AlcaLu Will Do LTE in Vegas
LAS VEGAS -- 2010 International CES -- Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) is the infrastructure provider deploying Verizon Wireless 's Long Term Evolution (LTE) in Sin City, it emerged here at the show.
Verizon has chosen two main infrastructure providers for its deployment -- Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) -- but so far hasn't revealed which vendor it will use in the 25 to 30 LTE markets it hopes to launch this year.
Keith Shank, Ericsson's director of the advanced technology labs at its "Experience Center" in Plano, Texas, tells Unstrung that planned deployments are "about evenly split." Shank and his team were on hand to help Verizon Wireless with its "LTE demonstrations" at the show.
It soon became clear that Alcatel-Lucent had control of the 700MHz radio spectrum in Vegas, however, as a couple of different Verizon reps told us that Ericsson "didn't have the frequency" to actually run LTE over wireless.
Like some of its previous shows, Ericsson was actually running RF-over-cable and some Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum to demo the LTE "experience." The vendor showed off a medical tablet, video and mapping apps, and a news broadcast video streaming app in its room in the Venetian Hotel in Vegas.
Alcatel-Lucent, meanwhile, was linking a stationary car to multiple wireless video screens, "live, over the air" using LTE, according to Daniel Chui, director of emerging technologies and media for 4G/LTE solutions at AlcaLu.
Chui couldn't say when Alcatel-Lucent might actually take its automotive LTE demo on the road, however. "I know mobility is in the spec," he said, describing the car as "a sandbox, a concept" and suggesting that production vehicles would be unlikely to have the four video screens that this test auto had installed.
Some of the other AlcaLu demos used a WiFi link to simulate the LTE experience, notably a camera that uploaded pictures over the air.
Device vendor Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC), meanwhile, is fairly advanced with its development of several LTE devices, not surprising, given that it has been working on a compatible modem for over a year now. (See Ericsson, Samsung Make LTE Connection.)
The firm was showing off a digital picture frame that supports video, a mobile Internet tablet, and a digital camera that Jim Parker, senior manager of Samsung's wireless infrastructure product line, assured us really did have LTE inside.
"We'd expect to be available in time for the launch of the network," Parker said.
You could ask until you are blue in the face for more color on when in 2010 that might be, however. "I don't think we can say a definite timeline," Parker said.
"This year" or a plain old "2010" was the definite party-line response to questions on when LTE will go live this year. Unstrung asked a number of different people associated with the project and always got the same answer.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung