Who need Spectrum -How much, Where and When ?
Short link: http://wp.me/p1ZsI2-82
Abraham Paul. P.
19 May 2012.
Introduction: It is astonishing to see that the Regulator, the DOT and the Telecom industrialists never care to have a realistic evaluation of the current and future India Telecom environment. There will be exponential growth of customer volume, mostly from the rural India, a good part of it will be from green field projects.
The basic fundamental in a democracy is that Government policies on supporting of service industries shall be people centric and not money centric.
1. Telcos need to keep investment cost low because of the revenue potential is further getting narrowed.
The sheer nature of environment and expected low revenue potential due to various factors as discussed below, call for Systems, Networks, Interconnects and Transport, and Spectrum with less investment cost. High CAPEX/OPEX and low revenue potential will make the private Telcos shun to expand the business in rural areas of the country, making it the responsibility of the Government to provide service in these areas using BSNL or other Govt. supported PSUs exclusively created for this purpose.
2. Impact of transition from Voice to Data and Multimedia.
The advancement in technology and convergence of Voice and Data will adversely impact the Telecom & ISP providers and vendors business because of the major shift from Voice based usage to high speed Data and Internet based multi-media services will inevitably take away the business from Telecom Service providers to external digital, multimedia and various mobile e-commerce and mobile money management service providers and along with goes a major chunk of the revenue. (Please see a detailed paper on this in the link http://wp.me/p1ZsI2-23 )
3. Need to limit the number of Network operators.
To keep the systems and network cost low, there shall be a maximum of only three to four PAN India Network operators to serve entire country. There can be many Virtual Service providers who share these systems and networks. This can be realized by Segregation of Service Provision from Network operation. Please see my blog on this and a suitable Universal Numbering Plan for this. http://wp.me/p1ZsI2-t
4. Impact of Convergence of Wired and Wireless networks. http://wp.me/p1ZsI2-26
From the technology and business perspective, the differentiation between Mobile Networks and Fixed phone network is slowly diminishing. Voice, Mobile Data / Internet characteristics in Mobile systems are similar to these in Fixed Networks. Differences are the access type, bandwidth limitations and user end device characteristics. Phones are no more just phones but have become mini computers and Telephone Exchanges have to become predominantly data switching Centers. Therefore, it is necessary to focus on the convergence of Fixed and Mobile networking and also user end devices so as to provide Universal mode of Telecommunication features, products and services for all. Think of the advantages if one can use same phone as fixed one at home, use it in the Car and in the Work place and where ever. With convergence it shall be possible to use the same phone on wired end links as well as well as in wireless.
4.1. Limitations of current Mobile Telecom system. In a detail analysis, it can be seen that with higher data rates, the differentiations of Fixed Network and Mobile Network narrow down to ‘the type of end link’ and the ‘terminal device’. This is because, higher the data rate, smaller becomes the cell area and networking of enormously large number of small coverage’ area cell sites that are required for High Data rate Service delivery with Wireless connectivity becomes impractical. In practice, the topology of the high data service mobile network becomes same as that of fixed network made up of Optical Cable back bone and WiFi / WiMax based wireless end link.
Higher Mobility of the Mobile terminal also have impact on the on the size of the cell sites and data rates that can be realized without compromising quality of service. Because of this it will become necessary to augment connectivity using current Towers and Dishes with Micro cells fitted on poles (shared with electric poles where possible) at every 40 to 50 meters connected by OF feeder cables to provide end links for Mobiles in motion or with Co-axial cables fitted with micro or mini sites en route. (Leaky Cable with SDN)
4.2. Product utility in Mobile situation: In practical terms, data rates of 2 Mbps and above is required only for quick down loading of high volume contents such as lengthy digital movie etc., necessity of such will be rare in a mobile situation and therefore, cannot become a major revenue earning product. Such high volume data files can be easily downloaded and carried in plug and play storage devices.
It can be seen that an assured data rate of 384 to 512 Kbps, is more than adequate for good quality user intensive ‘real time’ video plus voice products such as, TV news, digital movie display, Multi-media transactions over internet etc. With 384 to 512 Kbps data rate, the data service can be delivered to the mobile device in a vehicle moving at its normal speed without compromising quality of service.
4.3. The business viability of high data service: Higher data rates of 2Mbps and above inMobile network any time, anywhere is near to impractical in terms of business viability. It could be realized only in limited hot spots and the Mobile device in more or less stationery situation identical to Wired phone.
Band width on demand. This can be achieved with a fixed network switching system that can identify and give the needed service to the user the same way as done in the mobile switching system. In the Mobile Networks, Software Defined Networking could be the order of the future.
