T-Mobile CTO: I'll invest in LTE, not HSPA+

Stepping up the pressure on equipment vendors, T-Mobile has stated it will not deploy HSPA+ to further boost its mobile broadband throughput but will instead skip this technical evolution and invest in LTE.

According to Chief Technology Officer Joachim Horn, the company will deploy HSPA as long as no hardware upgrades or replacements are necessary, and will look to improve network efficiency using software techniques. This effectively means T-Mobile can boost its current 7.2Mbps HSDPA network up to 14.4 Mbps on the downlink--and not to the next step of 28.8Mbps (and higher) that is enabled by HSPA+. The major drawbacks, according to Horn, are the necessary base station upgrades and the need for MIMO antennae.

Those looking for conspiracy theories might accuse T-Mobile of attempting to force equipment vendors to place greater emphasis on the development of LTE as against further refining HSPA+. Given that China Mobile, DoCoMo and Verizon Wireless have each made aggressive statements regarding their intent to push forward with LTE, then those interested in such plots have more to go on.

However, there is a question as to whether these operators, including T-Mobile, can wait for LTE--especially given the marketing hype around mobile broadband offers.

Horn is acutely aware of this issue and doesn't believe LTE test networks will be seen until mid- to late-2010. Horn seems content to adopt a long-term strategy: "LTE is suited in the long run, [around] 2020, to be the technology that you can consolidate all technologies onto--GSM and UMTS. That's a vision for 12 years from now."

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Related articles:
T-Mobile claims it tested LTE. T-Mobile story
China Mobile wants to test LTE ASAP. China Mobile story