Dual Carrier HSDPA is in the 3GPP standards for some time now and in the mid-term we'll probably see it deployed. So where to go with HSPA next? Well, 3GPP RAN discusses 4 Carrier HSDPA spread over different frequency bands. That's for 3GPP Release 10 I suppose. The report from the recent RAN#59 meeting gives some interesting details in chapter 5.4:
- Adjacent and non-adjacent 5 MHz carriers in a single band (e.g. 2.1 GHz)
- Use of several bands. Band combinations suggested: I and VIII (2.1 GHz + 900 MHz, Europe), II and IV (1900 + 1700, US), I and V (2.1 GHz, Europe + 850 US [???])
- MIMO support depending on the capabilities of the UE in a band. This is an interesting as with this sentence it is assumed that a future UE could support MIMO only in some of the bands it supports.
Obviously that's a big new challenge for UE chip designers. While today the mobile can select an operating band and a suitable front-end, using several bands simultaneously will require the parallel use of hardware components. A tricky thing. Comments from the RF community on this are greatly appreciated.
Nothings written into stone yet (eh, into the standards I mean) but this is where things are likely to go.
Oh, and I learnt of a new company name: Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell. An interesting combination!