New Markets, New Trials, New Directions
CDMA firsts in Europe and India for Motorola, NTT plans wideband trials in Japan and Qualcomm links up with Vodafone for CDMA/GSM integration trials.
INTEGRATION ON TRIAL
The system trial will take place in Newbury in the UK.
Qualcomm will provide four CDMA commercial base stations and a base station
controller; Vodafone will provide base station sites and a Mobile Switching
Modified Qualcomm 1.9GHz PCS phones will be used for
the trial while The Technology Partnership, a UK company, will supply
the GSM phone software. The CDMA phone hardware has been modified to accommodate
standard GSM SIM cards. Installation of equipment has already begun, with
the measurement phase expected to run from the fourth quarter of this
year until the first quarter of 1998.
"The idea is to find out what the similarities and
differences are between the two technologies, with an eye to developing
a third generation standard. Our target is to identify a standard and
offer equipment that will meet that standard," says Dr Chris Graeme-Barber
of the Technology Partnership.
While Vodafone is emphasising that the CDMA trials will
be helpful in evaluating the evolution to Third Generation systems, the
company is nevertheless stressing that the existing IS-95 CDMA standard
will not be its Third Generation platform.
As for Qualcomm, its Chief Executive Officer, Dr Irwin
Jacobs, explained: "Were planning, if all goes well, to hold
a field trial toward the end of this calendar year. This first trial is
to demonstrate technical feasibility. By that I mean using a phone that,
to a GSM user, appears to have all the GSM features they are used to,
including of course the GSM SIM card. The base station controller would
be attached through the standard A-interface. The switch would basically
not know that its utilising a CDMA air interface as opposed to a
TDMA air interface."
The trials could, however, have other implications, as
he acknowledges: "Theres also an effort ongoing to look at
the economics of a CDMA air interface on a GSM network. This could provide
information to help operators to decide, if this type of air interface
were to be allowed, when and where it would make sense to utilise it."
The link between Vodafone and Qualcomm is not a new one.
Both are founding partners of the Globalstar GMPCS satellite system for
which Qualcomm developed the ground communications segment. As part of
the Globalstar system design, a satellite-based CDMA air interface to
the GSM network has been developed. From this starting point, the companies
have defined a new concept for the integration of CDMA terrestrial radio
access with the GSM network that is to be tested this year.
Globalstar representatives pointed out at the Singapore
event that the companys present plans call for no fewer than three
handsets to be developed: a dual mode GSM/Globalstar phone, a tri-mode
AMPS/ CDMA/Globalstar phone and a single mode Globalstar phone.
However, the integration trials may not affect Globalstars handset plans just yet, says Dr Jacobs: "I think the timing is such that one will still need, for example a GSM/Globalstar handset or a CDMA/Globalstar handset and others as well." Thats not to say it may never happen, he points out: "There will become more and more the possibility of dual mode, dual band and, hopefully in this case, IS-41 and GSM dual network type phones. But with Globalstar coming along at the current rate, one would have to have the dual capability (CSDMA/Globalstar or GSM/ Globalstar) phones near term."
NTT DoCoMo ANNOUNCES WIDEBAND CDMA TESTS
NTT DoCoMo has been involved in these efforts and has
now announced system tests of what it refers to as W-CDMA or wideband
CDMA. It cites this as one of the most viable candidates for the next
generation mobile communication system and one which might play a part
in the standardisation process.
NTT points out that much research and discussion has
already been going on in Japan into the next generation. The aim is, it
says, to put a proposal to the ITU.
Progress has already been made with preliminary internal
tests for W-CDMA in which the company has successfully carried out a radio
transmission test of 2 Mbps. The next step is to verify its viability
in the field.
W-CDMA, says NTT, meets a number of criteria essential
for the next generation, notably transmission equal in quality to ISDN;
high speed radio transmission (384 kbps for mobile; 2 Mbps for indoors);
and highly efficient processing of multiple traffic, such as multiple
rates and upward/downward asynchronous services.
NTT makes it clear that it sees W-CDMA as the technology
best able to meet the needs of mobile multi-media communications.
All domestic and international cellular operators have
been invited to get involved with the tests. To underline the commitment
to internationalising the process, NTT points out that visits have already
been made to operators in 15 or more countries.
A number of vendor companies have made proposals and
been selected already. So far (and the company reserves the right to invite
other manufacturers to participate), 10 companies have been selected.
For the base station prototype, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Lucent Technologies,
Matsushita Communication Industrial and NEC have been selected. For the
mobile station prototype, the names to note are Matsushita Communication
Industrial, Mitsubishi Elec-tric, Motorola, NEC, Nokia, Sharp and Toshiba.
