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August 03, 2010

LTE Trials Increase in Preparation for 4G, Says New Report

By Jayashree Adkoli, TMCnet Contributor

Trials of Long Term Evolution or “LTE” mobile network technology have increased these days in preparation for 4G, according to ABI Research.

Recently, ABI Research rolled out a report entitled “Wireless Spectrum, Services and Technology Deployment Market Data,” a component of the Mobile Networks Research Service that includes research reports, research briefs, other market data products, analyst inquiry support, and more.

According to the report, LTE will go live in a big way by next year, as Verizon (News - Alert) in the United States and NTT DoCoMo in Japan will begin wide-scale rollouts by the end of 2010.

The report also says that WiMAX will be in a threatening situation if TD-LTE technology proves successful. TD-LTE is an alternative technology guarded by China and Qualcomm that can operate on the same bandwidth as existing WiMAX (News - Alert) networks. Suppose, this technology proves successful then there are chances that many WiMAX operators might migrate to the LTE standard.

According to Bhavya Khanna, an analyst at ABI Research, 132 networks have reported trials or plans to launch LTE commercially, which is 32 more than the end of 2009. To add fuel to LTE’s growth, Verizon has also hinted at the availability of LTE-based handsets by May 2011.

However, it cannot be expected that WiMAX will bow out. Despite setbacks such as Russia’s Yota switching to LTE, 188 WiMAX networks are now in trial or commercial operation worldwide, according to Khanna.

United States’ WiMAX service provider Clearwire (News - Alert) has continued to build out its network and add subscribers, maintained by the launch of a popular WiMAX-capable handset, the HTC EVO 4G. In addition, India’s wireless broadband spectrum auction recently concluded, which will help in increasing the numbers.

The incumbent operators cannot afford to ignore their legacy 3G networks. With the help of technology upgrades such as HSPA+ for WCDMA networks, incumbent operators can cope with demands for increasing speeds and bandwidth efficiency.

As of March 2010, over 41 network operators had trials or commercial launches of HSPA+ networks, such as T-Mobile in the United States and Vodafone (News - Alert) in Turkey, reports ABI.

ABI’s Mobile Networks Research Service offers a complete source of information of all wireless network providers; their operating spectra, access technologies and key network vendors globally.

Jayashree Adkoli is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Jayashree's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Marisa Torrieri

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