26/07/2012

LOCOG bans mobile hotspots

Visitors to any of the Olympic events can bring smartphones and other devices, but are not allowed to bring mobile hotspots or 3G hubs, these are prohibited along with many items (you'd usually expect) and are listed here. Though difficult to police this is probably just to avoid WiFi interference as it's really difficult to maintain healthy signals when there are lots of random devices transmitting. There are also possibly security implications as any WiFi traffic going through the official access points can be logged, while random 3G access points would require tapping at the 3G network, which isn't so easy. Policing (if it happens) will probably be reactive when someone complains they cant access WiFi when they should be able to. Then searching out rogue hotspots is relatively easy and they can be quickly located and shut down (and anybody using a rogue 3G hotspot can be ejected and banned from future events).

25/07/2012

Qualcomm drops Mirasol

Qualcomm has decided not to continue developing the Mirasol colour e-ink display solution, though it will license the technology to other parties. Mirasol uses a MEMS display that uses low power and can produce both static displays suitable for reading and if required video (though higher power is required in that mode as the display only uses power when the image changes). One major advantage of Mirasol is that it performs well in outdoor conditions under sunlight. Qualcomm originally purchased Iridigm Display in 2004 for $170m and subsequently purchased Pixtronix for $175m in January 2012 to strengthen the Mirasol technology. Qualcomm is still going to utilise Mirasol for niche applications but will adopt a licensing model for general use.

24/07/2012

Ofcom announces 4G auction

Ofcom the super regulator has published a statement on the forthcoming 4G auction of 800MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum.

The 800MHz spectrum has become available due to the switching off of analogue television services (the digital divide) while 2.6GHz was reserved for future IMT-2000 (3G) services.

The 800MHz spectrum will be auctioned as 2 x 30 MHz blocks (paired spectrum) while the 2.6GHz band will consist of 2 x 70MHz blocks and a 50 MHz single (unpaired) block. This spectrum amounts to an 80% increase on all spectrum allocated to date.

Existing spectrum holders can bid for increased allocations, though spectrum will be reserved for a new entrant (i.e. one that isn't Telefonica O2, Everything Everywhere and Vodafone), this new entrant could be Hutchison 3G (who currently do not have any 2G i.e. sub 2 GHz spectrum.

The 800MHz licensee will have to meet 98% indoor coverage which implies 99.5% outdoor coverage, by 2017. The licensee will also have obligations to cover 95% of the populations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Ofcom will not reserve any spectrum for low power localised services, though a low power provider can apply for a national license.

Ofcom is reserving spectrum portfolios for a new entrant, these are

Portfolio800 MHz1800 MHz2.6 GHz
12 x 15 MHz
22 x 10 MHz2 x 10 MHz
32 x 5 MHz2 x 15 MHz
42 x 15 MHz2 x 20 MHz

EverythingEverywhere have to relinquish 2 x 15 MHz paired spectrum as part of their arrangements with the EU when they combined T-Mobile and Orange. Ofcom have considered the request from EverythingEverywhere as to allow them to ref arm their 1800 MHz spectrum for LTE us independently from this spectrum auction and will announce its results later this year.

Ofcom has published a draft legal document which implements the auction rules, the consultation will close on 11th September 2012.

Ofcom will invite application to bid before the end of 2012 with the auction starting in 2013 and licenses awarded in March 2013.

Winners of spectrum are expected to roll-out LTE services on the new spectrum starting in the middle of 2013 with consumer services being available after that.