Further progress was made this week on development of LTE-Advanced technology. A meeting organised by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) in Taipei, Taiwan, reportedly saw major handset manufacturers such as HTC, Nokia and Samsung agree on technical details of the standard to submit next month for final approval. IDG News claims that manufacturers also discussed “cross-licensing the technology.” LTE-Advanced specs are scheduled to be completed (‘frozen’) at a 3GPP plenary meeting in Kansas City next month (due to close 23 March) and form part of the 3GPP’s Release 10 specs.
A Light Reading Mobile report earlier this week noted that the March 2011 freeze date for LTE-Advanced is significant because “this deadline was set by the ITU as a requirement for inclusion in the IMT-Advanced family of standards, which some consider to be the real 4G.” Last October the ITU announced it had chosen LTE-Advanced and WirelessMAN-Advanced (sometimes known as WiMAX 802.16m/Release 2) as its official technologies for the 4G standard IMT-Advanced. LTE-Advanced is the next-generation version of LTE (which itself is only just starting to be commercially deployed) from the 3GPP camp, and takes the official technology name of LTE Release 10 & Beyond. The key characteristics of the ITU’s IMT-Advanced standard are believed to be downlink speeds of 100 Mb/s in the wide area with high mobility and 1 Gbit/s in low-mobility scenarios; low latency at less than 10 millisecond roundtrip delay; and very wide spectrum bandwidths of up to 100 MHz. Commercial deployment of LTE-Advanced networks is some way off though; Light Reading Mobile notes that final specs may not even be completed until September. That suggestion, coupled with the fact that commercial equipment doesn’t usually appear until at least two years after 3GPP release specs have been frozen, suggests LTE-Advanced networks won’t see activation until at least end-2013.