Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Operators warm up for LTE battle

A new phase of war is brewing in the global telecommunications market-place with operators toasting equipment manufacturers to support their migration to the Long-Term Evolution (LTE) at various levels.

Experts described LTE as the next evolution in mobile network standards that offers superior user experience, enhancing applications such as mobile video, blogging, advanced gaming, rich multimedia telephony among other services and is known to interoperate with existing cellular systems, according to the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP).

Insight at the just concluded 2008 World Mobile Congress (WMC) in Barcelona, Spain indicated that several operators keen on raising the tally of contemporary networks invaded the four-day congress in search of reliable allies from equipment manufacturers such as Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia Siemens Networks to name a few, so as to commence talks or seal partnership deals.

This is coming as the organisers of WMC informed that LTE operators globally would be accommodated within the Global System for Mobile Association (GSMA), even as China Mobile announced at the end of events last weekend, that its commencing trial of LTE platform alongside Vodafone and Verizon Wireless.

According to the Chief Technology Officer of GSMA, Mr. Alex Sinclair, the emergence of LTE after the completion of its standardization by the 3GPP is a major landmark in deployment of high capacity mobile networks with capabilities of delivering very high speed and low latency services.

He explained that the conclusion of LTE standards proclaims the technical baseline for the GSM family of technologies.

“The GSMA is delighted to welcome LTE into the fold as the next step in the evolution of GSM,” he declared.

He also said that LTE specifications would pave the way for future roadmap for existing operator members to offer mobile broadband in form of High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) cum Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) and Global System for Mobile communications (GSM).

Also at the congress, Ericsson announced its selection as Super Third Generation (Super 3G/LTE) vendor as it clinched deal with Japanese NTT DoCoMo.

Executive Vice President and Head, Business Unit Networks at Ericsson, Kurt Jofs said that the leading equipment vendor, has previously demonstrated LTE in Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) mode, with speeds of up to 160 Mega Bytes Per Second (Mbps) and for the first time established LTE in both FDD and Time Division Duplex (TDD) mode on the same base station platform.

Vice President, LTE Product Management at Alcatel-Lucent, Mr. Paul Larbey revealed that outcome of the congress was the alliance his firm formed with the mobile subsidiary of LG Electronics in efforts to deliver mobile broadband to end-users and expand their collaboration on the development, testing and commercialisation of LTE, especially on research and development as well as interoperability testing efforts in order to harmonise their contributions to 3GPP standards development with a team to support on-going customer trials.

Equally, Alcatel-Lucent was in another marriage with NEC Corporation to broaden collaboration to market what the alliance described as advanced end-to-end communications solutions, through a joint venture to further develop LTE wireless broadband access.

As at the time of filing this report, Nigerian operators, especially on GSM platform are battling the declining quality of service (QoS) and is even yet to optimise the so-called deployment of 3G, which made front pages in the last quarter.

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