With the growing demand for higher bandwidth and the desire in today’s world to be ‘always connected’, the topic of delivering LTE as a replacement for fixed services is still up for debate. Can LTE be an effective alternative for fixed-line services and if so, is that limited to the last mile for homes and businesses?
Even if it can be effective, according to Rupert Wood, principal analyst for Analysys Mason, it’s pretty much only true for rural areas. “The case for fixed-line LTE is weakening in developed cities”, he told me. “The problem is the limited role of the use case – LTE simply does not have the capacity to meet demand for data as fixed broadband,” said Wood.
Last year we saw NBN Co’s 4G fixed wireless roll-out in Australia where they have extended the fixed wireless access out to rural locations, with the aim of providing speeds of 25Mbps/5Mbps downlink/uplink – bandwidth that many in the big cities currently take for granted. Also, in Cumbria, a rural area of the UK that was previously starved of fast fixed-line services, mobile operator EE has launched LTE fixed wireless mobile broadband to serve local homes and businesses, with average speeds in the region 24Mbps.
These two use cases highlight where LTE for fixed services make sense, but are these limited in scope and questions remain – is there much revenue potential for operators, and if so, where does fixed LTE make sense?
Continue this debate at the 10th Annual LTE World Summit 2014, where we will be asking, could 4G LTE take over fixed-line services and can LTE Networks live up to the bandwidth that fixed-line networks can offer, or is case for fixed LTE weakening?