No LTE for Vodafone before 2012, as Ericsson plays down speeds

Despite having the support of Verizon Wireless and China Mobile to better understand the business and technical aspects of LTE, Vodafone's group R&D director has firmly stifled speculation of it deploying the technology in the next couple of years.

"There will be no European LTE networks in 2010 except for a few small ones to demonstrate its capabilities to governments. And Vodafone's roll-out will depend on geography, but won't be before 2012," said Professor Michael Walker, the company's R&D exec.

This cautious approach to LTE deployment came as Ericsson UK's CTO, John Cunliffe, called for a more honest approach to the speeds LTE would be capable of providing. "The technical guys know that advertising those big speeds is damaging, but they're the numbers the marketing guys want to push," said Cunliffe. "It's difficult, if one company is advertising the maximum speed, for another to then turn around and advertise the likely speed. It's going to need everybody to be honest."

While the technology is theoretically capable of hitting 150Mbits/sec, Ericsson admits they are unlikely to be replicated in the real world. A company spokesman suggested users could see an improvement of around "10 times over their current experience on a 3.6Mbits/sec mobile broadband connection."

However, Cunliffe was more upbeat about the mid to long-term prospects for LTE: "Our roadmap will see us move from 150Mbits/sec to 300Mbits/sec and then 600Mbits/sec during the first phase of LTE. Advanced LTE will top 1Gbit/sec, that's the real 4G technology, but it's a long way off."

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