UMTS 900 jumps into sharp focus

Thursday, 31 July, 2008

The pace of commercialisation of universal mobile telecommunications service (UMTS 900) systems has quickened, according to an information paper published by GSA , the Global mobile Suppliers Association.

The majority of 3G/UMTS ie, WCDMA-HSPA systems deployments are in the 2100 MHz band (IMT-2000 core band), particularly in Europe, Asia–Pacific, Middle East and Africa.

Radio propagation path-loss at 900 MHz is much lower. Deployment of UMTS systems at this lower frequency band (UMTS 900) results in better coverage both in terms of extended coverage in rural areas, as well as improved indoor coverage, at much lower cost.

For the same service offering and coverage, the number of base station sites in the 900 MHz band can be reduced by 60% compared with those needed for 2100 MHz and reduce rollout time.

WCDMA-HSPA at 900 MHz can complement 2100 MHz deployments by improving coverage, reducing CAPEX, and improving quality of service and the user experience.

The information paper confirms that 3 UMTS 900 systems have entered commercial service, in Estonia, Finland, and Thailand. Also, six manufacturers have launched 20 UMTS 900 user devices (compared to seven devices announced by mid-April 2008), all of which support dual-band HSPA 900/2100 MHz operation for seamless interworking on UMTS networks.

All 20 devices support at least 3.6 Mbps peak HSDPA capability and seven devices support 7.2 Mbps peak.

Fifteen UMTS 900 devices are mobile phones, plus three USB modems ('dongles'), one embedded module and one PC datacard.

Several more UMTS 900 networks are in deployment, planned or under consideration in Australia, Britain, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, Spain and Switzerland.

Use of the 900 MHz band in Europe is covered by the GSM Directive. Several countries are responding to a call by the European Commission for a more flexible approach to the use of these frequencies to permit their use for 3G/UMTS services.

A similar approach is also being taken in other markets, including Asia–Pacific and elsewhere.


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