LTE can wait; HSPA+ is good for next 2 years, says Voda CEO

Having revealed better than expected financial results, helped by completing a £1 billion cost cutting programme one year early, Vodafone CEO, Vittorio Colao, let slip that the company saw HSPA+ as meeting its needs over the next two to three years and would focus its investment in further deploying the technology. Under these conditions, the CEO admitted that LTE was unlikely to be needed until late 2011 or possibly 2012.

Despite confirming that it was continuing to work closely with its LTE partners, Verizon Wireless and China Mobile--both of which are rapidly pushing forward with LTE--Vodafone seems content to rely on HSPA+ on meeting its mid-term data requirements.

As reported by Unstrung, Colao indicated that the company was in the process of enhancing its data speeds from the present 3Mbps to 7Mbps, and then on to 21Mbps and perhaps eventually 56Mbps before LTE is needed.

While the launch of the iPhone on Vodafone's UK network might impact network loadings--as O2 has seen in London with its data network nearing meltdown at times, the company is presently relaxed given the spare 3G capacity it has across wide segments of its network. In Europe, while data traffic volume is 2.5 times that of voice traffic, network utilisation was around 30 per cent in Q2 of the operator's 2009/2010 financial year, and only 5 per cent of Vodafone's European sites have more than 90 per cent network utilisation during busy hours.

This cautious approach to adopting LTE could also be due to the announcement from Vodafone that its plans to increase its cost-cutting by a further £1 billion by 2012.

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