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The carriers are choosing their partners for network evolution: Sprint Nextel chose WiMax (and we’ll see if that sticks), and now Verizon chooses LTE (Long Term Evolution), a cell data technology that’s being adopted widley in Europe, including by its minority shareholder Vodafone. By choosing LTE, Verizon would allow better international roaming; its current CDMA technology for 2G and 3G connections is used only in parts of Asia by certain carriers and by Sprint. This is a blow to Qualcomm, which hasn’t gotten traction on its 4G flavor.
LTE has a rated speed of 100 Mbps downstream with 20 MHz of spectrum, but U.S. carriers are typically deploying 1.25 to 4 MHz for their 3G offerings. To achieve the best rates, more spectrum or different alignment of spectrum will be required. That’s partly what the 700 MHz and some recent auctions were about.