Is this the beginning of the end of Google's monopoly as a search engine?


Well this is something which we all go through each day - unconsciously. Have you come across someone who uses internet but has not used Google. For the netizens Google search engine is same as what a dictionary is to a school-going. Just imagine what would happen if you find that your dictionary does not give you the entire meaning or explanation of the words but rather an explanation that suits the publisher's commercial interest. Well something similar is the contention of European Commission(EC) against Google search. 

As per one of the analysis firm ComScore, Google search has over 80% market share in European Union(EU). The EC has been investigating Google since 2010 on suspicions of uncompetitive behaviour in the search market. In March this year, the EC informed Google of four areas where it thought the search giant may be abusing its dominant position. To address these concerns, Google has offered this month a proposal to EC. Some of the salient points of the same are -
a) Label promoted links to Google's own services so that users can distinguish them from other web search results and clearly separate these promoted links by graphical features (such as a frame);
(b) Display links to three rival specialised search services close to Google's own services, in a place that is clearly visible to users. 
(c) Google will offer all websites the option to opt-out from the use of their content in Google's specialised search services, while ensuring that any opt-out does not affect their rankings in Google's general web search results. 
(d) Google will offer all sites that focus on product search or local search the option to mark certain categories of information in such a way that such information is not indexed or used by Google. 
(e) The newspaper publishers will receive a way to control on a web page, per web page basis the display of their content in Google News. 
(f) Google agreed to no longer make any agreements with publishers conditional on using online search advertisements exclusively from Google, nor impose obligations preventing advertisers from managing campaigns across competing advertising platforms. 

The commitments made by Google to EC would cover the European Economic Area for five years. An independent Monitoring Trustee would advise the Commission in overseeing the proper implementation of the commitments. 
Last week, The European Commission has published the above proposal received from Google asking for comments from the market before it decides whether to agree to a settlement with Google and make the proposed changes binding on the company. 

Earlier in Feb 2013, a group of 11 European and US online businesses, as well as three German online associations, have written an open letter to European Commission competition commissioner to urge the EC to end its settlement negotiations with Google over search rankings and issue a Statement of Objections instead. The companies who signed the letter were Expedia, TripAdvisor, Foundem, Streetmap EU, Twenga, Visual Meta, Hot Maps and Euro-Cities.. They express their increasing concern that "effective and future-proof remedies might not emerge through settlement. They claim that Google systematically promotes its own services and demotes or excludes those of its competitors. 

It would be interesting to see what happens over the period of time. After the EC's decision it is obvious that other countries will follow suit. It seems the Competition Commission of India is also looking into the issue. A precedence set in Europe would help others to ink similar agreements elsewhere. 
Google has taken a time lead which is very difficult for other search engines to bridge. But such crack downs on anti-competitive behavior will help in bridging the gap, severely denting the monopoly that the Google enjoys in search engine space. It's too early to predict a trend reversal, but the Google era might have started its journey towards descend.

Indian mobile market to grow 11 percent in numbers and 8 percent in revenues in 2013


The analyst firm, Gartner, has published its new report on the Indian mobile services market. The highlights of the report are –
·     Indian mobile service market is expected to reach Rs.1.2 trillion (US$22.8 billion) in 2013, up 8 percent from 2012.
·         The mobile connections in India will grow to 770 million in 2013, an 11 percent increase from 712 million connections in 2012.
·         The mobile market in India will continue to face challenges if average revenue per unit (ARPU) does not grow significantly. India will account for 12 percent worldwide mobile connections, but just 2 percent of worldwide mobile services revenue (in constant USD) in 2013.
·    Two major challenges that India Telcos will face in near future - growing their profit margin in the face of intense competition and successfully competing with over the top service providers, such as Facebook and WhatsApp.
·      With the increased use of voice over IP (VoIP) and the probable termination of national roaming charges, mobile broadband is the area of opportunity for operators. Smaller mobile broadband plans using a sachet-style usage pattern appeal to Indian consumers.
·         Further rural expansion of mobile services will come at a cost.
·  In India, innovation in utility apps that help bring efficiencies in a consumer's life will bring in sustained revenue and will be relatively more difficult to replicate by new entrants.
·       While social and video apps are doing extremely well in India, it is time to look beyond these and deliver apps that can have a sustained business model. Operators need to insert themselves into the value chain of these new apps and services.

Design Elements of institutional framework for Spectrum trading

What is Spectrum Trading?
ITU study material on radio frequency management[[1]] explains spectrum trading as-
“In the traditional administrative approach to assignment and authorization system, spectrum is first allocated specified uses and then assigned to particular firms or public organisations that carry out the authorized use according to specific obligations as are laid down in a licence or permit. Secondary trading of spectrum, or simply ‘Spectrum Trading,’ permits the purchaser to change the use to which the spectrum was initially put while maintaining the right to use.”

