Wireless 4G technology beginning to take shape

Clear indications are emerging that an official definition of wireless 4G technology will be released by 2008 or 2009, according to analysts at market researcher In-Stat in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The primary 4G technologies of the future are expected to be Long Term Evolution (LTE), Ultra Mobile Broadband (UMB), and IEEE 802.16m WiMAX, the high-tech market research firm says.

“Companies are extremely uncomfortable talking about ‘4G’ technologies, since the ITU has not defined 4G yet,” says Gemma Tedesco, In-Stat analyst. “However, each of the contending 4G technologies has a cheerleader, with Ericsson touting LTE, Qualcomm preferring UMB, and Intel touting 802.16m WiMAX.”

Research by In-Stat finds that 4G technologies will be OFDMA-based and will support 100 megabits per second for wide-area mobile applications. In addition, 4G technology roll-outs will most likely start between 2010 and 2012, and mobile operators will deploy 4G slowly at first, and rely on their EV-DO or HSPA networks to provide for more ubiquitous coverage.

Drivers of LTE, UMB, and 802.16m WiMAX adoption will include the re-allocation of older spectrum for 4G technologies; the resolution of any WiMAX IPR issues; the creation of FDD profiles for 802.16e WiMAX; the uptake rate of 802.16e in mobile PCs; the uptake rate of 3G cellular in Mobile PCs; the continued evolution of the mobile handset; and an increase in the uptake rate of wireless broadband technologies into portable CE devices, In-State analysts say.

Realistically, initial implementations of LTE, UMB, and 802.16m WiMAX may fall short of throughput and other expectations, with later enhancements, or even some type of technology combination, actually bringing real 4G to the table.

The research, “The Road to 4G: Will LTE, UMB, and WiMAX Just Be Stops Along the Way?” (#IN0703689GW), examines possible 4G technologies, and the drivers that will influence the uptake of each of these technologies. It provides forecasts of cellular handset chipsets per technology, 3G cellular modems in mobile PCs, and 802.16e mobile WiMAX chipset shipments through 2011.

The research also contains background information about contending 4G technologies and analysis of the current cellular and WiMAX markets. Profiles of vendors driving contending 4G technologies are included. In addition to the report, Gemma and other In-Stat analysts provide consulting services on a variety of technical and market topics regarding the semiconductor and electronics industries.

For more information, contact In-Stat online at www.in-stat.com.


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