Proxicast 3G Cellular Data Industry News

FCC Proposes Free, Powerful Wi-Fi Public Networks

2/4/2013 2:21:44 PM:
The Federal Communications Commission is proposing the creation of free, powerful Wi-Fi networks that could dramatically change wireless access to the Internet in the U.S. The plan would be the first of its kind for any country.

The Plplan would require TV stations in local markets to sell a portion of their airwaves to the federal government, which would then make them available as public Wi-Fi networks. No timeline has been indicated.

Compared with existing Wi-Fi networks, the new ones would have greater penetration through walls and over hills, would be able to travel much further, and would make Wi-Fi available throughout virtually every city and many rural areas. Industry observers have also suggested that the Wi-Fi networks could potentially be as fast, or faster, than LTE.

'Vibrantly Free Market Approach'

With the higher penetration and longer reach, the new Wi-Fi networks could engender a wide array of new services in medicine, education or transportation. It could also reduce communications costs for schools, hospitals and other public institutions, as well as for businesses and home users.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement that "freeing up unlicensed spectrum is a vibrantly free market approach that offers low barriers to entry to innovators developing the technologies of the future, and benefits consumers."

The networks could also create major competition to phone calling through the private carriers, since voice-over-Internet traffic would be more widely available -- and would be free. The new networks could also replace hard-wired or wireless Internet connections in many areas for businesses and consumers, or provide high-speed connections where none exist.

It is for these reasons that the proposal is raising strong objections from the existing carriers and cable operators. AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless, among others, have written to the FCC that it should sell the airwaves to private operators. But some technology...

T-Mobile pushes its own plan for 600 MHz mobile broadband

2/4/2013 12:12:10 PM:

T-Mobile USA lent its voice to the debate over the FCC's planned incentive auctions for repurposed broadcast television spectrum, outlining a proposed band plan, lobbying for 600 MHz interoperability and pushing for spectrum caps on frequencies below 1 GHz.

Kathleen Ham

Kathleen Ham

T-Mobile supports much of the FCC's plan to reallocate and reassign 600 MHz spectrum from broadcast TV to mobile broadband use but is suggesting a number of tweaks, wrote Kathleen Ham, T-Mobile's vice president of federal regulatory affairs, in a blog post on the company website.

A group of wireless carriers, broadcasters and manufacturers recently suggested locating all paired spectrum above TV Channel 37. "While we are open to further study with the FCC on the best plan to maximize paired spectrum in the auction, this approach has the benefit of avoiding certain potential interference issues that exist with the FCC's lead plan and would encourage rapid development of devices that meet consumer expectations for cost and size," said Ham.

The FCC voted in late September to begin setting rules that will govern voluntary incentive auctions of broadcast TV spectrum for mobile broadband use, with auctions envisioned to begin in 2014. The agency anticipates creating 6 MHz guard bands to separate spectrum blocks used by carriers and opening up vacant "white space" between the blocks for unlicensed use.

Ham was part of a contingent of T-Mobile representatives who met with numerous FCC officials on Jan. 30 to plead the operator's case for a revised band plan. That plan would create 35 x 35 MHz of paired spectrum and seven paired 5 MHz blocks, limiting what the company contends are wasteful guard bands and creating "meaningful opportunities for competition." The plan would accommodate a supplemental downlink when more than 84 MHz (14 TV channels) is cleared.

The operator is also lobbying the FCC to require interoperability across the entire 600 MHz band. T-Mobile contends that mandating interoperability from the start of the auction would provide clarity to potential licensees and minimize costs.

Interoperability has become a sticking point for smaller operators with 700 MHz spectrum that is incompatible with the 700 MHz band classes held by market leaders AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ). Those smaller operators have found it difficult to procure mobile devices that will work on their frequencies because vendors do not see sufficient volumes. For nearly a year, the FCC has been exploring whether to require 700 MHz interoperability, which would require carriers to sell handsets that support multiple 700 MHz bands, not just the bands in which they own licenses.

Along with mandated 600 MHz interoperability, T-Mobile wants the commission to offer what it terms generic, fungible spectrum licenses that are not frequency-specific within each geographic area. In addition, the licenses should be separated by major economic areas rather than the smaller economic areas because most carriers need larger license areas to provide competitive wireless broadband service, said the operator in its FCC presentation.

