MWC: 14 MBit/s HSPA and other bits and pieces

Day 3 at the Mobile World Congress and my impression is that it is a little bit less busy than in the days before. People also start to be a bit tired, long hours at the congress and activites in the evening leave their marks. Anyway, so here are some of the things I have seen today:

Last year it was only Nortel and LG who where showing a live and over the air LTE demo. This year, I was expecting more companies to do the same. To my surprise this was not the case. Hall 8 is full of LTE demos but no real over the air and no real mobile devices or prototpyes are shown except for LG and Nortel. What’s going on!? I am puzzled. Good to see that the size of the mobile device prototypes have shrunk from desktop PC size down to about twice the size of a typical 3G dongle today. At least at the LG booth. These were no mockups but were used for the demos.

The GSMA and Ericsson showed the evolution of HSPA in hall 2 and I was shown an HSPA live air demo with a throughput of 14 MBit/s with a 3G USB stick with a Telstra branding. It said 21 on the top which probably stands for 21 MBit/s, which I think is the highest speed with 64 QAM without MIMO. I couldn’t see where the antenna was hidden but it was probably quite nearby. In all fairness one has to say that at the Congress pretty much all antennas are nearby to give excellent coverage as reported earlier.

Another thing that I checked out in more details is who is doing the different layers of the protocol stack. I know that the area is very fractured and lots of smaller companies are working in this space. I talked a bit with a representative of MimoOn who are doing layer 1 to 3 LTE protocol stacks for chipsets from PicoChip and TI. They had good demos what each layer of the protocol stack does and how they can be separated. While some companies lincense their complete stack, others implement some of the layers on their own and just want one or the other from them. Pretty much a mix and match game. So for a product like a femtocell, silicon of vendor x is used, the protocol stack from y and z and the femotcell vendor then might put the rest of the protocol stack on top itself plus all the femto applications and there are probably partnerships for that as well. And finally the femto cells get sold to an even bigger company which then sells it under their own brand. Incredible how many companies are involved.

And finally for this post, I’ve spoken to a couple of people about dual mode TDD / FDD handsets and if they think this will happen. All of them said they weren’t sure and that it is a quite complicated thing to do. They pretty much all said “Let’s see how things develop”.