Every couple of weeks I am hearing of a new LTE trial of one network operator or another and I am beginning to wonder what they are actually trialing or what the word "trial" actually means!? Two years ago, when first network operators in the Nordic European countries trialed LTE, it was uncharted territory, the network hardware and software was in its infancy, mobile devices were hardly available and anything that had something to do with LTE was a trial which brought the technology one step closer to actually work.
Fast forward to the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012 and many LTE networks are providing service to customers. However, some network operators are still trialing LTE or are just starting to do so. But these sorts of trials are quite different from those that happened two years ago. The technology is here, customers are using the networks already and despite some vital ingredients still missing such as a voice service (for which no good near term solution is at hand) and seamless handover to 3G.
In other words, LTE trials today are more of an exercise of network operators to warm up to the technology rather than poineer's work back some years ago.