It is indeed a major triumph for TD-SCDMA! After years of waiting, this 3G technology has finally been awarded a 3G license — in the form of a license from the MIIT (Ministry of Industry and Information Technology), China, to China Mobile — China’s biggest mobile phone operator.
I recall late 1999, when a good friend, Shih ying Tan, of Siemens, first apprised me about this particular technology, and I was able to discuss it in-depth with first, Siemens, while at Global Sources, in 2000, and later, with Dr. Li Shi-he, while at Wireless Week, the next year. Dr. Li is apprised as the father of TD in China! Sorry, I could not locate that link on Wireless Week.
I also spoke with Marco Principato at Siemens, while at Wireless Week, in 2001 http://www.wirelessweek.com/td-scdma-supporters-tout-3g-alternative.aspx). The link will take you to that interview. So, it’s been a personal delight for me that this technology has finally arrived!
I also traveled to Munich, Germany in August 2001, to meet Klaus Maler, who was then general manager, TD-SCDMA, for Siemens Information and Mobile Communications. I’ve also mentioned earlier that it was way, way back in September-October 2002, when the Chinese government allocated 155MHz of spectrum to TD-SCDMA!
What you should appreciate and be amazed about is the tremendous foresight of the Chinese government! Way back, it had decided to go ahead with TD-SCDMA! Way back, it allocated spectrum for this 3G technology! And well, most China followers, including yours truly, were aware that China Mobile would probably get the 3G license!
Knowing China reasonably well, China Mobile will surely leave no stones unturned in making TD-SCDMA its top priority, and developing it extremely well. Also, I am sure, China would be looking to sell this technology to other countries.
If you compare this with India, the differences are stark! TD-SCDMA is hardly talked about, and most dismiss it as a ‘China’ technology! Two, we have wonderfully entangled ourselves in the famous ‘spectrum tangle’ for years. So, allocating separate frequency for any technology is absolutely unheard of! Three, developing our own technology — far from it!
Anyhow, I am sure the Indian regulators will think their way through, as they’ve always done, and proper 3G would be a reality soon.
Coming back to China, the MIIT needs to be lauded for its great work and backing for TD-SCDMA! The technology itself has been close to being written off on so many instances, only to come back strongly! And how!!
I am certain that in the forthcoming telecom shows, such as those organized by the ITU, as well as CommunicAsia, we will get to see more of TD-SCDMA. More press coverage will be surely happening.
The D-day has arrived. Take a bow, TD-SCDMA!
This semicon blog will basically examine the key trends in microprocessors, as well as whether companies such as Xilinx — a key player in FPGAs — has any kind of role to play in the solar/PV domain.
For the record, this is the concluding part of the discussion with Vincent Ratford, Senior Vice President, Solutions Development Group, Xilinx.
First, on to solar/PV! We have been reading and hearing a lot about the rapid advances being made in solar/PV. With so much investments in solar/PV happening globally, is there a role for Xilinx to play in this segment?
Ratford said: “Perhaps! Our devices are great for prototyping new ideas and often find their way into new markets. In base stations, our devices are used to reduce the power up to 50 percent. In signal processing applications, we have a decided performance/power advantage vs. discrete signal processors. Many of these ‘Green’ applications require some form of signal and embedded processing.” Interesting, and this point needs some further examination!
Another area of main concern within the global semiconductor industry is low-power design. According to Ratford, there are a variety of ways to save system power.
He added: “We are designing features in our new products that will reduce active and standby power. We also have power-estimation and optimization tools. I would say, there is a lot more to be done in this area at all levels, software, IP and silicon.”
Ratford was however, tight-lipped about Xilinx’s product roadmap beyond the Virtex V. Obviously, we need to remain very tuned toward this!
Key microprocessor trends
Now this is another interesting area. A few weeks ago, I had received a great article from Texas Instruments, which mentioned about five key microprocessor trends today.
Microprocessors have always been among the key areas of interest for semiconductor design and development. On being quizzed on what could be the five major trends for microprocessors, Xilinx’s Ratford said: “For our embedded customers it is:
* Rising adoption of Linux.
* Increasing use of multi-core and some multi-processing.
* Accelerating trend to increase the connectivity, bandwidth and reduce the latency between the processor and the FPGA.
* Improve the OOBE (Out of the Box Experience) for non-FPGA developers.
* Reduce power.
Before signing off, my thoughts also veered toward LTE and TD-SCDMA, one 4G and the other, a 3G technology. Both these technologies have been very much in the news lately, especially, TD-SCDMA, which is currently in use at the Beijing Olympics.
As expected, Xilinx has also forayed into both LTE and TD-SCDMA spaces!
Ratford said: “Yes, we have complete reference designs for LTE and TD-SCDMA and have secured most of the prototype sockets for these air interface standards with Virtex-5. We have a very strong IP portfolio for the radio shelf and baseband and our Sytem Generator and AccelDSP tools are used extensively.”
