The technology that enables users to access high speed Internet on their mobiles is called Long Term Evolution (LTE). LTE is the buzzword in the Middle Eastern telecom circles.
Accessing the Internet on the mobile phones has almost become the norm here in the
The technology that enables users to access high speed Internet on their mobiles is called Long Term Evolution (LTE). LTE is the buzzword in the Middle Eastern telecom circles. Most major operators have either already launched LTE or are gearing up for such launches. One of the most recent LTE announcements in the region comes from
These high (supra 1GHz) spectrum bands are great for proving mobile coverage in open urban areas, however they have and inherent limitation — they are not best suited for penetrating buildings very well, which leads to patchy indoor coverage. This is one of the primary reasons for users experiencing a loss or slowness of Internet connection when they enter their homes or offices.
Users of mobile broadband expect full utility from their connections – whether they are indoors, outdoors or on the move. However, in the current setup, LTE deployments in the supra 1GHz spectrum bands can lead to poorer in-building connectivity and, thus, erode customer experience.
This is where the lower sub-1GHz band (such as 700MHz, 800MHz and/or 900MHz etc) comes into the picture. When operators use these sub-1GHz band for mobile deployment, the area under mobile coverage increase by about two to three times as compared to using the over 1GHz band (such as 1.8GHz and/or 2.6GHz etc). Further, the sub-1GHz bands are also great for in-building / indoor coverage. For these two twin reason, deployments in these sub-1GHz also turn out to be economical for the operators over the long run.
The only problem with using the sub-1GHz spectrum bands is their availability. Although, there have been some LTE announcements in the 900MHz band (most notably the planned LTE auction in
Spectrum directly impacts the speed, capacity and reach of mobile broadband services. Unless governments choose to grant operators access to such spectrum, the result will be slower, more expensive mobile connections at a time when operators are striving to deliver ubiquitous, high-speed, low-cost access.
Thus, mobile operators have been lobbying hard to allow these sub-1GHz bands to be used for mobile communications. But for this to happen, these 800MHz and 700MHz bands needs to be freed up form TV broadcasting. The 700MHz band, in particular, if available, can be a key catalyst in promoting the mass adoption of LTE in the region.
This can be achieved through a digital transition which is called 'Analogue Switch-Off', and this will move TV broadcasting from analogue to digital media. The spectrum that thus will be freed up, and will continue to be freed up in the coming years, by this switchover from analogue to digital, is known as the 'Digital Dividend'.
Digital dividend policies have already been undertaken in other parts of the world, most notably in the US as well as some nations in
Further, following the
The writer is a
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