This year’s CTIA Wireless show, March 23-25, in Las Vegas, promises to be bigger than ever. CTIA claims to be “one of the largest technology events in the world” and this year marks the 25th year of the show.
Apple pretty much changed everything. The success of the iPhone and the App Store stimulated the development of smartphones, open source software, and mobile apps from Google and Nokia. The mobile phone is becoming a mobile internet computer and the world’s 6.6 billion people are rapidly becoming interconnected. With broadband.
“Fourth-generation” networks are the big story in Las Vegas. Information Week says Verizon will unveil more details of its LTE strategy, and will make an announcement with VOIP specialist Skype at CTIA.
Clearwire today announced new cities launching 4G service in 2010, including: Los Angeles, Miami, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Salt Lake City, with additional cities to be announced later this year. Clearwire previously announced it will launch service in Houston in the coming weeks. Other new 4G markets scheduled to launch in 2010 include: New York City, Houston, Boston, Washington, D.C., Kansas City, Denver, Minneapolis, and the San Francisco Bay Area. The majority will launch toward the end of the year.
Of course “4G” doesn’t mean much without high capacity backhaul. Currently most carriers use 4-6 T-1 lines (at 1.5 Mbps each) to connect mobile towers to the internet. Backhaul was a big theme, too.
Some of the announcements so far:
- BridgeWave Communications, announced its newest version of its FlexPort family of high-capacity 80 GHz radios for mobile backhaul. Its FlexPort 80 GHz gigabit wireless radio has been named a finalist in the Network Infrastructure at the CTIA’s Emerging Technology Awards.
- Ceragon Networks, a provider of high-capacity, LTE/4G-ready wireless backhaul, today announced the multi-unit FibeAir IP-10 All-Indoor Compact for North American operators, and the FibeAir Outdoor Enclosure, a multi-unit solution for pole-mount, wall, or roof-top installation. Both platforms allow operators to significantly increase capacity and networking performance and are ideal for pure-IP applications as well for migrating legacy networks. Ceragon covers the entire licensed frequency spectrum – from 6GHz to 38GHz.
- Exalt Communications, will feature the latest ExtendAir zero-footprint microwave backhaul radios, supporting native TDM and native Ethernet, in 18 GHz FDD and 5 GHz CarrierTDD for CDMA/GSM/3G or 4G/LTE base station interconnection. It provides 100 Mbps of full-duplex capacity and up to 4xT1/E1/. They will demonstrate a live, hybrid TDM/IP end-to-end microwave backhaul network from edge access cell sites to the aggregation and core networks. With list prices starting at US$7,990 per link, Exalt says these new systems offer the lowest cost per megabit-mile of any radio system in their class.
- Chipmaker Marvell announced a series of solutions to enable operators to offload their 3G network traffic to Wi-Fi. The chip support for secure tunnels provides a power efficient solution that extends 3G network capacity and coverage. Acceleration in Wi-Fi chips for secure tunnel processing reduces mobile devices’ computational loads which minimizes battery drain. The Company will also reveal the much anticipated $99 Moby Tablet, aimed at education. It uses Marvell’s high performance ARMADA application processor with full-HD support.
- Franklin Wireless announced the launch of its new U600 dual-mode WiMAX/CDMA modem. The U600 will be the next 4G modem for Sprint and go on sale in April. It works with Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs.
- Leap Wireless said it would expand its Cricket-brand unlimited wireless services in all 50 U.S. states. The move is expected to help Leap, until now more of a regional player, compete better in the cut-throat prepaid wireless market.
- Alvarion announced it has connected 90 digital cities in Brazil. The network in Feira De Santana connects 300,000 residents wirelessly and provides public security services using Alvarion’s BreezeNET B, BreezeACCESS VL and BreezeMAX Wi2 solutions in the 5.8 GHz, 5.4 GHz and 2.4 GHz frequencies.
- Proxim Wireless, a leading provider of indoor and outdoor wireless broadband systems, today announced that RDL Comunicacoes, a Sao Paulo-based WISP, has deployed Proxim’s unlicensed WiMAX and wireless backhaul in 10 cities throughout Brazil.
- KORE Telematics, the world’s largest digital wireless services provider specializing in machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, and Motorola announced an approved CDMA device the MedApps HealthPal MA106 and M2M Communications Tracker.
- Huawei announced the world’s fastest LTE-advanced downlink speed of up to 1.2 Gb/s at CTIA Wireless 2010. It used an 80 MHz multi-carrier wideband radio (8 times the typical bandwidth) and 4×4 Multi-Input Multi-output (MIMO). Huawei was selected by Telstra, Australia’s largest operator, to deploy Telstra’ s first LTE mobile trial.
- Samsung signed an agreement with Clearwire to deploy next generation U-RAS Flexible Plus base stations within Clearwire’s 4G network. The next generation U-RAS Flexible base station, can be used as a common platform for Mobile WiMAX (802.16e), Mobile WiMAX 2 (802.16m), as well as both FDD-LTE and TD-LTE deployments. Samsung’s U-RAS Smart, with natural cooling and a high efficient power amplifier, lowers the power consumption up to 35%. Samsung is currently deploying Mobile WiMAX networks with 26 major operators in 22 countries.
- Open Kernel Labs (OK Labs) announced general availability of Android “One Core,” which enables OEMs to significantly reduce bill-of-material (BOM) costs by consolidating application, multimedia, and baseband radio processing onto a single CPU for mass-market smartphones based on Google Android.
- Femtozone 2010 at CTIA Wireless demonstrates the latest advances in femtocell gateway security and interoperability.
LTE is the shiny new thing. But LTE’s price, speed and popularity have yet to be proven on the 700 MHz band. It requires new infrastructure, backhaul and devices.
The Clearwire network in Las Vegas is currently supported by roughly 250 cell towers, with another 100 or so being built. Clearwire WiMAX is available in 27 cities, with major cities launching this year. Clearwire began Baltimore service in October of 2008 and expects 1.2 million WiMAX subscribers by the end of 2010.
Strategy Analytics forecasts the US will have around 20 million LTE subscriptions by end of 2012, with an additional 6 million mobile WiMAX subs – about 25% of the global total of 4G subscriptions. Verizon currently has zero LTE subscribers.