Samsung is planning an LTE-Advanced version of its Galaxy S4, the company’s co-CEO, told Reuters. It plans to begin selling the phone in South Korea as early as this month.
The phone will reportedly use Qualcomm chips, to achieve data rates twice the normal 4G speed.
Lightreading points to a Mashable article that says Qualcomm’s chips supports speeds of up to 150Mbps, which, they claim, is about half of the minimum standard for LTE-Advanced, as defined by the 3GPP. Only Yota in Russia, claims LightReading, has LTE-Advanced today.
Seems like nitpicking:
- Saudi Arabia Mobily launched the world’s first commercial TD-LTE network (which will be upgraded to LTE-A), in September 2011.
- Softbank launched the world’s largest TD-LTE commercial network in February 2012 in three target cities and has now expanded thoughout Japan.
- Bharti built the first TD-LTE network in South Asia in April 2012. Bharti is India’s largest mobile operator.
AT&T says LTE Advanced will begin rolling out in the second half of this year. AT&T’s LTE footprint now covers 261 markets across the country. AT&T’s current 4G LTE is expected to cover 300 million people by year-end 2014.
Verizon plans to add LTE-A to its network through a small-cell AWS network soon. They currently cover some 500 markets across the USA with LTE on the 700 MHz band.
Sprint offers FD-LTE in about 100 markets. They introduced their PCS band LTE service, in July 2012, and expects to provide 200 million people with LTE by the end of 2013.
Time Division LTE uses only a single 20 MHz channel, about half the combined speed of two 20 MHz channels. In addition, the 300 Mbps expected in a 20 MHz LTE-A channel is only available with 4×4 MIMO. That’s not likely to be available on a phone.
The 3G and 4G Wireless Blog aggregates lots of white papers and presentations that explore and explain LTE-A.
There are five different LTE User Equipment categories as can be seen in the table (above) supporting different parameters and performance. LTE category 1, for example does not support MIMO, but LTE UE category five supports 4×4 MIMO, which is handy for fixed service but not so much for mobile.
T-Mobile’s Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray discussed his company’s LTE rollout at CES this January. T-Mobile has said it plans to launch LTE for 100 million pops by mid-year, with 200 million covered by the end of 2013. Las Vegas is expected to be T-Mobile’s first LTE city. T-Mobile operates GSM on 1900 MHz (PCS) in the US and puts HSPA (and LTE) on the AWS band (1.7/2.1 GHz).
T-Mobile inked multi-year agreements with Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) last year to deploy its $4 billion 4G network. The agreements call for Release 10-capable equipment, also known as LTE Advanced, at 37,000 cell sites across T-Mobile’s network, by the end of 2013.
NSN will provide its Evolved Packet Core platform, including Flexi NS (Network Server) and Flexi NG (Network Gateway). The company will also provide its Single RAN Advanced platform based on its Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Station. It’s LTE-Advanced ready, and can evolve today’s 3G and LTE networks to future technologies with a software upgrade.
T-Mobile was the first carrier in North America to rollout Ericsson’s antenna-integrated radios for faster deployment and reduced site loading. Ericsson launched its antenna-integrated radios at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last year. According to CTO Neville Ray, “We can save months in terms of deployment with this product on a per-site basis.”
T-Mobile USA is currently deploying Ericsson’s AIR 21 product. According to Ray, it offers a fast-track way of getting LTE into the marketplace.
Ericsson’s latest offering in the family is the AIR 32, which allows operators to add LTE or HSPA(+) without deploying additional antennas or remote radio heads (RRHs) on cell sites. According to Ericsson, the new model claims up to 70% higher throughput than its predecessors by implementing 4×4 MIMO antenna arrays, and up to 25% better indoor coverage. It supports multiple active frequencies, reducing radio equipment by 50%.
The Vegas launch will be followed by “a series of LTE markets coming on line through Q1 and Q2,” Ray said.
T-Mobile and Clearwire are both building true LTE-Advanced networks. T-Mobile will be using FD-LTE in the AWS band and Clearwire will be using TD-LTE in the 2.6 GHz band. T-Mobile has also made HSPA+ service available in the 1900 MHz band, for compatibility of the iPhone, which doesn’t (yet) support the AWS band.
Sprint uses an earlier release of LTE in the 58 markets it currently covers using it’s FD-LTE technology (5 MHz x 5 MHz) in the PCS band, but it will be upgraded to LTE-A in the first half of 2013, according to Sprint’s CTO (above).
Apple, LG, and ZTE plan smartphones for China Mobile’s TD-LTE system which is expected to have 200,000 basestations by year end. ZTE has completed the first TDD-based voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) call on the 2.6 GHz band using a smartphone with a 13-band Marvell chipset.
There are several TD-LTE supported smartphones for the Indian market.
IHS forecasts that China Mobile will sign up 228 million TD-LTE subscribers by 2017. That’s twice as many TD-LTE subs just for China Mobile than all the world’s LTE subs combined today.
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