Although an official definition of wireless 4G technology will not be released until the 2008/2009 timeframe in the form of the ITU’s IMT-Advanced requirements, there are already clear contenders for the designation, reports In-Stat. The primary 4G technologies of the future are expected to be Long Term Evolution (LTE), Ultra Mobile Broadband (UMB) and IEEE 802.16m WiMAX, the high tech market research firm says.

“Companies are extremely uncomfortable talking about ‘4G’ technologies, since the ITU has not defined 4G yet,” says Gemma Tedesco, In-Stat analyst. “However, each of the contending 4G technologies has a cheerleader, with Ericsson touting LTE, Qualcomm preferring UMB and Intel touting 802.16m WiMAX.”

Recent research by In-Stat found the following:

• Two widely expected requirements for 4G technologies are that they be OFDMA-based, and that they support 100 Mbps for wide area mobile applications.

• With the dominant worldwide technology currently being GSM/EDGE, and HSPA and EV-DO handsets not expected to be dominant until 2012, 4G technology roll-outs will most likely start in the 2010-2012 timeframe.

• It is widely believed that mobile operators will initially deploy 4G very slowly, relying on their EV-DO or HSPA networks to provide for more ubiquitous coverage.

• Drivers of LTE, UMB and 802.16m WiMAX adoption will include the following: the re-allocation of older spectrum for 4G technologies; the resolution of any WiMAX IPR issues; the creation of FDD profiles for 802.16e WiMAX; the uptake rate of 802.16e in Mobile PCs; the uptake rate of 3G cellular in Mobile PCs; the continued evolution of the mobile handset; and an increase in the uptake rate of wireless broadband technologies into portable CE devices.

• Realistically, initial implementations of LTE, UMB and 802.16m WiMAX may fall short of throughput and other expectations, with later enhancements, or even some type of technology combination, actually bringing real 4G to the table.

The research, “The Road to 4G: Will LTE, UMB and WiMAX Just be Stops Along the Way?,” examines possible 4G technologies and the drivers that will influence the uptake of each of these technologies. It provides forecasts of cellular handset chipsets per technology, 3G cellular modems in mobile PCs and 802.16e mobile WiMAX chipsets through 2011. It also contains background information about contending 4G technologies and analysis of the current cellular and WiMAX markets. Profiles of vendors driving contending 4G technologies are included. In addition to the report, Gemma and other In-Stat analysts provide consulting services on a variety of technical and market topics regarding the semiconductor and electronics industries.