Wednesday, April 16, 2008
LTE Versus WiMax ..Mobile Showdown Ahead
Long-Term Evolution (LTE) has taken another step toward long-term stability. Seven major telecommunications companies announced Monday that they have reached an agreement on a mutual framework for licensing intellectual-property rights relating to 3GPP LTE, the next step after 3G in the evolution of mobile-phone technology.
The vendors are Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, NEC, NextWave Wireless, Nokia, Nokia Siemens Networks, and Sony Ericsson.
The companies have ironed out a framework they say sets up fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory licensing for LTE technology that sets an single-digit percentage royalty (or, in the case of notebook computers, a fee under $10) on gear using LTE technology which handles all licensing issues for components of LTE technology. With a standardized royalty framework, LTE is more likely to receive backing from the mobile industry, including mobile operators and device manufacturers
Notebooks with embedded LTE will pay a combined maximum royalty in the single digits. For handsets, the single-digit royalty will be a percentage of the sales price.
LTE offers wireless broadband speeds around 100 Mbps and scales well for huge amounts of traffic. The first LTE networks are being rolled out in the US and China.
LTE is a faster and more long distance wireless system compared to 3G.
The wireless industry generally expected LTE technology to be adopted by a wide majority of the world's wireless operators, and in North America Verizon has already announced it plans to use its recent 700 MHz spectrum licenses to roll out LTE-based services in the United States.
However, the first LTE networks aren't expected to be available to consumers for a couple years, and many operators may wait even longer. In the meantime, Sprint is pushing ahead with competing WiMax technology; despite rolling back the launch of its nationwide WiMax service Xohm, WiMax technology is available now, giving it a leading edge on LTE.
AT&T and VZ have grabbed a bunch of 700 MHz spectrum which threatens Sprint's WiMax.
Sprint/Clearwire won't have roaming or interoperating ability with T and VZ and they will now have the most spectrum. If Comcast and Time Warner commit to pushing WiMax it could get legs, but industry experts are becoming less encouraged with adoption.