Operators will soon be able to extend the reach of mobile broadband services by exploiting the “Digital Dividend” radio spectrum becoming available as countries switch from analog to digital terrestrial TV. Ahead of the digital dividend spectrum auction currently underway in Germany, Nokia Siemens Networks has begun production of its LTE-ready Flexi Multiradio Base Station radio frequency modules for 800 MHz. The 800 MHz frequency band is particularly attractive for deployment in rural areas due to its greater reach, enabling operators to meet their mobile broadband access targets cost efficiently.
“As countries switch from analog to digital TV, they are freeing up spectrum that can be used for mobile networks,” said Thorsten Robrecht, head of LTE product management, Nokia Siemens Networks. “Most countries in Europe, and several in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, are evaluating this frequency band for LTE deployments. Recognizing the opportunity that this digital dividend presents for operators, we have stayed on top of this development and have now started producing base stations that operate in the 800 MHz band, with commercial deployments targeted for the second half of 2010.”
The longer range of the 800 MHz band allows operators to cover a given area with fewer sites, as compared to higher frequencies. Operators deploying LTE in 800 MHz can easily achieve the same coverage as GSM (900 MHz) networks using their existing base station sites, allowing them to take a big step towards the vision of providing universal broadband.
Seeing its potential to cost-efficiently cover rural areas, as well as improve indoor penetration in towns and cities, industry stakeholders and regulators at the World Radio Conference 2007 agreed to assign the 800 MHz band for mobile broadband communication. Germany is currently in the midst of auctioning the available spectrum to operators, and more countries are expected to follow suit.
Nokia Siemens Networks successfully tested LTE technology for 800 MHz last year at its R&D centers in Ulm, Germany, and Oulu, Finland, using the Flexi Multiradio Base Station.
The Flexi Multiradio Base Station is the most compact and energy-efficient LTE base station on the market. Deliveries started in September 2008 and today are used by a majority of Nokia Siemens Networks’ WCDMA customers. Its unique design consists of a common system module (which works with all frequency bands) and a radio frequency (RF) module for the particular frequency used in the network. The RF module for the 800 MHz version is now under production. The Flexi Multiradio Base Station supports GSM/EDGE, WCDMA/HSPA and LTE. Its compact, weather-proof and modular design allows for swift integration into existing base station sites.