Nokia Siemens Networks, who isn’t exactly a market leader in terms of the amount of revenues involved in the mobile infrastructure game, is widely respected as being a leader when it comes to research and development. They just demonstrated a 1.4 gigabit per second connection using LTE-Advanced and 100 MHz worth of spectrum. As impressive as that figure sounds, we need to put it into some perspective. Eight months ago, to the day, we filed a report about Ericsson’s LTE-Advanced demo. They used 60 MHz worth of spectrum and were able to hit over 950 Mbps in a moving van. So that’s 60% of the spectrum NSN used, yet 68% as fast as NSN’s test, which by the way was done in a laboratory under perfect conditions. Can you see why Ericsson gets all the contracts? Just last week they announced their own “industry first”, they were able to triple the upload speed of HSPA using just software.
Anyway, the bigger question is when are we going to see LTE-Advanced networks in the wild? If you believe Dish Network, then it’s going to happen next year in the United States. Though to be perfectly honest, we don’t think LTE-Advanced will really take off until 2014 or so. Even then, operators don’t have 100 MHz worth of spectrum to throw at a network. Verizon’s 4G LTE network, arguably the biggest and baddest 4G LTE network in the world, uses two 10 MHz channels in several markets. They’d like to use more spectrum, and they’re currently trying to buy some more, but they’re rightfully getting some push back from T-Mobile who wants the market to remain competitive.
So long story short: NSN wrote a fantastic press release that’s going to get a lot of coverage, yet at the same time the technology is several years away. Assuming LTE-Advanced went live right now, what the hell are you going to do with a 1.4 gigabit per second in your smartphone anyway?