NSN claims first call on commercial LTE kit

Next generation wireless standard LTE continues to pick up steam, with infrastructure vendor Nokia Siemens Networks this week claiming to have made the world’s first call using commercial and standards compliant LTE kit.

NSN said the call was made via base stations with fully complaint software to the 3GPP Rel.8 (March 2009 baseline) LTE standard at the firm’s R&D Centre in Ulm, Germany, and gives a good indication of the behaviour of future commercial deployments.

The vendor is optimistic about LTE adoption and foresees the first deployments of the technology taking place before the year is out, with volume rollouts of commercial networks in early 2010. NSN said it has shipped LTE compatible Flexi Base Station hardware to over 80 operators already.

But despite the traction LTE is gaining in the market, analysts are wary of overly optimistic rollout expectations for the technology in the face f the economic crisis. Mike Roberts, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media warns on the effects of the global downturn, which have boosted HSPA+ but slowed LTE, with a number of major mobile operators who are vocal in their support of LTE also quietly admitting that the downturn and other factors have delayed their LTE rollout schedules by several years. “WCDMA/HSPA operators are now focusing more on HSPA+ upgrades, which will bring major improvements in capacity and data speeds, at a much lower cost than deploying LTE,” Roberts said.

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