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Wireless Network Upgrades Slowing Down?

In the wireless industry, carriers have been talking loudly about their plans for 4G networks, but according to iSuppli, the sluggish economy has prompted some to scale back on their upgrade schedules. The firm found that instead, carriers are focusing their current investments in upgrading the current 3G networks.

Enterprise Mobile Today has the story on the new cautious approach to wireless 4G build-outs.

While wireless carriers have talked at length about moving to 4G, the next generation in wireless technology that promises data rate speeds comparable to a cable modem, they are actually delaying the rollout of their 4G deployments until 2011-2012 and instead are focusing on upgrading existing 3G networks in the near-term.

iSuppli found that the wireless carriers, a little skittish from the economic slowdown, have pulled back slightly on their 4G rollout plans. The company predicts total capital spending on wireless communications this year will be $120.6 billion, down 1.8 percent from $122.8 billion in 2009, and 2009 was down 8.6 percent from $134.3 billion in 2008.

There are a number of reasons for the slow-down in 4G deployment. The 4G equipment is not compatible with 3G and in order for phones to support both 3G and 4G would, at least initially, they require two separate chips, meaning a greater power drain on the mobile device.

On top of that all, the 4G protocol, dubbed "Long-Term Evolution," or LTE, is still not finished and "is still evolving, so it's probably good to wait," said Jagdish Rebello, senior director and principal analyst for wireless research at iSuppli.

Read the full story at Enterprise Mobile Today:
Wireless Carriers Slowing Mobile Network Upgrade Deployments?