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ITU chief pours cold water on US operators' 4G boasts

08 июня 2011

ITU secretary general Hamadoun Touré has poured cold water on U.S. operators' efforts to pass their mobile services off as '4G', insisting that none of the technologies currently on offer comply with the ITU's fourth-generation mobile standard.

"No one can prevent them from calling it '4G'," he explained to Total Telecom in London on Tuesday. "But they know deep down inside whether or not they are meeting the ITU standard."

"4G is the commercial term applied to the IMT-Advanced standard, which is currently met by LTE-Advanced and WiMAX-Advanced," he explained.

Yet the ITU in late 2010 said the 4G label could also be applied to forerunners of LTE-Advanced and WiMAX-Advanced, provided the technology represented a substantial improvement over standard 3G performance.

The opportunity to brand HSPA, LTE and WiMAX services as '4G' was not lost on U.S. mobile operators, and currently Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile USA all offer services pertaining to be '4G'.

However, as far as Dr Touré is concerned, a mobile technology has to represent more than an uptick in connection speed to be considered 4G.

"IMT-Advanced represents new capabilities for the physical radio network," he said.

"It is not just about having a high data rate, it is about spectrum efficiency, low latency – so that Web services have a high-speed response time – and the ability to use multiple [Web] applications at the same time," he said.

Touré said he expects the first examples of true 4G technology to be leaving laboratories and heading out into field trials by 2012.

"By 2015-2016 there will be a massive spread of IMT-Advanced technology," he predicted.

By that time the world's TV broadcasters should have completed the digital switchover, vacating a significant amount of spectrum that can be used for 4G services, noted Touré.

Источник: Total Telecom

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