In many ways, the roll-out of 4G has learned from the mistakes of 3G. Yes, there's been some 4G hype, but nothing in the same insane magnitude of the early 3G promises.
Much of the 4G's aggressive marketing has been more at the industry level, as the opposing LTE and Wimax camps battle to ensure their respective standard dominates.
Those who shout the loudest hope to grab the valuable attention of carriers - the companies who ultimately will be dipping into their pockets to fund these massive infrastructure deployments.
Nokia Siemens did some more shouting this week from the LTE side of the battleground. The network equipment vendor announced it has a total of 30 LTE trails currently ongoing with carriers around the world, and is in talks with 15 "top-tier" operators to build commercial networks.
The carrier interest seems to have come as some surprise to NSN. In an interview with Reuters, Thorsten Robrecht, Nokia Siemens' head of LTE product management said, “It's unbelievable how the momentum is growing, this is what we are seeing with our customers.”
Finnish mobile operator Elisa is one of NSN most recent trial customer wins. The carrier announced this week that NSN will supply LTE equipment for the first phase of its network, and will open the service to the public when there are more LTE devices available. The first phase covers part of the Finnish capital Helsinki.
However, Elisa has not yet committed to a supplier for its country-wide roll-out, and fierce competition amongst infrastructure vendors means there is no guarantee NSN will be awarded the contract.
In January, Nokia Siemens and Ericsson beat out Huawei for TeliaSonera's LTE build-out in Scandinavia. But last year they both lost out to Huawei on another deal to build an LTE network for Telenor.
Vendors must continue to innovate in order to successfully compete and the increasing carrier interest in the TDD version of LTE, TD-LTE, is a technology area ripe for differentiation. On this front, Nokia Siemens also this week announced that it has fully integrated TD-LTE with its existing mobile platforms including base stations and core networks.
The company also showcased the industry's first concurrent TD-SCDMA and TD-LTE demo. The co-existence of the two technologies is aimed at China Mobile, the number two operator in the world, which looks set to support both standards.
[This article originally appeared in Rethink Wireless]