In addition, T-Mobile is pushing for spectrum caps to prevent further consolidation of spectrum below 1 GHz. "The commission should adopt rules that prohibit any licensee from acquiring more than a certain percentage of spectrum below 1 GHz, applied on a market-by-market basis," wrote Ham.

"Adopting a spectrum-based cap equal to one-third of the available commercial mobile spectrum below 1 GHz would give bidders reasonable assurances that they can meaningfully compete for spectrum in a geographic area without the risk of only one or two of the largest carriers commandeering the entire market," she said.

In its FCC presentation, T-Mobile displayed a graph showing that AT&T and Verizon Wireless together currently hold in excess of 100 MHz of lower-band spectrum averaged across the top 100 markets, while all other carriers combined hold barely over 20 MHz.

Since September 2012, the FCC has been considering changes to its so-called spectrum-screen, which it uses when reviewing spectrum transactions. Not surprisingly, AT&T and Verizon have argued against rules that would reduce how much spectrum carriers can hold in certain markets, while smaller carriers are pushing for proposals that would limit the spectrum holdings of the nation's two largest carriers.

For more:
- see this T-Mobile blog post
- see this FCC ex parte filing and presentation

Related articles:
Verizon, AT&T clash with Sprint and others over spectrum caps
Broadcasters form coalition to support FCC's incentive spectrum auctions
Execs: 700 MHz interoperability will unleash investment, jobs
FCC's Genachowski: We're on track to free up 300 MHz of spectrum by 2015
FCC gives details for 2014 auction of broadcast spectrum for mobile broadband
AT&T to rural carriers: Seek LTE interoperability with Sprint, T-Mobile
FCC to set rules for spectrum auctions that could occur in 2014

Oracle buys carrier VoIP company Acme Packet for $1.7B

2/4/2013 11:35:18 AM:
The deal puts Oracle at the exact point where enterprise and telecom networks meet and taps Oracle into the emerging 4G VoIP space. Oracle could also use Acme expand its carrier cloud business

Top 10 tech upgrades to make your small business run faster

2/4/2013 11:22:17 AM:

If you run a small business, you know that things happen faster than they do in the corporate world. Thats all the more reason to make sure your technology is up to date and is able to keep up with you and your employees.

If you're lucky enough to have extra funds in this year's IT budget, or if you're planning to invest in incremental improvements, here are 10 tech upgrades that will help your employees get things done faster in 2013.

Shriek! Texts on Missing Kids Startle Cell Users

2/4/2013 6:28:24 AM:
The next time a child is abducted near you, your cell phone may shriek to life with an alert message. A new national Amber Alert system officially rolled out earlier this month to millions of cell phones, and because the alerts are automatically active on most newer phones, the messages have already taken tens of thousands of people by surprise.

The newly-expanded emergency alert system is an effort by FEMA to update the way it reaches people with new technologies, but local officials and others worry that the lack of public education and some initial stumbles may undermine the program's purpose, especially when people are startled and annoyed and choose to opt out.

Lisa Rott was jolted from her sleep at 1:44 a.m. earlier this month in her Sarasota, Fla. home. A high-pitched tone sounded in spurts for about 10 seconds while her phone buzzed multiple times.

Initially Roth, 50, was worried something had happened to her elderly mother. Then she saw the message: "Emergency Alert: Amber Alert. An Amber Alert has been issued in your area. Please check local media."

"I thought it was spam," said Rott, who works for AT&T as a process engineer. And because her cell phone has a New Jersey number, she wasn't sure exactly where the alert originated. The next morning Rott searched online for both New Jersey and Florida incidents yielding one likely possibility -- hours away from her home.

"What are we supposed to do?" Roth said. "They're not telling us what to do, they're not even telling us what to look for in our area."

Later that morning Rott called AT&T, her service provider, and asked them how to make the "worthless" messages stop.

Dozens of people have similarly taken to Facebook and Twitter to comment on being startled awake, scared by their phone's activity, and frustrated...

Three To Offer 4G At No Extra Cost

2/3/2013 7:00:01 PM:

Three are going to add 4G to their Ultrafast network without additional cost for existing and new customers.

