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Oct 30 2015

Deep discussions in Milan highlight importance of world-first LSA pilot

This blog is by Massimo Mazzocchini, Country Director for Italy at Nokia Networks. Twitter: @MMazzocchini

Deep discussions in Milan highlight importance of world-first LSA pilot

A key challenge facing our industry is the lack of spectrum, which is now one of the most in-demand resources. Unfortunately, a lot of spectrum that could be used is allocated exclusively to organizations that do not take full advantage of it. Much is used only across certain areas or for just part of the time.

One answer is to share this under-used spectrum, and one of the latest concepts is Licensed Shared Access or LSA. The technology has the potential to free up more high-quality spectrum to support mobile operators as they address new opportunities such as Industry 4.0 and its wide range of applications including e-healthcare, self-driving cars and more.

Connectivity is vital in this coming world and LSA will contribute to Europe’s Digital Single Market (DSM). LSA and the wider 5G ecosystem of technologies present an opportunity for Europe to regain its innovation leadership in telecoms, which has been challenged in recent years in the area of 4G roll out.

Nokia Networks has been instrumental in proving LSA’s viability. At the recent Milan Expo, I was pleased to be involved in a high-profile event to present the results of the world’s first LSA pilot. Based on ETSI standards adopted by the European Commission’s Joint Research Center, the Italian Ministries of Economic Development and Defence and the Fondazione Ugo Bordoni, the pilot showed that today’s commercially available hardware could be used to build a practical LSA solution.

 

LSA_demo_2015
In this screen shot of the demonstration, the LTE base stations, the sectors of the LTE network, and the sector states are depicted in the map view. Information on the LSA spectrum band and possible incumbents is also presented. In the example, there is a single incumbent in an active mode and operating in the same band and area as the licensee: the LSA spectrum resource re-configuration/de-activation process has locked the affected macro cell, whereas the small cells are able to continue operating.

In this screen shot of the demonstration, the LTE base stations, the sectors of the LTE network, and the sector states are depicted in the map view. Information on the LSA spectrum band and possible incumbents is also presented. In the example, there is a single incumbent in an active mode and operating in the same band and area as the licensee: the LSA spectrum resource re-configuration/de-activation process has locked the affected macro cell, whereas the small cells are able to continue operating.

The LSA concept was discussed in depth at the event, covering topics from policy to business and technology perspectives, with a focus on the roles of regulators, incumbent spectrum users, mobile operators and countries.

LSA is a simple concept that can already be implemented in the 3GPP ecosystem using current network assets. The only new external element required is the LSA repository run by the regulator, incumbent or the trusted third party. On the device side, there will be no special impact beyond implementing the support of any LSA frequency band. Access to shared spectrum under LSA is managed by the LSA controller.

Working with a number of industry partners, Nokia Networks based the pilot on its commercial TD-LTE 2.3 GHz Flexi Zone small cell radio network, Nokia NetAct network management system and LSA demo controller implemented as a Self-Organizing Network module. The LSA demo controller connected to the pilot partner’s LSA repository. LSA can be implemented today and will be part of the 3GPP Release 13 features. Nokia is the first to show this TD-LTE-Advanced Pro feature using commercial radio.

The business benefits of LSA are clear – it opens up capacity bands otherwise locked for harmonized mobile broadband use, such as the 2.3 GHz band currently supported in commercial radio networks and devices. The PLUM study conducted by Qualcomm and Nokia highlights that the benefits of LSA could amount to €30 billion.

There is also an LSA regulatory framework in place to allow countries to start commercial implementation. It is vital for policy makers to incentivize continued investment in open standardization for optimum interoperability not just in telecoms but also for IoT. LSA needs to be based on standards that will be built on technology contributions from companies. To ensure this happens, the value of standard-essential patents (SEPs) must be maintained. SEPs enable a fair and reasonable ROI on standards and technological developments. Devaluing SEPs would discourage future investment in standards related R&D.

Europe can win when all parties with an interest in its future have the will to make it happen. LSA exemplifies the excellent cooperation between industry and the EU on the way to 5G.

For more information, read our press release: Nokia Networks showcases new TD-LTE-Advanced carrier aggregation features, industry’s first 8-pipe 3.5 GHz radio #MWC15

Please share your thoughts on this topic by replying below – and join the Twitter discussion with @NokiaNetworks using #Nokia #NetworksPerform #mobilebroadband #5G #LTE.

About Massimo Mazzocchini

As Country Director, Massimo Mazzocchini is responsible for Nokia Networks’ operations and developing new business opportunities in Italy. He leads the Customer Business team for Telecom Italia Group in Italy, also supporting in Brazil, and is responsible for business teams in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Malta.