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LTE likely to be available on mobile in 2011

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VoicenData Bureau
New Update

In spite of the fact that LTE is likely to be launched commercially in the coming year, it is not likely to be available in mobile phones for some time.

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“Initially it will be available on netbooks and dongles and once the ecosystem is developed it will be available on mobile phones as well. It should be available on mobile phones by late 2011. We feel that the ecosystem for LTE is developing much faster than it did for 3G,” says Anil Sawkar, vice president, Alcatel-Lucent.

LTE is one of the focus areas of Alcatel-Lucent and the company is running around fourteen trials across the globe. Most of the trials are being undertaken in North America and Europe. “We will get another six to eight trials running by the end of the first quarter. We are in the process of finalizing some trials in China as well. So, in essence it is a worldwide trial operation, which will be in a phased approach. We believe that though there will be not much difference in the launch of LTE operations across the globe, but Verizon would be the first to launch it,” says Sawkar.

The company is in touch with various Indian operators and is engaging with them in terms of sharing information and making them understand the technology as well.

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There is a school of thought which believes that since there is so much delay in the launch of 3G in India, operators can go directly to LTE. Elaborating on what should be the path for an operator, Sawkar says, “There are three different dimensions to this. In case of a greenfield operator, and if it is planning to target a niche market for data centric products, then it should go for LTE. However, if an operator already has a 2G or 3G network but the network is congested, its approach should to be to address the immediate problems. The third dimension from operators' perspective is that if you take the next twelve to sixteen months period, certain parts of the network are going to be extremely critical that they have the right capacity and right scale in terms of packet core. In this situation they have to a make good judgment in terms of the investments they are making.”

While there was a lot of hype around 3G launch globally, it became popular only in few selected markets. The judgment is yet to be passed where LTE is concerned.

Explaining the technical difference between 3G and LTE, Sawkar says that LTE is more evolved and simple, and thus more likely to succeed. “LTE is an all IP network and a lot of simplicity has been put into it. We are not eliminating certain functions but the way they get implemented at the back-end is one of the key difference. In LTE we eliminated one of the major network elements, which is a significant complexity today, and that is RNC. LTE is simple, self managed and enables the device to have multiple applications. You can have different IP addresses which translates to having different functionalities,” says Sawkar.

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He believes that right now it is important for operators to find how best they can manage the data growth profitability, even though LTE will offer high data access and capacity.

“Most networks currently are uncontrollable, which means that a certain type of device can chew-up 90% or more than that of the network resources, affecting a large percentage of users. What this means is that you do need the right set of policies that help manage the network capacity and at the same time that make sure that the bandwidth required by some types of users is met. What I foresee is that LTE provides high speed access, but in addition to that we need policies that would help us manage data growth,” adds Sawkar.

gagandeepk@cybermedia.co.in

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