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Verizon set to begin trials of 4G network

30 ноября 2007

Qualcomm and Intel were dealt a blow on Thursday when Verizon Wireless, the second largest US mobile phone operator, said it would start trials in 2008 of a rival fourth-generation network standard.

Verizon is backing the Long Term Evolution standard, which is being developed by suppliers including Ericsson, Sony-Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent, Motorola, Nokia-Siemens and Nortel, dubbed the Third Generation Partnership Project. This grouping also includes mobile operators Vodafone, China Mobile, Orange and T-Mobile.Verizon set to begin trials of 4G network

Qualcomm’s patents have dominated third-generation (3G) networks with their CDMA 2000 and W-CDMA standards and the company is pushing its Ultra Mobile Broadband as a 4G successor. 4G networks will offer much faster web-surfing speeds.

To date, UMB has failed to attract the support of a big operator. WiMax, another competing 4G technology, backed by Intel, suffered a blow this month when Sprint Nextel, the US’s number three mobile operator, terminated an agreement to build a US national network with Clearwire Communications.

LTE is an evolution of the Europe-centric GSM standard. AT&T, the largest US carrier, has said it expects to migrate to LTE from its GSM-based networks.

Verizon Wireless’ current networks, both 2G and 3G, are CDMA-based, so the switch by Qualcomm’s biggest US customer to the rival GSM technology is a big blow to the chipmaker.

Vodafone, which owns 45 per cent of Verizon Wireless, welcomed the move. It will allow the two companies to offer a unified service, resolving long-standing incompatibilities between the two operators.

4G networks are not expected to be deployed until well into the next decade.

Richard Lynch, Verizon’s chief technology officer, said LTE was part of the company’s vision of pervasive wireless connectivity linked to “a host of new devices and applications, and ... embedded wireless in virtually every piece of electronics you buy”.

Perry LaForge, executive director of the CDMA Development Group, said: “3G CDMA services will remain the dominant generation of mobile communications services long into the future.”

Qualcomm could still hope to benefit from the wide-scale adoption of LTE through patents it acquired in the $805m acquisition of Flarion Technologies last year.

Источник: Financial Times

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