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Thursday, July 03, 2008

A thought: HSPA/LTE in unlicenced spectrum? Ideal for femtos?

There's about a zillion frequency bands for 3GPP technologies these days - 700MHz, 850, 900, 1800, 2100, 2600, AWS, various Japanese ones, upcoming UHF bands and so on.

But there's some notable absences - unlicenced 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. The ones that WiFi and Bluetooth and a million other gadgets use.

Sure, its unmanaged, congested, interference-prone.... but for short ranges, who cares? Like, for example, if you had a 2.4GHz HSPA femto at home which you could "roam" onto? (I'm assuming you wouldn't have your own SIM card & HLR).

Why would you want to do this? Different business models - lots of them. And a complete end to the need to put WiFi into phones as well, if you could have a single multi-band chip that supported private cellular as well as operator cellular.

Yes, I know it would have some horrible problems, and I certainly couldn't see the stuffy standards bodies daring to support something so lacking in QoS and control and operator involvement. But if cellular ever wants to stand a chance of competing in homes or enterprise networks, it needs to have an "owned" profile as well as a "service" profile.


Unknown said...

yes but who is going to subsidize these hadsets and femtocells supporting "unlicensed" bands? And in how many countries will these bands be truly unlicensed/open to all radio techs

Dean Bubley said...


It might not need subsidy.

Bear in mind that enterprises will pay $500 for a fixed IP deskphone.

If there's benefits in terms of total cost-of-ownership for Merrill Lynch or Glaxo SmithKline to own their own indoor HSPA network rather than rely on a licenced mobile operator, then subsidy becomes less important.

It gets even more fun if they're able to charge termination fees to the MNOs for connecting calls to employees.