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T-Mobile, Orange bring up the obvious concerns over LTE

Chris Ziegler

In Europe, Deutsche Telekom-owned T-Mobile and France Telecom-owned Orange are falling behind competitors with their LTE plans, but they say there are some very, very good reasons to blame. First, there's a little thing called "voice" -- you know, the main reason most of us have phones -- which isn't natively supported by LTE since it's a pure data technology; different carriers are currently endorsing different standards for routing voice, including some who are suggesting keeping legacy GSM and CDMA networks alive solely for their voice channels. That's just the beginning, though; the carriers are also worried about a massive crunch on the back end as devices capable of downlink speeds well over 20Mbps -- speeds that easily exceed the average home broadband connection -- put unprecedented pressure on infrastructure. There are also ongoing worries over intellectual property and the massive cost that'll be incurred by anyone hoping to manufacture or maintain LTE equipment, and the icing on the cake might be spectrum -- not all of the space necessary for full-scale LTE deployments in Europe has been auctioned yet, so these guys are biding their time anyway. All told, it sounds like it's a long way off before everyone's on the same page here.

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