Spectrum trading allows parties to transfer their spectrum rights and obligations to another party, in return for a financial or market benefit.  It allows the present user to decide when and to whom the spectrum authorization will be transferred and what sum it will receive in return.  The market, not the regulator, determines the value.  Further, a consultancy report commissioned by the European Commission, the consulting firm Analysys was cited whereby the following methods for transferring rights of use were identified -
• Sale – Ownership of the usage right is transferred to another party.
• Buy back – A usage right is sold to another party with an agreement that the seller will buy back the usage right at a fixed point in the future.
• Leasing – The usage right is transferred to another party for a defined period of time but ownership remains with the original rights holder
• Mortgage – The usage right is used as collateral for a loan, analogous to taking out a mortgage on an apartment  or a house.

Spectrum trading covers a range of possibilities, from straightforward change of ownership of an assignment with no change of use to more advanced variants in which assignments may be divided or amalgamated and use changed.[[2]]


Design Elements of institutional framework for Spectrum trading
The success of spectrum trading depends on appropriate institutional framework that precisely determines how rights of use of spectrum are transferred. In case spectrum trading is to be introduced in a country, the basic design elements that will need deliberation will be –
(a)  Definition of property rights and liability rules in terms of [[3]] :
(i)           The band which is available for use;
(ii)          The geographical area in which it can be used;
(iii)        The period for which the licence is entitled;
(iv)         The uses to which it can be put;
(v)          The licensee’s degree of protection from other users;
(vi)         The licensee’s obligation not to interfere with other spectrum user’s rights.
(b)  Flexibility or otherwise with Licensees to determine the services they want to provide with their spectrum, using the technology they deem to be the most efficient.
(c)  Transferability of property rights after trade - sale or lease, in whole or in part.
(d)  Terms and conditions of compulsory purchase backs (with compensation) if required by government under some extreme circumstances.
(e)  Need for defining or otherwise of the emission levels, interference limits
(f)   Arbitration mechanisms in case of disputes.
(g)  Mechanism of putting in place a public register [[4]] to record changes in ownership and to ensure transparency for private users, effectively displaying information on opportunities and easing entry into unoccupied bands. [[5]]



[1] http://www.ictregulationtoolkit.org/en/PracticeNote.3076.html; The ICT Regulation Toolkit is a joint production of infoDev and the International Telecommunication Union.
[2] Messolonghi, September 2002, REFARMING AND SECONDARY TRADING IN A CHANGING RADIOCOMMUNICATIONS WORLD, Electronic Communications Committee (ECC) within the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT)

[4] For example the Australian Communications Authority (ACA) maintains searchable register of licences to facilitate trading. - www.aca.gov.au
[5] The ability of regulators and licensees to keep track of current licences is an important component of market-based systems and can be facilitated by a publicly available database. Knowledge of the location of existing Tx’s and Rx’s (where feasible) will allow potential purchasers of rights to accurately model the existing interference environment they are seeking to enter and to enable them to properly assess the rights they seek to acquire. The database :
  • should enable regulators if called upon to adjudicate spectrum disputes and to enable them to track and assess the usage of spectrum in differing bands;
  • Should include additional tools to analyze, data on spectrum historical occupancy/usage and to interpret alternative propagation models. 

Verizon to buy spectrum leases from Clearwire as US telco's struggle to acquire airwaves rights


As per a latest news report in Wall street journal, Verizon Wireless has offered to pay as much a $1.5 billion to buy spectrum leases from Clearwire Corp. That’s about 8000 Crores in Indian Rupees. However, Verizon Wireless hasn't made an offer for spectrum that Clearwire owns. Clearwire owns some spectrum but it leases other spectrum from third parties so it can offer a nationwide network. Any bid for Clearwire spectrum could face hurdles if Sprint doesn't approve. Sprint has a number of contractual rights that pose steep obstacles for any outsider trying to do a deal.

The entire news is contrary to earlier reports according to which Clearwire had agreed to sell itself to part-owner Sprint Nextel Corp.  and Sprint agreed to sell a controlling stake in itself to Japan's Softbank Corp.

Strangely Sprint has always been looked upon as a company who would be interested in Clearwire’s spectrum. As of 2010, Clearwire was  licensed 133 MHz of spectrum, and Sprint had 51 MHz. Their combined 184 MHz represented more twice the holdings of Verizon (83 MHz) and AT&T (77 MHz), and nearly four times T-Mobile's haul (48 MHz). However, Verizon has been quietly amassing spectrum since then. Last year, the company paid $3.9 billion to acquire spectrum licenses from a group of cable companies including Comcast Corp and Time Warner Cable Inc. An access to Clearwire’s spectrum would have given Spirint an ability to compete with rivals like AT&T  and Verizon.

