Monday, October 26, 2009

Do we need LTE any sooner?

Ok, I have been thinking real hard on this. When do we exactly need LTE? Next year? Two years from now or three years from now? I am trying to understand various article which try to justify the right time to launch LTE, but I could read none of the articles completely. Either they are too long or they go over my head. So I thought I should do it in a simple way.

Lets break things in to two here. First, what do we baldy need that is lacking now. Second, what do we fancy/love to have.

Note that first need is something that is lacking us from doing things while second one is more like wow to have or something like that.

Before we categorize the needs we need to look at the market segment. That is how many people need that badly and how many are fancying it. The things which few people badly need could be fancy to few.

If we replace "we" with "I" in above statements it would make more sense to various individuals as the next generation is all about personalization.

So if you ask me I dont need LTE. Honestly I dont see its need for me atleast in next 5 years. I work in office where we run pretty good internet connection. I get back home and have a nice wifi to use. I really dont have big fat mobile so I skip my emails if I am traveling and can live with it. I am not a facebook addict, infact I dont know why I am still using it. I prefer to call up people and have conversations rather than facebook messages or what ever. SMS is the best way for me to send a message. In case I need to be hooked on to email all the time I would go get a black berry and use exiting 2G or 3G network. The only thing I fancy is a data card. It would be good to carry a data card hooked on to my laptop so that I can be at a remote place and still be connected. This is the case with me and also with tons of my friends. What good is LTE is going to do to me? In fact the whole corporate breed in India can fall into my category.

I want to hear from you. Do you need LTE? I would really appreciate your comments on this. Cheers!!

P.S: Please dont ask me to go back to stone age. I understand that few people do need mission critical applications, that need high data rates, running on their mobile devices all the time. I am just trying to figure out what is the right time to deliver LTE considering the huge costs involved with it. I would get a heart ache if LTE fails because it was launched too soon or too late.

I will add three more constraints. Available spectrum, back haul and number of devices. How will the time lines look considering these too.


dhruv said...

Hi Santosh, I guess You work in India and looking from India's perspective. If you give it a global look, LTE is needed badly here in the US and also in UK as i understand from a UK blogger.

iPhones have crumbled the network and so are the newer phones doing.

If u are talking about India, I feel HSPA+ deployment would suffice for next 5 years. But the cost of deployment would be same. Then why not LTE?

Cristina Vintila said...

Hrm..Good question :) Look what happened to WiMAX. Indeed, in US/UK or even other European countries, where the need for iphone shiny applications is very high..yes, LTE is need even as of NOW.
Still, I find for it another application: large/very large lands with sparse homes, farms, or people living in the mountains...stuff like that - those I guess would benefit from wireless the most.

Santosh said...

@Dhruv - Yes, I work from India. I do understand the need for high data rates in US or UK. But why invest in LTE, just for high data rates. Remember there is still no voice over it. More over the technology is still so nascent that there is no guarantee for inter-operator calls or roaming services. 3G had tough time getting the "roaming" work.

All I am saying is why cant we get the basic services work better first. Look at AT&T, they recently launched the MMS service..dah! while India had the same for years. Even with GSM here I am particularly not happy with voice call quality or service. I just got off a call and I had a terrible time reaching the other number. And guess what my request for activating voice mail service is still not processed. Vodafone guys just have no clue how to configure that service for me. I am definitely sure that people in US and UK are facing the above issues.

On other hand, to improve data rates, why shouldnt we look at other solutions. Femto cells or try to increase the spectrum or find better solutions to avoid network congestion. Femto cells are already being used in UK I believe. Why dont we invest in existing technology and make it work better rather than embracing a completely new technology.

@Cristina - True LTE could help people living in distant lands. So can Wimax :-). Infact with LTE there are lot of other services coming up. Eath quake and Tsunami warning systems, Incase of emergency service and eCall are few to name.

Thanks, Santosh

dhruv said...

@santosh - if i believe, att started MMS just somedays back, but that was for iPhone. They had not started MMS service for iPhone coz they dint have much capacity. Now that they have upgraded, they have started providing the service. They had it for other phones long time time ago.

And i am sure you a following the VolGA forum. They are almost there in providing Voice over LTE.

And Nortel already demonstrated CDMA-LTE interoperability like 3 months ago.

As far as indian cellular market goes, they gotta improve a lot. They have to be fast in adopting new technology. voicemail here is like a free and default service with each and every number. Indian telecomm has to improve on the add-ons.

Femtocell standards for LTE have just been released. So we have to wait for sometime for them to be introduced into the market. As far as UK goes, they most probably using the UMTS femtocells. And the spectrum isn't so easily available.

Santosh said...

Dhruv..thanks a lot for the info.

One point from engineer view. The equipment for LTE mass deployment is not ready, atleast I can say that for EPC. Early 2011 should be the most optimistic target. Anything before that could be painful to digest.

Santosh said...

Interesting read ..

Nickname unavailable said...

I think your previous poster Cristina touched on the critical driver for LTE. Many providers are seeking to differentiate themsevles from the competition to prevent wireless services from being commoditized in more mature cellular markets. Speed, differentiated services, value added features (parental controls for example), pay-as-you go, self care to reduce the expense of customer care, etc. LTE and more specifically a policy-based infrastructure enables this. Why elect any interim steps to LTE when it is the projected path to an all IP-based (aka low TCO) network that allows differentiation in the marketplace.

veeral said...

@santosh.. hi, i m a telecommunications engineer.. LTE is not ready for india and i think it will take years to come to india.. why??? how many indians use data services on ther cell phone.. i say very few.. the basic broadband speed in india that is provided by a standard operator like reliance is around 200kbps and i am talking about wired lines and the max they serve is 15 MBPS which is kind of costly.. even with 200kbps u end up paying 500 RS.. which according to indian standards is expensive.. and if this is the case with wired networks and then u cant expect a consumer base in wireless.. why?? indian lives are not heavily dependent on internet.. u may call it security.. people just dont need it... i m not saying they wud not need it but thts way ahead into the future.. right now we are just implementing 3G.. the 2.5G services are aalready bad. so it will take time to consolidate it.. and to jump directly into 4G wud require huge investment..

Now talking about US.. i m rt now in US.. so for the fact i know here practically everything runs on the internet.. u cant imagine the nos of people who do shopping online.. except groceries and clothes practically everything can bought on the internet... the basic wired broadband speeds offered by service providers are 7MBPS! can u beat tht.. nothing is downloaded they are streamed online... every other phone is connected to internet.. the blackberries and the i-phone are used as nokia 1600!!

So talking about LTE .. they just need it over here.. sprint is aleady going to launch 4G.. by the end 2010 u ll the see the LTE being implemented everywhere. LTE is here to stay!

Santosh said...

Hi Veeral!

Thanks a lot for the details. I got the big picture now!

Cheers, Santosh

muhammadrazzaq said...

which according to indian standards is expensive.. and if this is the case with wired networks and then u cant expect a consumer base in wireless.

muhammadrazzaq said...

Hi Santosh, I guess You work in India and looking from India's perspective. If you give it a global look, LTE is needed badly here in the US and also in UK as i understand from a UK blogger.

G.Mustafa said...

Hi Santosh, I guess You work in India and looking from India's perspective. If you give it a global look, LTE is needed badly here in the US and also in UK as i understand from a UK blogger.