LTE networks pretty much everywhere will run alongside, or overlay, existing 3G networks, so the need for seamless hand-offs between these different technologies will be crucial to the success of LTE. As such, ST-Ericsson has developed a chipset it demonstrated on Ericsson's live trial network in Stockholm, Sweden, switching between LTE and HSPA. The new M710 chip is said to switch between LTE, HSPA, EDGE and basic GPRS as required.
"With multimode devices consumers can enjoy new high-speed mobile broadband services and global coverage right from the launch of LTE services," said Jörgen Lantto, VP and CTO of ST-Ericsson. "Seamless roaming between LTE and today's networks is a key device capability to enable faster introduction of LTE."
However, while the M710 chipset is commercially available now, most observers believe devices capable of LTE hand-offs will not appear until late next year. TeliaSonera is offering an LTE only modem from Samsung with its commercial launch this week in the metro areas of Oslo, Norway and Stockholm, Sweden. Early adopters must use both a 3G dongle and the LTE modem given LTE's small footprint. TeliaSonera has committed to provide subscribers with a free upgrade to a multimode dongle when such a device becomes available.
- see this article from The Register
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