Wireless communications : the future by William Webb

By William Webb

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As cellular systems have added packet data capabilities, enhanced coverage and become stable and dependable, some of the barriers to using cellular have disappeared. • Trends toward outsourcing. The general trend to outsource non-core activities in order to save money has resulted in pressure to move from self-provision. Figures for PMR usage are extremely hard to find on a world-wide basis – often because the information is not collected. Where they are available, they suggest that user numbers for PMR are falling by around 5% per year.

At this point the costs of the system become similar 3 Indeed, the name TETRAPOL, derived from ‘TETRA for police’ hints strongly at this expectation. 5m customers. In 2003, when they went into receivership, their customer base was around 35 000. 4 Mobile Communications 25 to those of a microcellular 3G system, negating one of the key reasons for its deployment. Hence, we do not believe that mobile mesh networks will be a significant threat to systems such as 3G, although they may be successful in a range of niche applications.

A network of base stations which is able to scan all frequencies for possible transmissions would be expensive and hugely risky to construct. Locating other terminals to transmit directly to is also difficult and suffers the problems associated with mesh networks. Is the spectrum needed? Our view is that there is little need for this additional spectrum. 3G operators in 2005 were still typically only using 50% of their spectrum allocation. 7 GHz and at UHF after analogue TV switch-off. As discussed later, cellular demand may eventually fall as more traffic flows to W-LANs and there is plenty of spectrum for these at 5–6 GHz.

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