Wireless 4G technology moves forward; standards battles loom

Scottsdale, AZ—The official definition of wireless 4G technology is not scheduled until the 2008-2009 timeframe in the form of the International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) IMT-Advanced requirements, yet the high-tech market research firm In-Stat reports that there are clear contenders for the designation.


Scottsdale, AZ —The official definition of wireless 4G technology is not scheduled until the 2008-2009 timeframe in the form of the International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) IMT-Advanced requirements, yet the high-tech market research firm In-Stat reports that there are clear contenders for the designation. Primary 4G technologies of the future are expected to be Long Term Evolution (LTE), Ultra Mobile Broadband (UMB) and IEEE 802.16m WiMAX.

“Companies are extremely uncomfortable talking about 4G technologies, since the ITU has not defined 4G yet,” said Gemma Tedesco, a company analyst. “However, each of the contending 4G technologies has a cheerleader, with Ericsson touting LTE, Qualcomm preferring UMB, and Intel touting 802.16m WiMAX.”

Recent In-Stat research found:

  • Two widely expected requirements are that the technologies be OFDMA-based and that they support 100 MBPS for wide area mobile applications.

  • With dominant worldwide technology being GSM/EDGE and HSPA and EV-DO handsets not expected to be dominant until 2012, 4G roll-outs most likely will start in the 2010-2012 timeframe.

  • It is believed that mobile operations may initially deploy 4G very slowly, relying on EV-DO or HSPA networks to provide more ubiquitous coverage.

  • Drivers of LTE, UMB, and 802.16m WiMAX adoption will include the following: the re-allocation of older spectrum for 4G; the resolution of any WiMAX IPR issues; the creation of FDD profiles for 802.16e WiMAX; the uptake rate of 802.16e in Mobile PCs; the uptake rate of 3G cellular in Mobile PCs; the continued evolution of the mobile handset; and an increase in the update rate of wireless broadband into portable CE devices.

  • Realistically, initial implementations of LTE, UMB, and 802.16m WiMAX may fall short of throughput and other expectations, with later enhancements, or some type of technology combination, bringing real 4G to the table.

The research “The Road to 4G: Will LTE, UMB and WiMAX Just Be Stops Along the Way?” examines possible 4G technologies and the drivers that will influence the uptake of each of them. Price is $2,995.

Related research:
WiBro in Korea: Ambitious Launch– Turbulent Take Off
The WiMax Chipset Market: Mobile is Where It’s At
3G Cellular Deployment Report
3G, Wi-Fi, WiMAX and Others Battle for Wireless Supremacy

In other news from In-Stat , battles appear to be on the horizon over wireless interconnections for PCs. Most digital interconnects are adopted in PCs and then by consumer electronics. According to analyst Qasim Inam, “Like USB vs. 1394, the outcome of the battle between ultra wide band (UWB) solutions will be determined by the PC platform.”

Recent research from the firm found:

  • Growth of mobile PCs and other mobile consumer electronic devices will drive the transition to wireless interconnects based on UWB.

  • PCs hold the key in determining the winner between the WiMedia and Pulselink UWB technologies.

  • Legacy wired interconnects will exist on the PC platform for several generations, but usage should transition to UWB within a very short period of time.

  • Despite the growth of Wi-Fi in peripherals and consumer electronics, UWB sales will overtake Wi-Fi volume in the near future.

  • In the long-term, Wi-Fi and UWB will continue to coexist in PCs as complimentary technologies.

The research, “PC Wireless Interconnects 2007: Nirvana for PC… or Chaos?” covers the worldwide market for PC wireless interconnections. Price is $2,995 (U.S.).

Related research:
1394 2007: A Niche Interface
The Wi-Fi Chipset Market: Portable Connectivity Applications Drive Volume

—Edited by Barb Axelson , contributing editor
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