Clearwire's spectrum is in the 2.5 GHz (2,500 MHz) range, a band where signals don't easily penetrate walls and weaken significantly over long distances, requiring way more cell towers to transmit signal as lower-band airwaves. Verizon's spectrum in the 700 MHz band, acquired at more than $9 billion because it travels over long distances and easily passes through buildings for indoor coverage. On the positive side, the 2.5 GHz range is potentially perfect for small cells, since the higher bands can carry more data over a MHz of spectrum than lower bands, and they have less potential for interference. Some of the bigger markets like China, India and Japan are planning LTE roll outs in 2.5 GHz band. Thus the Verizon offer seems to throw open speculations that Verizon might complement it’s network in 700 MHz with small cells operating in 2.5 GHz. The U.S. telcos appear to be  evolving toward a model in which they will use the lower bands for voice and the higher bands for data transmission including video, streaming tv and cable programming.

Tablet market gearing up; Android gaining market share

The PC manufacturers are for some tough time ahead. In fact, even if your main business is centered around making Laptops, be ready to face some rough weathers going ahead. Why? Here is the reason - according to latest report from market intelligence firm ABI Research named Media Tablets, Ultrabooks and eReaders Research Service, in 2013 approximately 150 million tablets (up 38% year-over-year) are forecasted to ship globally worth an estimated $64 billion (up 28% from 2012) in potential end-user revenues. This is mainly because of  convenience and mobility benefits afforded by tablet 

As far as the market share of operating systems is concern, the tide is slowly turning in favor of Android. About 60% of last year's tabletshipments used Apple's iOS operating system software while 37% were based on Google's Android OS (or development forks of Android, such as found on Amazon's Kindle Fire slates). The remaining 3% OS share consisted of Windows (Windows 7, 8, or RT), BlackBerry Tablet OS, and unidentified OS implementations.

Growing appetite for mobile data and suggested approach for India

Growing appetite for mobile data globally
Juniper has published it’s latest report on Mobile data traffic forecasts. As per them, the total mobile data traffic will exceed 90,000 Petabytes by 2017. What is more interesting is that 60% of this data will be offloaded to Wi-Fi networks and only 40% of the data generated by mobile devices will be carried through the cellular network by 2017. The report also emphasizes the roll that the small cells are going to play going forward.
Mobile data growth – Indian scenario

India today is on the verge of data revolution and in the current decade, data will transform the Indian telecom industry the way voice did in the previous decade. Indications are that data contribution from 2G will continue to rise, and 3G and LTE adaption will augment this growth. while the telecom industry in the rest of the world obtains 35-50% revenues from non-voice services, India derives only ~15% of sales from non-voice/ data services. Projections by UBS for major telecom players in India indicate that the non-voice revenues are going to be ~30% of total revenues for these players by 2020. These projections may well be surpassed if India is able to achieve a good broadband penetration backed by the recent policy pronouncement on National Broadband Plan.  As against the current broadband subscriber base of 14.68 million, the National Broadband Plan envisages provision of 160 million broadband connections (22 million DSL, 78 million cable and 60 million wireless broadband) by the year 2014. It is likely that the share of wireless broadband may be much more than the expectations as, like other countries, in India also; the data revolutions will piggy back on wireless broadband. 3G and Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) are expected to aid the growth of economy by boosting broadband growth.

Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) M-Bit report indicates that mobile data usage in India has grown at 54% growth in 7 months and is likely to double every 12-14 months. This report can be accessed at http://www.nokiasiemensnetworks.com/sites/default/files/document/india_mobile_data_-_mbit_index.pdf . Evolution of data services in China provides some insight for the potential for the data segment growth for India. Data service revenue constitutes 30.6% of total service revenue in China as compared with 12.6% in India in FY11, giving an indication for strong data services growth trajectory in India in coming years. Credit Suisse estimates that over the next three years, data could more than double in size to a US$14 bn industry in India, contributing over half the incremental industry revenue and add 500 bp CAGR to an otherwise slowing voice industry. They estimate 3G’s contribution to mobile EBITDA to rise to 9-13% (from less than 5%) by FY3/14

Wi-Fi offload – a solution to handle growing data volumes and speeds

No doubt more and more carriers are adapting to Wi-Fi. Recently AT&T had inked a pact with Boingo - one of the leading Wi-Fi service provider having more than 600000 Wi-Fi Spots around the globe. Going forward the carrier-Wi-Fi adoption will be gather speed mainly because of two developments –

a)   NGH (Next Generation Hotspot) and Hotspot 2.0 specifications along with 5GHz enabled devices.

b)   Carrier-grade small cells along with Wi-Fi will enable high levels of capacity and along with the macro network will provide commercial and financial success to the operator.

