Tag: wireless industryPage 3 of 110

GSA says UMTS900 provides better and cheaper 3G coverage

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osciloscope

The average BlackBerry user likely doesn’t think much about technology behind the networks that provide their daily communication fix, but it plays an important role in both the cost and coverage of their BlackBerry. The Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) has published an operator case study on Finland’s Elisa network which it says shows significant cost and coverage benefits of deploying 3G services in the 900 MHz spectrum band.

According to Dr. Eetu Prieur, Head of Access Networks for Elisa, “3G coverage with UMTS900 can save 50 to 70% of our mobile network costs versus UMTS2100. And that includes both CAPEX and OPEX.”

While the majority of 3G/HSPA networks operate in the 2100 MHz band, lower frequencies provide a much larger coverage area when compared to 2100 MHz. In Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific, carriers use the 900 Mhz band, which cuts the number of cell sites needed to cover rural and suburban areas in half, providing major CAPEX and OPEX savings for 3G deployments. In North America, we rely upon the 850 MHz band, which provides the same coverage and savings benefits.

So what does this all mean? The next time you’re in a rural area reading BBCool on your BlackBerry with 3G coverage, thank low frequency bands like 850/900. Of course, because of the lack of international standardization, if you have a North American Bold, good luck getting the same coverage in, say, rural France (the Charente region is lovely this time of year). Oh well.

Download the GSA 3G report

(via CN)

Verizon launches service without contracts today, just became BBCool’s best friend

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verizon blackberry storm

Verizon Wireless has taken a major step today towards making their network more open, by offering phone service without the need for a contract. Verizon customers customers who pay the full unsubsidized price or bring in their own compatible device (like a BlackBerry) to sign up for a monthly plan that they can get out of at any time. An activation fee must be paid -hey, they’re still a carrier- but there are no early termination fees for canceling the service.

So what is the benefit of Verizon’s new ‘open’ initiative for BlackBerry users? For one thing, I know that whenever BlackBerry Cool now travels to the U.S. for conferences or other events, we will all be using Verizon or Verizon compatible devices. To avoid getting dinged on roaming, we’ll simply sign up for Verizon service for a month, then cancel it upon heading back to Canada. I’d recommend that all Canadian BlackBerry users who travel often think about doing the same. Now, to get our hands on a BlackBerry Storm

(via CN)

T-Mobile expands 3G coverage to 13 cities

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Good news today for T-Mobile subscribers hoping that one day their carrier will support 3G BlackBerrys. T-Mobile has announced the expansion of its 3G coverage to 13 major markets as well as the signing of backhaul agreements to cope with the increased traffic across its network. T-Mobile’s 3G network is currently available across 13 major metropolitan markets: Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Miami, Minneapolis, New York (including northern New Jersey and Long Island), Phoenix, Portland, San Antonio and San Diego.

T-Mobile also confirmed that it was on track to expand its 3G service to 27 major markets in the United States by the end of 2008, with Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Orlando, Philadelphia, Sacramento, San Francisco and Seattle coming by mid-October and n additional six markets — Birmingham, Denver, Detroit, Kansas City, Memphis and Tampa — available before the end of the year. This would expand T-Mobile 3G services to more than two-thirds of T-Mobile’s current data customers, with meaningful expansion to additional customers and markets through 2009.

So what do you think, folks? Do you think 2009 in a reasonable time line to see 3G BlackBerrys like the Bold on T-Mobile? Post a comment and let us know.

(via CN)

Mobile search grows by 68% in USA

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mobile google search

As the power of our BlackBerrys and other smartphones grow, it’s always interesting to see the new ways in which people start using them to either send or receive information. I have the Google Search button sitting in the top six icons of my BlackBerry Bold’s Zen theme, so I can personally attest to the growth in mobile search (perfect for a quick IMDB or settling a bar bet), but I didn’t think the numbers would be quite this large.

M:Metrics is reporting that in June 2008, 20.8 million U.S. mobile subscribers and 4.5 million European mobile phone subscribers accessed search during the month, an increase of 68% and 38% from June 2007, respectively. The UK had the highest penetration of mobile subscribers using search at 9.5 percent, followed closely by the U.S. at 9.2 percent. Mobile search is growing not only in number, but in frequency as well.

“It is interesting to note that as we see the number of mobile search users increase, the frequency of activity is also growing,” observed Alistair Hill, analyst, comScore. “The number of people accessing mobile search at least once a week grew 50 percent in Europe, with France and Spain leading at a rate of 69 and 63 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, the number of U.S. users accessing mobile search has more than doubled as a result of expanded 3G penetration and smartphone adoption, as well as the proliferation of flat-rate data plans. We have also seen a substantial improvement to the mobile search offerings in the U.S. market.”

Question time, folks: what do you search for on your BlackBerry? Please don’t say porn.

(via CN)

Telus shutting down analog mobile service

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light switchSad news today for Telus subscribers in rural communities today. The Canadian carrier has announced that it will soon be shutting down its analogue phone network. Telus currently has 70,000 customers on its AMPS network – compared to around 4.9 million on its CDMA service and 862,000 on an iDEN network.

Telus spokesman Shawn Hall told The Canadian Press that the company was left with little choice with its stockpile of replacement parts running out. The company has spent the past year warning that it would eventually have to shut down the network.

The issue at hand for these rural subscribers is the inability to get a strong, clear signal over a digital network. Telus is looking at the possibility of offering boosters or specially adapted mobile phones for use in areas where the shut-down cuts off customers, but nothing has been confirmed at the moment.

If there are any Telus subscribers out there about to feel the pinch, post a comment and let us know.

(via CN)

RIM takes bigger slice of smartphone pie, raises market share to 17.4%

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BlackBerry PieGreat news for RIM came from technology analyst Gartner today, who are reporting that RIM has raised their smartphone market share to 17.4 percent, roughly double last year’s numbers. In addition, RIM sold 5.6 million smartphones from April to June, far surpasing the 2.5 million sold during this period last year. Where is all this growth coming from? RIM’s newfound consumer demographic.

“RIM continued to execute well at the consumer level, increasing its global market reach,” Gartner analyst Roberta Cozza said in a statement.

(via Reuters)

Click here to see the rest of Gartner’s smartphone report