The introduction of Long-Term Evolution (LTE) high-speed data services – one of the 'fourth generation' options for mobile technology – won't mean the demise of third-generation services. In fact, because the 4G LTE service is mainly designed for data traffic, 3G will become an increasingly-popular choice for voice calls and as a backup data service.
That's the message from Dan Warren, the GSM Association's director of technology, who told Unstrung.com that the commercial lifespan of 3G High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) is very long. He sees today's 167 million HSPA connections increasing to 1.5 billion by 2014, when LTE is expected to become popular.
The same perspective was also obvious earlier in the week when Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao spoke to investors. During a conference call he said LTE wasn't a huge revolution to companies with a good HSPA network and confirmed that Vodafone was going to continue upgrading its 3G networks.