LTE as an HSPA Capacity Extension

Thought of the day: I keep hearing that LTE is great because you can go beyond the capacity of HSPA(+). Well, from an air interface perspective (Bits/s/Hz), that's going to be tough to achieve as HSPA(+) is going in the same direction capacity wise given the same amount of spectrum as LTE.

BUT, and that's how I haven't thought about it yet, LTE can be used in the new 2.6 GHz band, something for which HSPA is not specified and current base stations and many antennas are also not designed for. So once you get to the limit of your HSPA capacitiy, i.e. once you have used all the assigned spectrum in the 2.1 GHz band, you can use LTE to increase capacity with an overlay 2.6 GHz deployment. Where a lot of capacity is needed, range, which is going to decrease with the higher frequency, is also not a big issue.

Maybe you are lucky as an operator at this point and your 2G/3G equipment at this location is end of life and needs to be replaced at the time you run out of capacity anyway. It might then be possible to replace the old base station with a multi-technology, multi-band base station. If you are even luckier you manage to get a backhaul fiber to the site as we are talking triple digit MBit/s that have to be transported.

And at the same time you give your customers an incentive to upgrade to LTE: Higher speeds for them as they don't have to share the network with the masses anymore. At least for a while.