ST-Ericsson achieves first LTE-HSPA hand-off

by Caroline Gabriel, Rethink Wireless

Most LTE networks will run alongside, or overlay, 3G systems, and so multimode devices, and hand-off between different networks, will be essential to successful deployments once handsets appear from 2011. The first company to demonstrate handover between LTE and HSPA is ST-Ericsson, which carried out the test on Ericsson’s live trial network in Swedish capital Stockholm.

This showed STE’s M710 multimode platform staking an early claim to the LTE smartphone market. Major silicon vendors like STE and Qualcomm expect to sample handset chipsets next year, but a mass market for LTE phones will not develop until 2012 onwards. However, there is a great deal of testing and tweaking to be done before that happens, and handover will be one of the most critical areas for multi-network operators.

“Seamless roaming between LTE and today’s networks is a key device capability to enable faster introduction of LTE,” said Joergen Lantto, CTO at the Swiss-based joint venture, in a statement.

“Ericsson is in the lead of the LTE development and together with the rest of the industry we will provide a true ecosystem for mobile broadband,” said Ulf Ewaldsson, head of product area radio at Ericsson, in the same statement.