Motorola plans LTE technology

Experience in WiMax will help create new LTE offerings

Motorola announced plans Tuesday to release technology next year that supports Long-Term Evolution high-speed wireless networks, first for the 700MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum bands.

It was assumed that Motorola would build such technology for wireless base stations, as the company has a long tradition of manufacturing just about any technology sought by various carriers, said Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates.

The news means Motorola is abandoning or lessening efforts in building out WiMax technology, which has many similarities with LTE, Gold said. Both technologies, for example, rely on Orthagonal Frequency Division Modulation (OFDM) for downlinks, and Multiple Input-Multiple Output (MIMO).

Motorola is helping Sprint Nextel build a WiMax network in Chicago, although a commercial launch date has not been set. Motorola officials have stated strong support for WiMax development in the US, even as Sprint was searching for investors earlier this year. Sprint is working in a joint venture with Clearwire, with investors that include Google and several cable companies.

While Sprint has a strong focus on WiMax, AT&T and Verizon Wireless have supported development of LTE networks as a natural progression from their existing networks. LTE would arrive perhaps a year after WiMax in the US, which should be widely available in late 2010.

In a statement Tuesday, Motorola said its LTE technology will help operators increase coverage and capacity of their networks as they try to meet demand for mobile broadband services.

Motorola has said that its experience in deploying and managing WiMax networks will contribute to development of its LTE technologies.

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