EE Bring 4G To Another 9 Towns

2/3/2013 7:00:01 PM:

EE have brought their 4G to another 9 towns which brings the total number up to 4G-enabled towns and cities to 27.

FirstNet shroud of secrecy raising public-safety vendors' ire

2/3/2013 5:58:08 PM:

The board of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) will hold its next meeting on Feb. 12, giving it a chance to respond publicly to a barrage of complaints regarding the board's perceived lack of transparency and responsiveness.

FirstNet is charged with building the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN), which will use LTE technology in the 700 MHz band. Next week's meeting, which will be open to the public, will be held at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Radio Building in Boulder, Colo.

In a statement sure to raise the ire of those who already feel FirstNet is being too secretive, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which oversees FirstNet, issued a statement disclosing that some of the Boulder meeting may be closed "to preserve the confidentiality of commercial or financial information that is privileged or confidential, to discuss personnel matters, or to discuss legal matters" affecting FirstNet.

The FirstNet board has been on the job since August 2012 and has had only two meetings--one in September and one in December--raising frustration levels among representatives of the public-safety sector. An overall lack of communication and failure to address responses solicited as part of a notice of inquiry (NOI) process initiated last fall point to problems, said some panelists during a roundtable organized by project-management firm Textron in Washington, D.C.

"We are concerned that there has been something of a cone of silence dropped around the process," said Brian Hendricks, global head of technology policy for telephone-equipment maker Nokia Siemens Networks. Meetings with the FirstNet board are difficult to set up, which "leaves most of us with the sense that we're sort of fumbling around in the dark for the light switch, and that is a concern," added Hendricks, who was quoted by Bloomberg.

"It seems FirstNet has kind of shut themselves off," said Donald Hairston, a senior vice president at Textron. "How do you build systems if you don't talk to your users?"

Panelists expressed frustration that despite FirstNet receiving 133 NOI submissions before the end of 2012, there still has been no official acknowledgement of the suggestions that were offered, according to Urgent Communications.

Roundtable participants also addressed a conundrum facing FirstNet's board: whether to build a commercial network that meets public safety's needs or build a public safety network that can be opened for commercial use by network operators.

"Commercial interests are not going to be aligned with public safety--if that were the case, maybe we wouldn't need all of this activity in the first place," said Don Brittingham, vice president of national-security and public-safety policy for Verizon Wireless, who was quoted by Urgent Communications.

FirstNet board member Jeff Johnson, a retired Oregon fire chief, issued a statement addressing concerns expressed by those at the roundtable. He said people are misconstruing the time being taken to set up FirstNet "as a lack of desire to listen and discuss our plans."

FirstNet intends to reach out to the public-safety community, state, local governments and tribes, Johnson said, adding that FirstNet board members have already begun meeting with these stakeholders."We are anxious to kick off a broader dialog with the vending community in the second quarter of this year," he said.

For more:
- see this NTIA notice
- see this Urgent Communications article
- see this Bloomberg article

Related articles:
Deloitte: FirstNet and the public-private model
VoLTE outshines emergency communications radios
Khan: U.S. needs a private public safety LTE network
FirstNet may soon decide fate of suspended BTOP-funded networks
Little consensus in early FirstNet comments
FirstNet faces long odds for success

Cisco StadiumVisionMobile leverages Wi-Fi multicast

2/3/2013 4:19:27 PM:

Cisco System's new StadiumVision Mobile platform is using Wi-Fi stadium networks to deliver live, multicast video to fans' smartphones and tablets.

"Cisco StadiumVision Mobile represents the industry's first proven solution to use multicast over Wi-Fi, which enables one source to be broadcast over an optimized network to many devices in a highly efficient way. This is a significant advancement over traditional unicast solutions, where one video channel is replicated multiple times across the network to each device," said Cisco.

The product uses a Cisco Connected Stadium Wi-Fi network and is being implemented by the Brooklyn Nets (Barclays Center), Real Madrid (Estadio Santiago Bernabeu) and Sporting Kansas City (Sporting Park) in their respective venues.

Using an integrated with an in-venue app, StadiumVision Mobile provides live video and data feeds with minimal delay and offers multiple channels of unique content such as a replay channel, an alternate-view channel that offers a view of the bench during timeouts plus a data channel for stats, trivia contests and multi-player games.

