Sunday 30 November 2008

Is Urgency for LTE growing?

Few weeks ago in response to Zahid’s blog I wrote that LTE may not be that far away as might be thinking.

In this blog I would like to carry this thought forward. With more and more giants moving into LTE camp as compared to WiMax there is a sense that LTE will soon pick up. Recently I have been sensing that thee is some urgency out there in regards to LTE development. Vendors and operators are pushing to the extent to get the technology out as soon as possible.

As I mentioned some time ago that I am really a big fan of HSPA+ and I once again say that till LTE arrives, HSPA+ can serve the purpose up to an extent.

As we already know that T-Mobile recently tested LTE and this really gave a push to the technology. There are lots of 3G operators now who share T-Mobile’s LTE aspirations although reaching to these LTE or 4G goal will not be straight forward. Lot of urgency for LTE also depends on what the operators do with HSPA+. Some of the operators might go for HSPA+ and hence wait longer before deploying LTE.

It’s quite interesting to see that operators such as T-Mobile are going for LTE whereas some operators currently staying away from LTE and hence going to launch HSPA+. Evidently LTE as it still a long way away from mass market maturity hence it’s going to be difficult for some operators to stick to its guns for LTE. I guess this also is one of the major factors contributing towards the urgency for LTE.

Currently the three big operators pushing LTE development are China Mobile, NTT DoCoMo and Verizon wireless. T-Mobile believes it is every bit as aggressive as those three operators and should be included in that list. The evidence of this is the urgency shown by T-Mobile when it tested LTE recently.

T-Mobile believes that LTE is suited in the long run, i.e. till 2020, to be the technology that you can consolidate all technologies onto -- GSM and UMTS.

Another operator showing urgency toward LTE is the world's largest mobile operator in terms of subscribers, China Mobile. China mobile plans to begin testing LTE soon where only the lack of chipsets are holding back its plans at the moment. Many telecom experts believe China's operators will essentially leapfrog 3G as the government continually delays tenders and opt for a 4G deployment like LTE.

At the same time as I mentioned some of the operators might decide not to get sucked into HSPA+ and rather push for LTE. This urgency for LTE is certainly demonstrated by T-Mobile once again when it announced it will not deploy HSPA+. The operator has indicated that to boost its mobile broadband throughput it will instead invest in LTE thus stepping up the pressure on equipment vendors. However T-Mobile might deploy HSPA as long as no hardware upgrade is required.

The above developments is allowing some to accuse T-Mobile of attempting to force equipment vendors to place greater emphasis on the development of LTE as against further refining HSPA+. Given that China Mobile, DoCoMo and Verizon Wireless have each made aggressive statements regarding their intent to push forward with LTE, then those interested in such plots have more to go on.

However, there is a question as to whether these operators, including T-Mobile, can wait for LTE, especially given the marketing hype around mobile broadband offers.

There is no denying that the above mentioned operators are aware of this situation and hence I guess this is main reason why they are showing immense urgency towards LTE.

No comments: