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Robert Syputa

The TelecomTV coverage of Mobile World Congress discussed that ETSI and other officials have cautioned rushing of LTE. Prior to WiMAX' momentum, many suppliers said that the NG standard would not be finalized until 2010-12 and commercial systems were unlikely until 2013-2015 time frame. Besides technology, what gates introduction of each successive platform is the need for operators to recoup their investments and optimize the prior generation. 3.5G networks are continuing to gain traction and are early in their capital expenditure (capex) life cycle. Part of the life cycle issue is availability of spectrum: in what spectrum will LTE be deployed? The long term vision is to convert IMT-2000 spectrum to IMT-Advanced which both WiMAX and LTE aspire to deliver. But this is not expected for almost a decade.

Another topic of recent trade shows has been open platform developments: seems that almost everyone is positioning to become the next major service integrator via software development platform including open source development.

Nokia's reorganization around goals to become the intermediary between the Internet, software and services worlds and operators and their aim to become a services rather than predominantly a product based company is a good case study.
Much of what we are seeing is the smoke of industry & company positioning: LTE is likely still 4-6 years away from starting to be a major thrust of many incumbents. And shifting from a focus on handsets to what runs over and on them is still very at an early stage of jockeying for positions.

This is not too early for these moves: it takes years to develop products and markets, influence regulators, and then for operators to make deployment commitments. But discussion of commercial availability, performance tests, and product plans should keep in mind that the industry will be in the exciting early development stage for the next generation systems to be adopted as the mainstream wireless networks.

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