"Real-time delivery of multimedia to mobile devices in the venue creates the opportunity for teams, venues and leagues to connect with fans through targeted advertising, sponsorship activations, promotions, branding and more," said Cisco. In addition, a stadium can offer a venue-wide "moment of exclusivity," through which one specific sponsor can own every screen option in the venue, including big board, HD displays and now mobile devices.

The Cisco Connected Sports and Entertainment portfolio now enables Connected Stadium teams to connect with fans through HD displays using StadiumVision, enable fans to share their experience via social media channels using Connected Stadium Wi-Fi and place them at the center of the experience with live video using StadiumVision Mobile.

"StadiumVision Mobile is a key component of Barclays Center's official mobile app. Our goal was to make Barclays Center one of the most technologically advanced venues in the world and deliver an app to fans that includes incredible features like live video, the ability to order concessions from your seat and pick them up without standing in line and a plethora of other team and venue information," said Chip Foley, director of building technology, Forest City Ratner, which is the Barclays Center developer.

Mobile carriers and venue managers are increasingly eyeing Wi-Fi as a way to address the wireless data usage demands of high-profile events. Providing Wi-Fi in stadiums is a growing business worldwide, whether done on a standalone basis or in conjunction with mobile networks.

For more:
- see this Cisco release

Related articles:
Verizon not the only carrier eyeing LTE Broadcast
Jarich: Carrier Wi-Fi circa 2013: Dinosaurs and awards
Ericsson aims to score with Wi-Fi for stadiums
NFL adding free Wi-Fi to stadium experience
The NFL turns to mobile to revolutionize the stadium experience

Intracom and ZTE roll out small cell backhaul products

2/3/2013 2:07:50 PM:

Both Greece's Intracom Telecom and China's ZTE announced backhaul solutions for small cell deployments, reflecting growing marketplace demand for these types of offerings.

Intracom unveiled StreetNode, an outdoor small-cell backhaul platform designed to deliver carrier-grade wireless backhaul networking at the street level and on wall surfaces or lamp posts.

StreetNode features aesthetics designed to blend uniformly with street-level furniture, said the company. The platform features software-defined radio operation, an integrated auto-aligning antenna plus point-to-point or point-to-multipoint operation, said Athens-based Intracom.

The company said its unified management suite, uni|MS, enables touchless service provisioning of StreetNode with advanced SON features for plug-and-play connection to the network.

Intracom counts more than 100 customers in 50-plus countries, including fixed and mobile telecom operators, public authorities and large enterprises.

Meanwhile, ZTE announced a series of backhaul solutions for LTE small cells. The products provide  support for a wide range of data transmission methods, including packet bearer network, fixed broadband--through PON, xDSL and cable--microwave wireless, Wi-Fi non-line-of-sight (NLOS) and TD-LTE.

The series offers transmission modules for DSL, PON, cable, Wi-Fi and TD-LTE. "This can help operators reduce the cost of site rental, and enable easier engineering implementation, cutting the total cost of ownership. The support for wireless transmission modules such as Wi-Fi and TD-LTE also addresses the non-line-of-sight (NLOS) challenges of network construction in urban areas," said ZTE.

For more:
- see this Intracom release
- see this ZTE release

Related articles:
Survey: Cost may trip up carriers' small cell plans
UPDATED: FairPoint to bring Ethernet backhaul to 1,300 New England towers
Updated: Infonetics: Small cell backhaul equipment will be a $5B cumulative market by 2016
Analyst: 98% of operators say small cells are essential for the future
LightPointe 60 GHz backhaul radio includes 5 GHz backup plan
Altobridge's Data-at-the-Edge cuts carrier's mobile backhaul costs by 40%
Report: Small cell shipments to hit 5M annually by 2017

HP's building an avatar to manage your mobile connections

2/1/2013 8:45:56 AM:

Hewlett-Packard researchers are developing a cloud-based "avatar" to manage all of a user's mobile devices and wireless networks.

