Spending on Long Term Evolution wireless infrastructure will outstrip that of fellow mobile communications standard WiMAX by the end of 2011, according to analysis by market watcher IDC Research.
A report by the group forecasts that more than 12 new LTE networks will go live during 2010, supported by up to 100 operators – including nine out of ten of the planet’s biggest mobile carriers.
"The world is coalescing around the LTE standard as a result of its promise to increase speed and capacity to address the exploding growth in mobile data traffic," explained Godfrey Chua, research manager of wireless and mobile infrastructure at IDC. "LTE is an important part of the portfolio of technology solutions that will enable mobile operators to cost-effectively deliver more innovative and robust data applications and services over the mobile network."
IDC also predicts that the advent of LTE and subsequent 4G networks will lead to a "land grab" situation between current mobile communications market leader Ericsson and Chinese vendor Huawei, while Nokia Siemens and Alcatel-Lucent will likely drop off the pace.
Both LTE and WiMAX are commonly marketed as being a major step towards the fourth generation of mobile networks (4G) – designed to be better equipped to handle more bandwidth hungry mobile data traffic, such as video and VoIP, which has been fuelled by huge growth of smartphone use during recent years. As a result, confusion remains over the precise differences between the two networking standards.