Analysts have rejected CSIRO’s criticism of the viability of Long Term Evolution (LTE) wireless technology in Australia.
He revealed a new wireless technology using existing broadcast towers to deliver 12Mbps downlink speeds demanded by the National Broadband Network (NBN). Although not commercially ready, CSIRO said it showed promise in laboratory tests and could render WiMax and LTE obsolete.
Gartner wireless research director, Robin Simpson, dismissed Opperman’s claims as “unbridled hype”. He said the success of new solutions was not based on sheer technological advantage.
“It’s relatively unusual for a technology to come along that is so revolutionary nobody has ever thought of it before and where the economics are so powerful, people will abandon a technology path [GSM] they have been following for 25 years now,” Simpson said.
While he was pessimistic on the future of WiMax, Simpson said LTE would endure.
“LTE is part of the evolution path from the GSM family of technology and 90 per cent of the wireless market has strong commitments to GSM,” he said. “It is only natural for LTE to succeed.
“Just look at the current market; LTE is already being deployed and looks like it’s going to be strongly successful over the next 4-5 years because it’s being sold to an install base with commitment to GSM and its evolution.”
Simpson pointed out investment in the heavy infrastructure needed to be built for LTE already existed.
“The point is, most operators have already paid for that infrastructure and they can leverage it when upgrading to LTE,” he said.
Simpson was also sceptical CSIRO’s imminent technology could eclipse the success of LTE.
“Good luck to them but it’s going to be hard unseating the technology existing carriers for voice and data have a commitment to,” he said. “It would only happen if the technology uses spectrum carriers already own, or if it was very easy for them to add it onto existing technology for extra capacity.”
IDC telecommunications director, David Cannon, does not doubt the efficacy of CSIRO’s new technology but said LTE was available now and can be readily implemented.
“Sure, CSIRO has got lots of stuff going on in labs to make 4G look like old technology but they are not commercially ready and are not deployable on a commercial scale on a carrier level,” he said.