LTE deployment: T-Mobile and Orange remain cautious

While Verizon Wireless and NTT DoCoMo are moving ahead with their commercial launch plans for LTE, European operators continue to raise technical questions they want solved prior to any significant investment.

According to Unstrung, T-Mobile and Orange have not committed to a LTE launch schedule because they're scared by the poor early performance of 3G.

The chief worries tabled by these two operators cover a range of technical areas including support for voice services, the impact on backhaul capacity, intellectual property rights, the lack of standardization for self-organizing networks and the lack of spectrum.

Speaking to Unstrung, Klaus-Juergen Krath, senior VP of radio networks development at T-Mobile, said LTE shouldn't be promoted as a wireless DSL technology, "it has much more than that. That's why we push heavily for early availability of all services, most importantly voice and SMS over LTE. We should take our lessons learned from 3G to LTE and we shouldn't launch unless full services (voice and SMS) are ready."

Krath also expressed his concern that the backhaul capacity constraints currently being experienced by operators in their 3G networks will be magnified in LTE deployments. "The bottleneck today is not the radio, but backhaul. That's what determines the end-to-end performance. This is something we've been working on, to eliminate this bottleneck and to increase bandwidth on our backhaul while keeping costs flat."

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