Telstra is to shortly begin trials of Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology, including offerings from Huawei, Nokia Siemens Networks and Ericsson, as it seeks to test the feasibility and technical capability of LTE as a way to deliver the next generation of mobile broadband to its customers.
According to Michael Rocca, acting chief operations officer at Telstra, LTE, rather than its compeitor, 4G WiMax, was globally acknowledged as the dominant next generation technology for mobile networks.
"[LTE] will be an important evolution for the Next G network in due course because it will give consumers access to higher speeds while giving Telstra the capacity to serve an increasing number of customers and support an even wider range of applications,” Rocca said in a statement.
A Telstra spokesperson told Computerworld Australia that LTE had been on Telstra’s wireless network roadmap since 2005 and was the company's choice of next generation mobile network technology.
The LTE trial, due to start in May, will take place using ACMA approved 2.6GHz test spectrum and 1.8GHz spectrum and will sssess the performance and capability of LTE in the Telstra radio access network.
It will include some core network development and build testing, assessment of capacity and coverage of LTE with various radio unit power configurations, and testing of the performance of multiple input multiple output (MIMO) with various base and use equipment antenna configurations, the spokesperson said.
For its part, Ericsson has worked with Telstra for some time and built the company’s 3G-based Next G mobile network.
Earlier this year, Telstra and Ericsson upgraded Next G to become the world’s first HSPA+ Dual Carrier network, with peak network download speeds of 42Mbps.
Ericcson's LTE global competence centre, established in Melbourne in July 2008, will play a key role in Telstra's LTE trial.
The centre was set up to drive LTE development and its team have several global LTE projects and field trials on the go, with customers such as Verizon, TeliaSonera, AT&T, China Mobile in Hong Kong , Deutsche Telekom and SingTel. The team will work with Ericsson's Telstra account team and Telstra's wireless network group.
According to Jacqueline Hey, chief executive officer of Ericsson for Australia and New Zealand, LTE was the next stage in the evolution of 3G standards and technology and a natural extension of HSPA and Next G.
“With increased speed and decreased latency, LTE will meet the demands of new and enhanced high-speed, time-critical internet applications of the future, including voice, video and multimedia applications,” Hey said in a statement. “We envision a world of 50 billion connected devices by 2020 and the growth of machine-to-machine connectivity will be based upon HSPA and LTE networks.”
For its part, Huawei says that an LTE service has the ability to quadruple the mobile speeds currently available in Australia.
The networking vendor will supply about 20 staff as well as the base station and core network equipment and LTE terminals to complete a technical trial of the technology over the course of the project, which is expect to last three to six months.
The company’s chief technology officer, Peter Rossi, said trials of Huawei’s LTE solution had shown peak download speeds of more than 150Mbps — fast enough for streaming high definition video, video and voice calls, and highly responsive Internet browsing.
In November, SingTel announced plans to conduct a regional trial of LTE technology in Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore in collaboration with Optus, Globe Telecom and Telkomsel
Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Huawei, NEC, Nokia Siemens Networks and ZTE were invited to trial the technology by the end of the first half of this year.
The company said it expected LTE to offer mobile broadband speeds of up to 340Mbps.