T-Mobile Demos LTE

T-Mobile International AG is showing off a live demonstration of the 4G mobile broadband technology Long-Term Evolution (LTE) with equipment and a prototype terminal from Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) at the CeBIT trade fair in Hannover, Germany, this week. (See Fla. HMO Adds Data Loss Prevention Tool.)

T-Mobile, which is already a member of the LTE/SAE Trial Initiative (LSTI), is the latest operator to promote the next-generation mobile technology, following the flood of LTE news from other operators and vendors at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last month. (See Vodafone Plans LTE Powwow, China Mobile Joins LTE Threesome, MWC Preview: LTE in the Limelight , AlcaLu, NEC Team for 4G, Nortel Demos LTE, and NSN Does LTE.)

"Now's the time to show what might happen in the future," says a T-Mobile spokesman. "LTE is really much advanced now. We can show handheld prototypes. Things are really working now. We truly believe that LTE is a good technology for 4G." (See LTE Hits 300 Mbit/s.)

Still, T-Mobile is quick to stress that it has not yet chosen its next-generation mobile technology. In fact, it is also testing WiMax in Poland, the spokesman says.

In Hannover, T-Mobile is demonstrating video streams, FTP uploads and downloads, and high-definition TV (HDTV) over LTE.

For those in the mobile industry lucky enough to attend both the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and CeBIT in Hannover, T-Mobile's LTE demo might look a tad familiar. In fact, it is the same demo Ericsson conducted in Barcelona last month.

There, Ericsson claimed an industry first with an LTE phone call, which was really streamed data at 20 Mbit/s to a prototype terminal that supported both LTE and Evolved high-speed packet access (HSPA). (See Ericsson Goes to MWC and Ericsson Intros Base Station.)

"We can do it all the way now... from the core to the access and out to the terminal," says Jennette Fridberg, head of product marketing for radio access networks at Ericsson. "We really wanted to show that LTE works with an ecosystem and that it is compatible with HSPA... for seamless migration between the two technologies."

In Barcelona, Ericsson announced a win with NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM) for an LTE base station development project and also unveiled new base stations that will support HSPA as well as LTE. (See DoCoMo Picks Ericsson LTE and Ericsson's Need for Speed.)

The Swedish vendor's equipment is also employed in Vodafone Germany 's 28.8 Mbit/s HSPA demo in another part of the sprawling CeBIT fair. (See VOD Demos 28.8 Mbit/s HSDPA and Vodafone Pumps Up HSPA.) For LTE, Ericsson says that it will have the first commercial products with limited availability in early 2009.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

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