World’s First LTE Network is Launched

Well it looks like Ericsson and TeliaSonera get bragging rights for the first “commercial LTE network” in the world. On May 25, 2009 they announced the first commercial LTE network in the world. Although I don’t think a single site without customers makes a commercial network.  But it is the first site in Stockholm’s newest network. So with a lot of work and a little luck we should start seeing LTE networks popping up around the USA over the next year.

So what is LTE? LTE stands for “Long Term Evolution”. LTE is the next generation of wireless technology. It will offer very high data rates, up to 326 Mbps (Millions of bits per second). Low latency, less than 5 mS (milli seconds) or 0.005 seconds. So you can download large amounts of data in near real time.

Verizon is planning on rolling out LTE starting this year in several cities. I wish them success. The LTE standard hasn’t been approved yet and handset developers are not promising to have anything until sometime in 2010. Until the networks are rolled out expect a patchwork of LTE hotspots. Early adopters and gadget freaks be on the lookout for the new and fast LTE devices. Expect most of the first offerings will probably look very much like older units. After all how many ways can you make an air card?

AT&T has also committed to deploying LTE. But they don’t plan on starting until 2010. They will deploy HPSA 7.2 as a bridge technology while the LTE standard is finalized and the early bugs get worked out.

The LTE standard may not yet be fully approved but equipment manufactures like Ericsson, Nokia and Motorola have been developing the network equipment. The network will be completely IP based. It will use OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access) just like Wi-Fi. Plus it is backwardly compatible with GSM, CdmaOne, CDMA-2000, W-CDMA (UMTS). So expect the early networks to rely heavily on the legacy network infrastructure. In other words, don’t expect to see the super fast speeds until the LTE networks are fully rolled out. Most Probably, 2011 or 2012.

-Tower Guru-

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