Beceem Communications has developed a chip that supports multi-mode operation of both WiMAX and LTE, including live handoffs between the two technologies.
Indeed, the BCSi500 is capable of automatically detecting the network type and switching between WiMAX and LTE via a multi-mode "autosense" feature.
The chip is also designed to reach up to 200Mbps peak throughput on a 20MHZ LTE network.
"This flexibility gives operators more choices in terms of how best to utilize their spectrum assets," explained Beceem VP Lars Johnsson.
"A significant additional benefit of the WiMAX-to-LTE upgrade strategy is that by deploying WiMAX today, operators are positioned to negotiate better terms and timelines for their LTE deployment."
According to Johnsson, the BCSi500 will allow operators to:
- Address the immediate market opportunity of providing wireless broadband service to numerous underserved markets in India.
- Exploit the wide selection of low-cost WiMAX equipment, which is key for targeting price-sensitive consumers and businesses.
"WiMAX lets operators avoid LTE's two major drawbacks: As a brand-new technology, LTE will have a limited selection of commercial user devices through 2012, and it may take several more years to ride down the cost curve," said Johnsson.
"[So], in both cases, WiMAX has a multi-year head start, we believe making it the best choice for immediate use of BWA spectrum. [As such], upgrading to LTE gives India's operators access to that technology's global ecosystem that can drive a larger device variety, higher volumes and enable global roaming, once LTE technology has matured in 3-5 years."