"GSM/UMTS will comprise the overwhelming majority of subscribers over the next five to ten years, even as new wireless technologies are adopted. This is only one of the many reasons that EDGE, HSPA and LTE will provide operators with a mobile broadband advantage," states independent research analyst, Peter Rysavy, President of Rysavy Research and author of the white paper published by 3G Americas. EDGE, HSPA, LTE: The Mobile Broadband Advantage discusses the evolution of EDGE, HSPA enhancements, 3GPP LTE, the capabilities of these technologies, and their position relative to other primary competing technologies such as mobile WiMAX and CDMA EV-DO/UMB.
"The 3G evolution of the GSM family of technologies is unmatched in terms of its technology development coupled with a customer base of more than two thirds of the 3G customers worldwide," stated Chris Pearson, President of 3G Americas. "As part of this roadmap, the HSPA Evolution (HSPA+) will provide an advantage for GSM/HSPA operators to maximize technology performance of existing UMTS/HSPA infrastructure with minimal new investment." Pearson added, "This new white paper by Rysavy Research identifies the techniques to leverage that investment."
Building on a customer base of nearly 2.6 billion GSM/HSPA customers, as of August 2007, 310 operators around the world were using or deploying EDGE in their GSM networks. With more than 250 operators in various stages of deployment, UMTS is the most widely deployed 3G technology with more than 138 million UMTS customers worldwide across 181 commercial networks, of which 135 operators in 63 countries have upgraded to HSDPA services. An additional 75 operators are committed to the HSPA technology. HSUPA, the next step in the evolution of UMTS/HSPA, has been commercially launched on seven networks in Europe and Asia, with many more launches anticipated in the second half of 2007.
Ten of the key observations of the EDGE, HSPA, LTE: The Mobile Broadband Advantage white paper include:
* The GSM family of technologies has an overwhelming global position in terms of subscribers, deployment, and services. Its success will marginalize other wide-area wireless technologies.
* EDGE technology has proven extremely successful and is widely deployed on GSM networks globally. Advanced capabilities with Evolved EDGE more than quadruple current EDGE throughput rates.
* Continual HSPA enhancements are planned. Beginning with enhanced uplink performance, advanced receivers in the mobile and in the base station, and then MIMO, these improvements will extend HSPA capability even further.
* HSPA Evolution provides a strategic performance roadmap advantage for incumbent GSM/UMTS operators. HSPA+ (in 5+5 MHz radio allocations) with 2x2 MIMO, successive interference cancellation, and 64 QAM is more spectrally efficient than WiMAX Wave 2 with 2x2 MIMO and EV-DO Revision B.
* Compared to UMTS/HSPA/LTE, competing technologies have no known significant deployment cost advantages.
* Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) with HSPA will eventually add to voice capacity and reduce infrastructure costs. In the meantime, UMTS enjoys high circuit-switched voice spectral efficiency, and it can combine voice and data on the same radio channel.
* The high spectral efficiency of HSPA provides operators an efficient high-capacity network for all services. In the longer term, UMTS/HSPA provides for a clean migration to packet-switched voice.
* LTE technical specifications are being completed, and the 3GPP OFDMA approach matches or exceeds the capabilities of any other OFDMA system.
* Nearly all UMTS handsets are also GSM handsets, so UMTS users can access the wide base of GSM networks and services.
* WiMAX is maturing and gaining credibility, but it will still only represent a very small percentage of wireless subscribers over the next five to ten years. Meanwhile, GSM/UMTS operators are much more likely to migrate to LTE.
As part of the standards work on improvements in radio-access technology, 3GPP has also spearheaded the development of major core-network architecture enhancements such as the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) and the Evolved Packet System (EPS) as well as developments in Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC). These developments will facilitate new types of services, the integration of legacy and new networks, the convergence between fixed and wireless systems, and the transition from circuit-switched approaches for voice traffic to a fully packet-switched model.
Peter Rysavy stated, "The GSM evolution to 3G and beyond will result in a balanced portfolio of complementary technologies that covers both radio-access and core networks, and which provides operators with a cost-effective means to serve their customers any time, over any device."