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Ericsson Eyes 4G Mobile Broadband for Late 2009

Posted: 15th Oct, 2008 By: MarkJ
The chief UK technology officer for Global telecommunications supplier Ericsson, John Cunliffe, has predicted that the next/fourth generation of Mobile Broadband technology (Long Term Evolution) will begin surfacing towards the end of 2009.

Speaking in a new interview with ZDNet, Cunliffe stated that trials of LTE would begin before the end of this year with commercial services, handsets and base stations becoming ready during late 2009. Naturally Ericsson is one of LTE's biggest backers and somewhat shuns rival mobile WiMax technology.

It's understood that Ericsson's drive testing of LTE in Sweden produced peak download speeds of 154Mbps, a mean of 78Mbps and a minimum of 16Mbps. In the real world such performance would need to be shared out between many users, resulting in initial speeds being only a few Megabits above that of existing services.

Interestingly Cunliffe also indirectly hinted that existing HSPA based 3G Mobile Broadband services could end up being LTE's biggest competitor:

"There is a roadmap for HSPA. We have 7.2Mbps in the UK at the moment, coverage is good and plenty of handsets do it. With high levels of modulation like 64QAM and Mimo, we can get 42Mbps out of HSPA… and even 80Mbps with further optimisation. It is now being promoted as an alternative to Wi-Fi. It is easier to set up, and has roaming. New dongles don't even need a CD — the software's built-in, in flash.," said John Cunliffe.

It's important to remember that the headline speeds of existing Mobile Broadband services, not to mention those that may come in the near future, are typically much more variable than their land-line counterparts.

To this end it may seem like Mobile Broadband will be in a position to completely replace land-lines, though in reality there are many technical and financial obstacles to that. Not to mention competition from forthcoming 50Mbps and 100Mbps services from both Virgin Media and BT.

Then again, most UK consumers still only use less than three to five GigaByte’s per month. This makes the lower usage allowances of Mobile Broadband services very attractive to a large number of people.
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