Vendors vye for LTE 'firsts' in Baltic showcase
Published: 26 October, 2009
The Baltic states are determined to stay in the vanguard of 4G networks, just as they have been in 2G and 3G, and the vendors are battling it out to conduct eye catching trials in the area. Ericsson says it has achieved a "world first", demonstrating interoperability between a commercial LTE device and network in its live network in Sweden; just days after Nokia Siemens, over the border in Finnish capital Helsinki, claimed the world's first real world call over LTE.
Such demonstrations bear little relation to real operator deployments, and are in carefully controlled conditions, but they help build confidence that a new platform is becoming commercially viable, and are a valuable marketing tool to attract operator attention.
Ericsson is working closely with Scandinavian operator TeliaSonera in Sweden (though the carrier is using Huawei for its trial networks in neighboring Norway), and the partners are trialling 2.56GHz LTE dongles from Samsung, which claim to be the first devices that are suitable for commercial roll-out and built on the Korean's own chip platform. Nokia, Huawei and ZTE have also shown off LTE modems but in pre-commercial form factors. Most trial gadgets have been based on the Sandbridge software defined processor, though for real world economics, vendors are expected to move towards lower cost, simpler chipsets. Also, these LTE-only dongles are interim products, with the real goal to produce multimode products.
As well as successfully interoperating with Ericsson's test network, the Samsung devices will ship to Telia in mid-2010, when the carrier plans to go live with initial services in a few key locations in Stockholm and Oslo. "This is the first time a commercial, standard compliant LTE device demonstrated full interoperability with a live network," said Johan Wibergh, senior VP and head of networks at Ericsson, in a statement.
Not far behind, Huawei - so far sharing the honors for early LTE engagements in Europe with Ericsson - says it will run "the world's first LTE interoperability test in Europe in November to verify the interoperability of LTE network infrastructures and device terminals". It may have missed the boat in terms of being 'first', but its demo will also boost Samsung's profile, using the same modems, working with Huawei's trial network in Oslo.
Last month, Nokia Siemens - so far lagging its rivals in announced LTE trials - claimed to have made the world's first LTE call using commercial base stations and fully standards compliant software, on its Finnish test network. Meanwhile, Motorola and China Mobile recently carried out the first public demo of the TDD version of the standard, TD-LTE.