Shared spectrum on trial in France

Written by on January 8, 2016 in News with 0 Comments

Vector music volume abstract backgroundThe ability for multiple providers to share a slice of licensed spectrum will be a key step towards greater spectral efficiency and flexibility. Two major standardized approaches are being developed – Licensed Shared Access (LSA) in Europe and Authorized Shared Access (ASA) in the US. Ericsson, Qualcomm and RED Technologies are getting in early on the LSA game, conducting the most extensive trial of the technology to date, in France.

The three companies are using Ericsson’s access network in 2.3 GHz/2.4 GHz spectrum currently occupied by the French Ministry of Defence. Qualcomm said: “The French Ministry of Defence has outlined its willingness to share its spectrum, and it is now up to Europe’s telecoms operators to take up the offer.”

If the pilot succeeds, it is expected that the French government will release a large swathe of licensed spectrum for shared use, over the coming two years, and LSA supporters hope this will also lead to similar moves in the 2.3/2.4 GHz band elsewhere in Europe.

The French test, conducted under the auspices of the regulator Arcep, is focused on indoor capacity and coverage based around small cells. This type of scenario is expected to be the primary driver for shared spectrum, as well as other methods of increasing the capacity available to mobile operators, such as running LTE in the 5 GHz band with LTE-LAA. The rise in usage of mobile data is sharpest indoors, and issues with coverage and quality are most challenging within buildings.

Ericsson is using its Radio Dot distributed in-building system for the trial, together with carrier aggregation to bond the shared frequencies with existing licensed spectrum. French start-up RED Technologies is providing its dynamic spectrum assessment and management technology, which has been developed for either LSA or ASA. It uses live radio environment maps and self-organizing network (SON) engines to allocate the frequencies on the most efficient basis in real time. The LTE devices are provided by Qualcomm, running on its Snapdragon processor/modems.

“This initiative touches the core of the French telecoms industry and has the potential to considerably enhance the consumer mobile experience in France as well as generate significant economic return,” said Axelle Lemaire, the French minister for digital affairs, in a statement.

“Spectrum availability is a core condition for flourishing technology adoption and innovation. This LSA pilot is therefore a vital step towards the realization of Europe’s Digital Single Market,” said Wassim Chourbaji, VP of government affairs at Qualcomm, while Thomas Noren, head of radio product management at Ericsson, nodded towards 5G, the generation which will make full use of evolving flexible spectrum approaches. “Sufficient availability of licensed spectrum will be a key asset to allow the deployment of 5G services, with the expected capacity and QoS requirements,” he said. “LSA is an agile technology approach to boost capacity. The combination of licensed and unlicensed bands is a key 5G technology development area.”

The 2.3 GHz band in Europe, and 3.5 GHz in the US, have been particularly important in LSA/ASA development because both are earmarked for mobile broadband by the ITU, but remain largely in the hands of military or government users – though they have been used for WiMAX and LTE in other parts of the world. In France, for example, 2.3 GHz is used to measure missile speeds and to protect nuclear weapons, while Germany uses the spectrum to support broadcaster activities. However, these services are confined to fairly small regions, leaving most of the spectrum unused – and ripe for the LSA approach.

In the US, the 3.5 GHz band is assigned to naval radar, but is scarcely used away from coastal regions. The FCC is proposing a three-tiered approach which could set important precedents for other bands elsewhere, as the work on dynamic access to unlicensed TV white spaces spectrum has also done. The 3.5 GHz spectrum would be divided between priority access users (the incumbents), ASA users with light licences, and unlicensed access.

First published at

Tags: , , ,

About the Author

About the Author: Caroline Gabriel is Research Director & Co-Founder at Rethink Technology Research. She has been analyzing and reporting in the hi-tech industries since 1986 and has a huge wealth of experience of technology trends and how they impact on business models. .


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.