Review Miscellaneous
3G LTE: A summery of the future

3G LTE is the mobile network that will replace HSPA over the next five years. Chosen over its competitors, it offers mobile speeds without comparison over current offers, with the telephony aspect giving way to the “broadband everywhere” aspect. A quick summary will provide you with details of the possibilities that will be available in the medium term.

3G LTE: A summery of the future

April 11th, 2008 - 11:11 am ET by C. D.
  1. 1 - Context around LTE
  2. 2 - The technology
  3. 3 - LTE, what for?

LTE… this acronym stands for Long Term Evolution, a technology that is based GSM and works off 3G WCDMA, which has helped telecommunications growth since 2007, as this technology represents the way towards 3.5G, replacing HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) and will be integrated into the future 4G which is still being designed…

While mobile internet is attractive, the high speed mobile networks are starting to shudder, with carriers and equipment manufacturers already looking at how networks will be changing within 4 to 5 years. Choosing the most appropriate technology is crucial as it engages the telecoms sector for the future.

This is because numerous technologies are competing to become the next mobile standard, and any decision will require a commitment of major investment over several years. An error in judgment at this level will have a negative impact on any business that has made the wrong choice.

Three competing technologies
Different possibilities are emerging, but one in particular seems to be receiving support from a number of industrial giants. It is the LTE technology, which isn’t yet standardized, with the specifications being validated as the 3GPP Release 8 and it should offer speeds in the order of 100 Mbps down and 50 Mbps out in about the year 2010.

Until 2007, three primary technologies were seen as candidates by the HSPA: Mobile WiMAX, 3G LTE and UMB (Ultra Mobile Broadband), although all were judged about the same. But since 2007, LTE has started to pull ahead thanks to the sharing of resources and knowledge during an industrial meeting named LSTI (LTE/SAE Trial initiative) created in May 2007 which saw quick progression in the technical validation of different aspects of the future mobile network.

GSMA logoIt is used also by support agencies such as the GSMA (GSM Association), a group of major carriers in the world, who have openly committed to LTE. They have finally been supported by the ITU (International Telecommunications Union), which at its last conference held every four years, the WRC 2007 (World Radio communication Conference) identified frequencies in the UHF band for mobile services, which could therefore be used for LTE.

Everyone steps up to the plate
Reassured by these quick developments and wide support, carriers are more likely to turn to this technology for their future mobile networks, with 2007 being a year in which we witnessed progress on the part of the carriers who have decided to give up on the competing GSM, CDMA and CDMA2000 technologies (compared to WCDMA deployed in Europe).

In the United States, and perhaps Japan, numerous operators have announced the future migration of their CDMA2000 networks to LTE, moving from the CDMA branch to GSM. The recent auction for the 700 MHz frequency (Auction 73) in the United States was a good occasion to harvest parts of the spectrum that are to be used for the national deployment of the very high-speed LTE. In France, the digital dividend could also be used for the deployment of mobile broadband services.

The options are quickly accelerating, to the point of threatening the Mobile WiMAX, which has been in operation for the last two years. Analysts are now starting to wonder as to how long it can last though, in face of the attractive capabilities of LTE.

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