Home arrow more... arrow Jul - Sep 2008 arrow EDGE, HSPA and LTE continue to lead and innovate mobile broadband
EDGE, HSPA and LTE continue to lead and innovate mobile broadband

“UMTS/HSPA has exploited tremendous innovation to deliver capabilities on a global scale never achieved by any other technology, offering operators key technical and business advantages,” concluded Peter Rysavy, President of Rysavy Research and author of the white paper published today by 3G Americas. EDGE, HSPA and LTE Broadband Innovation discusses the significant evolution of these 3GPP technologies, their capabilities and their positions relative to other primary competing technologies. Rysavy continued, “Because of the practical benefits and deployment momentum, the migration path from EDGE to HSPA then to LTE is inevitable. Benefits include the ability to roam globally, huge economies of scale, widespread acceptance by operators, complementary services such as messaging and multimedia and an astonishing variety of competitive handsets and other devices.”

Some key observations and conclusions highlighted in the EDGE, HSPA and LTE Broadband Innovation white paper include:

  • GSM/UMTS has an overwhelming global position in terms of subscribers, deployment, and services. Its success will marginalize other wide-area wireless technologies.
  • In current deployments, HSPA users regularly experience throughput rates well in excess of 1 megabit per second (Mbps), under favorable conditions, on both downlinks and uplinks. Planned enhancements will increase these peak user-achievable throughput rates, with 4 Mbps on commercial networks being commonly measured.
  • HSPA Evolution (HSPA+) provides a strategic performance roadmap advantage for incumbent GSM/UMTS operators. HSPA+ with 2x2 MIMO, successive interference cancellation, and 64 QAM is more spectrally efficient than competing technologies including WiMAX Wave 2 with 2x2 MIMO and EV-DO Rev B.
  • The LTE RAN technical specification was approved in January 2008 and is being incorporated into 3GPP Release 8, which is close to completion. Initial deployments are likely to occur around 2010. The 3GPP OFDMA approach used in LTE matches or exceeds the capabilities of any other OFDMA system.
  • LTE has become the technology platform of choice as GSM/UMTS and CDMA/EV-DO operators are making strategic long-term decisions on their next-generation platforms. In June of 2008, after extensive evaluation, LTE was the first and only technology recognized by the NGMN alliance to meet its broad requirements.
  • GSM/HSPA will comprise the overwhelming majority of subscribers over the next five to ten years, even as new wireless technologies are adopted. The deployment of LTE and its coexistence with UMTS/HSPA will be analogous to the deployment of UMTS/HSPA and its coexistence with GSM.
  • 3GPP is now studying how to enhance LTE to meet the requirements of IMT-Advanced in a project called LTE Advanced.
  • UMTS/HSPA/LTE have significant economic advantages over other wireless technologies.
  • WiMAX has developed an ecosystem supported by many companies, but it will still only represent a very small percentage of wireless subscribers over the next five to ten years.

Building on a customer base exceeding 3.3 billion connections today including an estimated 251.5 million UMTS/HSPA mobile broadband subscriptions (September 2008), the GSM family of technologies is available on 750 networks in 218 countries of the world. EDGE is commercial on 350 networks and UMTS has proven to be the most widely deployed 3G technology with more than 290 operators in various stages of deployment in 120 countries, of which 211 operators in 90 countries have upgraded to HSDPA services and continue network improvements to HSPA.  Announcements have already begun in support of the next 3GPP evolutionary step to LTE, including trials and anticipated deployments, by the world’s most prominent operators including AT&T, China Mobile, China Telecom, NTT DoCoMo, Verizon and Vodafone. In fact, combining the existing customer bases of the 20 or so operators, both GSM and CDMA operators, who have announced intentions to follow the LTE migration strategy, there are more than a billion connections represented today within their networks.

Chris Pearson, President of 3G Americas stated, “The mobile broadband internet highway is being built by the GSM family of technologies in an eloquent, efficient and robust manner.  The high speed wireless data capabilities and efficiencies of HSPA, HSPA+ and LTE deliver on the promise of a fast and efficient wireless super highway for business and consumers throughout the world. Other technologies attempt to challenge the GSM family of technologies with pledges, vows and suggestions of greater capabilities and greater efficiencies, however, as the wireless superhighway comes closer to reality, the clear winner is HSPA, HSPA+ and LTE and the customers these technologies will serve.”  Pearson continued, “Furthermore, the GSM family of technologies including GSM, EDGE, HSPA and LTE will continue to lead the world not just this day, this year or next, but for years to come.”

In addition to the technical and business investigation and examination, numerous technical details and comparisons were researched and analyzed by Rysavy Research in writing this instrumental research paper. The white paper provides detailed analysis and specific charts and comparisons of EDGE, Evolved EDGE, HSPA, HSPA+, LTE, EV-DO, UMB, and Mobile WiMAX. Graphics and charts are provided throughout the white paper for ease of use and understanding by the reader.

“It is EDGE/HSPA/LTE that provides one of the most robust portfolios of mobile-broadband technologies, and it is an optimum framework for realizing the potential of this market,” said Rysavy. 

This white paper EDGE, HSPA and LTE Broadband Innovation, as well its accompanying slide presentation, was created collaboratively with Rysavy Research by the member organizations of 3G Americas and is available for free download at the 3G Americas website: www.3gamericas.org.