Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology is ahead in the race as the most sought-after next-generation (4G) wireless network standard in the market. The 4G wireless networks are aiming to cope with substantial demand for high-speed wireless data services and mobile video.
LTE is an IP-based modulation standard and a set of enhancement for the existing Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS). This technology has been pioneered by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), a telecom industry body comprising wireless carriers and equipment vendors who have been buying and selling the same proprietary products for years.
Verizon Communication (VZ), the largest carrier in the U.S., and NTT DoCoMo (DCM), the largest carrier in Japan, are the first two companies to decide on implementing LTE–based networks by 2010. Vodafone (VOD), the largest mobile carrier globally on revenue count and AT&T (T) will implement LTE by 2012. Recently, China Mobile (CHL), the largest wireless operator globally on subscriber count, has also decided to opt for 4G LTE technology.
LTE offers several advantages over other 4G techniques like WiMAX, Ultra Mobile Broadband (upgrade of CDMA EV-DO) and Multi-input Multi-output (MIMO) Wireless LAN. This includes improvement in spectral efficiency, lower costs, and solid integration with other open wireless standards. These are the compelling reasons influencing the switch to LTE technology.
The growing acceptance of LTE technology has prompted the mobile handset makers to develop phones that will be compatible with this network. NTT DoCoMo will launch LTE handsets in 2011 compatible with its current 3G network, enabling the customers to access services even if they are outside an LTE coverage area.
LTE is expected to achieve download transmission speeds of 300Mbps and offers several advantages over other wireless techniques. This includes spectral efficiency, lower costs and solid integration with other open wireless standards.
Recent rumors within the broadband industry are suggestive of an expected deal between the legendary iPhone maker Apple Inc (AAPL) and Verizon Wireless to introduce a new LTE-compatible iPhone. Nokia Corp (NOK), the largest mobile phone developer in the world, has also entered in the race and is expected on launch LTE-based mobile handsets by 2011.
Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM), one of the key developers of OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access) based chipsets has decided to introduce the trial version of LTE-compatible chipsets during the second half of 2009. LG Electronics, on the other hand, has already given a demonstration of LTE-based modem during the Mobile World Congress of 2009.