Though many in the industry expected September to bring a functional freeze for 3GPP Release 12, this latest set of specifications for LTE-Advanced is now not slated for finalization until December. And the freeze date may be pushed back by an additional quarter as 3GPP works out final kinks in what has become a complicated technology release, according to Said Tatesh, director, 3GPP standards leader, at Alcatel-Lucent.
Carrier aggregation is a key feature of LTE advanced, delivering more efficient capacity utilisation and faster speeds; but LTE Advanced can deliver so much more, including heterogeneous network capabilities in particular. Coordinating the low-power layer of small cells with the macro network improves performance across the entire network while also further boosting efficiencies in spectrum use and power consumption, automating network configuration and optimisation.
The growing appetite for on-the-go, real-time information and mobile entertainment services will see the total number of subscribers for LTE and LTE Advanced grow to nearly 411 million and 22 million respectively by year-end 2014.
According to analyst firm ABI Research, carriers across the world are moving apace toward LTE-Advanced technology. The firm estimated there are currently roughly 60 LTE-Advanced trials, commitments and commercial deployments worldwide, of which 22 commitments were from Western Europe, 16 from Asia-Pacific, and five from North America.
Huawei and LG Uplus signed a memorandum of understanding under which they will create a joint Mobile Innovation Center (MIC) in Seoul, South Korea, where the companies will work on LTE Advanced carrier aggregation, small cells and 5G technologies.
Singapore operator SingTel introduced the Huawei 5786 mobile MiFi hotspot device, enabling SingTel to claim it is the world's first mobile operator to offer commercial 300 Mbps service using LTE-Advanced carrier aggregation.
Qualcomm has put a more concerted effort behind its push to commercialize LTE Direct, a device-to-device technology that leverages licensed LTE spectrum and can be used to enable a host of proximity applications without severely impacting device battery life. The vendor recently posted a new PowerPoint presentation heralding the benefits of LTE Direct and also released a video about the technology.
FierceWirelessTech Editor Tammy Parker recently spoke with Alex Jinsung Choi, executive vice president and head of SK Telecom's ICT R&D division, regarding the operator's roadmaps for LTE Advanced and 5G. Choi touched on the challenges of deploying carrier aggregation technology, other LTE Advanced features the carrir has brought to its network and the company's vision of 5G. Hot Seat
The South Korean mobile communications market is one of the world's most competitive and innovative. That keeps the pressure on SK Telecom, South Korea's largest mobile service provider, to find way to keep implementing cutting-edge technologies. Editor Tammy Parker recently conducted an email Q&A with Alex Jinsung Choi, executive vice president and head of SK Telecom's ICT R&D division, regarding the operator's roadmaps for LTE-Advanced and 5G. The following is an edited and condensed version of that Q&A.
LTE Advanced is the next phase in the network technology roadmap and many operators are embarking on the LTE-A migration path more quickly than expected thanks to the escalating growth in mobile data. As of July 1, the trade group 4G Americas had tallied 13 operators that had deployed LTE-A in 11 countries worldwide. In the U.S. there is just one operator so far: AT&T Mobility.