CES 2013 and 4G LTE?

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The members of the French delegation who had an iPhone 5 made their first contact with 4G LTE before the show (as soon as they reached American soil).
  • First comment: it displays "4G" in the top bar.
  • Second comment: it's quick, the email box is updated instantly
  • Third comment: it uses up battery life quickly ...
More seriously, LTE was at the CES 2013 Las Vegas show but on quite a small scale:
  • CES is an electronics show for the general public (less telecoms-oriented than MWC for example)
  • and 4G LTE has already been rolled out in the USA.
This was also a major part of the message from the CEO of Verizon, Lowel McAdam: "We've done the job". Now we need to find and develop uses for it:
  • in health, emergency services, education and the automotive sector (which had a strong presence at the show)
  • in relation to the cloud, big data and machine-to-machine
  • looking towards partners (National Football League, start-ups and so on).
One area continues to be put forward as an area for technological experimentation and that is live video broadcast with eMBMS (Evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service). The objective is to be able to have a full broadcast rather than unicast mode for video over the radio network. The type of use which is quoted most frequently is
  • that of an American football match in a huge stadium (as is the norm).
  • Spectators want to be able to see close-ups, slow-motion replays and statistics on their tables or smartphones.
  • A large number of users therefore "consume" the same video content at the same time in a single place (a radio cell).

The service is not yet commercially operationally (to be launched during 2013?) and the economic model has not yet been established (this is one of the rather surprisingly lessons learned from the CES; the emphasis on the technology, uses and economic models will only come into play later on). And we will need terminals that integrate the latest chipsets and LTE modems. The Qualcomm stand, which was close to the Verizon stand, was also demonstrating eMBMS, based on its latest component, the Snapdragon 800 (a component which is also integrated into a tablet, whose amazing ability to decode 4K was also demonstrated alongside it). For smartphones that integrate eMBMS, given that Qualcomm has the dominant position for the supply of mobile processors, we will have to wait until the 2nd half of 2013.

Verizon was also demonstrating a live video broadcast solution (see http://store.livestream.com/products/livestream-broadcaster-lte), via a unit to be attached to a camera. Good video quality but latency related to the video encoding time (by the unit) which is rather lengthy (several seconds).

The integration of LTE and video has become a trend, with the Tegra 4 processor from nVidia. Similar announcements were made by ST-Ericsson (see the press release here: http://www.stericsson.com/press_releases_fr/ST-Ericsson_NovaThorL8580_FR...) and Renesas. All of these new LTE modems are category 4 and would enable maximum downlinks of 100 Mbits/s (for 100 Mbits/s for the current 4G LTE terminals which are category 3) but this is still just a theory for the moment as the networks that have been rolled out only support category 3 terminals and are based on the behaviour of category 4 terminals in this mode. Finally, France's SagemCom announced a residential 4G LTE box at this show (see the press release here: http://www.sagemcom.com/fileadmin/CP/CP_SAGEMCOM_Fast_3965_air_EN_DEF.pdf). We must not forget that 4G LTE may be one way to cover blank reception spots with Very Fast Broadband; this approach has already been chosen by some regulators (and operators), especially in Germany and Norway.
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