3GSM: HSPA/LTE and the path to 4G

A trade show wouldn’t be complete without talk of the future. And this year the stakes are high as WiMAX is nipping at the heels of the GSM/UMTS community. So it’s important for vendors to tell their customers and potential customers that they have a handle on what comes next. Therefore, expect every major vendor to talk about their roadmap for Long Term Evolution (LTE) as well as demonstrate LTE’s capabilities. Nortel says it plans to perform the industry’s first public demonstration of a 3GPP LTE implementation with collaborative MIMO. Alcatel Lucent plans to showcase a host of what it calls 3G and beyond broadband access technologies such as WiMAX, CDMA2000 1xEV-DO Rev. A, HSUPA and LTE along with MIMO.

Current Analysis analyst Peter Jarich has noted that unlike optimistic promises of new technology in years past, vendors will make big efforts to make sure prototypes are out this year. “They will come to pass; the R&D is in place, and we’ve seen initial demonstrations and the threat from WiMAX has not abated.” Indeed, there should be some very interesting discussions about the future, primarily because LTE and CDMA2000’s EV-DO Rev. C, otherwise known as Ultra Mobile Broadband, will both have OFDMA and MIMO. That's when operators--CDMA2000 and WCDMA alike--will have to spend a significant amount of money to deploy OFDMA anyway and could more easily flip from one technology to the other, even WiMAX, notes Richard Lowe, president of mobility and converged networks with Nortel. -Lynnette