4.4. Limitation in current Wired Line devices. Though very high data rate products could be made available in a fixed network system, the fixed network provides only limited mobility within a short coverage area. High data rate need of the user can be realized if the user can plug in his device to a fixed network socket or get serviced through a EPON connectivity as the end link at the premises.
5. Convergence of Wired and Wireless network and systems: There are already dual mode devices that can work in fixed network and mobile networks. Also the function of the switching systems of fixed and mobile networks could be identical except for the mode of line termination at the user and switching system end.
5.1. Universal Multi – purpose systems. The system shall be available, accessible and affordable and easy to use by all phone users. To quickly realize much talked about ‘Inclusive finance’ for all especially those in the lower social and economic strata across the country, the system shall provide in addition to telephony and data and multi-media services, non-telephony based value added services such as exclusively banked and non-internet dependent ‘Pay by Phone’ services as being suggested in my article Exclusively banked universal Pay by Phone Service for Micro Finance http://wp.me/p1ZsI2-4g
To keep the cost to user low, the system shall work on low cost mobile devices and solar based power units and at negligible or low cost of usage. Telecom Industrialists need caution on broad band network ideas that do not fit in the future. http://wp.me/p1ZsI2-4s
With spectrum re-farming, ‘Supply’ will exceed ‘Demand’ and it will be only prudent for the Telecom industrialists to approach cautiously towards the much exhorted by all and Government’s pipe dream auction processes. Please see my blog: ‘A new outlook on PAN India Telecom’ http://wp.me/p1ZsI2-8W
6. Need change in network topology: With advent of new generation systems and network, wireless portion of the network becomes lesser and lesser diminishing the need for buying and keeping spectrum, both localized or Pan India basis at very high cost. The systems and networks shall be futuristic based on enough redundancy built in Optical Fiber Cable system supporting MPLS for long haul and short haul connectivity, IP exchanges (IPX) , and modern wireless networks for the end links supporting LTE technology.
With PAN INDIA Operators, use of wireless spectrum is only in the end links, the rest will be taken care of by OF Cable connectivity in in the long & short haul as well in the last mile leaving only the end links. Although TSPs are vying each other in offering high volume speed and data rates which will not be of much use in the local area and between the local areas involving Intra operator and Inter operator end links i.e the um interface
As far as INTERNET access is concerned, the through is depend on the limitations in www, where the data speed realizable in the INTERNET is limited due to congestion and clogging.
7. Cloud Computing.
INTERNET is the best thing happened in the world that totally hanged the Information Communication Technology scenario across the world. INTERNET came into being without much regulatory controls, While the advantage of openness of INTERNET as world wide web helped its enormous growth and popularity; absence of well defined regulatory controls has its own problems.
Country-wise umbrella clouds under world wide web and organization-wise sub clouds under it, will be the way out to overcome the problems.
Cloud computing when further developed with firewalling at various levels can handle most of the transport and switching functions currently being handled by digital systems in more safer secure way. Taking the umbrella connectivity via special purpose satellites both Geo stationary and geo synchronous systems as needed there can great cost reduction compared to current form of networking.
Therefore, Convergence of Voice, Data and Multimedia, the networks and user end devices in Telecom with INTERNET based IP services using Cloud computing will be the order of the future.
India cloud: With huge increase in user volume, higher Data needs and higher data speed to handle all these, current network architecture will be grossly inadequate. The way out is to switch over to Cloud Computing by setting up ‘India Cloud’ with the help of required platform build with indigenous GPS satellites, both Geo synchronous and Geo stationery that can be shared by all Technology service providers handling fall forms of future VOIP, DATA and Multi-media services. Along with it will drastically change the connectivity needs including spectrum.
A typical idea of India cloud is shown in the slide below.
Please see my article Exclusive Govt. owned GSM Systems & Networks for Crisis and Disaster management. http://wp.me/p1ZsI2-dh
With that, the Government, Telcos, ISPs and various other Private and Public Service providers, et all need to ponder the question in the topic, “Who need Spectrum – How much, where and when?.
Please also see my blogs:
1. Exclusive Govt. owned GSM Systems & Networks for Crisis and Disaster management. http://wp.me/p1ZsI2-dh
2. 2G scam ‘Much-a-do-about-nothing’. http://wp.me/p1ZsI2-jy
Conclusion: Instead of endless squabbles on spectrum, the Government, Regulators and the Telcos shall look at the futuristic technologies and take decisions accordingly. 2G, 3G, 4G are just evolutions and nobody would need to buy spectrum at high cost for different technology systems in the evolutionary path. And who needs that sort of spectrum with MPLS run on OF network and IP exchanges, GPS based Cloud Computing etc., going to be the technology to bank on in the near future.
Author: P. Abraham Paul, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tweet @PA_Pau