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Motorola at CTIA

Headed out to Vegas for CTIA? Here’s what Motorola has cooking on the 4G front.

LTE

Last week Motorola announced a new TD-LTE eNodeB 4Tx/8Rx product with multiple input/multiple output (MIMO). It will be on display at CTIA as part of a full portfolio of TD-LTE and FDD-LTE solutions. Motorola will also demo its LTE self-organizing network (SON) for lowering total network costs in LTE deployments.

WiMAX

Once again Motorola will have Clear WiMAX service live at the show along with a full line of WiMAX products. Motorola also announced a new WiMAX customer this morning in St. Maarten. CaribServ has chosen the Motorola Low-Teledensity ASN 1000 Gateway for its WiMAX deployment. And Sprint  just awarded Motorola a new services contract, the fifth one in five consecutive years.

More to come from the show floor. Stay tuned for talk on 2G/3G migrations to 4G, the move to 802.16m, and a World Tour display of Motorola’s 4G technology.

World’s First TD-LTE Showcase Network

The Shanghai Expo is still months away from opening, but Motorola announced this week that it has already set up a showcase TD-LTE network for the spring and summer event. The successful demonstration this week included the world’s first indoor, over-the-air TD-LTE data sessions. As announced last fall, Motorola will be the main provider of TD-LTE coverage during the Shanghai Expo, and will show the world’s first LTE USB adapters at the event in May.

Is LTE Enough?

Although LTE is just getting off the ground, the word on the street (already) is that LTE on its own may not be enough to satisfy wireless broadband demand. At the same time, according to an article in The Independent, mobile broadband sales in some mature markets are not growing fast enough to support major capex spending for 4G upgrades. Put those two issues together, and you come up with the conclusion that LTE isn’t a broadband panacea. By itself, LTE isn’t enough.

Motorola’s Bruce Brda spoke on the topic of combining wireless broadband technologies while in Barcelona last week. In the short video below, you can hear his argument that operators will need a mix of technologies including FDD LTE and TD-LTE, WiMAX, and even Wi-Fi. It’s a big change from carrier models in the past.

MWC News of the Week

You can follow along with all the news coming out of Motorola at Mobile World Congress over on the MWC digital press kit site. However, in case you’ve missed any news to date, here are some highlights from the press announcements I haven’t yet covered here. A little GSM, WiMAX and LTE all rolled into one.

New Dual-Mode Radios Optimized for LTE and GSM/E-Edge

Early on Monday Motorola announced new dual-mode base station radios designed to support migrations from GSM to LTE. The new CTU8m series radios support up to eight GSM carriers, or a combination of up to eight GSM and LTE carriers. At the same time, Motorola also introduced a new next-gen 19″ rack-mountable GSM base-band unit, the Horizon 2G-nx BBU.

Service Quality Optimization for Mobile Operators

On the second day of MWC, Motorola launched service quality optimization (SQO) as part of its global professional services portfolio. The SQO service includes analysis of end-user data streams, performance measurement against key quality indicators (KQI), and adjustments to both network elements and business processes. Given the complexity involved in managing diverse network environments, the new SQO offering is well-timed for operator migrations to 4G technology.

FITEL Awards Motorola a Second WiMAX Contract

Also today, Motorola announced a new WiMAX contract with First International Telecom (FITEL) in Taiwan.¬† It’s the second WiMAX contract with FITEL, following an initial WIMAX deployment back in 2008. WiMAX rolls on.

Photos from Mobile World Congress

Missing out on the Barcelona experience? Not to worry, between blog and Twitter coverage, it’s not difficult to stay up to date on MWC happenings. And in case you’re the visual kind, here are some photos from the show floor. Check out the LTE cafe in the second thumbnail below. The white box on the left includes a live, working Motorola LTE chipset. Meanwhile the photo of men in suits includes the Russian Minister of Telecommunications, Igor Shegolev. He’s the one right under the sign for optimization services.

UPDATE: I just learned that at one point today the LTE network running in the cafe hit 166 Mbps. That’s just two Mbps off the theoretical max. Lots of buzzing around the Motorola booth when that happened.

Second-Generation LTE Platform

LTE is barely on the radar yet for consumers, but the mobile industry is dashing ahead with enhancements, trials, and even early commercial deployments. As part of a series of news releases out of Mobile World Congress, Motorola today announced its second-generation LTE platform with the launch of the WBR 700 Series LTE eNodeB. The WBR 700 Series supports FDD and TD-LTE solutions and has an LTE baseband with up to four times the capacity of the average LTE baseband on the market today. Greater capacity means higher throughput, and ultimately that means a mobile broadband experience akin to today’s fixed-line broadband service.

It’s interesting to note that even though the new WBR 700 Series is labeled as second-gen LTE equipment, it can also properly be called fourth-generation OFDM (orthogonal frequency division multiplexing) technology. As explained in years past, Motorola is building on existing WiMAX solutions also based on OFDM.

More details on the WBR 700 Series:

  • The platform will support a wide variety of frequencies from 700 MHz to 2.6 GHz
  • As a 1U rack, the WBR 800 Series is one of the smallest and most energy-efficient eNodeBs in the industry
  • Operators using the WBR700 Series will be able to deploy multiple LTE carriers at different frequencies

Motorola Inks LTE Deal in Saudi Arabia

Motorola has been running LTE field trials for some time now, but on the eve of Mobile World Congress, the company has just announced a commercial LTE deployment with Zain in Saudi Arabia. Unlike Motorola’s TD-LTE work with China Mobile, the Zain network will be based on FDD LTE in the 2.6GHz frequency band. It will overlay the operator’s existing 3G network, with deployment beginning in the capital city of Riyadh starting in Q2.

This is not the first time Motorola and Zain have worked together. Over fifteen years, the companies have partnered in Nigeria, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. It’s that relationship plus Motorola’s five-plus years of experience with OFDM-based technology (first with WiMAX, then moving into LTE) that sealed the deal.

Notable points:

  • The LTE agreement with Zain includes radio access network (RAN) equipment, the Motorola LTE evolved packet core (EPC), devices, and integration services.
  • The Saudi Arabia deployment will include Motorola technology based on third-generation WiMAX products that have been optimized over years of field use.
  • Once deployed, commercial LTE networks around the world are expected to deliver throughput in excess of 100 Mbps and 15 ms roundtrip latency.

For more info on Motorola’s 4G technology, visit the Motorola 4G digital press kit.