Data usage on cellular networks is on the rise and will continue to grow in the years to come with increase in mobile applications. Will LTE provide the solutions to complexities involved with data usage? Biswajit Biswas, Technology manager, Tata Elxsi, in an interview spoke to Telecom Tiger on the prospects and possibilities of LTE in the country. Excerpts:
Q: Will LTE be successful in India?
A: Long Term Evolution (LTE) is poised to emerge as the de-facto wireless technology that will take mobile broadband services into next level. LTE being a logical extension 3G technology, would ensure migration of existing 3G customers seamless.
However promising LTE might be, it is likely be rolled out in India a little later than expected since the operators would be more interested in recovering their investments both in infrastructure & spectrum for 3G. But LTE is bound to be a reality in the next five years
Q: Talking about LTE, the biggest challenge would be the data growth? Where will it come from?
A: Data usage on cellular networks is on the rise and will continue to grow in the years to come with increase in mobile applications. Picocells and femtocells will help to augment existing cell networks through spatial diversity which will enhance network capacity and coverage.
Further the growth in the tablet market due to affordable mobile and fixed broadband bandwidth, Data usage will open up as a significant source of revenue for operators.
Q: How will it change the industry prospects?
A: Currently we are seeing that the overall operating expenditures remain similar for LTE and WiMAX base stations. However, LTE will open up as the primary driver for lower capital investment due to the reduced equipment cost as it facilitates easy migration and 3GPP integration path.
Since LTE is already a proven technology option in countries like US and Continental Europe, we can expect high investments by Chipset vendors in the LTE space.
Q: What benefits it will provide to the consumers?
A: LTE is superior in performance and has the potential to attain an average transmission data rate of about five times that of HSPA+ Release 6.With the use of orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) and spatial multiplexing (MIMO), LTE will have two to four times the spectrum efficiency of the current 3G technology.
LTE offers a reduction in latency for about 20- 25%, which translates to enable provide a better experience with real-time applications such as online gaming and video conferencing.
Q: How prepared is Industry to introduce LTE in the country?
LTE India Scenario
A: As per recent industry analysis, we see that LTE is likely be rolled out in India post recovery of investments made in 3G for both infrastructure & spectrum . According to Booz and Company, Though LTE is designed to work on a range of frequencies; it is still unclear what frequency band operators could potentially use in India.
LTE commercial installations have only just begun, which means operators need to be realistic about their deployment time lines Commercial success will also depend on the availability of devices at attractive prices, and operators will need to ensure backward compatibility with 3G and 2G needs to support roaming LTE is not an immediate solution to current voice network congestion; voice handsets on LTE are still a few years away.
Q: Tell us about Tata Elxsi’s capabilities for the specific industries and its market share globally?
A: We’ve developed an LTE eNodeB and UE reference designs which provide the full 3GPP Release 8 compliant software stacks from Layer 1, 2 and 3 including a fairly sophisticated scheduler. Our customers have designed hardware based on our reference design from one of several LTE chipset vendors and used our software to create a working product quickly. We expect all of our customers to make some customization to the base product, so that they can differentiate and/or meet specific operator requirements. This includes changing the form factor and physical appearance/styling as well as the software operation. We offer customization and support through our services arm.
Tata Elxsi has been involved in design and development of wireless RAN(Radio Access Network) products for several years. We work with leading OEMs and wireless equipment providers and have been ranked within the top 3 R&D services companies globally for communication stacks and related products. We’ve provided core software development, testing and field integration for 2G, 3G and 4G products and equipment, both on the base station and terminal side for over a decade now.With over 85% of our revenues coming from product engineering services, we wanted to reposition ourselves as more than just a services business. We realized we would need to invest in software product development and saw the growing industry adoption for LTE.We have made a strategic investment in both LTE and WiMAX software stacks and would reposition ourselves as protocol stack providers for broadband wireless and 4G communications, with complete system development and integration capabilities.