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Ericsson Predicts Next Gen Mobile Broadband for 2010

Posted: 26th Nov, 2008 By: MarkJ
Ericsson, a handset and telecoms kit manufacturer, has predicted that next-generation Mobile Broadband networks using Long-Term Evolution (LTE / 4G) technology should be ready for prime time in the UK by late 2010:

"I would say probably the end of 2010 at the very earliest," Ericsson's UK chief technology officer, John Cunliffe, told ZDNet UK. "Networks will be ready for rolling out — shipping in commercial quantities — next year and then the devices, we think, will start to come in 2010," he added.

However many mobile operators are still trying to squeeze as much out of existing HSPA (3G) technology as possible, which in its present form can reach up to 14.4Mbps. By comparison LTE's "tested" maximum is 154Mbps (78Mbps average), though Cunliffe warns that newer enhanced forms of HSPA could get potentially compete with LTE:

"The fastest being deployed in the UK at the moment is 7.2Mbps but our roadmap continues until 42Mbps. We can even see that it may be possible for the technology to reach as much as 80Mbps… so there is certainly a lot of mileage in HSPA. People maybe think that we've got to have LTE to get to the higher speeds, but HSPA will go a long way before we need to get to LTE speeds," said Cunliffe.

This certainly begs the question, why should mobile operators bother with LTE and or mobile WiMAX when their existing HSPA infrastructure has the potential to compete with next-gen technology. There doesn't appear to be a clear answer for this and we'll be interested to see how the market develops.
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