The handoff was part of a demonstration in Ottawa, Canada, and it was conducted over 700-MHz spectrum using an LG terminal and Nortel's CDMA and LTE networks. The companies said the successful handoff showed that things like video downloads, Web surfing, and Voice over Internet Protocol calls can be maintained while moving between 4G and 3G networks.
The move is important because LTE networks will take time to deploy and they will have to co-exist and rely on CDMA networks for fallback or gaps in coverage. In the United States, CDMA is the technology used by Sprint Nextel and Verizon Wireless for voice and mobile data. Verizon has already laid out aggressive LTE deployment plans using its portion of the 700-MHz spectrum, and it is aiming for a nationwide 4G network by 2015.
An LTE network could have a major impact on how consumers and businesses use mobile devices because it has the theoretical potential to be 100 times faster than current 3G networks. While real-life speeds will inevitably be less than that, it still opens the door for new consumer and enterprise applications like high-definition streaming video and cloud computing services on the go.
But LTE could be facing strong competition from Sprint and Clearwire, which already have live WiMax networks in multiple markets. While it has a lower theoretical downlink limit, WiMax networks are already delivering DSL-like speeds to users on the go. Additionally, WiMax may be getting a big push from cable companies that want to provide their customers with mobile services.
LTE Vs. WiMax won't be the typical winner-take-all showdown. Learn what each brings to the race (registration required).