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As the mobile industry heads to Vegas for the annual US trade fest, Verizon won't be the only operator at the LTE party

CTIA 2009 Preview: Verizon's LTE Party

Michelle Donegan
LR Mobile News Analysis
Michelle Donegan
3/31/2009
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Verizon Wireless will undoubtedly bask in the Long-Term Evolution (LTE) limelight at this week's CTIA Wireless 2009 show now that the U.S. operator has selected equipment suppliers and announced deployment schedules for it ambitious proto-4G mobile broadband network.

Verizon's CTIA team should certainly take the opportunity to celebrate in Las Vegas this week because the hard part of the LTE process -- the network rollout, the nail-biting wait for devices, the pressure to meet the aggressive 2010 launch date communicated to the market, and the decision about whether to confuse the general public by using "4G" in its marketing -- lies ahead. (See LTE Phones Will Lag Behind Networks and MWC 2009: Verizon Picks LTE Vendors.)

Expect CTIA chatter about LTE to revolve around: the kind of embedded devices Verizon wants; the operator's Evolved Packet Core (EPC) architecture strategy; future support for voice services; hand-off issues between CDMA and LTE; and the operator's 4G backhaul strategy.

And, hopefully, Verizon will provide further details about what it plans to do with its LTE network and what the actual average peak data rates are likely to be. (See Operators Face LTE Deployment Dilemma.)

But Verizon won't be the only operator talking up LTE this week.

"Now that Verizon has selected LTE, all the other North American operators in its orbit are looking to do likewise," says Gabriel Brown, senior analyst at Heavy Reading.

U.S. cable operator Cox Communications Inc. announced this week that Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. will supply a 3G CDMA network that, eventually, will be upgraded to LTE. The deal is an important win for Huawei in the U.S., where the Chinese vendor has been seeking a notable reference customer for some years. Cox is now looking for a second supplier for its mobile broadband network. (See Cox, Huawei Make Wireless Connection , BCI Gets Busy With Cox's 3G Buildout , and Cox Hires Wireless Ops Guru.)

MetroPCS Inc. (NYSE: PCS) has also entered the U.S. "4G" race and has talked about plans to deploy LTE in 2010. (See MetroPCS Chooses LTE for 4G Wireless Network.)

And AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) revealed at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last month that it has accelerated its LTE deployment plans by a year with a network rollout slated for 2011. While AT&T said it'll upgrade its 3G network to 7.2 Mbit/s HSDPA and plans to implement 21 Mbit/s HSPA later this year, the operator may shed more light on its 4G ambitions this week too. (See Nextera Picks NexTone.)

Vendors love LTE too
It won't be just the service providers talking up LTE this week. Verizon's vendors -- Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) for radio access, AlcaLu and Nokia Networks for IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), and AlcaLu, Ericsson, and Starent Networks Corp. (Nasdaq: STAR) for evolved packet core -- will be showing off their wares.

Meanwhile, Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) and Nortel Networks Ltd. will also put their LTE offerings on display. (See Moto Shows Off LTE.)

Nortel will wheel out its LTE demo with LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) , and the Canadian vendor, currently in the midst of a major reorganization, is also developing trial femtocell systems for LTE. (See Nortel Keeps LTE Dream Alive, No Femtos in Verizon's First LTE Rollout, Nortel Files for Bankruptcy Protection, and Nortel Appoints EMEA Administrator.)

Here's a snapshot of the LTE news for the week so far:

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

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vsomanv
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vsomanv,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:07:58 PM
re: CTIA 2009 Preview: Verizon's LTE Party


Its LTE all the way.. Will WiMAX find its own space at CTIA or is it gonna be squashed down under. Will LTE and WiMAX Consolidate.. Now that there are talks of all the entire networks consolidating and the vendors running it


 


SV

Michelle Donegan
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Michelle Donegan,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:07:56 PM
re: CTIA 2009 Preview: Verizon's LTE Party


Well, I don't know about "squashed down under," WiMax still has a place in the market - and it has a lead on LTE. But this year's CTIA must be a big LTE fest because of Verizon's moves.


 "Now that there are talks of all the entire networks consolidating and the vendors running it" ... Interesting, can you elaborate there?


Michelle


 

wap545
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wap545,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:07:55 PM
re: CTIA 2009 Preview: Verizon's LTE Party


Why haven't we heard more about VZW shortage of 700Mhz spectrum (20Mhz) to deal with what everyone is predicting will be a massive increase in demand for bandwidth to address the increase in streaming Video or the pressure MultiPlayer gaming will place on these new 4G mobile networks. Here a few excerpts from an article addressing Mobile Broadband Spectrum Demands:


1. a typical web video on a smartphone takes 100 times more bandwidth then a phone call. No one has extimated what 20-30 multiplayer gamers will consume within any one sector using video/graphics and voice interfaces as those to be provided by the new OnLive Gaming network. 


2. Data traffic will increase 250-600 times by 2018 while voice minutes will only triple.


3. predictions are that 3-4 users streaming video in a sector may have a serious impact on all traffic in a sector-estimate that it would reduce throughput 60%


4. Multiple analyst state that for a provider to deliver a true 4G level network they would need a minimum of 30-40Mhz of spectrum.


