Feb 10 U.S. telecoms carrier AT&T (T.N) picked
Ericsson (ERICb.ST) and Alcatel-Lucent ALUA.PA to build its
fourth-generation mobile network, one of the first major orders
for the new Long Term Evolution technology. [ID:nLDE6191MK]
Here are some facts on the new technology, which will also
be one of the key topics at the world's largest wireless trade
show, Mobile World Congress, next week in Barcelona:
LOWER OPERATING COST AND NEW CAPACITY
- Mobile telecoms operators are set to invest billions in
the LTE networks as data traffic in their current networks has
exploded due to the use of mobile data cards and smartphones.
- LTE is not expected to boost sales significantly,
particularly in mature markets, but lower operating and
expansion costs and new spectrum are the key reasons for any
operator to invest in the new technology.
- LTE is not much more bandwidth efficient than advanced 3G.
The five to six times higher capacity will be mainly the result
of using four times more radio spectrum, said Mikko Valtonen,
technology specialist at Rewheel consultancy.
- Chetan Sharma Consulting has said evolving to HSPA
(advanced version of 3G) and LTE will result in cost savings of
almost $25 billion a year across all U.S. operators by 2013.
NOT THE SPEED
- LTE network technology promises data download speeds of up
to 100 megabits per second, but typically the speed would be
10-30 megabits per second, on par with 3G networks.
- For typical Internet usage 1-2 Megabits per second is
- From a consumer perspective, a much bigger boost to mobile
data usage has come from the development of 3G technology, which
started from just 0.4 Megabits per second, but with HSDPA
upgrades jumped to several Megabits per second.
- To make economic sense, the cost of rolling out an LTE
network cannot be more than a fraction of the money that has
been spent on 3G rollouts, and the cost of incremental capacity
upgrades has to be less than a tenth of the cost of adding to
HSPA networks, according to Rewheel.
- "LTE does not revolutionise the technology. As such, gear
makers need to fundamentally change their commercial equipment
pricing approaches in order to deliver on the promise of
slashing cost per megabyte," said Antonios Drossos, managing
partner at Rewheel.
- Building a standalone network for LTE is rarely viable.
Instead, operators prefer swapping their outdated 2G and 3G gear
for advanced all-in one solutions.
(Reporting by Tarmo Virki)