Sierra Wireless says its AirPrime MC7700 embedded wireless module won technical approval for the AT&T 4G LTE network, and it AirPrime MC7750 module now can be used on the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network, thus clearing the way for shipments to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that are building products with integrated 4G connectivity on either of the major U.S.-based LTE networks.
The AirPrime MC77XX Series embedded wireless modules allow OEMs to use the latest generation of high-speed mobile networks, delivering download speeds as fast as 100 Mbps and upload speeds as fast as 50 Mbps, integrated GPS capabilities and broad compatibility, Sierra says. The series also is backward-compatible to help ensure connectivity with existing 2G and 3G networks.
Sierra Wireless embedded modules support Windows, Linux and Android operating systems. The AirPrime MC7750 module also supports over-the-air device management (OTA-DM), allowing OEMs to include provisioning, servicing and customization options. In addition, the AirPrime MC7700 and the AirPrime MC7750 share a common hardware and software interface.
"We recognize that many of our OEM customers need to be able to provide their customers with options when it comes to network services," notes Dan Schieler, senior vice president and general manager/Mobile Computing at Sierra Wireless, "so we put major effort behind streamlining wireless integration for our customers, ensuring they have quick access to new technologies in reliable, pre-certified modules with a common interface.”
He continues, “OEMs can design and develop once, and apply the work across devices for both networks, allowing them to keep development costs under control while still offering their customers the choices they want."
In separate but related LTE news, research firm Informa Telecoms & Media believes spectrum policy and availability is causing the market for LTE to become regionally fragmented.
“The emergence of distinct regional and even national bands and band combinations will pose difficult choices for equipment and device vendors in terms of which bands they choose to support,” according to Informa.
Adds Malik Saadi, principal analyst, “Given the design and integration constraints associated with providing multiband support for LTE, device vendors and chipset providers in particular will want to consider the size of the global addressable market for each band, as well as regional band adoption patterns and band pairings, before configuring their products to support specific band combinations.”
In the lower-spectrum range, the 700 MHz band (preferred in the United States) only will be adopted by a handful of operators outside the Americas, whereas the 800 MHz “digital dividend” band will be used widely in Western and Eastern Europe, according to Informa’s research. The 900 MHz band, used in early deployments in Sweden, only will extend to a small number of regionally diverse markets by 2016, although likely adopters include KDDI and NTT DoCoMo in Japan.
At the higher end, the 2600 MHz FDD band will be adopted widely in Western and Eastern Europe, and it will see some take-up in the North and Latin American markets. However, it probably won’t be popular in most Asia Pacific markets.
The 2300 MHz TDD band will dominate in China, while Japanese deployments in bands higher than 2100 MHz will be limited to Softbank’s expected adoption of the 2600-MHz TDD band.
Even within similar band ranges, regional differences will have implications for product planners. The paired 1700/2100 AWS spectrum (3GPP Band IV), extensively used in North America, will see no uptake outside the Americas, although the 2100 MHz UMTS expansion band favored by NTT DoCoMo is a likely to be adopted in some markets in Latin America and Africa as well as in India and Pakistan.
Other bands will see little or no uptake outside a single country. The 1900 MHz band most likely will be confined to the United States and Argentina, Informa says, while Japan’s 1500 MHz band will be limited to that market alone.
"Even before international roaming between LTE networks becomes an issue, the need to support intra-regional and even within-country roaming will govern band selection as part of the necessary rationalization of bands supported by LTE devices,” comments Julian Bright, senior analyst.