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Most 4G Wireless Networks Arrive in 2012 to 2014

Yet another market study has uncovered delays in the planned migration to forth-generation wireless networks. Infonetics Research recently published their 4G Strategies: Global Service Provider Survey.

Senior Infonetics analysts asked operators about their 4G network build-out plans, deployment strategies, challenges, technical and commercial drivers -- plus, the 4G services, applications, and devices they plan to offer.

"Better spectral efficiency tops the list of technical drivers for service providers upgrading to 4G," notes Richard Webb, directing analyst for WiMAX, microwave, and mobile devices at Infonetics.

"We asked service providers around the world when they anticipate their 4G networks will be complete with commercial services running. Two-thirds said 2012 to 2014, which is a realistic timeframe when an equipment and device ecosystem based upon an IMT-Advanced definition of 4G seems likely," adds Stéphane Téral, Infonetics Research's principal analyst for mobile and FMC infrastructure.

Infonetics surveyed knowledgeable purchase decision-makers at wireless service providers in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (52 percent), North America (24 percent), Asia Pacific (24 percent), and Central and Latin America (5 percent) that operate a wireless network and have plans to deploy 4G.

Infonetics 4G Survey Summary Results Follow:

- 82 percent of service provider respondents plan to follow the W-CDMA to LTE deployment scenario, and of those, 53 percent plan to deploy HSPA+ before LTE.

- Half of the service providers believe 4G downlink speed will be between 25Mbps and 50Mbps at service launch, while 42 percent believe downlink speeds will be in excess of 50Mbps, suggesting that operators are getting more ambitious.

- 82 percent of service providers say they plan to launch mobile VPN services, showing the growing importance of the mobile enterprise business.

- Service providers appear to have sorted out their voice migration strategy (which was unclear in a similar Infonetics survey conducted last year), with IMS identified as the key architecture.

- Over half of the service providers surveyed plan to offer voice services over 4G one year after commercial launch.

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