The mobile space is getting important by the day as it is becoming an essential part of peoples lives. From interacting with people to buying goods to playing games, mobile phones keep finding various areas which it adds value and thus making its usage soar. The below infographic shows the impact of the mobile landscape and also how it is used. (Infographic credits to New Relic)
Not long after successfully bidding for the LTE frequency, Dialog launched its Mobile LTE network few weeks back. This enables 4G network on supported mobiles and USB LTE modems. Lets take a look at some of the aspects of this new service
The frequency band used is 10 MHz from the 1800 MHz band. The 1800 MHz band is currently the most used frequency band for LTE deployment around the world. The 700 MHz band would have provided better coverage, but seems free bands on it were not available.
The Mobile LTE coverage is currently available in the Colombo 1 – 15 area. Since the frequency band used is in the 1800MHz range, the indoor penetration of the signals would be less than in the case where the 700MHz band was used. However since there wont be large number of users initially, even with marginal signals one should be able to get good speeds.
As the frequency bandwidth is 10MHz, theoretically one would be able to reach upto 50 Mbps speeds. However 20-30 Mbps would be the practically achievable speeds. This might also vary according to the bottlenecks in the server you are accessing and also the device category.
You would require a FD-LTE 1800 MHz Band 3 compatible handset or a dongle to be able to use Dialog mobile LTE. The dongle currently available through Dialog is the Huawei E398U which is priced at Rs. 16,000. That is quite a price for an USB modem. The price of these type of units directly depends on the quantity in the production line. Since the demand is still less for these devices, the number of units manufacture in batches are low and hence the high price.
Only a few mobile LTE supported mobile phones are currently available in the market, although this number would increase significantly by the end of the year. Please check below for some of the supported mobile phones available in Sri Lanka.
Samsung I9305 Galaxy S III
Samsung Galaxy Note II N7100
Sony Xperia V
Sony Xperia Z
LG Optimus G
(Note: Mobile LTE is not supported on Apple devices have not enabled the service for Sri Lanka)
Dialog Mobile LTE would be used less for personal broadband data as the price of the dongle is high. The dongle would be more appropriate for an office use, where it is used to create a Wi-Fi Zone.
In the initial stages Mobile LTE would be used more in phones. Streaming HD video would be a main usage. With the large HD displays on the supported handsets, watching HD videos would be a treat. Browsing and email would also be a breeze with 4G , and if needed one can always generate a hotspot from the phone for a high speed WiFi.
What do you need to start using Dialog Mobile LTE?
You will need a supported device (phone or dongle) and a 4G enabled SIM which you need obtain from a Dialog outlet for Rs. 150. Also you would need a postpaid connection as it is still not available for prepaid.
Few months ago Firefox promised that they will make a mobile OS of their own, and two days back Firefox announced that they have released a beta version of the OS and consumers can install it as an add-on for Firefox. This Mozilla’s operating system coded named “Boot to Gecko” based on HTML5 web standards which is good news for developers. ZTE, Alcatel and some other vendors have already announced that they are already developing ARM based hardware for this OS. However, I have major doubts on how Mozilla is going to survive from the huge mobile OS war.
Even for Windows Mobile, although their developers are giving their best against Android and Apple, they can’t see any big improvements. Recently Newegg said “Windows Mobile phone sales are slow” at the same time Nokia lost $1.27 billion in last 3rd quarter and its sixth quarterly loss for them. This shows just how hard it is for a new OS to break through in to the market. However Mozilla strongly believes in success, according to “the Guardian” website, Director of Research & Development at Mozilla Corporation Andreas Gal recently said “We wanted to break out of the “silos” presented by competitors like iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 7. We think we can change this by doing the same thing we did on the desktop,” that’s good because more competition means better products for us.
Before writing this article, I experienced the Firefox OS add-on so I can write what I personally think. The first moment I saw the OS I was like what? Is this Android? Yes it’s very similar to Android, it has a pull down notification bar where you can see your notifications and your toggle switches. If you long press the home button it will bring up the multi-task menu so you can close them by swiping up. There is no dedicated app drawer so if you swipe left you can see the app icons which already installed. Swiping right brings you the search menu and it’s bit similar to iOS search menu. I don’t think that’s a good idea for Mozilla to have similar features like iOS considering the latest legal battles. Anyway this is not the final version and who knows, the final version may be drastically different. This add-on version of Firefox OS is so sluggish, but no worries because it’s still a beta version. Firefox uses the Nokia maps for their map services. I don’t know why they chose Nokia Maps instated of Google Maps. This beta version already has a Marketplace built-in. I installed Twitter and it worked pretty nice. I hope we can see more essential apps from Mozilla when it’s available for consumers. According to Matthew Key, chair and chief executive of Telefónica Digital, the first Firefox OS based mobile devices will appear in Brazil in 1st Q2013. So next year we can see how it’s going to perform against other operating systems giants.