|Mobile & Cell Phone Information|
Indian Mobile Infrastructure - To 3G or Not To 3G
To most overseas investors circa 1994, a first look at the Indian Telecommunication Policy appeared to mitigate concerns. In our naiveté, we expected this Policy to put India at least on par with China where a stifling regime governed telecommunications. A disastrous implementation however ensured India languished behind its neighbor on tele-density, cellular usage and broadband coverage.
Fortunately, later developments like the Unified Licensing Scheme, albeit a reactionary response to events threatening to overwhelm TRAI (the Regulator), do pull Indian de-regulation ahead of even places like Hong Kong where a unified scenario is only just being discussed. Merits of particular aspects of de-regulation notwithstanding, the overseas investor expects to see a clear roadmap forward if the increase in permissible FDI to 74% has to hold any meaning. The recent imbroglio on the future of the 1900MHz band is an excellent opportunity for TRAI to use the controversy to draw up precisely such a map.
Of equal concern to the foreign investor and something on which operators on both sides of the GSM-CDMA divide concur, is the demise of high margin demand. The future holds a long slog uphill for every rupee increase to the ARPU (Average Revenue per User). Making it more interesting is the futility of erstwhile successful product and marketing strategies under today's margin conditions. Additionally when one last looked, the government had its hand in the till for an unbelievable 22-25% of revenues in the form of license fees, revenue share and a second license fee through a disingenuous "spectrum usage charge". Add the Access Deficit Charge (ADC) ransom being paid out to the Dominant carrier BSNL and one cannot blame some investors for setting aside their calculators and heading for the door.
With cellular collection rates at abysmal levels thanks to the pseudo-WLL/CDMA roll outs, the cellular operators look at additional infrastructure investments with trepidation. However, innovative value-added services being one of the few ways to elevate ARPUs out of their funk, invest they must. How intelligently they do so, decides their fate.
The 2003-04 EDGE (Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution) deployment by some GSM operators is the sort of response one hoped to see. Cost effectively providing three times the data capacity of GPRS, EDGE gives operators like Bharti, Hutch and IDEA the delivery system to offer innovative information and entertainment based services, as well as economically venture into rural areas. Using the same TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) frame structure as GSM, EDGE allows existing cell plans to remain intact. On the other hand it uses a new modulation scheme that is also used for UMTS/3G. This makes it a sort of half-way house to 3G, for those still brave enough to contemplate that option. However while EDGE was a smart decision, the jury is still out on 3G.
Emulating European cellular operators whose track record belies such faith, some Indian cellular carriers have nevertheless started chalking out transition paths towards that Holy Grail. Even if the collection rates in India were not as dismal as they are, deploying 3G could be a disaster waiting to happen. It was heartening therefore when the Indian IT Minister stated last year that India aims to leapfrog to fourth-generation wireless technology, skipping 3G as it has not been found cost-effective. This is one of the rare occasions when the industry is well served by listening to its Minister.
However these are mere words until the Honorable Minister first unfetters VOIP (Voice-over-IP). Unless the chastity belt around VOIP networks is discarded and they are allowed to mingle with the PSTN, India is going to tie itself into knots over 4G, inside which by the way, the pervasive theme is IP. Living outside India one usually lags behind unfolding events, but to the best of my knowledge even today the VOIP ? PSTN interconnect incredibly, remain illegal.
One beneficial outcome to the 1996 fiasco surrounding the bids for regional circles has been an all around reluctance to consider further auctions, including for 3G. This saved Indian operators from the fate of their European counterparts. While Europe's 3G license fees did nothing to secure a future for the technology, emerging OFDMA (WiFi/ WiMax MMDS) alternatives may very well deliver the coup de grace. Whatever the counter-arguments out there, the fact that 3G services in The UK still resort to distress sales of basic voice services to garner a customer base, says it all.
Unlike EDGE, going 3G does not just involve software upgrades and the math becomes more daunting by orders of magnitude. For starters, the air-interface/ frame structure (WCDMA as against TDMA) is totally different. This means changes at every cell-site in the network. And then of course there is the entire wherewithal required to inter-operate with existing 2G elements of the network.
An alternative however does exist, that until recently dare not speak its name for fear of the Telecommunication establishment.
Contrary to negative press stemming largely from the large cellular operators, it's possible to co-opt Wireless LANs (WLANs) into one eco-system with cellular networks. An EDGE-enabled cellular network patched into WLAN (WiFi/WiMax) networks in high density locations could allow Indian operators to deliver high-speed data services with laser precision exactly where required and at far less costs than in 3G-ing a similar area. I trust this is akin to what the IT Minister has in mind. Additionally, such meshed network could provide indoor voice connectivity over cell phones in broadband-enabled locations with poor cellular reception.
