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Ericsson and TeliaSonera have flipped the switch on the world's first commercial Long Term Evolution cell site in Stockholm, Sweden.
The site will be part of a full-scale deployment that's scheduled for next year, and it's a milestone for the next generation of mobile broadband. LTE networks have shown a peak performance of 160 Mbps, which could enable a host of new mobile services like high-definition video streaming, Internet television, and mobile video blogging. While the average speeds likely will be lower, LTE networks still blow away modern 3G networks, which generally top out at about 7.2 Mbps.
"The unveiling of this site shows that LTE is no longer the story of the future; it is the story of today," said Ulf Ewaldsson, VP of product area radio at Ericsson, in a statement. "Ericsson, as a leader in LTE development, is proud to work with TeliaSonera to bring a commercial LTE network to life."
Major mobile operators like AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and Vodafone have committed to LTE for their 4G networks, and Verizon has the most aggressive deployment schedule. The carrier plans to roll out LTE networks in 25 to 30 markets by the end of 2010, and it wants a nationwide deployment by 2015.
While the majority of cellular operators have backed LTE, industry watchers expect WiMax to present a technology standards issue for 4G networks. Sprint, Clearwire, Intel, Google, and others have invested heavily in WiMax, and it has a time-to-market advantage because networks are already being deployed around the globe. The technology divide could potentially lead to a situation that's similar to the GSM and CDMA wireless technology schism.
LTE vs. WiMax won't be the typical winner-take-all showdown. Learn what each brings to the race (registration required).