Manx Telecom (a wholly owned subsidiary of O2), Lucent Technologies, and QUALCOMM today announced they are conducting a third-generation (3G) UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) and HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) field trial using 900 MHz spectrum on the Isle of Man. During the trial, which began yesterday, the companies can leverage this lower frequency to extend UMTS voice and HSDPA data coverage and are investigating and evaluating the potential benefits of deploying UMTS at 900 MHz as compared to 2100 MHz.
As part of this trial, Lucent is providing its UMTS/HSDPA base station products developed for the 900 MHz spectrum band, and QUALCOMM is providing test terminals based on the Mobile Station Modem (MSM) MSM6280 chipset, which includes the RFR6275 and RTR6275 radio frequency integrated circuits. Deploying UMTS/HSDPA technology in 900 MHz spectrum can help mobile operators cost-effectively deliver UMTS/HSDPA services because the lower frequency provides a significant increase in the coverage area of a base station and, potentially, enables better signal penetration for in-building coverage.
"UMTS 900 may help solve the 3G coverage issues in Europe, since providing full coverage at 2100 MHz is very expensive," said Dave Williams, group CTO for O2. "Working with Lucent, we hope to demonstrate how UMTS 900 can complement deployments at 2100 MHz, improve coverage, lower capital expenses and improve the customer's experience."
On Nov. 1, 2005, O2, Manx Telecom and Lucent launched the first commercial HSDPA network service in Europe on the Isle of Man. This commercial network, deployed at 2100 MHz spectrum, will be used during the trial to benchmark against the 900 MHz field trial. The handover quality and experience between these two frequency bands also will be a key focus for the trial.
"We are really excited to partner with O2 and Manx Telecom to demonstrate the benefits that UMTS 900 affords," said Andy Williams, president, Lucent Technologies Europe. "This demonstrates Lucent's flexibility for providing a wide range of frequencies to meet all of our customer requirements."
"QUALCOMM is pleased to demonstrate our technology leadership in the 900 MHz band with our UMTS chipset solutions," said Enrico Salvatori, vice president and general manager for QCT Europe. "The benefits to operators of deploying in this frequency are clear, and we are confident that these trials will help to drive widespread adoption of UMTS."