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2/18/2010
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Huawei Introduces LTE Modem

Not restricted to long-term evolution technology alone, the device is backwards compatible with 3G UMTS and 2G GSM/EDGE networks.

Samsung's LTE modem monopoly on commercial networks is about to be challenged by an LTE modem unveiled this week by Huawei.

While Samsung's GT-B3710 LTE dongle is restricted to long-term evolution technology alone, the Huawei E398 LTE device is backwards compatible with 3G UMTS and 2G GSM/EDGE networks. Samsung, which is also promising backward compatibility with 2G and 3G in updates, debuted its dongle in TeliaSonera's LTE network, the world's first commercial LTE deployment, in December.

Huawei said its modem will be provided to Scandinavian carrier Net4Mobility, which is a joint venture of Tele2 and Telenor. The Huawei device is powered by Qualcomm's MDM9200 chipset. Samsung's modem is powered by CEVA Inc.'s DSP core technology.

TeliaSonera's LTE service was launched in Stockholm and Oslo with plans to spread the service gradually throughout wide areas of Sweden and Norway. Huawei is providing network infrastructure in Oslo and Ericsson in Stockholm.

Speed claims for the LTE service fluctuate widely with download rates of up to 100 megabits per second claimed. In keeping with the traditional braggadocio of wireless throughput claims, actual user tests are much lower. One Nordic analyst firm found actual speeds of downlink speeds under 16 Mb/s, although it noted that improvements planned for the network will likely boost speeds.

In the U.S., Verizon Wireless is putting the finishing touches on its LTE network, the first U.S. deployment, which is due to launch in 25 to 30 cities later this year. Like TeleSonera's network, the Verizon deployment is expected to launch with USB and dongle modems. Handsets that would support voice calling are expected to be available later, probably in 2011.

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