3G is Still Coming, but LTE is Already Here

Next Generation Communications Blog

3G is Still Coming, but LTE is Already Here

There's been significant media attention given to LTE and WiMAX as the next generation of wireless communication technology.  Some refer to them as 4G, others 3.5G, but either way, they represent the current future of wireless -- one that will enable network operators to evolve their business models by bringing a new generation of wireless services and applications to their subscribers.

On its surface, it may seem peculiar that so much emphasis is being placed on 4G solutions, when, as In-Stat reports, only 11 percent of current cellular subscriptions are 3G, which is merely a foundation for moving to LTE technology.  And even with growth to some 28 percent predicted by 2013, it may seem early to engage in heavy discussion.


However, we also know that vendors must be quick to develop and roll out new technologies.  After all, as TMC Chairman has often noted, being first to market is the key to success.  In addition, just as businesses are at various stages of migration to IP Communications, with many already having made the transition to all-IP, many mobile operators, who are looking to grow their networks and subscribers are looking to do so with an eye to the future.  After all, building out their networks is not an inexpensive venture, nor an easy one.  So, for many new and growing operators, making the move to LTE networks makes sense now.


LTE contracts have already been awarded in the U.S., Singapore, Japan, Norway, and Sweden, and though, as In-Stat notes, at such an early stage of development, it's hard to tell who the ultimate market leader will be, but Alcatel-Lucent is among those benefitting from these early deals and, with a history of providing quality networking solutions, stands to fare well as LTE matures.


Alcatel-Lucent is paving the way for next generation wireless with its Ultimate Broadband End-to-End LTE solution, which is designed to allow operators to deliver high bandwidth multimedia and Web-based services to the new age of wireless devices, including mobile handsets, laptops, and netbooks. 


The move to all-IP networks is about bringing new, increasingly advanced, yet intuitive services to market quickly and reliably, while limiting security risks and lowering operating costs.  Alcatel-Lucent provides a complete migration path with a solution that includes its Evolved Packet Core (EPC), its new transport solution (META), an open service delivery environment, as well as LTE-enabled radio access. 


Because it is able to provide a complete end-to-end solution, the company is easily able to become a valued partner, assisting with network planning, implementation and integration, as well as ongoing support once the initial installation has been completed.  In doing so, it also limits the complexities often encountered when operators have to deal with multiple vendors, who may not have fully compatible solutions.  Importantly, in addition it provides a migration path from any existing radio access technology, including GSM, CDMA, even WiMAX, or any number of others.  That ability comes from its history of providing multiple network architectures, and will serve it will at a time when diverse product portfolios are likely to drive increased market share.


In addition to the network iteslf, Alcatel-Lucent customers will be able to leverage ng Connect, a program launched by the company to create an interoperable ecosystem of devices, content, and applications, allowing operators to even more rapidly deliver new products and services to their subscribers.


So yes, it's true that most networks are still not even at the 3G stage, but having the foresight to develop future-proof networks today will provide a competitive edge to cutting edge operators.

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