MWC Preview: LTE Watch

Think small for the Long Term Evolution (LTE) base station at the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona next week:

  • In fact, a couple of different vendors are separately promising the "smallest"-ever LTE base stations at the show. Kyocera Corp. (NYSE: KYO) and NEC Electronics Corp. are both showing micro base stations, designed to work with other base stations as elements that can boost speed and capacity in an overstretched network. [Ed. note: Obviously, a user would need an LTE radio in his or her device to take advantage of this.]

    Light Reading Mobile has previously reported on the need to think small when deploying LTE. The theory is that it will be easier to maintain high data rates with a dense network deployment where more users are closer to many more smaller radios. These micro base stations are one of the first signs of this theory being put into practice.

  • Pundits will be closely watching for the arrival of early LTE devices in Barcelona next week. So far, NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM) has said it will demonstrate a prototype LTE handset; Nokia Networks and Telefónica de España are promising "pre-commercial" terminals; and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) should have some gadgets. NEC, meanwhile, will have an LTE "thin-client" [ed. note: how very 1998!] at the show; and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763) are expecting to demo modems. (See Gadget Watch: MWC Preview .)

  • Domestic Spanish carrier Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) will, in fact, be running a live demonstration LTE network in Barcelona next week. Telefónica is promising live driving demos 'round the streets of Barcelona and video downloads in the halls -- always a brave move with any kind of wireless network during the super-crowded European tradeshow, but particularly so with such a new technology. The carrier is using equipment from NSN and ZTE for the demo.

  • Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM), meanwhile, is looking out even further into the future with a live "LTE-Advanced" demonstration. LTE-Advanced, you may recall, is actually the real 4G version of LTE. Qualcomm is promising: "A live demonstration of LTE mobility enhancements with seamless forward handoff using Qualcomm's LTE Advanced test bed." OK then.

    Want more? We've got your back-reading:

    — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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