Thursday, May 24, 2007

LTE Could Steal WiMAX's Thunder

5/24/07 - Nearly 300,000 LTE Base Transceiver Stations will be installed by 2014, according to a new study from ABI Research. While LTE will encounter competition from other mobile broadband technologies, its supporters extol its potential to unify the mobile infrastructure market.

LTE brings to the market 25 years of operating experience using TDM and CDMA technology. It aims to use that, combined with OFDM, and other techniques, to provide the best of both worlds, perhaps stealing WiMAX's thunder. This also takes the industry from the current two-network approach of circuit switching for voice, and packet switching for data to a single IP network for both services.

"LTE faces competition from other broadband wireless technologies and it will need to demonstrate clear technical and economic advantages to convince network operators," says ABI Research analyst Ian Cox. "The mobile variant of WiMAX will start to appear in 2007 as the WiMAX Forum Certification program ramps up. The industry is also working on HSPA+, which could offer the same performance in a 5 MHz bandwidth. Without additional spectrum, operators could face a difficult choice."

Cox further comments that, "LTE is the NGN for the mobile industry and is being standardized by 3GPP with the full support of operators via the NGMN Group."

Long Term Evolution (LTE) of 3G technologies is about to benefit from Release-8 of the 3GPP standard, planned for the third quarter of 2007. The potential rewards of LTE are simplicity of operation, a "flat" architecture offering low latency, and spectrum flexibility. Backwards compatibility and roaming with 2G and 3G networks are added bonuses, along with lower power consumption and improved performance, . LTE could also unite the W-CDMA and CDMA communities because of its spectral flexibility.

For vendors, LTE will allow development of a new market to replace declining 3G revenues.

For users, says Cox, LTE will enable broadband services, including VoIP, to be offered over SIP-enabled networks. Each service will be IP-based, offering high data rates and low latency, with on-line gaming becoming a reality along with mobile network data speeds comparable to those of fixed networks.