A separate track procurement procedure is planned for the commercial system,
Quick off the mark in letting the market know what it
has to offer has been Ericsson. The company has announced that to support
instant access to multimedia services, its wideband CDMA experimental
system for DoCoMo will employ a new random-access procedure with fast
synchronisation to handle the 384 kbit/s packet-data service. This, Ericsson
believes, will reduce the time to establish connections between mobile
users and base stations to a few tenths of a millisecond.
Other proposed highlights include specially designed
spreading codes called Orthogonal Variable Spreading Factor codes (OVSF)
which, says Ericsson, allow optimum flexibility and eliminate interference
between users operating at different data rates on the same RF carrier,
and the latest ATM minicell transmission protocol, known as ATM Adaption
Layer 2 (AAL2). The protocol will be used for the transmission between
the radio base stations and the mobile switching centre via the base station
The use of AAL2 will, suggests Ericsson, permit a greater
number of data packets to be transmitted more efficiently and with less
delay. Thus, data is transmitted only when the user is in an active session.
This protocol permits large gains in call and data transmission, says
Ericsson and while AAL2 provides the function necessary to perform a soft
hand-off between carriers, it also drastically reduces transmission costs.
Ericssons enhancements to code division technology
for wideband applications include a novel hand-off method between wideband
CDMA carriers. Called Inter-Frequency Hand-off (IFHO), this technique
facilitates the use of low power microcells. IFHO also permits the stacking
of microcells in an arrangement known as Hierarchical Cell Structures.
Ericsson argues that this makes it possible, for instance, to use microcells
to boost capacity in an office building, while at the same time using
a macrocell installed at the rooftop.
Dont forget, however, that NTT is still only at
the trial stage with this technology and other vendors will have
their own solutions to promote. In fact, the CDMA Development Group has
perhaps put NTT DoCoMos intentions to the test by stating its wish
to cooperate with DoCoMo in developing the proposed next generation standard.
At a recent Tokyo press conference, Perry LaForge, the CDGs Executive
Director noted that the CDG was having "open discussions" with
The question now is whether NTTs system and manufacturers
of cdmaOne systems can together find a way forward, given
fears that the NTT system may not be backwardly compatible
NTT has stated that it aims to promote the tests in an
open manner and "will cooperate with the standardisation activities
in the world". The results of the tests will in fact be conveyed
to the standardisation organisations and others.This will not be allowed
to slow down progress, it seems. The scheduling is fairly precise. Prototype
design will continue until the end of this year, with indoor testing planned
from April, 1998 - March, 1999 and outdoor tests from October, 1998 -
The aim is to begin offering next generation mobile communication
system services in the fiscal year 2000. In future issues, we hope to
outline the plans and hopes of the major participants in
these tests and what sort of impact the tests may have on next generation
For more information on possible ways forward for cdmaOne, see page 30.
WHERE THERES A WiLL...
By combining the cellular features of CDMA with the advantages
of wireless local loop technology, up to 100,000 people in Poland will
have a choice of either a fixed wireless connection to the home or the
office or a limited mobility communications service using conventional
CDMA personal phones.
Deployment of TPSA's 800 MHz network will begin in August,
1997 and will initially provide voice telephony, facsimile and data transmission
services. Commercial service is scheduled to begin in September, 1997.
Once the existing waiting list for telephone services
has been cleared, the TPSA anticipates that new applications will be processed
virtually instantly and the time between submission of the application
and the start of customer service should be only a matter of hours.
Motorola CIG will provide a full turnkey system covering
network design, project management, civil works,installation and commissioning
of Motorola's SC 2450 cell sites, EMX 2500 switches and operations and
And thats not all. Motorola CIG has been selected
by Bharti Telenet, Ltd. to deploy India's first large-scale commercial
CDMA digital fixed wireless WiLL telephone network. The initial deployment
of the project is valued at more than $50 million.
ployment of the CDMA wireless local loop system this
fall. Once commercial service begins, the system will serve the state
of Madhya Pradesh, which has a population of 70 million and a current
teledensity of less than one telephone per hundred people.
Motorola CIG's WiLL system will operate in the 800 MHz frequency band using the V5.2 digital interface approved by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) standard for wireless local loop systems.
BIG TWO TEAM UP
This spring, IDO and DDI announced a deal to merge their operations in order to offer integrated, nationwide service based on cdmaOne. "The deal is long overdue," says Takeo Tsukada, IDO's president. The companies had already considered integrating services on two previous occasions.
Lucent is to provide 5ESS-2000 switches and wireless base stations, as well as related hardware, software, and installation and engineering services for the entire infrastructure of Ameritech's ClearPath digital wireless network.
The contract also calls for Lucent to supply other equipment for Ameritech's offer of ClearPath Personal Communications Services (PCS). Ameritech will provide ClearPath PCS service to customers in the Cleveland and Indianapolis areas.