Alcatel-Lucent Sets an LTE Record, Verizon Says U.S. Plans on Track

Alcatel-Lucent (s ALU) has achieved rocket fast 80Mbps downstream peak speeds on China Mobile’s TD-LTE (time division duplex) trial network, the company said today at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. In the meantime, Verizon said its U.S. 4G plans remain on track.

China Mobile’s TD-LTE network is being put in place to serve the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, a showcase for global technology achievements, that kicks off May 1st and for which 70 million visitors are expected. According to Alcatel-Lucent, the TD-LTE peak rates were achieved by using a single 20-MHz spectrum band, carrying both the upstream and downstream traffic. TD-LTE uses half the spectrum of FDD-LTE (frequency division duplex) networks. You can find more on Alcatel-Lucent’s LTE projects here, including its involvement with a trial LTE-connected car.

Alcatel-Lucent’s LTE trials are also spreading out globally. The company said today that, in conjunction with Orange, the first phase of an LTE mobile broadband technology trial is underway with a live network in France. It’s expected to serve many types of multimedia mobile applications, including VoIP calls with streaming video. Alain Maloberti, group VP for networks, architecture and design for France Telecom-Orange, was quoted as saying that so far, “the user experience and the quality are very good inside the buildings as well as on the move.” Alcatel-Lucent also has LTE testing underway in Latin America.

Meanwile, Verizon (s VZ) CTO Dick Lynch confirmed that it’s on track with its LTE network rollout, which is in fourth-phase testing and due in 25-30 U.S. cities this year, potentially reaching 100 million people. Verizon expects to deliver 5-12Mbps downstream and 2-5Mbps upstream. Ericsson (s ERIC) and Alcatel-Lucent are building out the network, part of a partnership between Verizon (s vz) and Vodafone (s vod).

As varying standards for LTE take shape, and some regions get it while others don’t, the fourth-generation wireless technology should produce much competition, and is likely to challenge the dominion of fixed broadband services. In households and for many business users, LTE wireless broadband could begin to supplant fixed broadband, potentially causing millions of users to switch. In the U.S., as we’ve noted before, it definitely looks like Verizon’s service will reach the most people this year, and the company’s announcements at Mobile World Congress back that up.

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