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Economy slowdown to delay LTE roll-out

Posted: 20 Feb 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Fourth generation networks  LTE deployments  LTE capable gear  HSPA+ trials 

Paul Jacobs, CEO of Qualcomm, which has already announced it plans to offer LTE capable chip-sets by the end of the year, said there will certainly be LTE deployments over the next two years, with some operators pushing harder than others.

"The reality is that LTE does not seem to offer any significant advantage in spectral efficiency. With the latest MIMO technology and high order modulation, you can get the high order data rates with HSPA+ that people need now. But of course we will support both technologies with chipsets, and not just for handsets but also for extensions such as femtocells for improved indoor coverage."

Sierra Wirelesss CEO Jason Cohenour revealed that as well as the Turbo 21 for the Australian market, and the HSPA+ capable USB modem launched a few weeks ago, the company is readying an embedded module to support OEMs developing devices faster than the Telstra 21 delivers.

Early movers and shakers
Meanwhile, Verizon was due to announce later this week which equipment suppliers it had chose from a short-list of six for initial deployment. Verizon has been trialing the technology in collaboration with China Mobile and Vodafone and has said it plans to offer a commercial LTE service by late next year, which could be the first one. China Mobile is unlikely to be far behind.

According to Verizon CTO Dick Lynch, the operator's early move to EV-DO based 3G led the way there, and the same will happen with LTE.

Most operators, equipment suppliers and chip makers concur that the introduction of LTE is set to be much quicker and easier than with 3G, as network migration will mainly involve upgrades to existing deployed chassis, and LTE services will likely begin with dongles and integrated units on laptops rather than handsets.

Exactly how easy, and economical, it will be for carriers to migrate to LTE is one of the main talking points here.

Ericsson, bound to be a leading player in the shift on the equipment side, is not ready to say when it believes LTE will be a stable technology with plenty of device choice and wide availability.

And, as with previous generation upgrades, the fear is the major holdup will be the availability of interoperable handsets.

-John Walko
EE Times

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