13 December, 2010

Japan has 600 LTE base stations



News of this capability comes from Gerhard Fasol at Eurotechnology - see this recent newsletter.

This sounds impressive but Mike Bryant, an analyst with market research company Future Horizons points out in this article from EE Times that LTE cells can support MUCH fewer users than 3G cells.

Whereas a 3G basestation cell could support 4,000 users, an LTE cell is smaller and can only support 600 users, so seven times as many basestations are needed to support the same number of users, Bryant said. That means additional sites have to be found and, in addition, placing LTE equipment on the roofs of tall buildings doesn't always provide street-level coverage as it normally did for 3G basestations.

Bryant further concludes that:
The result is likely to be an inability to service the demand created by sales of smartphones. Already monthly flat rate data usage plans are being dropped by many operators in favor of per-Gbyte charging schemes to increase profits and throttle demand.

I have been a firm believer in the view that all-you-can-eat data schemes are disastrous for operators and that per-Gbyte must surely make better sense, even if it is a marketing proposition.

Also, this interesting article (from July 2010) also declares that WiMax is dead as operators are deploying the spectrum to other technologies

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