Finally, the wait’s over! The Indian government today announced the guidelines for 3G (third-generation mobile communications) spectrum as well as mobile number portability (MNP).
First, all players — Indian and global — have been invited to bid for 3G spectrum, making it a truly level-playing field. The condition for a foreign player or telecom operator is that it should have some experience in running 3G telecom services.
Those interested to know more about the guidelines for auction and allottment of spectrum for 3G telecom services, can download the documents from DoT’s site.
Apparently, the 3G guidelines allow 10 players in the Indian 3G space, including both Indian and foreign players.
Spectrum in the 2.1GHz band would be available for the 3G telecom services through bidding/auction. Spectrum shall be auctioned in blocks of 2x5MHz in the 2.1GHz band. As per the DoT guidelines, the number of blocks to be auctioned may vary from five to 10, subject to the availability in different telecom service areas. Should there be non-availability, the number of blocks may be less than five in a telecom service area.
The MNP allows mobile phone users/subscribers to change their operators, while retaining their mobile phone numbers.
As per the DoT guidelines, a customer can approach a ‘recipient operator’ to port his or her number. The ‘donor operator’ cannot re-use that customer’s ported number till such time the ported number is in use. The donor operator can only have the ported number once it has been surrendered by the ported customer.
Well, both of these announcements are going to add to India’s brilliant telecom success story.
As for the foreign players coming into the country, quite a few are already present. It would be great to see the likes of NTT DoCoMo, SK Telecom, China Telecom, China Mobile, Telefonica, etc., enter the 3G space in India. As for 3G technology itself, TD-SCDMA, HSPA, etc., should be considered as well.
Oh yes, there’s some good news for those itching to use the Apple iPhone 3G. Once, the 3G networks are in place, there’s nothing that can stop this from happening.
On the MNP front, a good majority of Indian subscribers are on prepaid. So, there may be quite a few changeovers happening! It could well prove to be a nightmare for the operators, but then, that’s the fun of having a level-playing field and the challenge of playing in the booming Indian telecom market.
Postscrpt: A reader, Abhshek, left a very interesting and relevant comment regarding 3G services that users could be charged heftily. I quite agree with him! The 3G operators would need to price their services right. It should be win-win for both operators and users.
To start off, service charges could possibly be on the higher side, as the 3G licenses won’t come cheap, and operators would also look at the revenue angle. However, over time, service charges are quite likely to come down, if the pattern of the Indian telecom history is repeated. Many thanks for your comment, Abhishek.
The ongoing saga regarding spectrum for 3G services, use of dual technologies, etc., reminds me of 2002, the MII, TD-SCDMA and 155MHz! Read on…
Anything on the spectrum spectacle in India makes very interesting reading! It’s as though two sides fighting over a valuable possession. Worth a click!!
We have been following how the two GSM and CDMA lobbies -– COAI and AUSPI -– have been in the news over the use of mixed bands. GSM operators have constantly warned that any move to allocate spectrum in the 1900MHz band to CDMA players would adversely impact their services in the 2100MHz band. We’ve been following what the TRAI, the DoT and others have to say on all of this.
Then AUSPI informed this week that field trials conducted in Hyderabad last week had proved successful. The trial conducted by AUSPI on behalf of the Department of Telecom (DoT) claims that the co-existence of 1900 MHz and 2100 MHz is possible.
Now, we are told that defence would be vacating spectrum by end of this year and India would have 3G services by next year. Hope all disputes are settled amicably and India finally gets to see what 3G services would have to offer.
I am reminded of two things – one, the 3G license auctions in Europe, which nearly brought the wireless house down in the early 2000s, and two, an interesting development in China. I’ll dwell on the second one.
Nearly seven years ago, I happened to break the news on TD-SCDMA (Time Division-Synchronous Code-Division Multiple Access), a 3G technology being developed at that point of time by Datang Telecom and Siemens. That story link no longer exists, so I’m providing a link to another story, mentioned below.
About two and a half years later, around October 2002, the Ministry of Information Industry (MII) in China allocated a total frequency of 155MHz for TD-SCDMA! This, for an untested, untried 3G technology, in a country much larger than India, was and is still unheard of!
Makes me wonder, why did the MII give away so much of spectrum so long back to an untested 3G technology, when in India, we keep hearing reports about spectrum issues, use of dual technologies, etc. Are there lessons to be learnt from the Chinese example?
On TD-SCDMA, much later, in 2002, I also discovered not many had even heard of it in India. However, around the time I reported this 155MHz spectrum story, STING’s Robin Grewal contacted me in Delhi to find out more about this 3G technology! That was the level of interest in 3G and TD-SCDMA, and spectrum in India, at least, at that time. Things have changed since! Hopefully!!