For 4G, It's Go Time

Carl Weinschenk

If statements from various players are anywhere near accurate, the remainder of this year and 2010 will be see a thousand flowers-or, more accurately, a thousand 4G towers and other transmission facilities-bloom.


Yesterday, I posted on the need for enterprise communications personnel to track the bandwidth debate. Part of that is keeping up with service provider rollouts. In the year or so ahead, there will be a lot to stay abreast of. Though it is not the main topic of this piece, this Unstrung story discusses Verizon's CapEx plans for its Long-Term Evolution (LTE) rollout. The writer says the carrier expects to launch in 25 to 30 markets next year, with potential service to 100 million subscribers. National LTE coverage is expected in 2013.


WiMax, the other form of 4G technology, also is moving along steadily through Clearwire, its main proponent. Telegeography reports that the company will be offering service in 25 cities by the end of the year. They include Seattle; Philadelphia; Chicago; Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleight, N.C.; Austin, Dallas and San Antonio, Texas, and Honolulu and Maui, Hawaii. By the end of next year, WiMax will reach 80 markets and more than 120 million people. New York City, Boston, Houston, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. will be among the cities launched.

This research note from Ovum, posted at Wireless Design & Development Asia, discusses the pace at which network providers should move to LTE. It's important, as I pointed out in yesterday's post, for enterprises to be aware of what carriers and services providers are thinking. This piece seems to suggest that there is a mixed bag in terms of the advantages and disadvantages of an early rollout. It's no wonder: The high costs are brought into focus in this press release introducing a cost calculation tool from Aircom International. The bottom line, at least in Ovum's view, is that network owners should take a deliberate pace:


For most players, there is no need to rush headlong into implementation. A few operators with specific technology migration concerns or capacity issues may have grounds for an early move to LTE; others can afford to wait until implementation and operational issues are resolved and the business case improves.


That gradual approach seems to fit Telstra, the Australian carrier.


It is apparent that the rollout of LTE and WiMax is very much a go for the remainder of this year and next. The costs will be high and carriers-both here and overseas-will have to make several very tough strategic and tactical decisions.

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