Their idea is to give individual users an identity that transcends the many smartphones, tablets, and other devices they may carry, as well as all the Wi-Fi and cellular networks they use in different situations. HP's avatar would pick the best combination of hardware and network for each situation and automatically set up and take down connections, said HP Fellow Paul Congdon, who works in the company's Networking & Communications Lab.

Samsung Galaxy Note Getting Android 4.1.2

1/31/2013 7:00:01 PM:

The Samsung Galaxy Note looks set to get updated to Android 4.1.2 any day now !

Blackberry Z10 Coming To Three

1/31/2013 7:00:01 PM:

The Blackberry Z10 is coming to Three where it'll be available on some truly amazing deals.

AT&T: Two market trials show small cells are a 100% solution

1/31/2013 9:45:07 AM:

AT&T (NYSE:T) has already successfully tested small cell deployments in two U.S. cities--where the devices won rave reviews--in preparation for rolling out more than 40,000 small cells by the end of 2015.

The operator's first trial deployments are in Crystal Lake Park, Mo. and Waukesha, Wis., said John Donovan, senior executive vice president, AT&T technology and network operations, in a blog post.

An outdoor metrocell deployment across an area of poor coverage in Crystal Lake Park, a suburb of St. Louis, enabled a 17 percent increase in mobile traffic on AT&T's network in the deployment area and boosted the outdoor area to nearly 100 percent usable coverage, said Donovan.

The operator also trialed small cells indoors at what Donovan described as a "previously problematic" building in Waukesha, Wis. "The trial decreased the dropped call rate in the building, allowed for a 15 percent increase in mobile traffic on our network where the solution was deployed and also resulted in nearly 100 percent usable coverage," he wrote.

AT&T is building toward a broader small cell rollout later in 2013, said Donovan, without giving specifics.

Source: AT&T

AT&T's small cell strategy will take a precisely targeted, rather than shotgun, approach to bringing wireless service to areas with problematic coverage.

"We have a tremendous amount of data, so we can see where we have potential performance challenges within the network," Gordon Mansfield, AT&T's executive director for small-cell solutions, said in an interview with Wired. "We'll use that data to help guide where we go target the solutions, creating a strategy based on a prioritized list driven mainly by capacity and performance."

Wi-Fi is also expected to play a leading role in AT&T's coverage densification efforts. At an investor's conference in early January, Donovan stated that AT&T's objective for 2014 is to include Wi-Fi in all of its small cell or in-building systems.

AT&T's massive deployment of small cells over the next two years is part of its expansive Project Velocity IP (or VIP), a multibillion program announced last fall under which AT&T will deploy more than 40,000 small cells, 10,000 new macrocells and 1,000 distributed antenna systems (DAS) throughout its service footprint.

AT&T is not alone in looking at small cells as a coverage solution. In a recent survey of mobile operators conducted by Informa Telecoms & Media, 98 percent of operators contacted believe small cells will be key elements of their network architecture going forward. Further, 55 percent of the poll's respondents were most interested in public access small cell deployments over the next year, while 35 percent were most interested in enterprise rollouts.

ABI Research recently forecast that shipments of outdoor small cells will reach 500,000 units in 2013. Outdoor small cell units will grow at 52.7 percent CAGR and exceed 3.5 million units by 2018. The fastest growing outdoor class of small cells are LTE small cells, which will grow to reach almost 1 million unit shipments in 2018, said the research firm.

However, Infonetics Research has cautioned that outdoor small cell gear faces some hurdles to broad adoption. Aside from cost issues, outdoor small cell gear is still on the large side, and there are problems backhauling in dense urban areas, not to mention municipal regulations regarding the look, size and color of the equipment and who can mount equipment on streetlights, utility poles and building sides, said the firm.

For more:
- see this AT&T blog entry
- see this AT&T infographic (PDF)
- see this Wired article
- see this ABI release

Related articles:
Survey: Cost may trip up carriers' small cell plans
AT&T: Wi-Fi will be in all of our small cell deployments
Updated: Infonetics: Small cell backhaul equipment will be a $5B cumulative market by 2016
Analyst: 98% of operators say small cells are essential for the future
Analyst: AT&T to launch LTE Advanced in second half of 2013
AT&T's Rinne dishes on carrier aggregation trials, small cells and more
AT&T sets wireless, wireline expansion via Project VIP

Deloitte: FirstNet and the public-private model

1/31/2013 9:00:00 AM:

Industry Voices

Brett Haan, Craig Wigginton and Kevin Thompson

Brett Haan, Kevin Thompson and Craig Wigginton

Since the 9/11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina and, most recently, Super Storm Sandy, the need for an interoperable national public safety communications system has been well-known. Last February, Congress took the important step of committing funds and spectrum and resources to this goal. Yet the political capital expended will be wasted, and public safety potentially compromised, unless there is greater cooperation among state officials, federal agencies and commercial telecommunications firms.

