Motorola’s Darren McQueen sat for questions last week in a special edition of The Debate over at telecoms.com. I’m not sure exactly how the format worked, but questions on LTE came in from a wide range of folks (Vodafone, Netvision, Aircom), and there were a lot of good takeaways. Short summary of key points below, or check out the full transcript.
Advantages of different frequency bands for LTE
- The 700MHz band has positioned itself as a good option for nationwide coverage following the US auction earlier this year. EMEA may also auction off spectrum in this band in 2010-2012, meaning that LTE in 700MHz could also work well for global roaming.
- The 900MHz band is the most widely available band in the world, and many operators can re-farm some of their existing GSM 900MHz spectrum to deploy LTE.
- The 2.6GHz band is great for capacity in that it provides channels of up to 20 MHz. It is not as widely deployed as other bands yet, but more spectrum auctions are expected in 2009 and 2010.
What is the best route for 2G-only operators? LTE or WiMAX?
Most existing cellular carriers will choose LTE if they have the appropriate spectrum because of the expected size of the LTE device ecosystems. WiMAX is a good option for operators looking to enter the next-generation wireless broadband market early and aggressively.
Why migrate from HSPA to LTE?
HSPA will be exhausted in the next few years and LTE is the most cost-effective next step. Carriers can re-use the existing GSM and HSPA cell site grid with LTE, rather than face cell site splitting with an option like HSPA+. From a service perspective, LTE promises broadband performance comparable to today’s fixed-line offerings. That means a lot of applications previously only accessible via wired broadband will be available on mobile devices.