Some operators and vendors may already have hijacked the term “4G” for their LTE and WiMAX services, but the specifications for “true” 4G services under the 3GPP umbrella will be published in March 2011 under Release 10, according to current targets.

Release 10 of the 3GPP specifications will include LTE Advanced, which along with the next evolution of WiMAX will be submitted as a contender for a 4G standard under the ITU’s IMT-Advanced programme. Both LTE Advanced and WiMAX are expected to be accepted as 4G standards, said Adrian Scrase, vice president of international partnerships at 3GPP.

"R10 is ‘4G’ in my opinion,” said Scrase, although he noted that the “academic” approach to standards is of little interest to marketeers who have seized on 4G as a new moniker for LTE and WiMAX.

Scrase said those operators already building LTE networks are using the March 2009 version of Release 8, while Release 9 was “frozen” in December 2009. Scrase said R9 includes around 50 new features, such as LTE standards for femtocells and specifications for self-organising networks, which he said will be crucial for femtocell deployment.

Release 9 also includes the IMB mobile broadcast standard, which is built largely on the TDtv mobile broadcast TV technology developed by IPWireless. Scrase said he expects to see launches of IMB in the coming year, and said European operators have welcomed it as a way to make use of their currently dormant TDD spectrum.

Scrase also welcomed the news this week that the GSM Association has adopted the One Voice initiative for voice over LTE using IMS networks, as defined by 3GPP. Scrase refuted the claims made by many that voice was “forgotten” when LTE network specifications were being defined. “It does depend on IMS, and some operators have not adopted IMS,” he noted.

The 3GPP also had to take steps to clarify suggestions that native LTE does not support SMS. This was one of the concerns that caused T-Mobile, which relies on SMS for the provisioning of services, to get involved in the Volga initiative. Volga’s solution was to deploy UMA technology to enable voice services

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