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Operators rally around LTE path to 4G

The world’s leading telecom operators are committing to 3GPP Long Term Evolution (LTE) as they advance toward the next generation of mobile LTE has emerged as the dominant path to 4G networks, with the world’s largest operators demonstrating their commitment to the standard.

Vodafone, Verizon and China Mobile are part of a group that recently announced a common initiative to invite suppliers and other stakeholders to discuss their LTE visions. NTT DoCoMo - Japan - recently selected Ericsson for its LTE base station development project, and several European operators have selected LTE as the evolution path for mobile broadband.

In addition, LTE is the main next-generation network candidate in the Next Generation Mobile Networks group of operators, and it is standardized by the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP).

LTE is a key part of Ericsson’s vision for Broadband Everywhere. The technology, which will be commercially available in 2009, will enhance the mobile broadband user experience – especially high-performance applications such as interactive TV, internet browsing, advanced games and professional services.

Laptops, ultra-portables, gaming devices and cameras will have ubiquitous mobile broadband coverage from day one, at first with HSPA, and in the future with LTE embedded modules.

LTE allows for connection peak rate speeds of 300Mbps, and Ericsson has already demonstrated that it can provide a peak rate of 160Mbps. LTE Radio Access Network roundtrip times will be less than 10 milliseconds, meaning LTE outpaces all other technologies in meeting key 4G requirements.

Ericsson Vice President for Standardization and Industry Initiatives Erik Ekudden says that a central factor for LTE’s move to the forefront is that it provides a clear technology migration from 3G based on HSPA, TD-SCDMA and CDMA. As the industry mainstream technology LTE offers a distinct economy of scale for operators worldwide as they are looking to extend their networks’ capacity and speed.

“LTE offers operators flexibility and simplicity,” he explains. “It is designed for broader bandwidth than HSPA and GSM, and it can be deployed on whatever spectrum an operator has available.

“And, from day one, LTE provides end-users with plug-and-play capability with seamless connections to existing networks such as GSM, CDMA and HSPA.”

Ericsson Chief Technology Officer Håkan Eriksson says LTE is the ideal standard for bringing broadband access to emerging markets.

Wireless will be the predominant way of accessing broadband and internet connectivity in homes, businesses, hospitals and schools in the developing world,” Eriksson says. “Initially this will be mainly over HSPA, but LTE is expected to pick up quickly due to its relationship with the highly successful GSM//HSPA technology family.”

Ekudden says that LTE also meets many operators’ requirement that it supports both paired and unpaired spectrum allocations, which means low-cost LTE terminals can be built to handle both Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) and Time Division Duplex (TDD) operation.

Ericsson will showcase the LTE Prototype Terminal and screen an LTE-demonstration film on June 25 at the opening of the second Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) annual conference in Frankfurt, Germany. Ericsson experts will be on hand to discuss LTE-FDD and LTE-TDD. In addition, Ericsson Senior Vice President Jan Uddenfeldt will discuss how LTE meets NGMN targets for performance, cost and simplicity in the “Mobile Broadband Network Capabilities” session on June 26.


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