Nokia Siemens conducting 30 LTE network trials

Mobile users who want 4G coverage in the U.S. today have to be in one of the limited areas where Sprint and Clearwire are operating WiMAX networks. Outside of these areas, the best Americans can hope for is 3G speeds and in many rural areas, 3G access and speeds are still spotty at best.

Several 4G equipment providers are fighting for lucrative contracts to build out test LTE networks to fight the WiMAX networks already in place. A few of these firms include stalwart Nokia Siemens Networks, Huawei, and ZTE. Nokia Siemens is the old dog in the market and has announced that it has won contracts to build 30 trial networks for commercial providers that are in trials now. Nokia Siemens also reports that it is in talks to provide an additional 15 top-tier operators with LTE trial networks.

Thorsten Robrecht, head of LTE product management for Nokia Siemens, told
Reuters, "It's unbelievable how the momentum is growing; this is what we are seeing with our customers." He continued saying, "There are big customers which I hope to get very soon under contract."

While Nokia Siemens is fighting for the contracts to build future 4G networks, Verizon is announcing that it intends to build 4G networks in rural areas around the country. Verizon plans to offer 4G coverage in areas where it has no towers or backhaul capability by partnering with local companies that own towers and backhaul capability even if the local companies are not wireless providers.

In these instances, Verizon will provide its core LTE equipment and access to its 700MHz spectrum while the local company will provide backhaul and tower access in the rural area. Verizon is reportedly looking for local companies to work with on its plans right now.

In 2010 Verizon intends to launch a 4G network in 25 to 30 markets and cover about 100 million users. By 2012, the number of covered users will increase to about 200 million and by the end of 2013 Verizon will offer 4G coverage to all who have access to the 3G network, amounting to about 90% of the country.

Verizon will use a 10 + 10MHz system for its LTE network. This will allow the company to offer 4G users average data rates of 5-12Mbps download and 2 to 5Mbps in upload. The speeds will be fast enough to support video sharing, surveillance, conferencing, and streaming HD video.

Verizon's plan to implement LTE service in rural areas is particularly important. These same rural users are part of the target group that President Obama wants to provide with broadband access and many see wireless technologies like LTE as the best way to offer blanket coverage.

Verizon also plans to let its existing 3G and 4G networks coexist with backwards compatible devices to ensure better connectivity with fewer dead zones around the country.

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