Study: Move to LTE is a necessity as capacity limits close in on 3G networks

A new study from Unwired Insight paints a dire picture when it comes to LTE deployments. Mobile operators currently running 3G networks need to deploy the 4G technology as soon as possible as a network capacity crisis looms. For some operators, that capacity crisis could come as early as next year.

With 3G traffic volumes set to increase by a factor of 20 by 2015--driven by many technology factors and also dramatic reductions in mobile data pricing--Alastair Brydon, co-author of the new study, points to the example of mobile broadband pricing that has fallen as low as $2 per gigabyte, "which is nearly half a million times smaller than the price per gigabyte of an SMS message."

Brydon believes that early LTE network deployments will be necessary because the available capacity per 3G user will decline rapidly in networks utilizing HSPA, to less than 100MB per user per month in some cases. LTE will be essential to counter this decline. 

Unwired Insight claims LTE's ability to relieve the capacity constraints of HSPA networks will be limited initially, until operators can acquire additional spectrum and seed a sufficient number of LTE devices in the market place. "But, we don't expect to see LTE handsets until 2011," the company warns.

For more:
- see this report

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