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April 01, 2008

Samsung Instinct, Current EVDO Rev A wireless and future Super 3G and 4G


Sprint and Samsung are releasing the Samsung Instinct a iPhone like phone that uses their 3G network (EVDO Rev A, 1400 kbps down/400 kbps up) The Samsung Instinct will be available in June and Sprint is providing and unlimited connection plan Sprint is a company in trouble and is losing subscribers and could have to sell out to another company.

UPDATE: A spokesperson for Sprint said the carrier has decided to sell the device for less than $299.99 and wants to push it as close to $200 as margins will allow. That would make for a mid-range iPhone clone with nice touches like localized haptics feedback (powered by Immersion), visual voicemail, a 2MP camera and an included 2GB microSD card.

A 3G version (with about the same speed over the ATT network) of the iPhone should be available in a few months.

DoCoMo has an aggressive deployment schedule for the 250 megabit per second high-speed wireless technology Super 3G (LTE, Long Term Evolution) and has targeted 2010 for initial rollout.

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) Wireless (including its Vodafone (NYSE: VOD) Group equity partner) recently said it plans to move to LTE and the GSM Association, representing most of the world's cell phone service providers, also has endorsed LTE. DoCoMo picked Ericsson as its partner to supply LTE infrastructure. Ericsson also has been soliciting winners of the recent 700-MHz spectrum auction as candidates for its LTE infrastructure technology.

The likely rollout of WiMAX by Sprint, clearwire and others is one of the big reasons many analysts think the LTE vendors and carriers are being more aggressive with launch plans.

The traditional GSM carriers also will have another technology evolution before reaching LTE. That’s HSPA+, the next iteration in the W-CDMA/HSPA technology that expects to provide data rates of about 24Mbps to 40 Mbps. HSPA+, also called HSPA Evolved, is expected to be deployed starting in 2010.

Qualcomm joined with Vodafone, Ericsson and Huawei on a forthcoming trial of HSPA+. Vodafone started deploying HSPA last year, with data rates of up to 7.2 Mbps. Peter Carson, senior director of product management in Qualcomm’s semiconductor group, says access to all these various air interfaces will be done on the device side through multimodal chips.

Currently most US carriers have made a significant shift to EV-DO Rev. A (600-1400 kbps download and 300-800kbps upload. This is an upgrade of Edge networks 473 kpbs with 200 kbps in actual practice). Coverage maps will show which is available from which provider.

Most analysts think it will be at least 2010 and more likely 2011 before LTE equipment starts getting deployed. That’s creates a possible opportunity for another technology some call 4G – WiMAX. WiMAX doesn’t yet have the data rates that LTE (10 Mbps vs. 100 Mbps) but still could provide multimedia applications like video.

Analysts have just started making forecasts for 4G uptake, including LTE, WiMAX and 3GPP2’s Ultra-Mobile Broadband (UMB) fostered by the CDMA community. ABI Research is expecting more than 90 million subscribers for LTE and WiMAX in 2013. Another research firm, Analysys, is suggesting the number of LTE subscribers will hit 400 million by 2015.


Sprint is in talks with Google, Comcast and others to fund the Wimax rollout. Wimax would initially have a peak speed of 10 Mbps (2-4 Mbps in actual usage).

Ericsson's director of government and industry relations, Mikael Halen, says his company will roll out its first LTE base stations in 2009, with commercial services up to 100 Mbps later that year.

Mr Halen says Ericsson will deliver a full prototype LTE network to Verizon in the US, and Japan's NTT DoCoMo before the end of 2008


FURTHER READING
Wimax is already being deployed in Australia

A software upgrade could double EDGE performance in the third quarter of 2008.
AT&T would need to deploy the Nokia Siemens software upgrade on its network for subscribers to reap the benefits; so far, not a peep from AT&T about Nokia Siemens' announcement.

EVDO Rev B is available to wireless carriers but so far none are moving to it. EVDO Rev B would be three times faster than EVDO Rev A (9 mbps instead 3.1 mbps)

CTIA-The Wireless Association® announced today that as of December 2007, the industry survey recorded more than 255 million wireless users [USA]. This represents a year-over-year increase of more than 22 million subscribers.

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