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Category Archives: Travel

4G Global Standard and the current 4G fragmentation!

I always understood that 2G and 3G were fragmented between GSM and CDMA Standards. Another thing that I had understood was that the new 4G was built to be a new common standard – see both Charts above.

However, when you look closer to it, it can be confusing given all the bands there are for 4G…

Check this out:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_LTE_networks North America and European carriers have different 4G bands.

Ok fine, it seems making things complicated but if ONE phone can work on all these bands, be it.

HOWEVER again, checking the top smartphones of the moment: Apple iPhone 5S, Samsung Galaxy S4, LG G2 and Nokia Lumia 1020, none seem able to work on all global bands.

http://www.apple.com/iphone-5s/specs/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samsung_Galaxy_S4#Model_variants

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LG_G2#Model_variants

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia_Lumia_1020#Model_variants

So basically, when we travel to another continent and we pay the roaming fees, we will only be able to access 3G while in our home markets we would have 4G? Makes no sense to me.

Alright, so as I imagined, Qualcomm has a “Global Radio Chip in the making”: http://gigaom.com/2013/02/21/qualcomms-new-radio-chip-gets-us-one-step-closer-to-a-global-4g-phone/. Fine. But this will only come to market next year I suppose…

The point to this:

1) why fragment the markets with so many bands?

2) why can’t we have more global communication standards in our new world becoming so global?

3) why while we have been drawn for more than 2 years under 4G ads for carriers or phone makers, only now or next year there will be a global radio chip?

[UPDATE] November 10, 2013

A few days ago, I bought a Google Nexus 5 Smartphone. As for the iPhone 5S and for the explanation above, the Nexus 5 will have different models, 2 actually: 1) North America and 2) Europe / Rest of the World:

http://www.google.com/nexus/5/

NETWORKS
2G/3G/4G LTE

North America:
GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
CDMA: Band Class: 0/1/10
WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/6/8/19
LTE: Bands: 1/2/4/5/17/19/25/26/41

Rest of World:
GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/6/8
LTE: Bands: 1/3/5/7/8/20
Still no news of the Qualcomm Global LTE radio chip.

Since this blog post and today’s update regarding the Nexus 5, I have discover this great presentation from Qualcomm on the Global LTE Segmentation, unfortunately a bit dated from 2012:
www.qualcomm.com/media/documents/files/4g-world-2012-global-multimode-carrier-aggregation.pdf

Barcelona 2.0

I lived in Barcelona as a kid, from 1990 to 1993. I only have good memories of this period. I love the city, I love the culture, I love the people.
I lived there as my mother was transferred there for work. She asked to be transferred there because as a kid she lived there. It is a family thing.
And talking about family, my godmother is half french, half catalan, half spanish, and half andorran. Yes 4 halves, long story!
Therefore I have history there, friends as well as family.
Barcelona is that great city where I grew up, where I went back to do my Master of Science in 2006, and a fun place where to enjoy life.
However, I never saw it as a big digital media place.
Now that I spent a year in New York, I can compare the 2 cities. They are many things they have in common

  • The sea / the Ocean (only rivers in Paris / London)
  • Cheap cab rides
  • Easy access to the airport (compared to nightmare London or Paris)
  • Fast commute from 1 side of the city to the other – out of rush hours (take notes London!)
  • Bars, restaurants and lounges open late at night (Take notes again London!)
  • Fashion
  • Media
  • Savings banks
  • World top business schools (ESADE & IESE / Columbia and NYU)
  • Sport clubs dedication and rivalries (FC Barcelona vs RCD Espanyol / NY Giants vs NY Jets; NY Yankees vs NY Mets)
  • Big Telecom Media or Tech events: for instance Mobile World Congress 2012 for Barcelona, while New York has Web 2.0 Expo
  • Startup communities growing

 

And this is the point that interests me the most here, digital media startup communities. For instance, New York City has Gilt Group, Barcelona has Privalia; Barcelona has Groupalia, New York City has big offices for Google Offers, Groupon or LivingSocial. Having said that, I must state that Privalia and Groupalia are owned by the same people.
I did some researches recently, which led me to discover Nauta Capital, a Venture Capital fund as Union Square Ventures, Index Ventures, Accel Partners and so on… It is established in Barcelona and Boston. It is also an investor in Privalia and Groupalia.
The connection can also be seen on political angles: NYC Mayor Bloomberg wants to foster entrepreneurship and innovation in the city that never sleeps (read NYC Venture Connect to see events in NYC for that matter). For Barcelona, local authorities also want to help entrepreneurs to establish their new businesses in the Catalan capital, check Barcelona Net Activa.
Good reading on the Barcelona 2.0 subject:
Wired.co.uk August 2011
Old but interesting TechnoCalifornia blog post from 2009

No Wifi in the Eurostar

This post is about Wifi in the Eurostar trains but it is mainly to speak about wifi in long distances European transports.
I was in Paris recently. I took the Eurostar. For every Frenchie working in the City it is a ritual. 2h16 to Paris on a Friday night, last train at 8.02pm, and again early on Monday morning. 2h16 for which the 3G is not working perfectly because of the train speed, the tunnels, and when you are roaming in England or France depending on where you are coming from.
I wish there was Wifi on the Eurostar. Same with the TGV in France, Air France buses from Charles de Gaulle Paris Airport to Central Paris. Same with Regional train in France when I go to Normandy visiting my family over there.
During the 2h16 on the Eurostar I would deal with unread emails (even if now there is offline gmail), do some  online research, etc etc…
There is no wifi for now. I never understood why that tool is not provided to customers, which mainly are on business: as you can see here, out of the 750 seats, 206 are business, which is 27% of the capacity. I feel that’s high.
It is good news but definitely late compared with other transports I experienced across the world:

  • USA: national flights with Delta or AA
  • USA: buses connecting DC, Philly, NYC, and Boston
  • Mexico: bus from Cancun to Playa del Carmen
  • Japan: bus from Narita Airport to Central Tokyo; train from Central Tokyo to Narita Airport
  • France – Belgium: Talys from Paris to Brussels

 

In other words, I think nowadays almost at the doorstep of 2012, Wifi should be everywhere. As described by Marshall McLuhan, we live in a “global village”, we need to be in touch with everyone and everything, at anytime.