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I'm wondering.....

... if LTE looks like it might be delayed, for example because of poorer-than-expected performance, difficult optimization, continued wrangling over voice/SMS implementation, or because operators don't want to be strong-armed into IMS...

... then does it start to make sense to put HSPA/HSPA+ into the 2.6GHz bands, especially given the flurry of upcoming auctions in 2010/2011?

After all, HSPA is a "known quantity" in terms of radio deployment and operation, it's not too difficult to add another band to existing handset platforms, and it's got voice built-in out of the box.

Let's imagine a situation in markets with existing consumer use of mobile broadband, say Europe or Australia or parts of Asia. Now imagine the end of 2012 - there's a lot of 2.6GHz spectrum that's now owned by MNOs. LTE still has teething problems for whatever reason... and in any case, there's several hundred million PCs, dongles, smartphones and other gizmos running on HSPA, albeit only on existing bands like 2.1GHz. I've got to believe that a 2.1/2.6GHz HSPA+ netbook on sale for Xmas 2012 is going to be cheaper and more reliable than a 2.1GHz HSPA + 2.6GHz LTE one - and with broadly similar performance and network efficiency.

On the same theme, do any readers familiar with the innards of UMTS specifications think it might be possible to tweak R9 or R10 HSPA to support flexible channel size, from 5MHz-only to something more like LTE's range of options.

Source: The Implications of an LTE Delay for Mobile Computing