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LTE Standard Ready For Spring 2009 Vote

18 декабря 2008

In a move critical to the rapid deployment of Long Term Evolution (LTE), the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) quietly has frozen the specifications for LTE, with final formal ratification expected in March 2009.

The schedule is good enough for the first LTE service in the United States now expected to go live – perhaps even commercially – in 4Q09. Verizon, no doubt well-aware of the impending 3GPP action, last week dropped clear indications that it will be the carrier with that landmark service. (TelecomWeb news break also notes that the timing presents another clear challenge to the claims of “mobile WiMAX” proponents that their technology has a two-year lead over LTE.)

The action on LTE was disclosed in an almost painfully brief note on the 3GPP Web site: “3GPP has approved the functional freeze of LTE as part of Release 8… There is significant commitment from operators to deploy this technology, and this landmark achievement will allow them to realize their early deployment plans.”

It continued, “LTE is aimed at providing the true global mobile broadband experience for users but also places high priority on improving spectral efficiency and reducing cost. As equipment development continues to accelerate, 3GPP will now focus on fine-tuning the standard to ensure optimal performance.”

The decision to freeze LTE was made at a 3GPP meeting last week in
Athens. It means hardware vendors now can begin helping to ensure the devices they’ve been developing conform to a standard that won’t change significantly, with expectations that any changes will be handled as minor software tweaks. Its not clear whether that’s yet the case with handsets, in part because those at the meeting didn’t put their final stamp of approval on System Architecture Evolution (SAE), the core network architecture of LTE. Still, South Korea’s LG did last week unveil the prototype of it bragged was the world’s first LTE handset chip.

While there’s apparently still a bit of work to be done on SAE, expectations are that it, too, will be ready for final ratification in March. Thus, SAE was included in an agreed list of what’s going to be in Release 8.

Other than LTE/SAE, one notable specification that’s part of Release 8 will be a standard for LTE femtocells. Also included was a tentative list of what will be in Release 9, set for final freeze about a year from now.

Verizon’s surprise indication that it will launch LTE before the end of next year – no doubt to the total consternation of Clearwire, which is watching whatever market lead it thought it had for mobile WiMAX evaporate as quickly as it share prices have fallen – came from Verizon CTO Dick Lynch, speaking at a Cisco conference in
San Jose.

So far, none of the long list of other carriers around the world that have committed to LTE has hinted in public at quite such aggressive plans, but several aren’t far behind Verizon.
Japan’s KDDI recently chose a supplier for a rollout fewer than 24 months from now, and rival Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo’s tapped a joint team of Nokia Siemens Networks and Fujitsu to develop the gateway technology it needs for its LTE network, which it wants to have in service sometime in early 2010.

Источник: http://telecomweb.com

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