T-Mobile International says it will skip HSPA+ and go straight to LTE, a move no doubt welcomed by vendors such as Motorola that are anxious to sell LTE as quickly as possible.
"If I need to invest into more hardware, I think it's better to start early [with LTE]. LTE is a more future-oriented technology," CTO Joachim Horn told Unstrung. He added that the operator will only deploy HSPA as long as there isn't a need to replace hardware. "We'll do every other efficiency increase that's software-based," he said. That means T-Mobile can boost its current 7.2 Mbps HSDPA network up to 14.4 Mbps on the downlink but going further to HSPA+ will require MIMO antennas.
Other operators plan to continue milking their HSPA networks by adding HSPA+. AT&T Mobility last month reiterated its position at the 4G Executive Summit in Chicago that its HSPA and HSPA+ 3G network technology still had a lot of life left in it, and that LTE would not be rolled out for at least another three years--and probably not on a large commercial scale for another five years.
T-Mobile's revelation is good news to vendors such as Motorola, which doesn't really have an HSPA story and has been heavily developing OFDMA-based WiMAX and LTE. Ericsson, on the other hand, has been pushing for upgrades to HSPA.
- read Unstrung
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