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News


PMR’s white spaces A


n Ofcom workshop in London this month focused on the under- use of spectrum in three VHF business radio bands. Despite


congestion in the popular High Band and UHF2 frequencies, Ofcom fi nds it has over 3 MHz of unallocated spectrum in both Low Band (68–88 MHz) and Band III (177–191 MHz), while some 9·5 MHz remains empty in Band I (55–68 MHz) – a band of which only 5 per cent is licensed at present. The regulator wants to learn whether any of these bands would be


suitable for wide-area systems and networks, including systems requiring wider bandwidths than the normal 6¼ or 12½ kHz PMR channel. • Spectrum for digital trunking: DMR round-table report, page 14.


In brief


LTE for public safety: Digital celebration: Cambridge-based Tetra terminal maker Sepura marks its 10th birthday this month. Growing from roots in the old Pye Telecom and Philips mobile radio businesses, Sepura (the name stands for SEcure PUblic RAdio) became in 2009 the biggest supplier of Tetra radios to police, fi re and ambulance organizations worldwide. Over 900 000 Sepura radios are now in use in more than 100 countries. Boost for GPS: in another public consultation launched by Ofcom, the regulator proposes to license repeaters for Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) transmissions. These devices would relay signals from GNSS satellites such as GPS and Galileo into indoor or underground spaces which otherwise would receive little or no coverage. The consultation closes on April 16. Telecoms awards: the Federation of Communication Services has called for entries for its annual industry awards. The six categories include awards for the apprentice, installer, reseller and communications provider of the year, a green award, and the Gerald David OBE Award for innovation in business radio. Closing date for submissions is May 18. Wireless expansion: Team Telecom Group (TTG) has acquired the wireless technology company Red-M, which supplies consultancy, systems integration and services in all major wireless and mobility technologies, including cellular, Wi-Fi, WiMax, microwave, Tetra, DMR and PMR. Red-M joins TTG’s Technology and Consultancy Services Group (TACS), which also incorporates C&C Technology and Air Radio. Mobile payments: Vodafone and Visa have announced a worldwide partnership to enable consumers to pay for goods and services using their mobile phones. A Vodafone-branded service will be offered to Vodafone users in more than 30 countries. It will appear initially in Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, and the UK, starting in the coming fi nancial year. Travel news: DAB chip maker Frontier Silicon has formed an alliance with Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute to drive a transition from road traffi c information services broadcast via RDS-TMC to the signifi cantly more powerful TPEG services over DAB+ digital radio. The TPEG coding standard (Transport Protocol Experts Group) is seen as the enabling technology for a new generation of traffi c information and navigation services. Broadband logon: the GSMA and the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) are collaborating to simplify the process of connecting to Wi-Fi hotspots from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. At present, there is no consistency in the way these devices attach to Wi-Fi networks. But the two bodies plan to enable mobile devices to connect seamlessly to a Wi-Fi hotspot using the SIM card for authentication.


6 Smart-ready: Apple’s third-generation iPad has Bluetooth 4.0


Apple’s Smart Ready Bluetooth centre


with Bluetooth 4.0, including its low energy technology. As a Bluetooth Smart Ready hub, the iPad can connect not only to


A


familiar devices such as mice, keyboards, and speakers but to an increas- ingly diverse range of Bluetooth Smart products – for example, domestic heating controls, home entertainment systems and personal fi tness sensors. Already some seven billion Bluetooth devices are in circulation and


two billion more are expected to join them this year alone. Besides low energy consumption, Bluetooth 4.0 off ers security: data coming from Bluetooth Smart peripherals is protected by 128-bit AES encryption. Other products with Bluetooth 4.0 iincluded the iPhone 4S and


the Motorola Droid Razr phones and the technology will be in the Windows 8 PCs and tablets to appear later this year.


Olympic spectrum plan


Ofcom has published fi nal updates to its spectrum plan for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Most of the extra spectrum required has been obtained from the Ministry of Defence, though some is from bands licensed for commercial use. Extra spectrum has been found for the Airwave Tetra network, while


channels for the Apollo network built by Airwave for the organizers of the games have been secured from the MoD and NATO. Spectrum in the 2·6 GHz band, which has been cleared for Ofcom’s


coming 4G auction, is expected to be fully occupied during the games by wireless television cameras, while frequencies in the 800 MHz band released by the analogue TV shutdown will be made available to broadcasters for wireless microphones and talkback. • Ofcom has also published recently a further consultation on the coexistence of new mobile services in the 800 MHz band with digital terrestrial TV. It proposes an ‘implementation body’ (referred to as MitCo), to be funded by the new licensees, which would pay for measures such as antenna fi lters to mitigate any interference to DTT consumers. Without such measures, Ofcom calculates, some 2·3 million households could lose their DTT services partially or wholly.


LAND mobile March 2012


pple’s latest iPad tablet machine, lauded for the exceptional sharpness and picture quality of its Retina screen, has the additional distinction of being the fi rst tablet machine equipped


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