Qualcomm was showing off its technology portfolio last week, reminding the world that it exists and still innovating, even if it prefers 3G over 4. The company is celebrating its 25th year in existence and trying to remind people that while it might not have the market presence of Intel, it is in the pockets of more people and …
/me Raises hand
Yes I remember HSCSD - sometime around 2000 while I was studying mobile technology at university. Then, thankfully, GPRS came along!
It's true that with one user LTE is no more efficient per sector than 3G/HSPA.
But with 10 connections the 3G cell shrinks badly (CDMA breathing) and LTE may be twice as efficient.
Also LTE only uses VOIP for voice calls which is actually less efficient than 3G, but since voice is small amount compared to YouTube etc (30% mobile growth a year) and people are rolling out LTE for data primarily, that maybe doesn't matter.
LTE won't deliver real Broadband either unless mast density is about x4 higher at least and 120MHz of FDD spectrum per operator or shared RAN.
The Mobile Wimax war is over though. Intel hiring GSM/CDMA/3G/LTE gurus and has bought Infineon Wireless.
TBH the 3G should never have used W-CDMA. It should either have been bonded carriers of GSM (as per EDGE 2) or OFDMA based. CDMA was obsolete before 3G launched. It was a political choice. The original 350k approx of 3G was also too small.
LTE is still 3G
Technically, LTE is just an enhancement to 3G, much like HSPA, rather than a brand new standard. It's not a massively different tech, and isn't really 4G. But marketing people thing 4G sounds better than 3G++, so LTE->4G and 4G will become 5G when it actually rolls out.
Interestingly, Orange UK should be starting an LTE roll out fairly soon, though it's being built on top of their 2G network, so the 3G network remains untouched.
Re: LTE is still 3G?
LTE and 3G are completely different incompatible animals despite Mobile Operator hype about their iHSPA and HSPA+ base station gear that runs over the 3G air interface. Just because a base station hardware can be reprogrammed to do LTE or WiMax on 2.6GHz (Clearwire) or 3G or LTE on 2.1GHz without hardware change at basestation doesn't make the systems remotely the same. Mobile WiMax is much more similar to LTE (assuming both are TDD or FDD versions. Mobile operators generally prefer FDD, different band for up and down links)
W-CDMA downlink thus suffers CDMA breathing
Four separate protocols over Air Link. GPRS, SMS, Circuit Switched Voice and IP Data
Fixed 5MHz channel (IPW is like 3G, but can use smaller channel)
OFDM on downlink.
Single Native IP protocol over Air Link and back to Central. Voice is using VOIP.
Various possible channel sizes up to 20MHz
You might as well claim that 3G doesn't exist as it's only a 5MHz combo version of 2.5G EVDO and 2G CDMA-1
You can't build LTE "on top of" a 2G Network.
1) GSM (UK's 2G) air interface is 200kHz channels with TDMA slots for traffic. Not remotely compatible with LTE. USA CDMA-1's 2G is 1.25MHz CDMA, also 100% incompatible with LTE air interface (There is also GSM in USA).
2) Existing UK GSM licences only allow GSM. Not 3G or LTE.
LTE /= 3G
I was going to have a go at AC, but you beat me to it.
You forgot to mention the fundamental architecture differences, such as - the RNC in 3G being replaced by, well, nothing in LTE; direct interconnection between BTS in LTE using the X2 interface; and a number of simplifications in the core which I don't care about as I'm a radio man.
But the final comment "Existing UK GSM licences only allow GSM. Not 3G or LTE" deserves a riposte. The "GSM" 900 band has already been liberalised by EU edict and OFCOM have already been threatened with legal action for not allowing UMTS in the band already (should have started by March this year). The same liberalisation should apply to the "GSM" 1800 band which is mostly licensed to the Ora-bile Hybrid (TM). With 70 MHz of spectrum to play with, it should be easy to slip in an LTE carrier or two without affecting GSM capacity that much.
And an un-named operator is rumoured to be rolling out UMTS 900 hardware across the UK as we type.