How much does VZW have: 20Mhz max unless FCC gives them the Public Safety 10 Mhz of 700Mhz spectrum waiting auction.


I am sure there are other pertinent facts I have missed here.


If you ask Ericsson what they think, they will tell you they will have no problem with the future demands on their LTE technologies. VZW had better make sure they have a detailed and legal plan to restict consumption by their customers in all markets.


 


Jim A. 

wap545
50%
50%
wap545,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:07:55 PM
re: CTIA 2009 Preview: Verizon's LTE Party


Why haven't we heard more about VZW shortage of 700Mhz spectrum (20Mhz) to deal with what everyone is predicting will be a massive increase in demand for bandwidth to address the increase in streaming Video or the pressure MultiPlayer gaming will place on these new 4G mobile networks. Here a few excerpts from an article addressing Mobile Broadband Spectrum Demands:


1. a typical web video on a smartphone takes 100 times more bandwidth then a phone call. No one has extimated what 20-30 multiplayer gamers will consume within any one sector using video/graphics and voice interfaces as those to be provided by the new OnLive Gaming network. 


2. Data traffic will increase 250-600 times by 2018 while voice minutes will only triple.


3. predictions are that 3-4 users streaming video in a sector may have a serious impact on all traffic in a sector-estimate that it would reduce throughput 60%


4. Multiple analyst state that for a provider to deliver a true 4G level network they would need a minimum of 30-40Mhz of spectrum.


How much does VZW have: 20Mhz max unless FCC gives them the Public Safety 10 Mhz of 700Mhz spectrum waiting auction.


I am sure there are other pertinent facts I have missed here.


If you ask Ericsson what they think, they will tell you they will have no problem with the future demands on their LTE technologies. VZW had better make sure they have a detailed and legal plan to restrict consumption by their customers in all markets.


 


Jim A. 

vsomanv
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50%
vsomanv,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:07:54 PM
re: CTIA 2009 Preview: Verizon's LTE Party
Ovum has been predicting for quite some time now - and so have been others - that there will be increasingly active forms of sharing.

the article is as
---

Network sharing in 2020: just one big infra?

After the savings of passive sharing have been realised, where can reductions come from in future? Ovum predicts that operators will seek increasingly active forms of sharing.



While sharing ever more of their infrastructure might sound ridiculous today, all forms of sharing sounded ridiculous ten years ago.



Greater sharing of network assets will be driven by a combination of data demands driving up capacity needs, competition eroding prices and the propagation characteristics of Long-Term Evolution (LTE) requiring more sites. LTE will be a mature technology too by then and its efficiency gains will have already been largely realised.



The result will be a dwindling number of physical mobile networks, until some markets at the forefront of this trend are left with just one mobile network, including the RAN, backhaul and even transport elements of the core. However, some elements may remain independent, particularly at integrated operators in which proprietary legacy systems cannot be incorporated, or the operator doesnGĒÖt want to.



2020 wonGĒÖt see the conclusion of this trend, but its advent will certainly be apparent, most noticeably in Europe and particularly the UK.



The notion is not entirely far-fetched nor without precedent. Functional separation is becoming increasingly common in fixed telecoms, again with the UK leading the way. For mobile market forces are leading to a single network, rather than a dominant player being forced to open up its network.



Vendors could end up operating the single network



An interesting facet of recent announcements has been EricssonGĒÖs role. It could end up managing the networks for four of the UKGĒÖs five operators, if it adds O2 GĒō highly likely given its experience with the combined T-Mobile and 3 venture, MBNL. In the long-term future, why not let it operate the single, shared network? TodayGĒÖs mobile network operators could become service retailers.



WeGĒÖre not suggesting that Ericsson has hidden plans to morph into a mobile wholesaler, but following the chain of events to its logical conclusion, this is a reasonable conclusion. And of course EricssonGĒÖs rivals will be joining the managed services fray.



ThereGĒÖs also the option of nationalising the network. The banking industry is currently undergoing this process, so why not?



Mobile regulation would have to evolve



Regulation of mobile services has focused on infrastructure-based competition since the industryGĒÖs inception. Only over the last couple of years has there been a shift in ideology towards more services-based rivalry, starting with the fixed network, but increasingly now in mobile.



While many regulators impose limits on network sharing, the pressure to change will become unstoppable, with the change occurring at different rates in different markets. How will regulators deal with the process of transferring ownership of spectrum and infrastructure to an infrastructure vendor? Mobile regulation must evolve.



If there is a single infrastructure, those with significant market power in the future will be todayGĒÖs vendors. TodayGĒÖs MNOs will effectively be MVNOs.



In markets where vendors control networks, surely their own equipment will be favoured? From an infrastructure industry perspective this means a smaller global equipment market and managed services deals becoming crucial to survival. The only other survival strategy will be to innovate GĒō and thereby become indispensable to the mega-vendors/network operators.



Survival of the fittest



Following current trends to their ultimate conclusions highlights how change will affect operators, infrastructure vendors and regulators.



Who will be the winners and losers from all this? Commercial Darwinism will mean that those who can adapt will prosper. Those that cannot, or will not, will perish.
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