RealTime IT News

Hurry up And Wait For 4G

Wireless 4G roll-outs won't likely start until between 2010 and 2012, and even the International Telecommunication Union's official definition of the technology won't be released until 2008 or 2009.

But that hasn't stopped major players from pushing the primary 4G technologies of the future, expected to be Long Term Evolution (LTE), Ultra Mobile Broadband (UMB) and IEEE 802.16m WiMAX.

"Each of the contending 4G technologies has a cheerleader, with Ericsson touting LTE, Qualcomm preferring UMB, and Intel touting 802.16m WiMAX," In-Stat analyst Gemma Tedesco said in a statement. Tedesco authored a report, "The Road to 4G: Will LTE, UMB and WiMAX Just Be Stops Along the Way?"

In the report, Tedesco posits that two widely expected requirements for 4G technologies are that they be Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access-based, and that they support 100Mbps for wide area mobile applications. Also probable is that mobile operators will initially deploy 4G very slowly, relying on their EV-DO or HSPA networks to provide for more ubiquitous coverage.

After that, 4G is up for grabs. Tedesco said that "real" 4G will likely be a combination of LTE, UMB and 802.16m WiMAX, after each alone falls short of throughput and other expectations.

At the beginning of the decade, there was similar anticipation for a 3G revolution. With 3G , everyone was supposed to win: governments selling spectrum licenses; wireless carriers with new revenue; and users with better devices over faster networks.

In 2002, internetnews.com reported those promises had not yet been fulfilled.

It wasn't until 2005 that major carriers such as Cingular (now AT&T) and Verizon Wireless got going with 3G.