FierceWireless: So initially you see LTE as a laptop play?
Lynch: Yes, initially you will see that. But we really see LTE as a market opportunity for us. We can talk about the technology and I think we can summarize it very quickly. The infrastructure vendors are doing well. We are fairly comfortable that we have the necessary silicon defined. We are in the process of putting that silicon into a production capable environment by setting up the necessary contracts. Yes, it will start out with a PC form factor on laptops because that is where we will get initial interest, particularly from the business community.
What can LTE do for me? When you think about LTE and the speeds and the bandwidth capabilities in a 10 x 10 MHz channel, nationwide across the U.S., and the latency improvement we get with LTE, there's so many things we can do with it that are non-traditional in nature.
For example, why do we have to think only about embedding wireless chips in laptops or smartphones? Let's think about things like machine-to-machine communications and cars with an embedded LTE chip. Or what about appliances with a wireless chip in them?
There is a tremendous opportunity that LTE opens up because for the first time we have performance that is similar to landline. We have the breadth of capability and breadth of coverage that we haven't seen in the past. I see a tremendous opportunity.
FierceWireless: You mentioned the LTE Innovation Center. What is that?
Lynch: We will have an LTE Innovation Center. This is our effort working with our selected infrastructure vendors who will provide technical resources for us. Innovation center to fit M2M and consumer electronics community and the automotive community to all come in and we will talk about what is possible. We will talk about how they can be capable and the potential that LTE can bring. This is a new level of opportunity for the wireless industry.
I'm excited about this because I think it says to people that we can think out of the box. What can we do with wireless that we haven't thought about before.
FierceWireless: This sounds like a good idea. A lot of people that you want to work with are not traditional wireless device makers so they need some education.
Lynch: Yes they need some education and they need incentive. Many consumer electronics makers hear that LTE won't be ready until 2012 or 2013. Or they hear that there is no spectrum available yet. They get a view of LTE that says they have plenty of time. They don't think about it because it isn't in their main stream. What I want to do with the Innovation Center is tell them that the time is now. If you get ready today you will have product when the other parts of the world launch LTE and you can move to other locations as the systems turn up.
FierceWireless: We opened up this discussion talking about your LTE vendor selection, the status of the LTE testing and your aggressive deployment schedule. But how will the delay in the DTV transition impact your deployment plans? Are you concerned about the spectrum being available in time?
Lynch: I'm really disappointed. I had planned to utilize that spectrum as the TV stations shut down in February and now we have to wait until June. My fear is that the deadline will get extended again. Then you will really push out the opportunity for the public to benefit from these services. If that happens we will have to stop. I won't be able to do my testing. I won't be able to do my development. You don't roll in a system and turn it up. It takes months, if not years to put a system in place and test it and start selling it to consumers.
I worry about it. I hope that June 12 is the end of it. I hope we can see clear to opening up spectrum so I can get started on it. I'm a born optimist. I am hopeful that I can make up some of the time with this delay but it will push out the launch date.
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