Spectrum Policy and Technology Innovations Necessary to Meet the 1000X Data Challenge

Key Solutions Outlined in 4G Americas Report

BELLEVUE, WA--(Marketwired - Oct 10, 2013) - Exponential mobile data growth and the solutions needed to address this challenge are parallel key objectives addressed in a 4G Americas' white paper published today, titled, Meeting the 1000X Challenge: The Need for Spectrum, Technology and Policy Innovation. In this paper, 4G Americas, a wireless industry trade association representing the 3GPP family of technologies, including LTE, examines the numerous enhancements to mobile technology that will dramatically increase network efficiency, yet may not be enough to meet the challenge posed by many more users, devices with larger screens and video applications driving network traffic.

"Mobile data traffic has been doubling year upon year, and the challenge is upon us today to uncover the solutions going forward to enable mobile broadband to reach its full potential for consumers, enterprises, governments and the entire wireless ecosystem," explained Chris Pearson, President of 4G Americas. "Every stakeholder across the industry needs to cooperatively explore and develop the strategies for dealing with this growth, and that includes technology enhancements and equally important spectrum policy innovations."

The multi-faceted solution to this formidable challenge is a combination of increasing the efficiency of existing assets, employing more resources in the form of small cells and spectrum, as well as adopting new ways of acquiring, deploying, operating and managing these resources. In parallel, these facets must be pursued in order to situate solutions in time to meet the ever-increasing growth in mobile data usage. The white paper recognizes the need for more exclusive use of mobile broadband spectrum for the wireless industry. It also carefully outlines a multi-pronged approach encompassing both the technology enhancements and innovative spectrum policies to allocate both premium 'internationally harmonized' spectrum assets and underutilized spectrum for mobile broadband.

Technology Enhancements to Meet the 1000X Challenge

Technology evolution and 3GPP standards have successfully increased the performance, efficiency and capabilities of wireless networks. The continuing enhancements of HSPA/HSPA+ and LTE/LTE-Advanced are needed to enable advanced services and meet the growing traffic demand. Rich services, like video, will reach peaks never imagined and machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity with new vertical industries such as the public sector, healthcare, education and safety will further increase the number of wireless connections significantly. Efficiencies in technology will need to span across macro cells, small cells, heterogeneous networks as well as spectrum utilization techniques like carrier aggregation and supplemental downlink. Devices will also need to become more efficient; advanced receivers, RF front-end optimization and intelligent connectivity, are examples of advances already made to improve efficiency in devices.

"Investing heavily in network enhancements and innovations will increase network capacity, but not nearly enough to meet the 1000X data challenge," stated Pearson. "The timely availability of internationally harmonized and exclusive use of spectrum, along with innovative complementary new approaches to unlock underutilized spectrum for mobile broadband, are crucial to meeting the needs and demands of existing and future customers."

Spectrum and Policy Innovations to Meet the 1000X Challenge

Authorized/Licensed Shared Access (ASA/LSA) is a novel spectrum authorization scheme designed to complement the two traditional authorization models: exclusive/cleared licensed and unlicensed. ASA/LSA is an innovative spectrum sharing policy approach in the form of a binary framework, granting individual exclusive spectrum rights of use for mobile broadband operations. 

Another example of policy innovation is mobile Supplemental Downlink (SDL) which allows small unpaired blocks of spectrum to be utilized in a highly efficient manner for mobile broadband through carrier aggregation. The 600 MHz, Lower 700 MHz and 1.4 GHz L-band are all examples of bands that could be well suited for SDL.

Pearson added, "The mobile industry is committed to continue investing in the development of mobile broadband technologies to ensure that innovation will support consumer, business and government demand. We believe that the policy makers are equally essential in the formula for success, by innovating through policy, as well as the allocation of premium spectrum assets." He continued, "Working together, we can leverage authorized and licensed shared access in higher frequencies with technology enhancements like small cells, Self-Organizing Networks and Supplemental Downlink to meet the growing market demand while ensuring long term investments."

The white paper, Meeting the 1000X Challenge: The Need for Spectrum, Technology and Policy Innovation, was written collaboratively by members of 4G Americas, led by Qualcomm and T-Mobile USA. This white paper is available for free download at: www.4gamericas.org.

About 4G Americas: Unifying the Americas through Mobile Broadband Technology
4G Americas is an industry trade organization composed of leading telecommunications service providers and manufacturers. The organization's mission is to promote, facilitate and advocate for the deployment and adoption of the 3GPP family of technologies throughout the Americas. 4G Americas contributes to the successful commercial rollout of 3GPP mobile broadband technologies across the Americas and their place as the No. 1 technology family in the region. The organization aims to develop the expansive wireless ecosystem of networks, devices, and applications enabled by GSM and its evolution to LTE. 4G Americas is headquartered in Bellevue, Wash., with an office for Latin America and the Caribbean in Dallas. More information is available at www.4gamericas.org.

4G Americas' Board of Governors members include: Alcatel-Lucent, América Móvil, AT&T, BlackBerry, Cable & Wireless, CommScope, Entel, Ericsson, Gemalto, HP, Mavenir, Nokia Solutions and Networks, Openwave Mobility, Powerwave, Qualcomm, Rogers, T-Mobile USA and Telefónica.