An interesting twist comes from the recent furtive WiMax deployment in Japan by Vodafone and elsewhere by other marquee 3G operators, vidicating the position taken in this paper.
The cellular operator may have to offer different fixed line/broadband type tariff structures in these locations, raising fears that they would eat into cellular revenues, But one has to wonder how much of the generated traffic would represent cannibalized revenue and how much would bring in incremental dollars from traffic presently going any way over fixed/wireless broadband and over the different flavors of Voice over Broadband (VoB) services used increasingly from precisely such locations.
No one touts OFDMA air-interfaces as an alternative to WCDMA /3G. It's the integration of the two technologies that creates a potentially winning alternative, especially in the Indian context. Integrating selected WLAN Hot spots into a cellular network requires an IP Network Controller (INC), an IP access network, a patch to allow the WLAN access network to issue the relevant accounting information to the cellular AAA (authentication, authorization, and accounting) server and an investment in IP roaming. Barring a few more widgets, that's essentially it.
Given the relative simplicity of this solution, anyone who has seen engineers sweat over cell site deployment in congested locations has to wonder why the operators have not already adopted WLAN to augment cellular coverage on the cheap.
Costs aside, there is an interesting aspect of 3G technology that could force operators to consider OFDMA based options to augment cellular data delivery systems. It may not be common knowledge, but 3G differs from 2G (GSM) in one important aspect ? the interdependence of network quality. In 2G, high traffic in one location tends to introduce poor quality in just the particular cell covering that location. In 3G however, the bad quality also impacts surrounding cells because a cell size may vary depending on the traffic load it carries. Called "cell-breathing" this is due to the interdependence between capacity and coverage over WCDMA air-interfaces and could end up impacting voice quality.
No service provider however, is going to jeopardize voice quality and capacity for the sake of data. This implies there are merits to a separate data-centric network. And if such options are available at least at the peripheries, at costs substantially lower than the vaunted 3G and if these options appear slated to become the bulwark of future 4G data delivery mechanisms, it then surely behooves the Indian cellular operator not to adopt the same blinkered thinking that's the hallmark of his European counterpart and to look seriously at a GSM/EDGE-WLAN based solution.
It baffles why instead of prevaricating, the European and American cellular companies haven't swooped in and massively sequestered wireless access for IP traffic from the fragmented but potentially formidable WLAN and Voice over Broadband (VoB) players. After all, at least for now the cellular operator holds all the cards. Only he gets to decide whether the customer receives a combined cellular + WLAN bill. This gives his combined cellular-WLAN service a killer advantage over any other Fixed/wireless broadband or Vonage-type VoB offering. By now the cellular operators could have usurped great chunks of IP traffic and decimated the upstart VoB players before they ever took root. Alternatively, just a declaration of intent could have the WLAN & VoB players scurrying to negotiate interconnect and revenue share agreements on terms that could only be favorable to the cellular operator.
It's too obvious a scenario and one doesn't expect such shortsightedness to last. T-Mobile's extensive WiFi deployment in the USA and in Europe is apparently with such an end-game in mind. And so was, we hope, the honorable IT Minister's intention, when he squared off against 3G.
BRAHAM SINGH joined PCCW in January 2001 and founded their international IP backbone & service company now called BtNAccess after its merger with Corporate Access, one of Asia's largest satellite based service provider. Today, BtNAccess is an established global carrier, offering enterprise & carrier grade services over its MPLS enabled network. Services offered include IP transit, MPLS data circuits/VPNs, voice as well as a leading edge Hosted IP PBX services. The Company is interconnected with 35 carriers globally and its revenues come from an enterprise and carrier customer base in The USA, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Braham came to PCCW from Teleglobe, where he was the Vice President in charge of Asian operations. Prior to Teleglobe, Braham was the Vice President - SE Asia for Sprint / Global One.
Braham has various pioneering achievements to his credit including the first call- back as well as the first ISR launch in Hong Kong, the first Asian frame relay launch outside Japan, the first international connectivity provided to Celcom in Malaysia in 1992.
Best Cell Phones - Cell Phone Shopping 101
Before the advent of cell phones, communications may not have been as convenient, but life was definitely less complex. Since their introduction into society, the design, features and package plans have evolved to the degree that we now have to do research on cost comparisons and option customization, as well as peruse technical manuals in order to learn how to operate these gizmos before we can ever hit that "send" button. Simply put, we need to find the best cell phone for meeting our needs, and it's going to take a good deal of time to do so...or maybe not.
We Have Compiled a List of Wireless Cell Phones General Cautions and Warnings
For the most part, wireless cell phones are safe. And who could deny the convenience and freedom they have bought to our lives. Wireless cell phones bring our family and friends closer and allows us to do transact business more conveniently than ever. But, take note as we compiled a list of general cautions that you should be aware of.
Tips for Cell Phone Batteries and Usage
There are just a few tips that will help you increase the life span of your cell phone and cell phone battery.
