updated 03:25 pm EST, Thu March 5, 2009
Nokia 4G Phones in 2010
A roadmap presented late yesterday by Nokia senior technology marketing manager James Harper confirms that the phone maker plans to be one of the first phone manufacturers with shipping 4G devices using the Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard. In pledging Nokia to using the technology, Harper confirmed to GigaOM and others in attendance that the company will launch 4G hardware starting in 2010 and also predicts that notebooks and other such devices will also get support for the faster cellular data, which is topping 60Mbps in real-world tests.
It's not known if the mention of "laptops" in the presentation relates to Nokia considering netbooks or else simply add-on modems for existing systems.
The firm's roadmap also sees initial expansion for LTE going through until 2013, when efforts will shift towards more global coverage and to mid-range cellphones. Internet phone calls will also get early momentum, Nokia said. True pervasiveness isn't expected until sometime on or after 2020.
Nokia's timing will put its first products on shelves in time for the first commercial networks. Verizon will launch its first commercial LTE network in early 2010 and should be joined by Canadian providers Bell and Telus at about the same time. Other carriers that already have plans for fast 3G access, such as AT&T, are typically pushing their 4G deployments out to 2011.
Harper also saw value in the competing WiMAX standard for 4G but called it a "niche play." The technology is already being used for pure data services but theoretically peaks at just 10Mbps on Sprint's Xohm network.