Originally Posted by nvidia2008
There are claims by LTE and WiMax 4G providers that 3G was designed for voice and so there is an inherent disadvantage. Newer 3G standards as you mention can perhaps remove these disadvantages, if they exist. Now the question to you would be, do you believe that there are these disadvantages compared to LTE and WiMax.
3G was marketed originally as designed with Voice AND data in mind. In practice data got as much attention as possible at the time as long as it didn't risk voice. Sensible move in 1995.
Many of the shortcomings have already been fixed in the 3G specifications and many of the network vendors are pushing out these capabilities now. The issue is twofold. Even if the operators do deploy these changes, it takes surprisingly long for the mobile devices to actually implement these features.
By taking just a few features into use, the phones could more than double their talk time at the same time allowing continuous data connections and reduce noise in the cell (increased total capacity for all users). They've been available now for at least a year and a half. It's just that none of the phones support these features yet so why should the operators buy, test and deploy them? Talk about chicken and egg...
The disadvantages that the LTE and WiMAX guys tout were there, but many have been largely removed and many of the remaining ones greatly exaggerated. They also have their own disadvantages that WCDMA doesn't....
Originally Posted by nvidia2008
Secondly, do you believe that telcos around the world, or at least AT&T are addressing these disadvantages. How is Verizon? Does their LTE speed and consistency show a marked improvement over AT&T's fastest 3G speeds?
At what stage does a telco need to focus strongly on LTE to be able to feed enough bandwidth to customers?
Looking at LTE vs 3G in the US, what is the scenario as it stands?
The second question I don't know how to answer fully, but let's consider a few points:
- Not all operators are going to get LTE licences
- WCDMA is very near in capabilities to LTE (for the next 5 years at least) if you take the latest improvements and ship them. Remember HSPA+ advanced for example promises speeds over 600Mbps. It just requires so much spectum and HW, that it's unlikely we will see it in real life. Same goes for similar LTE speeds as well. It all boils down to the shannon theorem after all.
- WCDMA chipsets for now are more power efficient than LTE ones ->much better battery life
So if you were an operator with no LTE license, what would you do? Make sure your existing (invested) network is competitive? Many of the WCDMA imrovements are a mere SW update.
OTOH if you had an LTE license, how would you market your new and expensive tech? Would you then invest in your existing 3G network?
The BW issue is not necessarily a question of LTE or not. Many operators have already started to ship 3G on secondary bands. This easily doubles capacity and improves coverage. You can also add smaller cells to congested areas. When that runs out: introduce a third band or go LTE? If you're willing to introduce a whole new tech (LTE) on a new band, why not a third band for a known tech?
So as you can see, the question is multifaceted and not an easy one to answer.
LTE is marketed like mad and with the momentum it now seems to have, I have a hard time believing it'll not succeed. But then again 3G tech is very similar in capability and not all operators get LTE licenses. So 3G will not go away anytime soon either since the established 3G guys without LTE will put up a fight and bring in the latest and greatest 3G capabilities. Just look at the operators rolling out 84Mbps WCDMA today.