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London, UK & Frankfurt, Germany, September 2011
The NGMN Alliance held its 1st Innovation Day on 15 September 2011 in Stockholm, Sweden, on “Challenges of dynamic use of spectrum and how to overcome spectrum fragmentation”.
Presentations on Reconfigurable Radio/SDR, Cognitive Radio (CR) and various approaches for efficient and flexible use of Spectrum for mobile broadband services were given by high-level speakers coming from Universities, Research Institutes and NGMN industry partners (Beijing University of Post and Telecommunication, Duke University, Heinrich-Hertz-Institute Fraunhofer, IMEC International, Royal Institute of Technology KTH, Linköping University, RWTH Aachen, UMIC Research Centre, Technical University Eindhoven, Bauhaus University Weimar, FT/Orange, NTT DOCOMO, Telecom Italia, Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, mimoOn, NSN, Sequans).
With representatives from Europe, Asia and North America the conference proved to be a unique platform for all stakeholders – industry, academia, regulators - to present and discuss the latest research findings and technology approaches. Additionally, telecom operators and manufacturers provided their view on the commercial viability of such new technologies.
The session on Reconfigurable Radio/SDR provided insights into recent advances in flexible RF front end technology and programmable baseband chips as well as its evolution towards mass market introduction of SDR based mobile broadband devices. Commercial availability is expected for the middle of this decade.
Research experts in the cognitive radio session highlighted standardisation issues in order to ensure inter-operability of proposed solutions. In addition, contributions focused on algorithms related to spectrum sensing and decision making (cognitive engine). Challenges such as implementation complexity and energy efficiency are currently assessed and may become a new item in the NGMN work programme.
Speakers in the session on flexible use of spectrum introduced innovations such as carrier aggregation, opportunistic secondary spectrum access and inter operator spectrum sharing. Representatives from network operators, manufacturers, and academia agreed in the concluding panel session that joint development effort amongst all stakeholders is required to transfer promising ideas into commercially viable solutions.
In his closing remarks Peter Meissner, Operating Officer NGMN Alliance, highlighted: “The advent of LTE networks with inherently higher data-rates and lower latency will enable the innovation of new consumer services. This will enforce the trend of rising data traffic and the need for an increase in network capacity as well as the increase in demand for even more spectrum.” He continued: „The NGMN Innovation Day has triggered joint initiatives of relevant stakeholders to address the issue of spectrum shortage and spectrum fragmentation. However, it is obvious that the allocation of additional spectrum by regulators cannot be compensated by technology enhancements.”
About the NGMN Alliance
The NGMN Alliance was founded by leading international mobile network operators in 2006. Its goal is to ensure that the standards for next generation network infrastructure, service platforms and devices will meet the requirements of operators and, ultimately, will satisfy end user demand and expectations. The objective of the initial phase of NGMN with working groups on Technology, Spectrum, IPR, Ecosystem, and Trials was to enable the launch of commercial services in 2010. After having successfully reached this milestone, the NGMN Alliance now addresses the challenges of network deployment, operations, and interworking. Furthermore, the NGMN Alliance will drive and guide the development of all future mobile broadband technology enhancements focusing on LTE & EPC and its evolution. The targets of this work programme are supported by the strong and well-established partnership of worldwide leading operators, vendors, universities, and successful co-operations with other industry organisations.