20/11/2006

O2 picocells to send mobile calls via LANs - 20 Nov 2006 - IT Week

O2 picocells to send mobile calls via LANs - 20 Nov 2006 - IT Week

It seems O2 are going to use their GSM Guard Band license to offer in-building GSM, using ADSL as backhaul.

They say they have a combined GSM/DSL router for less than Euro 100. They have a huge advantage against other Guard Band operators in that they can just plug into their own GSM network, without risk of interference to existing cells. Hand-off when outside the pico-cell will just work.

If they can really produce equipment this cheaply, then even normal ADSL will support a couple of voice calls (GSM uses a 13Kb/s codec and even after converting to VoIP may only use around 21Kb/s). Most ADSL upstream supports at least 256Kb/s, though it's contended.

It makes sense in offices, but could also attract home users, who get cheaper calls when using their own cell. As O2 recently bought Be (the local loop unbundler) they'll have a network to run the system over, though they have limited coverage at the moment.
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