Verizon to carry the first HTC LTE compatible Smartphone’s in 2011
In the same way that HTC made a WiMAX compatible Smartphone available in the United States to the carrier Sprint, the manufacturer will now offer an LTE compatible device to Verizon in 2011.
The first commercial LTE networks (very high speed mobile connections) were launched in 2010 but for the vast majority of users, access was only possible via USB dongles or PC Cards. Only the carrier MetroPCS in the United States was able to offer a compatible handset with the Samsung Craft – the first LTE compatible mobile handset connected to a network with coverage limited to a few communities.
With the launch of Verizon Wireless LTE network at the beginning of December things are starting to get serious in the United States, with the carrier wishing to provide national coverage by 2013. At this time though, they are only able to offer their clients LTE compatible USB adaptors.
For the first Smartphone’s to be available users will have to wait until 2011. And who is promising to provide them with a handset next year? The Taiwanese manufacturer HTC, benefitting from their status as an international player and partner with the largest carriers in the world.
They were the first to announce a WiMAX Smartphone in the United States – represented by the HTC EVO 4G which beat the Samsung Epic 4G by a few months. HTC, attached to their culture as an innovative manufacturer capable of integrating the latest available technologies, will therefore provide the same level of service for Verizon Wirelesses network.
For HTC, this is also a move to help consolidate their position in the US market, with this being a highly strategic move which should see strong sales of Smartphone’s from users looking to adopt this new technology.
An initial Smartphone in 2011
While the Asia-Pacific region should be the main growth engine of LTE in the medium term, it is in Europe and the United States where the markets first steps will take place, with another US carrier, AT&T, to launch their commercial LTE network next year.
Having said this, the real take off in LTE handset sales isn’t expected until 2012, with technical obstacles still to be overcome starting with the handover between 3G and LTE networks, with the passage from one network to the other to be done transparently for users.
Verizon’s first clients have experienced a few issues in this regard with the passage from one network to the other taking a few minutes. The carrier has promised a correction to this issue in the near future, with 3G likely to remain the primary method of connection for users except for the lucky few who find themselves in the limited areas with LTE coverage.
The other issue concerning the technology is the management of voice on LTE as the network is essentially configured for data usage. Numerous technical approaches have been proposed and these are yet to be integrated. In the meantime, the voice services will pass by the carriers CDMA network.
According to a rumour spreading from an event organized by the manufacturer at the beginning of December for its suppliers, HTC is hoping to ship 60 million Smartphone’s in 2011, compared to what was already a record of more than 25 million units this year.
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