Wednesday, November 26, 2008

80Mbps for existing mobile broadband infrastructure?

Ericsson, the handset and telecoms kit manufacturer, has predicted that next-generation Mobile Broadband networks using Long-Term Evolution (LTE / 4G) technology should be ready for prime time in the UK by late 2010.

Ericsson's UK chief technology officer, John Cunliffe, told ZDNet UK. "Networks will be ready for rolling out — shipping in commercial quantities — next year and then the devices, we think, will start to come in 2010," he added.

However many mobile operators are still trying to squeeze as much out of existing HSPA (3G) technology as possible, which in its present form can reach up to 14.4Mbps. By comparison LTE's "tested" maximum is 154Mbps (78Mbps average), though Cunliffe warns that newer enhanced forms of HSPA could get potentially compete with LTE:

"The fastest being deployed in the UK at the moment is 7.2Mbps but our roadmap continues until 42Mbps. We can even see that it may be possible for the technology to reach as much as 80Mbps… so there is certainly a lot of mileage in HSPA. People maybe think that we've got to have LTE to get to the higher speeds, but HSPA will go a long way before we need to get to LTE speeds," said Cunliffe.

This certainly begs the question, why should mobile operators bother with LTE and or mobile WiMAX when their existing HSPA infrastructure has the potential to compete with next-gen technology.

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