Now what’s there for India in all this? Ironically, there are not many Wi-Fi hotspots in India currently. Given that almost one-sixth of the world's mobile subscribers are in India and that the country is already spectrum starved, in future offloading the mobile traffic on Wi-Fi is the only feasible and practical solution to cater to the growing hunger for data services.
ITU studies and other major research firms have already pointed out that the data requirements of future can never be met by increased availability of spectrum even if spectrum efficiency improve considerably. India cannot rely on vacation of frequencies by Defense ministry as the chances of this happening are remote. And even if this happens it will be a slow process. Thus demand and supply of spectrum in India will always have wider gaps than in other countries.

India specific approach – A Public Wi-Fi hotspot network

In such a scenario, it becomes important for the India to have a large number of Wi-Fi hotspots in almost all major cities and towns. There are two ways of doing this. The first way of approaching the problem is that the market is left to itself and the telecom operators or third parties like Boingo creates a Wi-Fi hotspot network. However the problem in this solutions can be  -

·         - The commercial criteria and not the country/public good at large will drive the hotspot creation
·         - All operators will target the same places for hotspot creation like Airports, bus and railway stations, big malls etc. They will end up creating duplicate infrastructure and in process may not get the return on investment. India missed the bus while the mobile towers were being erected and this resulted in sheer waste of resources by way of creating redundant infrastructure. All operators invested in mobile towers at same time and at same spots.

·         - Such approach slows down the rural penetration as all operators are busy spending their money in big cities. At least for Wi-Fi, we can eliminate this approach.


This leads us to the second and more practical approach of policy intervention to ensure that a common Wi-Fi network is created across major cities that can be shared on payment basis by all operators. This will help in savings on one hand and better ROIs on other. An added advantage can be faster rollout even in tier II and tier III cities. The Bharat Broadband Nigam Limited (BBNL) had been created by Government of India to roll out a common optical fiber network that can be shared across telecom service providers. On similar lines, BBNL can also be entrusted to create a common Wi-Fi network funded through USO. However, the entity will be able to make money once the Wi-Fi network is used by telecom operators. A Wi-Fi hotspot requires back-end connectivity, preferably on fiber so as to ensure that large numbers of users are supported by the hotspot at higher speeds. Suggested approach will ensure that BBNL will identify Point of Presence (POPs) for optical fiber as per the hotspot requirements. If implemented, such a solution can not only help in solving the spectrum crunch, but will also help Indian citizens to get higher broadband speeds at affordable prices – an objective that the NTP 2012 envisages to meet.

252 million domain names have been registered globally by end of 2012


As per the latest issue of VeriSign’s Domain Name Industry Brief, the total number of registered domain names to a little more than 252 million worldwide across all top-level domains (TLDs). Of these, about six million domain names were added to the internet in the fourth quarter of 2012 whihc equates to a growth rate of 2.5 per cent over the preceding quarter. According to the report, as of December 31, 2012, the base of registered names in .com equaled 106.2 million, while .net equaled 14.9 million. 

Global mobile penetration and subscriber numbers


Using Google Maps while driving may be illegal - New debate around technological advancements v/s legal provisions


January last year Steven R Spriggs was stopped by police in California, USA  for using a smartphone as a navigational aid. As per him, he got stuck  in a traffic jam near downtown Fresno and thought nothing of whipping out his iPhone 4 and clicking on the map feature to see if there was an alternate route around the construction mess. He was surprised when he looked up and saw a California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer ordering him to pull over. He showed the officer that he was looking at a map and not texting or talking. He got a $160 ticket.  having graduated from a Law school, he obviously sued claiming that it was not explicitly forbidden in the existing legislation covering the use of a mobile phone while driving.

It is reportedly said that he initially brought a paper map to court to argue that it was legal to hold it while driving. Not persuaded, the traffic court commissioner found him guilty. He appealed to the three-judge panel of Fresno Superior Court, arguing in a legal brief that the iPhone has a flashlight feature and other functions that can be useful to a driver and aren't as dangerous as texting or talking. As he is no 'Jolly LLB'; he again lost. 

Fresno County Judge, writing on March 21 for the three-judge panel upholding the commissioner's ruling, said "the primary evil sought to be avoided is the distraction the driver faces when using his or her hands to operate the phone. That distraction would be present whether the wireless telephone was being used as a telephone, a GPS navigator, a clock or a device for sending and receiving text messages and emails."  The judge also threw out an argument that the term "using" could not be expanded beyond making a phone call to using a phone app -- ruling that if the law had intended to limit the application of the statute to "conversing" or "listening and talking," then it could have done so.

