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Smart Radio Technology-and the Digital Dividend
Published February 2007

Regulators around the world are grappling with the Digital Dividend as analog TV services are replaced by DTT. Should they allocate the spectrum for new uses or let smart radio technology shape the market?

Smart radio technology, which includes Software Defined Radio (SDR), and Cognitive Radio (CR), could be used to enable wireless networks to share "white space" spectrum. SDR and CR is the subject of standards work by the IEEE802.22 working group as well as the E2R group in Europe.

The Spectrum Dividend could therefore turn into a much larger opportunity for sharing spectrum between broadcast and mobile wireless applications, on an instantaneous basis, where every transaction is allocated spectrum (and pays for it) at the time of use, much as electricity is bought and sold today. The Spectrum Dividend, and the development of smart radio technologies, is moving in parallel in a similar timeframe, with the technology likely to be available after 2010, around the time when most countries will have UHF spectrum available for new services.
Smart Radio Topic Table of Contents PDF file.
Smart Radio TopicBrochure PDF file.


ARPU in Fixed and Wireless Networks: Armageddon in Sight?
Published June 2005

Voice revenues are in decline on fixed and wireless networks: by an average of 12% in 2005. On wireless networks voice is being substituted by non-voice services. On fixed networks it is being substituted by broadband services. So why should service providers be concerned? Mainly because the revenue from new services is not keeping up with the decline in voice revenue.

So, what is the outlook for service providers? What do they need to do next to protect and grow the business? This new TelecomView Topic illustrates the challenges and potential solutions as VoIP eats into traditional telecom revenues.

ARPU Topic Table of Contents PDF file.
ARPU Topic Brochure PDF file.


Broadband Telephony: The End of Voice As We Know It
Published June 2005

Internet Telephony providers such as Skype and Vonage offer new voice services at breakthrough price points. They are leading the way for a new set of broadband voice services that will relegate voice services to a low cost add-on feature for a broadband data service. This new TelecomView Topic will describe how business and regulatory factors will push the phone companies out of the voice business.

Broadband Telephony Topic Table of Contents PDF file.
Broadband Telephony Topic Brochure PDF file.


Fixed-Mobile Convergence: UMA-Reality or Pipe Dream?
Published June 2005

Using unlicensed spectrum with broadband access indoors and cellular networks outdoors from the same handset is slowly emerging as a commercial reality. But will it really do what is hoped for? Or will it wither away as other VoIP solutions gather pace?solutions as VoIP eats into traditional telecom revenues.

BT Fixed-Mobile Service-Fusion

BT announced its Fusion Launch (formerly project Bluephone). BT Fusion works just like a mobile phone when you are out and about, but switches automatically and onto a BT Broadband line when you get home. That means you have the convenience and all the features of a mobile phone but with fixed lines prices and quality. See BT Fusion Website

Korea Telecom launched a similar service in August 2004.

BT faces some issues in this market:
- Bluetooth is not used widely in the business community for WLAN applications and public hotspots don't use it at all, so it's important to introduce a WiFi version of the service for businesses and WiFi access.

- How easy will it be to persuade people to move their mobile service to another provider (BT uses Vodafone's network as an MVNO)? The lessons of carrier preselection shows that it takes some time for this to happen. MVNO's have also been able to capture customers, but are these just looking for a better deal and will they be loyal?

- Bluetooth range may be a disadvantage compared with DECT, which most people are used to.

- It will cost a new subscriber just under £40 ($70) a month for the service which includes 100 minutes of free voice calls. This is made up of a fixed line, a broadband connection and the mobile phone line rental.

-The cost of delivering a call can be worked out by taking total network costs and dividing it by call minutes. Vodafone handled 96bn minutes from 171m customers in 6 months last year; 560mins per customer. It made £4bn profit on revenue of £18bn. So network costs were £14bn, or £82 per customer. That works out at 15p per minute. Not far off the average revenue of 19p per minute.

-The cost of handling VoIP as opposed to circuit-switched voice is generally less as capacity of expensive transport links can be avoided by using the Internet which is free of call charges, instead of tying up 64kbps links for the duration of the call. This is why Skype can do it for free apart from the last hop onto the PSTN. So the part of the call in VoIP over a UMA network will cost less than the equivalent over the PSTN or over a GSM mobile network. (The GSM network relies on the PSTN for most of its call transport capacity, by the way, as much of the backhaul from the base station uses PSTN capacity.)

-The VoIP part is between the user and the UNC, which is a sort of basestation. The rest of the call is circuit-switched between the UNC and destination handset over the mobile network (which uses bits of PSTN on the way). So the most it can be saving is a half and its probably nearer a third. So instead of costing 15p a minute it's probably only costing 10p. That would nearly double Vodafone's profit, assuming they owned the PSTN. Most mobile companies in Europe do own the PSTN (as an incumbent) so there is some reason to deploy FMC.

BT Fusion Phone

Motorola handset for BT's Fusion service.
BT Fusion Phone

KT OnePhone

KT OnePhone network diagram-source Korea Telecom
KT OnePhone
Fixed-Mobile Convergence Topic Table of Contents PDF file.
Fixed Mobile Convergence Topic Brochure PDF file.