Following 4G: The State of LTE

We have been following the emergence of 4G technologies pretty closely, including the looming battle between WiMAX and Long Term Evolution (LTE). As part of this continuing coverage, we are going to give you short updates on these technologies and current carrier plans. Stacey outlined the 4G plans of various U.S. carriers last week. This post is small update on the state of LTE market.

According to ABI Research, there will be 32 million subscribers on LTE by 2013, though LTE Networks aren’t likely to go commercial before 2010. Equipment maker Ericsson has predicted mass adoption in 2012. ABI says Asia Pacific will have 12 million LTE subscribers, while Western Europe and North America will share the remainder. ABI predicts that LTE will compete with fixed line broadband services such as DSL and spur a big demand for mobile-connected Internet devices — not necessarily personal computers or phones.

Carriers who are betting on LTE include China Mobile, Vodafone and Verizon Wireless. NTT DoCoMo and KDDI in Japan, AT&T and Metro PCS in the U.S., and a few other carriers are still working out plans that involve LTE.

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Some Facts About Ericsson’s M700 Mobile Broadband Platform

Ericsson recently announced its M700 mobile platform. Among its specs:

  • It has peak data rates of up to 100Mbps in the downlink and up to 50Mbps in the uplink.
  • It’s compatible with networks around the world, can support up to six bands, including the 700 MHz bands, and supporting bandwidths range between 1.4MHz and 20MHz.
  • Silicon will arrive in 2008 and the commercial release is set for 2009.
  • The first products based on the M700 will be data devices such as laptop modems, express cards and USB modems for notebooks, as well as other small-form modems suitable for consumer electronic devices.
  • Products based on the platform are expected in 2010.

We have written about Ericsson’s plans in the past. The company’s LTE chipset and software solution for 700 MHz devices is already in development and will be available in mid-2009. Stacey was recently given a first-hand demo of Ericsson’s 700 MHz/LTE network.

Ericsson has more info on “HSPA, LTE and Beyond” at www.ericsson.com/ericsson/press/facts_figures/doc/hspa_lte.pdf.

Ericsson all ready with 700 MHz gear

The 700 MHz auctions are finally coming to a close, meeting most if not all expectations. And soon this will set off a network buildout frenzy, especially among the upstarts who end up winning this precious spectrum. Ericsson, the mobile equipment maker, is betting that they will call them for their network gear needs. It will support HSPA for now and in 2009 Ericsson will bring to market products based on 4G technology called LTE. If your technology choice is WiMAX, which is another technology that might be in the running for the 4G sweepstakes, call someone else.