Fortunately, as of now, the ruling doesn't apply outside of Fresno County. However it opens a bigger debate on Technological advancements v/s archaic legal provisions. In this case the driver was holding the smart phone while using the application. What happens when the smartphone is mounted on cradle. Someone may argue that one can talk on speaker phone even while not holding the phone in hand. So ultimately what seems more important to me is the intent. Else, why should a person spent and keep different devices, when a phone can serve as clock, music player, navigator, climate indicator etc........ 

Samsung's Smart Pad likely to hit the market before Apple's IPad 5


The Smart Pad is likely to be launched ahead of Apple's next generation iPad whose production is expected to start at the Chinese assembly plants in July-August 2013. The 5th-generation 9.7-inch version iPad is expected to be thinner and lighter than the fourth-generation one and will adopt a slim bezel design, similar to that of the iPad mini.

Disclaimer

The views and opinions expressed in articles on this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency or organisation they serve.

Telecom New Zealand unveils its LTE roll out plans


Telecom New Zealand plans to have LTE live on a large part of its smartphone network in Auckland by October 2013. The company will then extend LTE coverage to Wellington and Christchurch by December and expects to have LTE live on close to half of its nationwide smartphone network during 2014. As per news reported in some papers, the company has selected Huawei to build its network of 4G-capable mobile sites – known as the eUTRAN. 

Telecom plans to install dual carrier HSPA+ on more than half of mobile sites, fast backhaul to 90 percent of mobile sites, and – from mid 2013 – rolling out Optical Transport Network (OTN) technology to the network core. 

3G Intra Circle Roaming (ICR) issue

Last week couple of news on 3G Intra Circle Roaming(ICR) arrangements in India raised the interests of the stakeholders. A brief background will help in understanding the issue better. Department of Telecom (DoT) who is the licencor and issues all telecom licences in India had earlier asked 3 Telecom service providers viz. Airtel, Idea and Vodafone to stop ICR based 3G services in the service areas where 3G spectrum was not assigned to them. In reaction to this, these 3 operators filed petitions in TDSAT (the tribunal which hears cases related to telecom in India). Incidentally the two members of TDSAT gave a split judgement. Subsequently DoT asked these operators to stop the 3G services based on ICR arrangements and even slapped penalties. The operators went to High Court and got a stay. Last week the stay has been vacated. To understand the issue of 3G ICR, the best is to go through the split judgement of TDSAT. To help the readers of this blog, I have summarized the same below. However I advise the readers to go through the original judgement so as to obviate any errors that may arise because of my understanding of the judgement. In case you are short of time, here you go ----
    Split Judgment by TDSAT on ICR dated 03.07.2012 - Finding the plea acceptable and valid, TDSAT Chairman Justice  S B Sinha allowed the operators’ plea against the government's directive to stop intra circle 3G roaming saying that it was violative of natural justice. The Petitions were allowed, the impugned orders dated 23.12.2011 was set aside with liberty to the Respondent to pass appropriate orders upon giving due opportunity of hearing to the Petitioner. However, differing in the decision taken, TDSAT Member P K Rastogi dismissed plea saying that the petitioners who have not got 3G spectrum allotted by the licensor in certain circles, cannot provide 3G services to its customers in those circles by way of making intra circle arrangement with the service providers having 3G spectrum. 

