Thought the alphabet soup of modern wireless standards was confusing enough? 1X Advanced / EV-DO Advanced, UMTS, HSPA, HSPA+, dual-carrier HSPA+, EDGE Evolution, LTE, LTE-Advanced, WiMAX, WiMAX 2... we could keep going, but we'd really rather not. Oh, but we have to, because this one could get really interesting: Nokia Siemens is touting that the specifications for Long Term HSPA Evolution have just been submitted to the 3GPP, promising theoretical speeds in excess of 650Mbps -- a number that still falls shy of the ITU's definition of a 4G standard, but easily eclipses just about anything shy of LTE-Advanced or WiMAX 2.
Interestingly, T-Mobile USA is specifically mentioned in Nokia Siemens' press release as supporting the developments, a testament to the fact that the carrier is firmly committed to wringing everything it can out of legacy 3G standards before moving on -- just as they're already doing with their aggressive 21Mbps HSPA+ rollout. Considering that present-day LTE tops out somewhere in the 300Mbps to 400Mbps range, we can't say we're opposed, especially since the new technology will be backward compatible with today's HSPA networks. Yes, granted: "Long Term HSPA Evolution" is a terrible name considering that LTE already stands for Long Term Evolution (and LTHSPAE isn't the slickest acronym anyway) -- but we'll worry about naming logistics closer to launch, which is still years off. See the full press release after the break.