Archive for May, 2011

French telecoms regulator reviews 3.5GHz band for wireless broadband

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

The French regulator has opened a public consultation on the use and development of WLL networks in the 3.5GHz band, aiming to assess the part which networks will play in fixed and wireless broadband access. The consultation will help determine technological requirements and spectrum allocations. The regulator is also consulting on refarming sub-GHz spectrum for 4G use.

For more information on these developments, see the report France – Fibre and Wireless Broadband Insights.

 

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3 Austria providing more than 50 mobile TV channels

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Mobile TV was launched in Austria in mid-2008, with each of the mobile operators having access to the DVB-H network for reselling, in addition to their own UMTS networks. A DVB-H pilot (‘mobile tv austria’) had already been launched in late 2006 by 3 Austria, A1, ORF, Siemens Austria, ORS and the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences. In mid-2008 A1, 3 Austria and Orange agreed to deliver 22 TV channels (15 via DVB-H and seven via UMTS streaming, together with five radio channels) on their networks. There are three ‘must carry’ channels: two from the public broadcaster ORF and one from ATV.

3 Austria recently launched three additional streaming channels to its mobile TV offer (Pro7 Austria, RTL and Sat.1), bringing the total to more than 50 channels and radio stations. The operator also has its 3Mobile TV app for iPhones, and provides a number of HD channels using H.264 encoding.

For more information on these developments, see the following report: Austria – Mobile Market Insights, Statistics and Forecasts

 

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UK regulator shows average mobile broadband at 1.5Mb/s

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Ofcom’s recent report, detailing tests undertaken in the last quarter of 2010, concentrated on dongles and datacards using mobile networks, rather than smartcards. Average mobile broadband speeds of 1.5Mb/s contrast with the average fixed-line speed of as 6.2Mb/s (though there are many more variables with fixed-line broadband, given the range of offers from basic DSL to FttC and Virgin Media’s DOCSIS3.0). Of the MNOs, O2 provides marginally faster downloads than its competitors, while the recently integrated networks of Everything Everywhere are slowest.

Problems of latency and poor reception, not only in rural areas but within cities as well, mean that mobile broadband remains of limited use for certain time-sensitive applications such as gaming, but since this represents only a small fraction of services available mobile broadband is rapidly (if still proportionately low) gaining traction among consumers. Indeed the report revealed that 17% of households relied on mobile broadband for access, while 7% had dispensed with fixed-line broadband altogether (compared to 3% in 2009).

Latency and poor delivery does, however, highlight the need for additional spectrum to be made available. This is being addressed on several levels. Spectrum in the 800MHz band, part of the digital dividend and currently being used for analogue TV, will be repurposed for mobile broadband when licenses are issued from the beginning of 2013. Coverage obligations are likely to be imposed for the 2.6GHz licences as well as for one 800MHz licence, to ensure that up to 2Mb/s is available to 95% of the population, so matching current 2G coverage by the end of 2017.

Ofcom has allowed the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands to be used for 3G services since the beginning of 2011, partly to encourage the launch of new services and to increase competition but also to help realise the government’s commitment to providing universal broadband services nationally. The move is in line with EC plans to remove restrictions from 2G spectrum across Europe. 3G networks using 900MHz spectrum are already operating in a number of European markets, while an increasing number of handsets and other devices available are UMTS900-ready.

Henry Lancaster
Senior Analyst, Europe

For more information on these developments, see the following report:

United Kingdom – Mobile Market – 3G, Mobile Data and Forecasts;
United Kingdom – Mobile Market – Statistics and Forecasts.

 

 

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Europe – Smart grid proves feasible

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

A trial involving 25 household in the Hoogkerk district of the City of Groningen – PowerMatching City – has demonstrated that it is possible to create a ‘smart grid’ with a corresponding market model, using existing technologies. The system enables consumers to freely exchange electricity and keeps the comfort level up to par. This is the first time in Europe, and insofar as known worldwide, that the results of a live smart grid community are known at this technological scale.

25 homes were connected with each other as part of the trial and equipped with micro combined heat and power systems (High Efficiency boilers), hybrid heat pumps, smart meters, PV panels, electric transport and smart household appliances. These homes collectively constitute a smart energy system. The project was implemented by the TNO knowledge institute (after the takeover of the ECN business unit ‘Intelligent Electricity Networks’), the software company HUMIQ and the energy company Essent, under the lead of energy consulting and testing & certification firm KEMA. In view of the success, the project will have a successor and the trial will be expanded.

Smart energy grids are required for the transition to an energy system, using renewable energy sources and the associated decentralized electricity generation facilities. This has been demonstrated by numerous  ivestigations, including those conducted by the European Union and the International Energy Agency. The underlying coordinating mechanism in PowerMatching City is based on the PowerMatcher, a software tool that balances energy demand and energy supply.

The objectives for three key involved parties were achieved: energy optimization for the end user, reduction in the grid load for the network operator and a reduction in imbalances for the utility. The second phase of the project will focus on the integration of the market model into the regular energy market processes, such as 1) settlement and billing; 2) expansion of the use of electric transport and associated smart charging services; 3) upscaling of the live lab environment and 4) congestion management at the district transformer.

It is a good thing that concrete results are now available from a project in which, for the first time, all of these technologies have been linked into a smart network through means of a single market mechanism. The results are very encouraging and of major importance to the transition to a sustainable energy supply.’ said Thijs Aarten, chairman of the KEMA Board of Directors.

(Source: KEMA, May 20)

Senator Conroy will visit this demonstration site during his visit to the Netherlands in early June

For more information see:

Europe – Smart Grid Developments – 2011

Smart Grids – After Copenhagen

 

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France Telecom promoting m-health in Africa using SMS

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Orange recently announced two partnerships in Africa aimed at using its subsidiaries’ mobile networks for healthcare and health systems. These include Text to Change in Cameroon, using SMS as an alert system on child exploitation, and a partnership with mPedigree in both Kenya and Cameroon using SMS to enable people to verify the authenticity of their prescription drugs.

Orange in 2007 set up its ‘Orange Healthcare’ programme across its footprint in Africa and the Middle East: the company currently operates in 20 countries (principally francophone) in the region, and serves about 60 million mobile customers. The success of Orange Healthcare rests on the assumption that most locals have restricted access to TV and other media and that fixed-line telephony is in many areas non-existent or erratic. However, about half of the population is these countries has access to a mobile phone, and so mobile networks have a greater potential as a medium to promote health education and services (through remote care or treatment support)

Text to Change is a Dutch NGO which uses mobile telephony to promote awareness of humanitarian and health-related issues, operating in conjunction with MNOs and government agencies. Orange’s partnership allows Text to Change to access the former’s subscribers. SMS is used to deliver surveys on related issues and act as a feed-back medium.

Orange’s cooperation with mPedigree is aimed at countering counterfeit medicines (up to 25% of medicines are potentially counterfeit). Through the initiative, legitimate medicines are provided with verification codes which patients can send via SMS to check for authenticity against a database managed by mPedigree’s partners in the pharmaceutical industry. Orange provides the network infrastructure for the scheme.

By these measures Orange is aiming to associate itself with m-health initiatives and so become the preferred telecom player for future schemes, as well as for mobile telephony and data services generally.

Henry Lancaster
Senior Analyst, Europe

For more information on these developments, see the following reports:

France – Mobile Market – Statistics and Forecasts;
Cameroon – Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts;
Kenya – Mobile Market – Overview, Statistics and Forecasts.

 

 

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