 Salient points deliberated in judgement delivered by TDSAT Member P K Rastogi

a.   On the principal question as to whether the petitioners having UASL/CMTS license along with 2G spectrum in certain circles can provide 3G services to its customers in these circles although 3G spectrum has not been allotted to them and whether such services can be provided by making intra circle roaming arrangements with operators having 3G spectrum in these circles, Member TDSAT has taken a view that the reading of cl. 2.2 (a)(i) of UASL shows that services to be provided by the licensee cover collection, carriage, transmission and delivery of voice and/or non-voice messages over licensee’s network in the designated service area and includes provision of all types of access services. In addition to this, except those services listed in para 2.2 (b)(i), licensee cannot provide any service which require a separate licence. Further he deliberated on the issue –“whether provision of 3G services requires a separate license”. On the issue, he is of the opinion that it is clear from the terms and conditions of license that the provision of 3G services cannot be provided without amendment to the UAS licence under Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 and without getting a license from WPC wing of DOT under Indian Wireless Act, 1933 for the relevant spectrum required to provide 3G services.  Thus, in his view, the provisions of 3G services require a separate license.  If the UASL licensee does not have separate license to provide 3G servies, it violate clauses 2.2(a) (i) and 2.2(b) (i) of the terms and conditions of the license.  
b.   3G services have been defined in the notice inviting applications (NIA) issued in connection with auction of 3G and BWA spectrum as In case of successful bidders, services offered under the scope of respective service licenses using 3G/BWA spectrum assigned through the auction process.” Therefore, 3G services are those services which use 3G spectrum and 3G spectrum can be got through the process of auction only. In this petition, the petitioners have not got the 3G spectrum allocated to them in the impugned circles.
c.    On the question as to whether it is possible to provide 3G service by the petitioners to its subscribers by way of intra circle roaming arrangement with other operators having 3G spectrum, Member TDSAT has taken a view that the definition of ‘service’ and that of ‘subscriber’ show that the petitioner should have the license and the required network to provide particular type of service to its subscribers.  The petitioners have established only 2G network and have not setup 3G network which requires separate equipment and separate allocation of frequency. In case of intra-circle roaming, the roaming seeker should also have its home network and the licence for the spectrum for which it is providing service to its subscribers. Its subscribers can roam on the facility of roaming provider temporarily only and not permanently. Such arrangement is not permissible under the terms and conditions of license. In fact, UASL licensee without having the relevant (3G) spectrum providing 3G services to its subscribers will be acting as Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) where the service provider does not have its network in that frequency still provides services to the subscriber.  At present, MVNO is not part of government telecom policy and is specifically prohibited. The arrangement made between the parties are such that it specifically bars 2G roaming, and allows only 3G roaming for the subscribers of the roaming seekers i.e. petitioners herein. The roaming seeker neither has network nor the spectrum for 3G services. As the roaming seeker is providing 3G services by using the spectrum and network of the roaming provider, the Petitioner work like MVNO which is not permissible at present.
d.   In its judgment, Member TDSAT also quoted the terms and conditions of the roaming agreement entered by M/s TATA and Aircel and opined that the agreement indicates that the roaming provider having 3G spectrum have limited the usage of its 3G spectrum to the roaming seeker to certain percentage. This shows that the 3G spectrum is being earmarked to certain percentage for roaming seeker. Such arrangement of earmarking the part of the 3G spectrum allotted by a successful bidder to a service provider without any authorization by the licensor is not permissible.
e.    3G and 2G spectrum are allotted with different carrier sizes. While 3G spectrum (in 2100 MHz Frequency band) has been allotted with carrier size of 5 MHz; TDMA (2G)spectrum is allotted with carrier size of 200 KHz each for in 900 MHz/1800 MHz frequency band and 1.25 MHz each for CDMA in 800 MHz frequency band.
f.     On the issue of promissory estoppel that was raised by petitioners on the grounds that the DoT in its response to specific query in pre bid conference has said that roaming facility between 2G and 3G service will be available and once that commitment has been made the responses given by the DOT are definitely binding on the licensor, Member TDSAT was of the view that the doctrine of promissory estoppel cannot be invoked by a third party.  The petitioners in these petitions are not successful bidders in the auction. No contract was signed between the petitioners and the respondent.  Any response given during the process of auction cannot be binding on the licensor vis-à-vis these petitioners. As no promise has been made to these petitioners, the doctrine of promissory estoppel is not applicable. Therefore, the petitioners will not get any benefit out of the response given by DOT during the auction proceedings. The petitioners will be governed by their own license agreement. The query and responses are not in the nature of circular instructions of the department. The responses are for the purpose of auction of the 3G spectrum only. These responses cannot create any new right to the parties having effect of changing the terms and conditions of their licenses.
g.    On the issue of Natural Justice raised by Petitioner that the impugned communication of DoT dated 23.12.2011 to stop 3G services violated the principle as neither show cause notice was issued before the said communication by the Respondent nor any opportunity of hearing was given to the Petitioners, Member TDSAT has taken a view that various TERM cells of DoT had issued letters to the petitioners. Thus, they were well aware of the objections raised by the respondent at different points of time. The unsuccessful bidders did not get either the amendment to their licence or the allocation of 3G spectrum from the respondent.  It is not understood as to how the petitioner got any right to start 3G services.  The licensor did not confer any right to such effect. The show cause notice would have been necessary, if the petitioner were conferred any right to provide the 3G services to its customer under the licenses granted to it and the impugned letter of the respondent dated 23.12.2012 would have curtailed such rights.

LTE deployments in various countries


This is compiled from various sources. Readers may cross check for data consistencies.