Congress created the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) as an independent entity to plan and build a National Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN). Although it is an enormous task, the NPSBN can become a reality--if the FirstNet board accepts two premises: 1) the NPSBN must be state-centric, addressing the needs of its primary users, and 2) a successful build-out requires collaboration with states, federal entities, and commercial telecommunications carriers. Understanding and balancing the perspectives of these groups is vital to building, operating and paying for FirstNet.

Most importantly for the wireless industry, FirstNet could become a test-bed for new public-private partnerships that would open spectrum for commercial use, with substantial implications for the future wireless broadband economy. Being at the leading edge of spectrum-sharing could benefit not only FirstNet but overall wireless economic development. This will only happen if FirstNet strikes the appropriate balance between public and commercial interests. It must make the opportunity attractive for both commercial participation and states: Without them FirstNet may stumble; with them FirstNet could become an innovative model for wireless broadband. Encouraging states and commercial carriers to create their own partnerships may be the best answer.

State involvement is crucial. As Sandy revealed, governors and mayors are the frontline in any disaster. They know their existing communications infrastructure and understand their unique public safety needs. For example, Western states with vast rural areas and federal lands have different requirements than major cities. A cooperative approach could leverage state relationships with other entities--such as utilities and the National Guard--whose existing communications infrastructure could speed the NPSBN construction, reduce costs and provide additional paying customers. Congress mandated that FirstNet must cover the nation, rural and urban, and that the governor (or other designated state officer) be FirstNet's point-of-contact for city, county, regional and tribal entities.

For governors, NPSBN presents fiscal, procedural and philosophical concerns. States will be paying for it, and to some, FirstNet looks like another unfunded federal mandate. In a bi-partisan letter sent to the administration and FirstNet this summer, the National Governors Association outlined its concern, saying appointments to the FirstNet board "failed to provide states with adequate representation." Indeed, 33 states filed comments with the administration regarding state participation and the need to leverage existing investments. Minimizing state participation in the planning of FirstNet will alienate the very people who will be the primary users--and paying customers.

While FirstNet's license is for the 700 MHz band, governors take a holistic view of broadband issues in their states. For example, state and local entities are already struggling with the mandate that public safety move off existing public safety radio spectrum, the T-band. T-Band and FirstNet must be considered together--they came from the same legislation and involve the same users. T-Band affects a half-million police across virtually every major U.S. city. These cities lack adequate funding or guidance for replacing radio systems to move to an as-yet-unspecified spectrum band. FirstNet cannot be divorced from the concerns of major cities and should understand state skepticism toward new federal directives.

Recognizing that governors best know their states, the legislation allows states to build and run their own portion of the NPSBN, effectively "opting-out" of FirstNet, provided they meet FCC guidelines for interoperability. Utimately, governors will do what is in the best interests of their states. Because FirstNet needs states more than states need FirstNet, it cannot afford to alienate them by taking a stance on opt-out. The goal must be a collaborative working relationship, whether opt-in or opt-out is best for the state.

Collaboration with various federal entities, especially the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is also important. A recent executive order gives DHS a leading role overseeing broadband communications during a crisis. Consistent with this mandate, DHS could assume a greater leadership role on the FirstNet Board, representing and giving greater voice to other agencies that are important for the success of FirstNet. FirstNet should also look to other federal agencies, such as the Defense Information Systems Agency, Federal Aviation Administration or even the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), for alternatives to building out its own core network. USPS, in particular, has experience providing nationwide service at a local level, including rural America. Working with other federal agencies will help FirstNet leverage existing Federal investments and potentially bring in new users.

