The idea that wireless cannot compete with fixed for broadband access speeds is hopelessly wrong, according to Professor Michael Walker, group R&D director at Vodafone. He claims that the 100Mbit/s of FTTH is the same as the theoretical maximum throughput of LTE, with wireless internet providing a better and richer experience.
"LTE capacity on 20MHz is an order of magnitude higher than HSPA," said Walker. "In the first real LTE field trials an average downlink speed of 15Mbit/s was achieved with 4.5 spectral efficiency." The trials indicated that LTE was delivering 20Mbit/s at the centre of the cell, falling to 1.3Mbit/s at the edge.
However, having been scarred by the experience of paying billions for spectrum in the 3G auctions--and then seeing the technology fail to achieve the promised performance--Walker says Vodafone would make sure LTE worked satisfactorily before committing to timescales or acquiring new spectrum: "We plan to learn from the negative experiences of deploying 3G."
While Walker dismissed talk of a killer app for LTE, he forecast the gradual relative demise of person-to-person phone calls, referencing data that showed 11 times more wireless traffic was being generated by community chatting than by person-to-person calls.
For more on this story:
LTE deployment: T-Mobile and Orange remain cautious
Twelve operators commit to LTE deployment in 2010
Telefonica selects ZTE for LTE tests
LTE mobile device testing requirements exploding