Singapore - SingTel launched commercial  LTE service on December 22, 2011 in 1800 MHz and 2.6 GHz spectrum
StarHub has completed LTE testing in 2.6 GHz and 1800 MHz and an LTE1800 network in refarmed 1800 MHz  is being deployed for commercial launch in Q4 2012

Malaysia - Celcom is trialling LTE  in 1800 MHz and 2.6 GHz spectrum. DiGi plans to  launch LTE  in 2.6 GHz  by 2013. U 
Mobile announced on March 15, 2011 plans to launch a commercial LTE network in 2.6 GHz.

Japan - Softbank Mobile,  a member of the Global TD-LTE Initiative,  commercially launched  XGP/LTE TDD services  on February 24, 2012 following a  precommercial pilot service  which began  November 1, 2011. The network is deployed in 20 MHz of 2.5 GHz spectrum  bought from Willcom (PHS operator).

China - China Mobile HK launched commercial LTE FDD services in 2.6 GHz on April 25, 2012 and is evolving the network to also support LTE TDD this year. In  an announcement on December 29, 2011  OFCA launched a consultation on auctioning spectrum in the 2.5/2.6GHz range, offering five blocks of 2 x 5 MHz, by  auction  which would be held  in Q1 2013 at the earliest.
China Mobile plans to have  20,000  LTE TDD base sites  covering 500 million people by end 2012, increasing to 200,000 by end 2013. Commercial service launch is anticipated in 2013-2014. China Mobile has 1.9 GHz, 2.0 GHz,
2.3 GHz and 2.6 GHz bands (classified as  F, A, E and D bands). The trials use the D and F bands.

Honk Kong - 2 x 15 MHz blocks of 2.6 GHz spectrum  were obtained  via auction each by China Mobile  HK  (Peoples Phone), Genius Brand (Hutchison Telecom/PCCW JV) and CSL Limited.

Australia - ACMA announced the first formal steps toward a joint auction of new licences in 700 MHz DD and 2.6 GHz.

Mexico -Telefónica and Telcel have conducted tests of LTE. Telcel is preparing for commercial launch  to consumers  during April 2012.  Telefónica  plans to launch LTE by 2013.  The  government  plans to auction new spectrum in 700 MHz and 2.6 GHz. 

Brazil -Sky Brasil commercially launched LTE TDD services (2.6 GHz - Band 38) on December 13, 2011 in Brasilia. 
More cities will be covered in 2012.
Claro has been testing LTE in 2.6 GHz since Q4 2011

Canada -The 2.6 GHz trial  was enabled by  a development license from regulator Industry Canada. Industry Canada is preparing to auction 700 MHz and 2.6 GHz spectrum in 2012 and will hold a 6-hour  information session on May 30, 2012

Sri-Lanka Mobitel announced on May 6, 2011 completion of an LTE trial, which achieved 96 Mbps downlink speed in 
2.6 GHz. More trials are planned in other bands.

Taiwan -Chunghwa Telecom has been trialling LTE  in 2.6 GHz and 700 MHz spectrum.  The company  has 
completed LTE tests on the high-speed rail system in TDD  and FDD modes using 2.6 GHz. 

Vietnam -RusViet Telecom  (an Alltech company) trialled an LTE network in 2010 in Hanoi.  The company plans 
expanding coverage  of  its 2.6 GHz LTE network in 2012, including to Hi Chi Minh.

Armenia -VivaCell-MTS announced commercial launch of LTE services on December 28, 2011, initially in Yerevan, 
using 2.6 GHz spectrum.

Austria -Regulator  TKK completed the auction of 2.6 GHz spectrum on September 20, 2010, raising €39.5m from  A1  Telekom Austria, Hutchison 3, T-Mobile and Orange. 14 paired and 9 unpaired frequency blocks were  sold. License conditions require coverage of at least 25% of the population by 2013. A1  Telekom  commercially  launched LTE in Vienna and St. Pölten on November 5, 2010. T-Mobile Austria launched a 60-cell site pilot LTE network in Innsbruck in July 2009 and entered a soft launch phase on October 19, 2010. In May 2011, the first LTE base station in Vienna went live. On July 28 the company  commercially  launched LTE and its Internet All Inclusive LTE tariff. 
Orange Austria has tested LTE technology and acquired 2 x 10 MHz of 2.6 GHz spectrum in the 2010 auction.

Belgium -Regulator  BIPT  auctioned  4G licenses  for a total of US$ 103.7 million, comprising  45 MHz of  2.6 GHz 
TDD spectrum and 3 x 20 MHz paired blocks in 2.6 GHz for FDD systems.

Denmark -Telia  launched the first commercial LTE system in Denmark on December  9,  2010 in Copenhagen, 
Aarhus, Odense and Aalborg in the 2.6 GHz band (20 MHz). On October 10, 2011 LTE commercial service
was introduced using 10 MHz of 1800 MHz spectrum (LTE1800) as a complement to the 2.6 GHz service.
Tri-band (800/1800/2600)  LTE  dongles and routers have been available since the summer.

