CableLabs Backs Comcast, Charter Mobile Expansion

Hours after Charter Communications Director Greg Maffei said he sees an “attractive” opportunity to market new mobile services to millions of Charter and Time Warner Cable customers, a technology consortium funded by Comcast, Charter and other major broadband providers revealed how cable MSOs may enter the wireless market.

Cable operators could deploy new wireless base stations capable of using both LTE transceivers and WiFi antennas to share capacity, according to a patent application The Donohue Report obtained on Thursday.

Executives at Comcast told analysts last week that the nation’s largest cable MSO may begin testing a mobile product in 2016. CEO Brian Roberts said it may take six months to activate an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) agreement with Verizon Wireless.

Maffei
Maffei

Maffei, the CEO of major Charter investor Liberty Media, hinted Charter could soon announce its plan to expand into mobile. “I’ll let them make their announcement,” Maffei said on Liberty’s third-quarter earnings call.  “We have a unique plant in market to be able to offer customers incremental services that include Wi-Fi whether that is bundled in something which is a Wi-Fi first, or whether it’s a more broad MVNO,  or whether ultimately there is a richer offering on a quad-play the way there is in Europe, we’ll see,” Maffei added.

The CableLabs patent application, titled “Capacity sharing between wireless systems,” details some of the work that engineers in Colorado have been doing to support cable’s expansion into the wireless sector.

Abstract: Systems and methods presented herein provide for capacity sharing between wireless systems. In one embodiment, a scheduler is operable with a plurality of wireless base stations. Each base station is operable to digitize a frequency spectrum of radio communications from a plurality of user equipment (UEs). The scheduler communicatively couples to first and second Mobile Central Offices (MCOs). The scheduler processes the digitized frequency spectrums of the base stations, extracts radio communications of a first of the UEs from the digitized frequency spectrums of one or more of the base stations coupled to the first MCO, determines that a capacity of the first MCO has been exceeded, determines that a capacity of the second MCO is available, acquires at least a portion of the capacity of the second MCO, and handles a call of the first UE through the capacity acquired from the second MCO.

Patent Application

Claims:

1. A scheduler operable with a plurality of wireless base stations, wherein each base station is operable to digitize a frequency spectrum of radio communications from a plurality of user equipment (UEs), the scheduler comprising: an interface operable to communicatively couple to first and second Mobile Central Offices (MCOs), wherein the first MCO is communicatively coupled to a first portion of the wireless base stations and the second MCO is communicatively coupled to a second portion of the wireless base stations; and a processor operable to process the digitized frequency spectrums of the base stations, to extract radio communications of a first of the UEs from the digitized frequency spectrums of one or more of the base stations coupled to the first MCO, to determine that a capacity of the first MCO has been exceeded, to determine that a capacity of the second MCO is available, to acquire at least a portion of the capacity of the second MCO, and to handle a call of the first UE through the capacity acquired from the second MCO, wherein the first UE is a subscriber of the first MCO.

2. The scheduler of claim 1, wherein: the scheduler is further operable to direct the first UE to communicate through the capacity acquired from the second MCO via a base station of the second MCO.

3. The scheduler of claim 1, wherein: the acquired capacity includes a portion of a Time Division Multiple Access signal, a Frequency Division Multiple Access signal, a Code Division Multiple Access signal, a channel of an Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access signal, or a combination thereof.

4. The scheduler of claim 1, wherein: the acquired capacity includes a block of frequency bandwidth.

5. The scheduler of claim 1, wherein: the first MCO is operable to control a Time Division Multiple Access signal, a Frequency Division Multiple Access signal, a Code Division Multiple Access signal, an Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access signal, or a combination thereof in the block of frequency bandwidth.

6. The scheduler of claim 1, wherein: the first MCO comprises Long Term Evolution (LTE) wireless telecommunications processing.

7. The scheduler of claim 1, wherein: the acquired capacity includes processing capabilities of the processor shared by each of the MCOs.

8. A wireless telecommunications system, comprising: a first plurality of wireless base stations, wherein each base station is operable to digitize a frequency spectrum of radio communications from a plurality of user equipment (UEs); and a first Mobile Central Office (MCO) communicatively coupled to the first wireless base stations and operable to handle telecommunications for the UEs, the first MCO comprising: a processor operable to process the digitized frequency spectrums of the base stations, and to extract radio communications of a first of the UEs from the digitized frequency spectrums of one or more of the base stations coupled to the first MCO; and a scheduler operable to determine that a capacity of the first MCO has been exceeded, to determine that a capacity of a second MCO is available, to acquire at least a portion of the capacity of the second MCO, and to handle a call of the first UE through the capacity acquired from the second MCO, wherein the first UE is a subscriber of the first MCO.

9. The wireless telecommunications system of claim 8, wherein: the first MCO is further operable to direct the first UE to communicate through the capacity acquired from the second MCO via a base station of the second MCO.

10. The wireless telecommunications system of claim 8, wherein: the acquired capacity includes a portion of a Time Division Multiple Access signal, a Frequency Division Multiple Access signal, a Code Division Multiple Access signal, a channel of an Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access signal, or a combination thereof.

11. The wireless telecommunications system of claim 8, wherein: the acquired capacity includes a block of frequency bandwidth.

12. The wireless telecommunications system of claim 8, wherein: the first MCO is operable to control a Time Division Multiple Access signal, a Frequency Division Multiple Access signal, a Code Division Multiple Access signal, an Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access signal, or a combination thereof in the block of frequency bandwidth.

13. The wireless telecommunications system of claim 8, wherein: the first MCO comprises Long Term Evolution (LTE) wireless telecommunications processing.

14. The wireless telecommunications system of claim 8, wherein: the acquired capacity includes processing capabilities of a processor of the second MCO.

15. A method operable within a wireless telecommunication system comprising a first plurality of wireless base stations, and a first Mobile Central Office (MCO) communicatively coupled to the first wireless base stations, wherein each base station is operable to digitize a frequency spectrum of radio communications from a plurality of user equipment (UEs) with the first MCO being operable to handle calls of the UEs, the method comprising: processing the digitized frequency spectrums of the base stations; extracting radio communications of a first of the UEs from the digitized frequency spectrums of one or more of the base stations coupled to the first MCO, wherein the first UE is a subscriber of the first MCO; determining that a capacity of the first MCO has been exceeded; determining that a capacity of a second MCO is available; acquiring at least a portion of the capacity of the second MCO; and handling the call of the first UE through the capacity acquired from the second MCO.

16. The method of claim 15, further comprising: directing the first UE to communicate through the capacity acquired from the second MCO via a base station of the second MCO.

17. The method of claim 15, wherein: the acquired capacity includes a portion of a Time Division Multiple Access signal, a Frequency Division Multiple Access signal, a Code Division Multiple Access signal, a channel of an Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access signal, or a combination thereof.

18. The method of claim 15, wherein: the acquired capacity includes a block of frequency bandwidth, a processing capability of the second MCO, a processing capability of a scheduler.

19. The method of claim 15, further comprising: controlling a Time Division Multiple Access signal, a Frequency Division Multiple Access signal, a Code Division Multiple Access signal, an Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access signal, or a combination thereof in the block of frequency bandwidth.

20. The method of claim 15, further comprising: processing the radio communications of the first UE via Long Term Evolution (LTE) wireless telecommunications signaling.