Downlink data speeds on LTE networks get a lot of attention, and uplink speeds get much less love. That's mainly because carriers and consumers have long been concerned with what kinds of streaming data can be pulled down from the network to mobile devices. However, chipset suppliers are starting to herald the importance of increasing uplink bandwidth for applications like cloud data uploads and video calling.
We have had commercial LTE Advanced (LTE-A) networks since mid-2013 launches by LGU U Plus and SK Telecom in South Korea. Both of these mobile operators made their LTE-A claims based purely on deploying carrier aggregation (CA). None of the other technology advances coming with LTE-A were used. Those features include coordinated multipoint (CoMP), higher orders of MIMO, enhanced inter-cell interference coordination (eICIC), and relay nodes.
Telecom Italia CEO Marco Patuano said the company's performance in the first nine months of the year showed "signs of change" on its domestic market, proclaiming that the operator has overcome a price war thanks to its focus on quality of service.
EE said its LTE Advanced network has now gone live in London, as the UK operator vies with Vodafone UK to become the first operator to roll out the higher speed network across the country.
While standards around what "5G" network technology is are being contemplated, Huawei is thinking ahead to an interim evolution, which it calls "4.5G" and plans to launch commercially in 2016. According to Huawei, such 4.5 G networks will support latency rates of around 10 milliseconds, peak downlink speeds of around 6 Gbps, and the ability to support 100,000 connections within a single square kilometer.
Though LTE and LTE Advanced are still being rolled out worldwide, the wireless communications industry is already gearing up for 5G, envisioned as its next technology revolution. Many in the industry are debating exactly what features and benefits should be offered by this next generation of wireless. FierceWirelessTech Editor Tammy Parker recently checked in with Hossein Moiin, CTO of Nokia Networks, to discuss his vision for 5G. Following is an edited and condensed version of that conversation.
T-Mobile US is working to enhance its LTE network with Nokia Networks, which indicated that it will enable carrier-aggregation technology for the carrier.
Ericsson and Deutsche Telekom's Slovak Telecom business unit achieved data speeds of 300 Mbps in over-the-air field trials for intraband contiguous LTE carrier aggregation. The trials were the first for LTE Band 7, 2.6 GHz spectrum, using a 20+20 MHz configuration in a field environment, Ericsson said.
LTE Advanced is advancing. According to the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA), 79 carriers in total have launched, have deployed or are trialing LTE Advanced technologies in their networks. The GSA also said 21 operators have launched LTE Advanced carrier aggregation in 14 countries.
Ericsson is exiting the wireless-modem business and will most likely slash about 1,000 jobs as a result. The decision comes as pricing pressure builds in the stand-alone-modem business and more device makers choose to buy system-on-a-chip solutions with modems married to application processors, which Ericsson does not offer.