Ericsson, the world’s largest provider of infrastructure equipment, has once again proved their technical know-how by showing off LTE-Advanced in Sweden. Using 60 MHz worth of aggregated spectrum by bonding 3x 20 MHz channels they were able to feed a van that was driving around the city of Kista with a 8×8 MIMO antenna about 954 Mbps (video here) worth of download bandwidth. That’s a lot of bits. They expect commercial LTE-Advanced networks to be up and running at some point in 2013, but considering that LTE networks are just now starting to roll out … we have our doubts. Just to throw some dates out there: TeliaSonera launched the world’s first commercial LTE network in Sweden in December 2009; Verizon launched their “4G LTE” network in America in December 2010; and AT&T plans on having an LTE network up and running at some point during the summer. And while TeliaSonera’s network manages to provide users with close to 100 Mbps speeds, the lack of available spectrum, combined with a less than optimal backhaul, means that Verizon can “only” provide their customers with an average of 10 Mbps.
At the end of the day the only thing that’s really holding operators back from providing stupid amounts of high speed data is government regulations around spectrum allocation and cell tower placement. The people who complain about getting no signal in their neighborhood are the same folks who refuse to let operators put a tower “in their backyard”. Likewise governments, who are shortsighted and tend to favor the old empires that built up broadcast television, don’t want to work with operators on building a reliable nationwide wireless network. What really drives us mad is that some countries give operators goals they have to achieve in terms of which parts of the country they need to cover first and how much of a percentage of the country by a certain date. America needs that.