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HSPA success in APEJ paves way for LTE

Posted: 26 Nov 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:HSPA? LTE? WiMAX? Wi-Fi?

High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) technology has experienced strong growth in Asia Pacific excluding Japan (APEJ) in the past 18 months according to market watcher IDC. The growth has been in handsets and dongle form factors. IDC forecasts 43.6 million HSPA connections in the region at the end of 2009.

According to Bill Rojas, research director for Asia Pacific telecommunications research at IDC, "The success of HSPA and the continuous demand for more bandwidth is accelerating the need for Long Term Evolution (LTE) deployments in most of the HSPA deployed markets in APEJ. The experience with HSPA dongles has been nothing less than phenomenal but it has come at the price of explosive consumption in bandwidth, forcing HSPA operators to either offload as much traffic as possible through Wi-Fi access points, halt the number of new HSPA dongle customers or capping the maximum downloadable gigabytes per month per user."

LTE is being promoted by the industry as the all-IP migration path for UMTS and EV-DO operators to prepare them for IMT-2000 Advanced or 4G. IDC expects a select group of 3G operators, possibly DoCoMo, KDDI, eMobile, Hong Kong CSL, PCCW/HGC's joint venture, Telecom New Zealand and China Mobile Hong Kong to pioneer investment in LTE.

Rojas said, "The current propaganda of LTE infrastructure is being concentrated on developed APEJ markets, where converged handsets with HSPA and Wi-Fi are becoming the new dominant end-user mobile device, but this attention is not addressing another huge opportunity in APEJ, which is the pent-up demand of under-served broadband households."

IDC estimates that in markets like the Philippines, the realistic addressable market could be as high or even higher than one-third of all households. By the end of 2009, IDC forecasts that India's broadband household penetration will be less than 1.6 percent, while its mobile penetration will reach 38 percent or 439 million subscribers. "IDC also foresees that most, if not all, APEJ markets will need to move to an all-IP 4G infrastructure, but uncertainty still lingers on what are the best paths for GSM operators that do not have 3G spectrum today. Do these 2G operators skip 3G altogether and focus on building the scalable fiber backhaul for 4G LTE or IMT-2000 Advanced, adopting IMS technology, and upgrading the OSS/BSS systems to prepare for the proliferation of streaming video and audio content?" said Rojas.

IDC believes there will be a complementary role for both WiMAX and LTE in APEJ. Each technology can address a different segment of the market on different spectrum bands, which when combined will lead to an exciting future. For example, India's broadband household penetration could exceed 20 percent, making India along with China the largest markets for residential broadband in the world. China has an advantage in that it has invested heavily in Carrier Ethernet technology to deploy substantial numbers of xDSL lines in use.

"LTE and other OFDM systems such as 802.16m have a very important role to play across all parts of APEJ, and all eyes will be on the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) technology choices for IMT-2000 Advanced. It is early to predict what the ITU will decide but one thing remains fairly certain and that is that OFDMA systems such as LTE will be the workhorse of mobile broadband in the next decade," Bill concludes.





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