There has been a lot of hype around 4G LTE networks for high-speed mobile broadband data transfer but that doesn’t mean existing 3G networks will be supplanted any time soon, according to Qualcomm South-East Asia and Pacific president, John Stefanac.
Qualcomm is a wireless telecommunications vendor.
Speaking at the ACMA RadComms 2011 event in Sydney, Stefanac said he wanted to dispel the myth that LTE networks will make 3G obsolete.
“There are a lot of people that think LTE will displace and replace 3G, but I don’t see that happening for some time,” he said. “3G still has a very long future for us.”
Stefanac noted 2G networks had existed in Australia for more than 20 years and 3G had not displaced them.
HSPA+, a 3G mobile data transfer technology standard, is still being developed and is currently the biggest carrier of mobile broadband traffic in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Qualcomm.
Stefanac claimed there was still a lot of work being done on HSPA+ to push the download capability of the technology from 42Mbps to 84Mbps and beyond.
LTE, in the meantime, will be deployed as capacity relief for 3G networks in the near future.
“I’ll even go as far as saying LTE and the success of it will depend largely on the extent to which 3G networks are successful,” Stefanac said. “If you are looking at LTE as capacity relief you won’t have a need for it until you actually have a full 3G network; so the two are very complementary.”
With more than 20 different LTE bands available today, Qualcomm stressed there needs to be a need uniformity of LTE spectrum frequencies in the region to facilitate seamless data roaming capabilities. ACMA will need to allocate the right frequencies for that, Stefanac said.
“We don’t have devices out there that supports 20 different LTE bands so selecting the right frequencies for harmonisation is very important,” he said.
“The combination of frequency you select from an operator and original equipment manufacturer standpoint will have an impact on... how many of these units [manufacturers] produce and the price we pay for these devices.”
The vendor also waded into the discussion of refarming old 2G GSM spectrums for 3G or 4G LTE deployment.
It lauded Telstra’s efforts in repurposing its 1800MHz band for its LTE rollout announced in February.
“1800MHz, at least in the short term, will be one of the most important bands in LTE across the region and many markets already have it,” Stefanac said. “It is an important band for roaming and there are already 1800MHz interest in Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore.”