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Getting ready for LTE

What kind of potential do you see for LTE in the Middle East market?

LTE is the future and ultimate choice for operators due to the distinct advantages in comparison to other wireless technologies in the market place. The significant advantages include: Cost reduction, improved customer experience and evolution to a unified platform and standard providing seamless coverage and roaming in a globally.

In the Middle East Market, the use of data services and demand for bandwidth are exploding among subscribers, driven primarily by smart phones. New video and internet based devices attract immense traffic to networks. Huawei forecasts the number of mobile broadband subscribers to increase tenfold, reaching 3 billion in the next 5 years in 2014. To cope with the challenge of huge traffic demand and improve cost efficiency, operators need to boost the network capacities, increase throughput and improve customer experience with cost reduction to remain competitive and maintain profitability. Based on market demand and technical perspectives, LTE is the ideal solution to these challenges and dynamic requirements.

As the rapid increase in data subscribers for mobile broadband reaches up to 5 billion in future, LTE will provide a platform for mass scale utilization across industries such as e-Govt applications, enterprises, public and private healthcare, electricity, transportation, security, public safety and others in parallel to telecom industry.

Will 4G be a collection of standards and protocols, rather than just one single standard?

The 4G standard has not been clearly defined. LTE based solutions are an aspect and key driver towards 4G standards. During this transition period, new deployment and the migration from existing technologies by operators will result in the co-existence of mixed technologies across GSM/UMTS/HSPA+/WIMAX/CDMA2000 in near future. LTE will prevail as the preferred platform throughout this transformation. .

It is likely that 4G will be a single standard and protocol whereas wireless connectivity could be based on FDD or TDD with different frequency bands available e.g. 700, 800, 900, 1.8G, 2.1G, 2.3G and 2.6G. but the advancements in the handset industry would enable seamless end user experience over different radio bands in a similar way where today we are use quad band phones over 2G and 3G phones alike.

A lot of vendors and carriers are devoting their resources to deploying LTE. How is Huawei differentiating itself in a competitive market?

Huawei identified the importance of LTE technology at an early stage and has invested heavily in LTE technology. We have established solid leadership and have seven R&D centers across the globe with a dedicated team of engineers committed to delivering large scale LTE based solutions. These are high performance and economical products and solutions in line with 3GPP standards which leads adoption within the telecom industry. Huawei has contributed 10% of the LTE essential patents and proved itself as one of the leading LTE patent holder. Additionally Huawei’s unique LTE end to end solutions integrate green platforms which assure operators business success through the smooth migration towards LTE by utilizing existing infrastructure.

To support operators in achieving true profitability Huawei also provides tailored business consultancy solutions which work in tandem with the Operator’s chosen product and technology adoption. Huawei’s innovation centers together with operators across the globe provide access for new application development which continues to enhance the end user experience.

How will LTE affect wireless devices themselves? Will we see a different breed of wireless devices akin to how the rise of 3G services led to the development of smart phones?

Five years ago, phones were GSM based only. Today with the advent of 3G systems, the mobile network comprises a variety of applications and diverse devices including Smart phones, USB devices and multi-mode 2G/3G phones. The trend for the next five years is LTE empowered wireless devices. LTE provides high mobility, high throughput and reduced latency.

By 2011, Huawei will deliver five series of devices which are LTE based and offer regional requirements such across bands and technology standards. These devices mainly include USB data card, Smart phones, LTE/WIFI enabled wireless routers, LTE/HSPA/WIFI modems and embedded LTE modules. The LTE/WIFI enabled wireless routers and modems support end-users to access LTE network based applications with existing notebooks, computers and other legacy devices. With the help of embedded LTE modules, machine to machine communication will be readily available. This embedded LTE module supports device manufactures with the inclusion of LTE network connectivity. The total number of LTE devices is expected to exceed 70 ranging from FDD-LTE, TDD-LTE, varying across the 4G/3G/2G mode combinations and frequency band combinations.

With the help of open LTE standards and interfaces, handset and device manufacturers along with application developers are creating new applications and devices for end-users to embrace video online gaming consoles, Mobile TV / Video screens, Web enabled wireless electronic book readers, smart phones together with applications which support mobile valet, video conferencing phones, Web enabled digital cameras and Web enabled advertisement boards.

The LTE devices industry has developed faster than expectations. The LTE chipset and handset manufacturers have already started providing different breeds of wireless devices such as the LTE embedded notebook. In the very near future, the web enabled breed of wireless devices will be available in community and social environments such as shopping malls, entertainment environments and healthcare facilities.

How does it compare with WiMAX, which is already a tried and tested 4G technology?

Huawei has been promoting the combined use of WiMAX and 4G technologies to meet the global demand for broadband. Huawei's WiMAX strategy is therefore clearly based on continuous long-term investment. Huawei began research on 802.16 technology in 2000. For the better part of a decade, Huawei has evidenced strong commitment to persistent innovation in support of WiMAX.

LTE and WIMAX both are both candidates for 4G technologies. WIMAX is a tried and tested standard and addresses all the needs for some of the operators by providing internet and data services whereas others can opt for LTE as it provides compatibility with existing GSM/WCDMA/HSPA/CDMA network and helping operator in leveraging its existing 2G/3G infrastructure. This means users can roam seamlessly under the umbrella of different wireless technologies. Each technology has its own unique advantages in different market scenarios and its selection solely depends on country requirements, market situation and operator business needs.

With rich frequency resources, WiMAX provides a stable connection for heavy traffic services and features low cost, fast deployment, quick service launch and quick return on investment (ROI). WiMAX-based streaming media and video surveillance has great potential in areas such as distance education, medicine, emergency communications and monitoring of property, personnel or children. These applications are usually used by government units, schools, and oil and power companies.

LTE and WiMAX do not compete as they use different frequencies. With the existing 3G global layout, LTE will enhance other future technical standards, and is increasingly backed by the world’s leading vendors. We expect that LTE deployment will accelerate in 2010 and the network construction will surge between 2011 and 2012. By 2013, an estimated 30 million mobile broadband subscribers will have access to LTE network services. As LTE technology raises throughput, improves end-user experience, while its flat all-IP architecture simplifies networks and reduces maintenance costs for operators, operators across globe has shown keen interest in investing in LTE technology. By the end of 2009, over 50 operators in 30 countries had committed LTE commercialization schedules, accelerating the development of the telecom ecosystem.

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