LTE pioneers TeliaSonera, NTT DoCoMo and Verizon Wireless, will all use different frequency bands for their respective LTE networks, explains TechWorld. So for roaming in the U.S, Japan and Europe to work, modems will have to support 700MHz, 2100MHz and 2600MHz, with more bands to be used in the future. That will be a challenge for roaming, says Light Reading.
- TeliaSonera’s LTE network began commercial operation in Stockholm and Oslo in December 2009, and will continue to expand in 2010. TeliaSonera plans to offer LTE in the 25 largest municipalities in Sweden alongside the four largest municipalities in Norway. It uses the 2.6 GHz band and 20 MHz wide channels. TeliaSonera uses an LTE modem from Samsung for its networks in Stockholm and Oslo. Support for roaming will be a natural next step, according to Tommy Ljunggren, head of system development at TeliaSonera.
- NTT DoCoMo, Japan’s largest cellular provider, plans LTE service this year. DoCoMo’s LTE service will operate in the 2.1GHz band, which is one of two radio bands it currently uses for 3G service. The company has set a launch date of December 2010 for the service.
- Verizon plans LTE service this year in the 700MHz band (which AT&T will also use). Verizon says they’ll start with 25 to 30 markets in 2010, covering approximately 100M people; and extend the footprint to cover their current 3G users in 2013.
- AT&T now plans to begin field trials of LTE this year, and announced plans to establish Innovation Centers to drive development of next-generation devices, applications and equipment.
Some modems will be able to handle at least a few of these bands. The AL600 from ZTE is being developed for the North American market and will operate in the 700MHz band, which Verizon will use, and the 2.6GHz band, which will be the most common LTE band in Europe. That means data roaming will be possible as soon as operators in the US and Europe launch their services and sign roaming agreements. Samsung promises to ship its second generation LTE modem during the first half of 2010. They’ll have competition from ZTE and Huawei.
T-Mobile USA says they’ll upgrade their backhaul before they switch to faster High Speed Packet Access Plus (HSPA+) technology across the U.S. to avoid any bottlenecks. They could have the fastest 3G network in the country with HSPA+ before the end of the year, covering 205 million people and 271 cities.
Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson are both Verizon’s and AT&T’s LTE Radio Access Network equipment providers. Meanwhile, AT&T is deploying fiber-optic backhaul connections and utilizing HSPA 7.2 3G technology.