Growing Support for GSM/HSPA in 1700/2100 MHz Band

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The trade group 3G Americas has expressed confidence in the growing ecosystem of leading wireless technology manufacturers that will support UMTS HSPA for the 1700 2100 MHz spectrum band. This band is known in the USA as the Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) frequency band. Not only is this band important in the USA but there is great potential for the continued allocation of 1700 2100 MHz spectrum throughout the Americas with several auctions scheduled in 2008 in other countries in the region.

3G Americas says that the combination of a large ecosystem with broad use of the 1700/2100 MHz band in many countries throughout North, Central and South America will continue the success of the GSM family of technologies.

"The two elements that will create success for the 1700/2100 MHz band are a large ecosystem of leading manufacturers and the harmonization offered by more countries in our Americas region adopting 1700/2100 MHz for advanced wireless services," noted Chris Pearson, President of 3G Americas. "These elements are now becoming evident, heightened by the focus of regulators on reserving this band for next generation mobile services."

Operators in the Americas who adopt the 1700/2100 MHz band plan will also partially benefit from the commonality of band structure between Europe and the United States. The USA specifically identifies AWS I as 1710-1755 MHz and 2110-2155 MHz, i.e. 90 MHz of spectrum. Both the USA and Europe utilize the 2110-2155 MHz bands for mobile transmit. In September 2006, the 1700/2100 MHz spectrum auction was concluded in the USA T-Mobile and AT&T were among the GSM operators who acquired spectrum, and it is anticipated that T-Mobile will be announcing the launch of their 3G network in the near future.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) endorsed the 1700/2100 MHz spectrum band, also known at 3GPP as UMTS Band IV, and this band is marked for auction or reserved in many countries in the Western Hemisphere. Canada will auction the 1700/2100 MHz band in May 2008, Chile is expected to auction this band in the first half of 2008, and Mexico will auction the same spectrum band by July 2008. Additional countries in the Americas that have reserved this band include Argentina, Colombia and Ecuador.

"Many regulatory entities throughout Latin America are faced with the important decision of choosing the appropriate spectrum bands that will provide economies of scale to deliver advanced wireless services," stated Erasmo Rojas, Director of Latin America and the Caribbean for 3G Americas. "The 1700/2100 MHz spectrum band is currently being considered by several countries, and 3G Americas expects that this will become a core band of mobile services in the region."

The 1700/2100 MHz band is particularly well-suited for UMTS/HSPA, with the 5 MHz channels perhaps providing a better spectrum fit than technologies that use narrower 1.25 MHz channels. It is expected that 1700/2100 MHz spectrum will be assigned as FDD spectrum by countries that auction it off, such as in the USA At this time, 1700/2100 MHz is an unlikely match for Mobile WiMAX 802.16e, which is not currently developed for Frequency Division Duplex (FDD). The Mobile WiMAX specification allows for FDD operation, but to date, the Mobile WiMAX system profile solely stipulates TDD. Since mobile WiMAX gets any implied cost or performance benefit by being optimized for single channel Time Division Duplex (TDD) voice and data, using the 1700/2100 MHz band could marginalize its performance. Furthermore, 3GPP's Long Term Evolution (LTE) is another prospective technology for the 1700/2100 MHz spectrum band, and is the technology of the generation beyond UMTS/HSPA.

Vicki Livingston, Director of Marketing for 3G Americas, stated, "The 1700/2100 MHz spectrum band is a growing ecosystem for UMTS/HSPA that is only partially defined today, as many companies have not made public announcements about their support for this band. For example, most major UMTS/HSPA device manufacturers already have 1700/2100 MHz production capability. We expect to see much more activity as UMTS/HSPA services are launched in this band in the coming months and additional spectrum auctions are held around the world."

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Tags: mobile wimax  3gpp  3g americas  advanced wireless services  aws  long term evolution  latin america  union  caribbean 

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