Tuesday, August 19, 2008

4G Won't Usurp 3G - Yet, Anyway

4G technology LTE (along with WiMAX) may be the wave of the future of wireless service, but does that mean that the progress being made on EVDO and UMTS/HSPA will all be for naught? Will the promise of faster uploads and better cost-effectiveness cause providers to focus more on 4G development or consumers to hold off on subscribing to wireless internet service until 4G service is available? Makes sense, right?

Not necessarily.

Tireless tech researchers ABI are reporting that in just one year the number of EVDO Rev A subscribers jumped an impressive 800%, and they even project that the number could rise to as many as 54 million by 2013 with another 25 million using EVDO Rev B. The improvements that EVDO Rev B and HSPA+ will bring to the market will bring the service close enough to promised LTE speeds - within about 100 Mbps for downloads for HSPA+ - to make migrating to 4G an unnecessary hassle for some customers. Unlike the switches to Rev B and HSPA+, which will likely be very smooth/gradual migrations, LTE adoption will require new components since it operates on an entirely different technology (OFDM).

Obviously, 4G technology will replace the likes of EVDO and HSPA eventually, it just might take a while - such is the usual natural progression of new technology adoption. Even if LTE and WiMAX blow 3G out of the water with everything from speed to devices to cost, it's certainly not going to be an overnight transition.

For more 4G scoop, check out EVDOinfo.com's 4G blog and 4G forums!