December 15, 2010 | by Michael Heller
It seems that T-Mobile isn’t satisfied with the theoretical max of 21Mbps of their current “4G” technology in HSPA+, so they have made a deal with Nokia Siemens Networks on a standard called Long Term HSPA Evolution (LTHE, because LTE wasn’t a bad enough acronym). The proposal was accepted by the 3GPP group last week, and T-Mobile hopes to have it ready for commercial use by 2013.
Currently, the theoretical max of T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network is 21Mbps, though the company has claimed that they will double that max speed next year. LTHE would have a theoretical max speed over 650Mbps. Although, if we look at T-Mobile’s release plan for LTHE, that 650Mbps tier could be released anywhere from 2016 to 2018, but there is a gradual ramp up in speed to keep people happy.
On the plan, Neville Ray, T-Mobile USA CTO said:
“Long Term HSPA Evolution will allow us to enhance our 4G mobile broadband network beyond its current and planned near term capabilities, and provide room for considerable growth and speed enhancements. As customer demand for wireless data increases, we are well positioned to compete based on the speed, breadth and evolution path of our mobile broadband service.”
Long Term HSPA Evolution will offer the following features:
- Multicarrier evolution: Combining up to eight carriers and providing peak data rates of up to 672 Mbps along with improving spectrum utilization. To overcome operators’ spectrum fragmentation constraints, HSDPA carrier aggregation enables carriers from more than one frequency band to be combined.
- Multipoint transmission: Significantly increases the cell edge data rate by coordinating and combining signals from multiple antennas.
- Dual antenna beamforming and MIMO in uplink: Improves the uplink performance with dual-antenna transmission, doubling the uplink peak data rate and improving the user average data rate by 30% with 2×2 MIMO/ beam forming. With 2×4 MIMO, over 100% increase in average user data rates can be achieved due to beam forming gain and four receive antennas in the base station.
Currently, in Boston, I get speeds upwards of 2Mbps on T-Mobile, and my Nexus One isn’t even an HSPA+ capable device. Even FiOS at my house usually tops out at 27Mbps, so the thought of these kinds of speeds are a little mind boggling. And, that’s before considering whatever the cost of those speeds may be.
What do you guys think? Is T-Mobile’s plan a good one, or will they continue to languish in 4th place no matter what?