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Up to 18% more bandwidth for mobile broadband users with spectrum sharing



The first spectrum sharing trial of the Authorised Shared Access (ASA) concept with live LTE network operating in the 2.3 GHz band has been demonstrated in Finland on 25th April. The trial was carried out by Finnish CORE+ consortium coordinated by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

The new approach allows the possibility of providing extra bandwidth easily for 4G networks. By enabling mobile services to share this band with existing services based on ASA, the overall available bandwidth for mobile broadband may be extended by 18%.

To guarantee future reliable availability of mobile services, mobile network operators (MNOs) will need new frequency bands in the near future. A promising solution for responding to the increasing demand is to allow MNOs to share appropriate frequency bands with incumbent spectrum users while protecting incumbents’ existing usage rights. This can be accomplished by defining and agreeing a set of rules and conditions for sharing between the incumbent spectrum user and the MNO under the Licensed Shared Access (LSA) regulatory approach recently introduced by the European Commission. The ASA concept as a special case of the LSA approach allows mobile communication networks (e.g. LTE) to share frequency bands from another type of incumbent system while guaranteeing good service for both.

The Finnish CORE+ (Cognitive Radio Trial Environment +) project consortium has demonstrated the world’s first trial of the ASA concept for spectrum sharing, using live an LTE/4G trial environment operating in Ylivieska, Finland. The key functions and building blocks of the new ASA concept were successful shown during the trial.

“In the future, when the standardization, regulation, network and terminals are ready, ASA/LSA can function automatically. At the moment sharing requires acceptance from the authorities, an agreement between the involved parties, and that the shared frequencies have been described in the common ASA repository”, says Dr Marja Matinmikko from VTT, the coordinator of the CORE+ project.

Spectrum sharing using the ASA/LSA concepts is currently under study in regulation and standardization in Europe with a special focus on making the 2.3 GHz band available for LTE networks by sharing with incumbents depending on national conditions.

“The beauty of ASA is that it will use existing 3GPP radio access technology building blocks. In particular, we can kick start ASA by using LTE Release 8 ‘out of the box’ for the radio access. On the device side, there will be no special impact beyond implementing the support of any ASA frequency band”, says Seppo Yrjölä from Nokia Siemens Networks.

Authorised Shared Access (ASA) concept

The ASA concept (Figure 1) allows the MNOs to share spectrum from other incumbent spectrum users under a sharing framework agreed with the regulator. Sharing is technically feasible with existing infrastructure and a minimum number of new components, namely the ASA Repository and ASA Controller.

CORE+ Research Consortium

CORE+ (Cognitive Radio Trial Environment +) is a Finnish research consortium that consists of three research organisations: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Centria University of Applied Sciences and University of Oulu; seven industry companies: Nokia Siemens Networks, PPO-Yhtiöt, EXFO, Elektrobit, Renesas Mobile Europe, PehuTec, and Rugged Tooling; and two governmental organisations: the Finnish Defence Forces and Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA). The project was funded by Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation in “Trial Environment for Cognitive Radio and Networks” program.

CORE+ web page:

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CAPTION (Figure 1) : Key stakeholders and building blocks of the Authorised Shared Access (ASA) concept.