Sorting Through Your Cellular Phone Options
Some people purchase a cellular phone for emergency use only, but others use their cellular phone on a daily basis as a replacement for their land-line home phone. With the number of options available for your cellular phone, finding the right phone for your needs can be confusing. However, there are a few basic points to remember that can help you make a more informed purchasing decision.
Mobile Phone Accessories
Discounted Mobile Phone Accessories
Safer Cell Phone Use For Drivers
Cell phones are great for people on-the-go, but talking on your cellular phone while driving can be downright dangerous. The safest choice is to avoid using your phone while driving, but that's not always possible. Cellular accessories can help make it safer to use your cell phone in your vehicle.
Prepaid Wireless: Is It Right For You?
Just about every leading mobile phone provider now offers some sort of prepaid calling plan in order to fit their customers' budgets. But is is right for you?
The Telephone ? A Brief History
During the 1870's, two well known inventors both independently designed devices that could transmit sound along electrical cables. Those inventors were Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray. Both devices were registered at the patent office within hours of each other. There followed a bitter legal battle over the invention of the telephone, which Bell subsequently won.
Buying A Cell Phone ? Making Smart Choices
Whether you're buying your first cell phone, upgrading to a newer one or contemplating a new cell phone plan, it's a good idea to thoroughly research your purchase. There are a multitude of companies, cell phone plans and rates available. You can pick from family plans, prepaid time cards, and plans tailored to your specific needs. The list, like the beat, goes on. The purpose of this article is to help guide you through the large amount of choices. This article includes some suggestions to help you decide which cell phone and cell phone plan is right for you.
Camera Cell Phones -- More Uses Than You Could Have Imagined
I was shopping in the large superstore with my five-year-old daughter, perfectly unaware that in the next few minutes I would be living through every parent's nightmare ? in an instant my child would disappear from my side. She had been looking through the little dresses right beside me and, when I called her to go try one on, she was no where to be found. I loudly called out her name, trying to keep the panic from my voice, as I frantically looked all around.
Cordless Phone Systems
Cordless phone systems offer many features and are ideal for small businesses or businesses that are run from home. As well as increasing the portability of your phone system, they also increase office efficiency and productivity.
Short Messaging Service (SMS) for Enterprise Messaging
SMS for Enterprise Messaging ? Value added services
Your Next Virus Is Just A Phone Call Away
Cell Phone - Why Should I Upgrade
We hear from friends or just general chat by people wanting to upgrade their cell phones. There are a number of very good reasons to upgrade but unfortunately the main reason people upgrade and without thinking is because the cell phone manufacturers are blitzing us with advertising on a daily basis with new features. I bet you can pinpoint a few friends who have new cell phones and have no idea as to how to go about using all the key features.
How Reliable are Cell Phones
Cellular phones and pagers are part of the "now" generation, instant contact, anywhere at any time. People are looking for convenience, comfort and security. The question is how instantaneous and reliable is the contact?
Free Camera With Cell Phone
Free camera with cell phone - excellent deal.
Cellular Ring Tones: The Latest Way To Say This is Me!
Ringtones, those digital sound bites that 'ring' through cell phones especially during critical moments in darkened movie theaters, presentations, and anywhere there are signs posted to turn your cell phone off, have become a flaming financial success for the record and movie industry beyond all imagination. After the record industry lost billions to illegal downloads and digital music consumers and providers lost every court battle since, the market place going rate for an MP3 download has settled down to 99 cents per song. But then came ringtones! They can cost from $2.00 to $3.00 each and that's only for a 15 second sound clip of the same music! And the kids are willing to pay! Who knew?
Cellular Phone Services & Bill Payment Services: The New Wave For Merchant Retailers
PREPAID CELLULAR TIME
Buying a Business Telephone System
When buying a new telephone system, it's absolutely vital to go with a major name brand. Would you spend $3,000 on a new big screen TV from a company you never heard of? How about $25,000 on a new car from a no name company? Of course you wouldn't and you shouldn't risk your business on a phone system from a manufacturer you've never heard of either and here's why.......
Senior Citizen Calling Tips
The AARP, American Association of Retired Persons, ( http://www.aarp.org/ ) conducted a survey in 2000 entitled, "Consumer Understanding of pricing Practices and Savings Opportunities in Long Distance Telephone Industry." This report was an update of an earlier survey conducted in 1998. As the title implies, the survey examines the pricing issues surrounding long distance calling plans in the market and the public's awareness, with a particular focus on people over 50, of these types of savings plans. Only one-quarter of those interviewed 65 and older, looked for long distance calling plans that would save them money. More alarming was the fact that only a little more than 40% knew that the best rate was not the standard rate. To read the complete report, click here. ( http://research.aarp.org/consume/d17192_longdis.pdf )
|home | site map|