Come Together, Right Now, Over LTE

Come Together, Right Now, Over LTE

LTE technology and market update - European Focus

07/06/2010 | 15 pages
Price: $650.00

In this issue of Signals Ahead we provide a market and technology update on LTE with a particular focus on the European market. This report stems from our participation at this year’s LTE Global Summit, which was held in Amsterdam. From PowerPoint to Trials. At last year’s event, operators only talked about their trial plans. At this year’s event they presented actual trial results. We examine those experiences and raise a cautionary eyebrow that things may not be all that they appear to be. The Business Case for LTE Revisited.

We discuss critical elements associated with the business case for LTE.

  1. Spectrum. Operators require both ‘coverage” and ‘capacity” spectrum to launch a successful LTE service offering, yet very few operators can claim to have both. Such a situation creates challenges, just as it creates opportunities and new ventures.
  2. Spectrum Fragmentation. There are 19 unique FDD bands and 8 TDD bands for LTE, and the number continues to grow. By our count by the end of 2011 LTE could be deployed in 12 unique bands, thus impacting economies of scale and posing severe technical challenges (and opportunities)
  3. Usage and Pricing Models. There is a view that LTE will commoditize an operator’s existing 3G business. Nothing could be further from the truth although we foresee new business models in the future, but not necessarily as a direct result of LTE.
  4. Device costs and IP licensing. Lots of effort is being spent on this issue, but as we see it the introduction of LTE will only make things equal at best, and most likely worse.
  5. A Second Life for MIMO? We aren’t the biggest believers in MIMO when it comes to HSPA+, but we aren’t ignoring signs that at least one global operator is strongly pushing the technology as part of its future HSPA+ evolutionary path. LTE in an HSPA World. LTE is supposedly a panacea that will solve all of mankind’s problems – or at least those problems of a wireless nature. As we know from firsthand experience, ‘LTE rocks” but one cannot ignore the pending advances of HSPA+ and the realization that it will be another 15+ years before LTE becomes the dominant technology on a global basis.
  6. A Catch 22 Situation. Operators who upgrade their HSPA networks to HSPA+ supposedly do so to reduce network congestion. Likewise, operators who move directly to LTE probably do so for the same reason. Unfortunately, neither action in and of itself will do anything to reduce network congestion. We explain.