shared LTE network. But the project has run into various problems, and several of the operators involved are reportedly now looking at launching LTE outside of the Yota arrangement.

Related Dailywireless articles include; Russian Billionaire Consolidates LTE Spectrum, Yota Switches to LTE – Overnight , Joint LTE Network in UK Planned by Vodafone and Telefónica, Yota Plans Overnight Swap from WiMAX to LTE, Europe’s Digital Divide Auction, Yota Dumps WiMAX

FCC Opens Inquiry on Phone Radiation and Health

Posted by Sam Churchill on

The FCC has formally opened a notice of inquiry into whether its cell phone radiation emission standards need to be changed — amid concerns that mobile phone radiation may cause brain cancer

The FCC said that at this point it is comfortable with the current limits on RF radiation exposure, reports Fierce Wireless.

“We continue to have confidence in the current exposure limits, and note that more recent international standards have a similar basis,” the FCC’s initial report said. Additionally, the FCC report now defines the outer ear as an “extremity,” meaning it can absorb considerably more radiation without breaching FCC guidelines.

The FCC’s guidelines, which have not been updated since 1996, set a maximum limit on radiation exposure levels based on how much heat is emitted and absorbed by cell phones.

The CTIA has long maintained that cell phone radiation does not cause cancer or other adverse health effects. Studies on the issue have been inconclusive, and the National Cancer Institute, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, has said there is no consistent evidence that radiation from cell phones increases the likelihood of cancer.