LTE performance in "real world" conditions has been a very big topic of discussion at Informa's LTE World Summit conferences for a while now and we have slowly been getting a better idea of what to expect from operator and vendor trials that have been taking place as well as from the LSTI.
Nokia Siemens Networks today demonstrated a 35 Mbps LTE service at its offices in Centurion. The system handled bandwidth hungry applications like high definition movie streaming, video conferencing and online gaming with ease, while voice quality over the test network was excellent. NSN had previously demonstrated peak data rates of 160 Mbps.
It was about a year ago when I was speaking with a senior level executive from Vodafone, who said he expected average data rates of about 30Mbps from LTE, far higher than what we get with highly congested HSPA networks at the moment one might add. It certainly seems that LTE is hitting the mark when it comes to expectations of average data rates. Vodafone only came out and endorsed LTE very recently, one of the last major tier 1 operators to do so. They clearly wanted to be absolutely certain that LTE was up to scratch!