Long Term Evolution (LTE)
networks are now just months away from going live in the USA, so let's
run down what you can expect in the way of this proto-4G technology in
the coming year.
MetroPCS Inc. (NYSE: PCS) has previously claimed
that it will have "the first LTE wireless network featuring
smartphones" in the US. The operator plans to launch in the "second half
of this year." It hopes to have a smartphone that supports both CDMA
and LTE ready for the network. So far, the operator has only said for
sure that it will be launching in Las Vegas, although other unspecified
markets are on the roadmap.
reiterated on its second-quarter earnings call Friday that it is on
track to launch what will be the largest initial deployment of LTE in
the US sometime in the fourth quarter. The deployment is expected to
cover some 25 to 30 cities with average data download speeds of between 5
and 12 Mbit/s by the end of 2010. In fact, Engadget is suggesting that November 15 might now actually be the launch date. (See CTIA 2010: Verizon LTE Gets Friendly.)
The operator is planning to launch with data cards and LTE modems.
Smartphones, however, should be available by the first half of 2011.
(See CTIA 2010: The LTE Smartphone Scramble.)
LTE might also move away from unlimited data plans for Verizon:
"We have indicated in the past, as we move to an LTE world and LTE
pricing, we will probably look very hard at tiered pricing, and that
continues to be our thinking right now," CFO Joe Killian said on
Friday's call. (See Verizon Likes Its Droids.)
AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)
CFO Rick Lindner said this week that the operator is readying LTE test
markets now. "We plan to begin our trials of LTE in the next few months
and will start commercial service in 2011," he said on the operator's
second-quarter call this week. Very little is yet known about what
markets AT&T will initially launch in or what kind of devices it
plans to offer.
The dark horse of early LTE providers, it emerged this week that LightSquared , which is a Harbinger Capital Partners LP
venture, wants to launch LTE markets in the second half of next year.
The operation is little different from other carriers, as it plans to
use a combination of satellite and terrestrial broadband spectrum to
launch wholesale services to sell to other operators. LightSquared will
launch trial LTE networks in the first half of next year in Denver,
Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Baltimore. (See Harbinger Hatches LTE Challenger in US.)
Original Source: Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile at http://www.lightreading.com/document.asp?doc_id=194847&f_src=lightreading_gnews