Each telecom market and its telcos have their deployment schedules when it comes to the Long Term Evolution (LTE) platform. While 18 global operators have already launched fully-fledged services, in the Gulf operators are going ahead with live trials on their networks.
So, what does LTE do? In simple terms, the platform adds even more capacity and provides lower latency, which is vital for real-time applications. Moreover, LTE is cheaper to roll out as compared to a fibre-optic network. From a consumer standpoint, it greatly improves the experience for mobile data applications with faster response times and improved throughput.
Amaru Chavez, group chief technology officer at Etisalat, gives his impression on what having LTE means for a telecom operator.
Amaru Chavez: LTE is newer, faster and more efficient and has a clear roadmap to enable almost unlimited capacity. It means 4G mobile broadband using LTE is the ultimate future for broadband services in the country and around the world.
Consumer demand for broadband services and capacity continues to accelerate and only technologies which are scalable can support the future demand for on-line content such as video, social media, cloud computing, gaming and business services.
LTE is an optimum solution to provide high-speed broadband connectivity in high population density areas.
It is a proven technology that is capable of providing highly reliable and secure connectivity which delivers a superior experience for consumers and businesses alike.
Our experience in Saudi Arabia and Egypt shows that when 3G services are made available to the consumer for the first time, growth is rapid and exciting. We see that the existing 3G networks are seeing massive traffic.
We therefore expect that the market for mobile data services will mature quickly.
The other stakeholders in our industry must now look to how they should support the introduction of this technology, for example by providing a robust regulatory framework which attracts investors, both local and foreign.
Device manufacturers also need to plan to supply appropriate product to the market to cope with demand.
Yes, those operators who have deployed 3G infrastructure will need to make an upgrade to their systems. However, those operators who have not started with 3G can move direct to LTE if their strategy directs them.
LTE is all set to emerge strongly as the next-generation wireless technology that will lead the growth of mobile broadband services up to the next level. Its adoption by service providers across the world holds the potential to generate unprecedented enhancements to entire economies as it becomes the universal 4G mobile platform.
LTE is the technology of choice for the vast majority of leading operators and this will generate a true mass market in the coming years. The pricing, as with any technology, depends upon the speed of adoption.
Eventually LTE will be the standard broadband wireless technology in the same way that 3G was in the early 2000s and HSPA is today.
We are almost at the stage of commercial launch in the UAE and Saudi Arabia and have a roadmap for deploying this across our footprint. It is only a matter of finding the right opportunity and the appropriate environment to deploy which will depend on the regulatory environment and availability of spectrum, as well as general market conditions.
WiMAX is a good technology for providing fixed broadband access in those areas where there is no DSL coverage.
One of the most important drivers is the future efficiency benefit of LTE which is the major driver behind its deployment.
Etisalat has an agreement with major vendors at the group level and is negotiating across 18 countries.
This allows us access to the best technology and experience, even if our operation is one of the smaller players in a market.
We are also in process of finalising our commercial launch of LTE services in both the UAE and Saudi Arabia which will provide an invaluable operational experience.
From / Gulf News