LTE picked to be mobile broadband workhorse

Analyst firm says LTE will be a force in the Asia-Pacific region

The Asia-Pacific region will have 43.6 million High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) connections by the end of 2009 that will drive the adoption of Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology, according to analyst firm IDC.

Excluding in Japan, operators in the region such as DoCoMo, KDDI and Telecom New Zealand, will pioneer investment in LTE deployments as a result of growth in HSPA technology, IDC claimed.

"The experience with HSPA dongles has been nothing less than phenomenal but it has come at the price of explosive consumption in bandwidth, forcing HSPA operators to either offload as much traffic as possible through WiFi access points, halt the number of new HSPA dongle customers or capping the maximum downloadable GBytes per month per user," IDC Asia-Pacific telecommunications research director, Bill Rojas, said in a statement.

The analyst added there was significant opportunity for LTE in areas of "under-served broadband households". In the Philippines for example, IDC estimates this potential to be as high as 33 per cent of households, while in India the analyst firm claimed broadband penetration would be less than 1.6 per cent but mobile penetration would hit 38 per cent – or 439 million subscribers – by the end of the year.

"IDC also foresees that most, if not all, APEJ [Asia-Pacific excluding Japan] markets will need to move to an all-IP 4G infrastructure, but uncertainty still lingers on what are the best paths for GSM operators that do not have 3G spectrum today," Rojas said. "Do these 2G operators skip 3G altogether and focus on building the scalable fibre backhaul for 4G LTE or IMT-2000 Advanced, adopting IMS technology, and upgrading the OSS/BSS systems to prepare for the proliferation of streaming video and audio content?"

Although rival analyst firm, Frost and Sullivan in October said high equipment prices and HSPA / LTE competition continue to plague WiMax adoption in Asia-Pacific, IDC sees a complementary role.

"LTE and other OFDM systems such as 802.16m have a very important role to play across all parts of APEJ, and all eyes will be on the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) technology choices for IMT-2000 Advanced. It is early to predict what the ITU will decide but one thing remains fairly certain and that is that OFDMA systems such as LTE will be the workhorse of mobile broadband in the next decade," Rojas said.

LTE is expected to be the next major standard in mobile broadband technology, and carriers have begun to convert their networks to LTE. Fourteen LTE networks are anticipated to be in service by the end of 2010 in the US, Canada, Japan, Norway, South Korea and Sweden, according to data from the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA).

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Excluding in Japan, operators in the region such as DoCoMo, KDDI and Telecom New Zealand, will pioneer investment in LTE deployments as a result of growth in HSPA technology, IDC claimed.

"The experience with HSPA dongles has been nothing less than phenomenal but it has come at the price of explosive consumption in bandwidth, forcing HSPA operators to either offload as much traffic as possible through WiFi access points, halt the number of new HSPA dongle customers or capping the maximum downloadable GBytes per month per user," IDC Asia-Pacific telecommunications research director, Bill Rojas, said in a statement.

The analyst added there was significant opportunity for LTE in areas of "under-served broadband households". In the Philippines for example, IDC estimates this potential to be as high as 33 per cent of households, while in India the analyst firm claimed broadband penetration would be less than 1.6 per cent but mobile penetration would hit 38 per cent – or 439 million subscribers – by the end of the year.

"IDC also foresees that most, if not all, APEJ [Asia-Pacific excluding Japan] markets will need to move to an all-IP 4G infrastructure, but uncertainty still lingers on what are the best paths for GSM operators that do not have 3G spectrum today," Rojas said. "Do these 2G operators skip 3G altogether and focus on building the scalable fibre backhaul for 4G LTE or IMT-2000 Advanced, adopting IMS technology, and upgrading the OSS/BSS systems to prepare for the proliferation of streaming video and audio content?"

Although rival analyst firm, Frost and Sullivan in October said high equipment prices and HSPA / LTE competition continue to plague WiMax adoption in Asia-Pacific, IDC sees a complementary role.

"LTE and other OFDM systems such as 802.16m have a very important role to play across all parts of APEJ, and all eyes will be on the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) technology choices for IMT-2000 Advanced.

It is early to predict what the ITU will decide but one thing remains fairly certain and that is that OFDMA systems such as LTE will be the workhorse of mobile broadband in the next decade," Rojas said.

LTE is expected to be the next major standard in mobile broadband technology, and carriers have begun to convert their networks to LTE. Fourteen LTE networks are anticipated to be in service by the end of 2010 in the US, Canada, Japan, Norway, South Korea and Sweden, according to data from the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA).

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Got a view on LTE?Email Computerworld or follow @computerworldau on Twitter and let us know your thoughts.

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Trevor Clarke

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