2010 to be the year of LTE tests and trials, experts say
Lure of increased data revenues set to help reduce gap between latest tech and the Middle East and North Africa
The deployment of fourth generation technology LTE is unlikely to really take off until 2011, with next year pegged as a year for trial and evaluation, according to industry figures.
Sandra Gilligan, project marketing director, mobile broadband, GSMA says it will be 2011 or 2012 before LTE starts to gain traction.
"I think that is when there will be a few more operators that have rolled out networks allowing device manufacturers to get economies of scale. It will happen next year but longer term it will be 2011-12," she said.
"We will see all the operators go through with experimentation to learn the technology and see the new impact of the technology in terms of speeds, new trends in network traffic, the changes in the core network that they need to implement to successfully play LTE.
"2010 is a year of trial and experimentation in the Middle East, but the operators' mission is not to be left behind, and to keep at the cutting edge," Gilligan added.
Sameh Atalla, CEO of Cairo-based telecoms infrastructure specialist Mobiserve said vendors are working hard on rolling out the technology, and that maybe in 12-18 months it will really kick off.
"The gap between the latest technologies has been getting smaller," he said. "The timeframe of catching up has been getting smaller and smaller so my expectation with LTE in the Middle East and North Africa is that we will catch up much faster.
"Operators know that the new revenue streams will come from the faster data transfer and downloading and so forth, and hence it will not be a niche market any more, it will be a big portion of the revenue depending on that and hence the willingness to spend on the upgrade of their technology faster."