Everybody Got to Go — Let It Bleed
Motorola has launched its first Long-Term Evolution (LTE) trial network at its test facility in Swindon, UK. Motorola said today it has performed live over-the-air LTE calls with their equipment.
Moto was one of the five vendors named by Verizon Wireless and Vodafone for their joint LTE trials. They are using prototype LTE devices on a 2.6-GHz network to perform the field trials.
Motorola said it plans to have commercial LTE systems ready by year end: one for the 700 MHz band targeting US operators such as Verizon and AT&T, and the other at 2.6 GHz for global operators.
Verizon Wireless spent $6.5 billion upgrading its network in 2008, adding or upgrading cell sites and increasing capacity. There are about 9 million total 3G card customers today in U.S., growing to 20 to 25 million in the next few years.
Everything must go with LTE. LTE isn’t that much different than WiMAX. Both require forklift upgrades, totally new infrastructure, high capacity backhaul and new consumer devices.
An Analysys Research study (pdf) found an LTE network running at full capacity on a 5 x 5 MHz channel could deliver 1 megabyte to a user for 0.10 euros (about 13 U.S. cents). A standard UMTS network would cost 60 European cents to deliver, while the newest HSPA networks would cost 0.30 Euros to ship 1 Mbyte. But iPhone and laptops already consume hundreds of megabytes or even gigabytes per month. By this math delivering 1 Gbyte of data would cost an operator $130 a month, says Telephony Magazine.
Paul Kapustka of SideCuts Report has a photo tour of some of Clearwire’s Portland, Oregon tower sites (below). Motorola’s WiMAX macrocells can even be mounted on telephone poles. The air conditioning unit alone on a 3G cell site is bigger than the entire WiMAX base station.
What makes “4G” networks different than “3G” networks? Simplicity. WiMAX networks are just big, flat, wireless router networks, explains Scott Richardson, Clearwire’s Chief Strategy Officer (below).
Voice centric cellular systems, with endless synchronizing and networking layers, cost more and deliver less speed. LTE doesn’t mean much without spectrum. And it costs more.
LTE upgrades may take longer, require a more money, and deliver less speed than WiMAX naysayers want to admit. Squeezing performance out of dual 5MHz channels in the 700 MHz band (and avoiding self-interference) could be tricky, say WiMAX supporters. Clearwire’s Mobile WiMAX is here now.
By the time LTE is ready for commercial service (in three years), it will already be out of date. The true “4G” standard — IMT-Advanced is expected to be ratified by then. And 802.16m should be ready with an ITU approved 100Mbps (mobile), 1Gbps (fixed) standard.
The trillion dollar telecommunications industry needs a reality check. The next billion internet users will be value shoppers.
Related Dailywireless articles include; Clearwire’s Launch Party, Clearwire Portland Launch: Jan 6th, Clearwire in Portland, Clearwire: Let’s be “Clear”, Green Light for New Clearwire, iPCS Withdraws Injuction Against Sprint WiMAX, Clearwire: Show Us the Money, Xohm Marks the Spot, Chicago Xohmed Next?, WiMAX Doomed? Not., Mobile WiMAX: Fast, Cheap and Out of Control?, Mobile WiMAX Cooking- But Still in the Kitchen, WiMAX Roundup, Australia Unwired, Australian Blowup, BT’s European WiMAX Plan, Backhaul Delays Xohm Rollout, Hesse on WiMAX, Sprint’s WiMAX Rollout?, Sprint-Clearwire Deal Dead, Sprint Considering WiMAX Spinoff?, Sprint Forces Forsee Out, WiMAX Demoed on Chicago River, The Launch, ICO Wants Its Mobile TV – via DVB-SH, Google Apps for Clearwire, Sprint WiMAX: It’s Called “Xohm”, Xohm “Partners”?, Death to WiMAX?, Verizon: It’s LTE, and Sprint: It’s WiMAX!