Window on WANs

Oct 27 2009   8:22PM GMT

4G LTE wireless broadband to fly in 2010, driving WAN ripple effect

Kate Gerwig Kate Gerwig Profile: Kate Gerwig

While for a while it looked like the 4G wireless market was going to go all WiMAX all the time because it had a market lead. But LTE technical deployments are gaining serious momentum among wireless operators, according to Infonetics Research’s second edition of its biannual LTE Infrastructure and Subscribers market size and forecast report. And as wireless operators go, so there will be a ripple effect on wireless enterprise WAN options.

Mobile operators are beginning to build out their 4G wireless infrastructure and as of the most recent count, commercial LTE launches for 2010 will number 14 (include Verizon and Japan’s DoCoMo in that group). Infonetics principal analyst of mobile and FMC infrastructure Stephane Teral says macrocells are where the main action is, and will be followed by LTE-based services, which is where the importance of the evolved packet core comes in.

Teral notes that the chief drivers behind LTE becoming the future-proof mobile broadband platform are its peak rates, latency and spectral efficiency. LTE speed? Tests have clocked in 100 Mbps upload and download speeds, but conservative numbers may be closer to 20 Mbps.

As noted in the Infonetics report, Teral projects that based on public announcements made by service providers planning LTE services, the number of LTE service subscribers is expected to exceed 72 million by 2013.

But don’t expect LTE phones for the holidays. The report says that for the first five years of deployment, LTE will be predominantly “PC-based” (laptops, netbooks, dongles, etc.), with LTE smartphones expected to hit the market after 2011, which is when 4G LTE voice, data and multimedia can all mingle freely.

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