NSN's Latest LTE Moves

1:20 PM -- Nokia Networks said today that it will start shipping LTE-ready base station hardware to 10 operator customers in Europe, Asia, and North America by the end of the year. With just a software upgrade, which will be available next year, the equipment can have full LTE functionality. (See NSN Ships LTE-Ready Base Station.)

The announcement comes hot on the heels of Canadian operators Telus Corp. (NYSE: TU; Toronto: T) and BCE Inc. (Bell Canada) (NYSE/Toronto: BCE)'s news that they will deploy a 3G high-speed packet access (HSPA) overlay network and eventually upgrade to Long-Term Evolution (LTE) for its next-generation mobile broadband technology, using equipment from Nokia Siemens and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. (See Canadians Leap to LTE.)

Nokia Siemens's news of the first LTE-capable hardware shipments is a big step for LTE.

"It’s significant in that the HSPA hardware can be upgraded to LTE in software, and the baseband unit can support both technologies simultaneously," says Gabriel Brown, senior analyst at Heavy Reading. "So you can deploy an HSPA carrier today and then add another HSPA carrier or LTE carrier later in software. No change in baseband hardware is required. So far as I know, it’s the first vendor to ship product with this commitment."

And Brown would know because he's working on a new Heavy Reading report on LTE base stations that will have all the low-down on 4G network equipment.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

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