Finland -20-year 2.6 GHz licenses were auctioned by regulator FICORA on 23 November 2009: TeliaSonera launched the first commercial  LTE service in Finland on November 30, 2010  in Turku and Helsinki. LTE1800 was commercially launched as a complement to 2.6 GHz on August 31, 2011. Elisa commercially  launched its  2.6 GHz  LTE network  for corporate users on December 8, 2010, and announced its first client.

France -SFR trialled LTE in Marseille in 2011 and is deploying its commercial network  in 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz.
ARCEP  auctioned 2.6 GHz spectrum and confirmed the successful bidders and allocations:
 Bouygues: 2535-2550 MHz/2655-2670 MHz
·
 Free Mobile: 2550-2570 MHz/2670-2690 MHz
·
 FT/Orange: 2515-2535 MHz/2635-2655 MHz
·
 SFR: 2500-2515 MHz/2620-2635 MHz
·

Germany -A multiband spectrum auction was completed in May 2010, covering 360 MHz in 4 bands: 800 MHz (digital 
dividend), 1800 MHz, 2.1 GHz, 2.6 GHz.  All 4 incumbents acquired 2.6 GHz  to be used  for LTE.

Italy -3 Italia is deploying LTE1800 and from 2013 intends to offer multicarrier aggregation (an LTE-A feature) 
allowing LTE1800 and LTE2600 to be used together.

Netherlands -2.6 GHz FDD spectrum was auctioned in April 2010 and awarded to incumbents  KPN,  Vodafone,  TMobile, and newcomers Ziggo 4 (currently an MVNO on KPN’s network)  and  Tele2. The TDD spectrum 
was not bought. Ziggo launched its commercial LTE service on May 3, 2012 for its Internet Plus business customers in Breda, Oss and Zwolle.

Norway -Norway held Europe’s first 2.6 GHz auction in 2007 which  was awarded to incumbents TeleNor and 
TeliaSonera (NetCom); total allocation 2 x 90 MHz. TeliaSonera launched the world’s first LTE networks
in Oslo and Sweden in December 2009.

Russia -On February 2, 2012 MTS announced the company had been awarded the first license to provide  LTE 
services in Moscow and the Moscow region. The license granted is for  LTE TDD  deployment  in the 2595 – 2620 MHz range. 

Spain - In June 2010  Ministerio de Industria, Turismo Comercio (MITYC) launched a consultation on reallocation of  2.6 GHz  and  re-farming of 900/1800 MHz. An auction  began on  June 29, 2011  for 58 blocks of 800, 900 MHz and 2.6 GHz  frequencies, with licences valid to 2030. The auction  ended on July 29, 2011  raising  €1.65bn for 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz licenses. Spectrum  was  won by  Vodafone, Telefónica  and  FT-Orange. 

Sweden - Tele2 Sweden  and TeleNor Sweden deployed an LTE network  through a jointly-owned company 
(Net4Mobility), which  includes spectrum sharing in 900 MHz and 2.6 GHz. 

UK -O2 has tested LTE in 2.6 GHz spectrum  and  has trialled LTE800 in  Carlisle  since mid 2010. In November 2011 the company began  a large-scale LTE trial in central London, to run until June 2012. O2 has 20 MHz of test spectrum  in  the 2.6 GHz band. 

Saudi Arabia -Etisalat (Mobily)  commercially launched LTE TDD on September 14, 2011 via its Bayanat subsidiary, in 
Najran, Jazan, Al Kharj, Ras tanoura, Algurayat and Aldudam in band 38 (2.6 GHz).

South Africa -MTN  is  deploying LTE1800 as  2.6 GHz is not available.  In the longer term 2.6 GHz and 800 MHz are sought.

UAE - Etisalat launched commercial LTE  service on September 25, 2011. LTE USB modems were widely
introduced at Etisalat outlets on December 18, 2011. Etisalat uses 2.6 GHz spectrum indoors and 1800
MHz spectrum outdoors, and is seeking an allocation of  800 MHz for nationwide  coverage.

Romania 4G Auction Rusults:
Slice 2: Bands / Block Won (each block is of 15 Mhz)
800 - Cosmote (1), Orange (2), Vodaphone (2)
900 - Cosmote (2), Orange (2), RCS&RDS (1), Vodaphone (2)
1800 - Cosmote (5), Orange (4), Vodaphone (6)
2600 - Cosmote (2), Orange (4), 2K Telecom (2), Vodaphone (1)

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