SOURCE: 4G Americas

4G Americas

September 27, 2012 13:09 ET

The Benefits of Digital Dividend in the Americas

4G Americas Report Provides Analysis of 700 MHz Spectrum Allocations

BELLEVUE, WA--(Marketwire - Sep 27, 2012) - 4G Americas, a wireless industry trade association representing the 3GPP family of technologies, today announced that it has published a detailed technical white paper on Digital Dividend considerations in the Americas region. The white paper, The Benefits of Digital Dividend, outlines the important spectrum harmonization decisions that regulators are facing throughout the Americas region.

"More spectrum is the single most important solution for the continued success of mobile communications throughout North, Central and South America," stated Chris Pearson, President of 4G Americas. "With a scarcity of this invaluable resource, there are few wireless considerations as important for regulators as allocating new spectrum for LTE service in their respective countries. Possibilities include re-farming spectrum and the efficient usage of the Digital Dividend -- the spectrum repurposed from TV broadcasting and reallocated for mobile broadband services."

"Digital Dividend" refers to the spectrum that is released in the process of digital television transition from analog TV. When TV broadcasters switch from analog platforms to digital-only platforms, part of the spectrum that has been used for broadcasting will be freed up because digital TV needs less spectrum than analog TV. As a result of the technological transition, a significant number of governments are now planning for, or allocating, their Digital Dividends. For example, the U.S. completed its transition in June 2009 and auctioned the spectrum and some European countries such as France, Germany and Spain have already completed auctions of Digital Dividend. Canada has adopted the U.S. plan.

The white paper outlines the benefits of Digital Dividend spectrum including:

  • Ideally suited to providing cost-effective mobile broadband wireless services
  • Mobile broadband represents a significant and important asset for a country's economic and social development
  • Frees up globally harmonized spectrum for mobility
  • Global harmonization offers the potential for economies of scale for the production of mobile devices and ease in international roaming

The paper summarizes work by the World Radio Congress (WRC-07) that identified 108 MHz of Digital Dividend Spectrum from 698-806 MHz for ITU-R Region 2, which covers the Americas region, Greenland and some of the eastern Pacific Islands, and nine countries in Region 3, which contains most of non-former-Soviet-Union Asia, east of and including Iran, and most of Oceania and also includes China, India, Japan and Korea (Rep. of). There are three major band plans: one in the U.S. and two harmonized band plans in TDD and FDD mode in the Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT). The white paper provides in-depth analysis of the U.S. and the APT Digital Dividend plans including technical, economic and ecosystem considerations.

Among the benefits of the U.S. 700 MHz Digital Dividend spectrum plan is its early lead with LTE ecosystem development offering economies of scale and scope, due to the leadership position of the U.S. in LTE deployments, devices and connections. The 700 MHz Digital Dividend is an excellent spectrum band opportunity for countries throughout Latin America. The APT Digital Dividend spectrum plan offers an alternative solution for Latin America with economies of scale that will eventually occur as the Asian regional countries begin to make commitments to this band and offer some global harmonization.

Spectrum bands that are well-suited for successful deployment of LTE in the Americas region include 700 MHz, 1.7/2.1 GHz and 2.6 GHz. The 700 MHz band auction in the U.S. in 2008 was a key driver for investment in LTE network deployments and led to the U.S. positioning itself as the leader in LTE subscribers. These spectrum bands are important considerations for the successful future of mobile communications throughout the Americas region.

The Digital Dividend and its reallocation pose both challenges and opportunities to regulators and industry players.

"There are implications that policy makers should take into account in order to maximize the benefits from this process," Pearson said. "Due to the slow timing of auctions, regulators have the ability to assess the current state of the LTE ecosystem as well as the various issues and opportunities pertaining to the economies of scale, roaming, technical harmonization, cross border interference and LTE-Advanced features in making their spectrum decisions."

Today's spectrum crunch is likely to become a spectrum crisis in the near future -- in the U.S. and other countries in the Americas -- unless more internationally harmonized spectrum comes to market. The Digital Dividend opportunity, if well-addressed, can shape market conditions positively throughout the region whereas a poorly designed or delayed allocation process could reduce investments in LTE mobile broadband and inhibit deployment of LTE networks.

The Benefits of Digital Dividend was written collaboratively by members of 4G Americas and is available for free download at: www.4gamericas.org

About 4G Americas: Unifying the Americas through Mobile Broadband Technology
4G Americas is an industry trade organization composed of leading telecommunications service providers and manufacturers. The organization's mission is to promote, facilitate and advocate for the deployment and adoption of the 3GPP family of technologies throughout the Americas. 4G Americas contributes to the successful commercial rollout of 3GPP mobile broadband technologies across the Americas and their place as the No. 1 technology family in the region. The organization aims to develop the expansive wireless ecosystem of networks, devices, and applications enabled by GSM and its evolution to LTE. 4G Americas is headquartered in Bellevue, Wash., with an office for Latin America and the Caribbean in Dallas. More information is available at www.4gamericas.org.

4G Americas' Board of Governors members include: Alcatel-Lucent, América Móvil, AT&T, Cable & Wireless, CommScope, Ericsson, Gemalto, HP, Huawei, Nokia Siemens Networks, Openwave Mobility, Powerwave, Qualcomm, Research In Motion (RIM), Rogers, T-Mobile USA and Telefónica.

Contact Information

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    4G Americas
    Vicki Livingston
    +1 262 242 3458
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