Motorola: LTE for 700 & 2.6 GHz  

Motorola today said its Long-Term Evolution (LTE) solutions next year will include 700MHz and 2.6GHz products.

Timing is critical for LTE announcements. Next week is the big Telecom show, Nxtcomm. NXTcomm has replaced SUPERCOMM as the one telecom-centric event for network-enabled voice, video, and data.

Operators are loath to install 700 MHz 3G basestations, just to pull them out two years later for 4G, so a solution for the new 700MHz and 2.6 GHz bands would be attractive.

Just as soon as there’s a LTE standard, of course.

Mobile operators are battling Mobile WiMAX which is widely perceived to have a 2-3 lead over LTE. Motorola also announced that its LTE solution will support the future LTE Time Division Duplex (TDD) variant for operators with TDD spectrum holding. “Leveraging our WiMAX TDD infrastructure, we have designed a common LTE platform that is capable of both LTE Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) and TDD, offering global operators the simplicity and economies of scale across markets,” said Darren McQueen, Motorola vice president, Wireless Broadband Access Technologies.

“We believe deploying LTE in the 700 MHz band is mandatory to meet the needs of wireless carriers in the U.S. market as well as a number of other countries globally,” said Darren McQueen, Motorola vice president, Wireless Broadband Access Technologies. “In addition, there is a clear demand for LTE in 2.6GHz spectrum band to meet the needs of GSM carriers that have already secured the spectrum in the global market.”

Motorola says it is engaged in LTE trials with operators in North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region. The knowledge gained from these LTE trials, coupled with Motorola’s expertise in OFDM, deploying and managing WiMAX networks for Sprint and Clearwire, will contribute to the development of their LTE portfolio, says the company.

Motorola’s LTE base station has a common controller unit that can be shared between WiMAX 802.16e and LTE, plus a variety of radio head solutions to meet specific customer requirements.

The portfolio includes frame based-mounted radios, remote radio heads and tower top radios to support a wide variety of LTE deployment scenarios across newly available spectrum as well as existing GSM, UMTS and CDMA spectrum. Motorola’s flexible eNode B architecture allows many spectrum bands to be supported with limited development investment.

Wavesat, a semiconductor company, in May introduced a family of multimodal chipsets that combine WiMAX, Wi-Fi and migration to LTE. Motorola is working on the same thing. But 4G Is Just One Piece of the Mobile Broadband IP Puzzle. Getting the backend components to interoperate is the tricky bit.

DesignArt Networks launched today a WiMax silicon platform aimed at combating 4G backhaul costs and announced plans for a similar LTE product. Their new System-on-Chip (SoC) platform integrates base station and backhaul capabilities, using spectrum normally dedicated for the last mile for backhaul.

The real battle between WiMAX and LTE will be at 2.6 GHz, which European governments as well as the International Telecommunication Union have identified as broadband wireless bands. Sweden has already auctioned off its 2.6 GHz spectrum, and the UK, Italy, Austria and the Netherlands are planning auctions this year, though there may be delays.

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