Beyond public-sector collaboration, creating a viable public-private partnership requires engaging the commercial community. Shared commercial use of the 700 MHz band controlled by FirstNet represents an important source of revenue to offset capital expenditures and operating costs of the NPSBN, but potential partners need clear guidelines to determine if participation is economically viable. For example, the commercial rights-to-use relative to public safety use shapes the revenue potential for commercial service. Fundamental questions about what types of events constitute public safety use, how the "start" and "end" points of these events are determined and by whom, and what the public safety use profile might be during these events must be addressed for carriers.

Operational requirements and investment needed to build and operate the network are equally important to its sustainability. For example, to meet public safety standards under emergency conditions, how robust must the network be and under what conditions must it operate? Technology and operational standards already in use in the commercial wireless industry are, in some cases, inadequate for public safety, as the outages during past disasters have demonstrated. But hardening the system (e.g., deploying cell towers and operational infrastructure that can withstand hurricane-force winds and flooding) will require substantial investment that must be supported by a commensurate revenue model. With uncertain costs and opaque requirements, carriers cannot be expected to make open-ended commitments to a nationwide network. FirstNet won't get the carrier participation needed to make the NPSBN a reality without clarity on these obligations.

FirstNet is an imperative for nationwide public safety and disaster response. It is a complex undertaking, yet FirstNet can successfully build out a viable business and public safety model if it bridges the cultures and establishes a collaborative working relationship with states, federal agencies and the commercial community. In a report entitled, "What Should FirstNet Do First," former FCC Homeland Security Bureau Chief Jamie Barnett identified that the risk to FirstNet is not that states "opt-in or -out" but that states and commercial carriers simply ignore FirstNet. We cannot afford a repeat of the last D-Block auction, where intricate plans were built in a vacuum, and ultimately rejected, when commercial firms did not bid. One way to avoid this is to encourage states and carriers to partner at the local level. We cannot afford to squander this national asset nor fail our First Responders. 

Simply put, FirstNet needs state, federal and commercial participation, and it needs to act now to secure it.

Brett Haan is principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP; Craig Wigginton is U.S. telecommunications sector leader for Deloitte LLP; Kevin Thompson is senior manager, Deloitte Consulting LLP. As used in this document, "Deloitte" means Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries.

At $22 per GB, N. America is 2nd most expensive region for mobile broadband, study finds

1/30/2013 4:14:43 PM:

Mobile subscribers in the Asia Pacific region have the cheapest mobile data service plans in the world, according to research firm Quantum-Web. Meantime, Latin America is home to the world's most expensive mobile data plans at an average of $23 per gigabyte--double that of Asia Pacific.

North America is the second most expensive region in terms of mobile data pricing, followed by Africa, the Middle East and Europe. The findings were included in the executive summary of Quantum-Web's fourth-quarter 2012 broadband tariffs analysis, a copy of which was obtained by FierceBroadbandWireless

Quantum-Web, which tracks 3G and 4G mobile broadband tariffs, found considerable pricing variation among individual operators. Under a 10-gigabyte shared data plan, Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), the world's largest LTE operator, charges about $6 per gigabyte. However, the average U.S. mobile broadband tariff works out to more than $22 per gigabyte, said the research firm.

In Canada, where the average mobile broadband tariff is close to $15.75, Videotron sits at the low-end of the market by charging $3.80 per gigabyte. Rogers, however, charges a whopping $48.30 per gigabyte, making the Canadian operator's mobile broadband tariff the priciest in North America, said Quantum-Web.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, Cable & Wireless in Jamaica levies an expensive mobile broadband tariff quite close to that of Rogers, while Antel in Uruguay has the region's cheapest price at around $3.25 per gigabyte.

For more:
- see this Quantum-Web release

Related articles:
EE slashes LTE pricing as UK spectrum auction gets underway
Report: Mobile challengers needed to drive down data prices in EU
Verizon Wireless gained 2.1M net adds during Q4
AT&T, Verizon LTE users suck up 36% more data than 3G users
Analysys Mason: A structured approach to data pricing is the first step to profitability

What IT needs to know about near-field communications

1/29/2013 6:00:00 AM:

The rise of near-field communications (NFC) has been part of the discussion in the mobile industry for years. Unfortunately, the technology hasn't generated much more than discussion to this point.