HSPA has already rolled out deep into the heart of Europe with countries like Germany, UK, France, Sweden and Finland already having a huge coverage of multi-megabit up and download speeds available to customers. The next stage, starting commercially in 2010, is LTE. Long Term Evolution. Where UMTS and HSPA were 3G technologies, LTE is 4G and will bring theoretical speeds way above what most people even get on their DSL and cable connections today. More importantly it lowers the cost for carriers by introducing new protocols and technologies that can carry more data and make transporting it more energy efficiently, both through the air and on the cables that run back to the data centres.
LTE isn’t the latest technology though. Carriers are already thinking about the next generation beyond the next generation in LTE Advanced. All we need to know at the moment is that it can provide data rates beyond what you could imaging using. Imagine a whole family’s media needs, from interactive HDTV through internet, telephony, security and control, all travelling over the air into a Mifi-sized set-top box. It may be 10-20 years away but this is what cable and DSL providers are going to have to fight with. The wireless, mobile personal, pocketable media box is coming!
The EU has further underpinned their commitment to the technology (the EU has already agreed that LTE, not Wimax, will be the technology that is used across the member states. That’s 27 countries with 500 million people) by announcing some early funding for LTE Advanced research.
As of 1 January 2010, the EU will invest â‚¬ 18 million into research that will underpin next generation 4G mobile networks. The European Commission just decided to start the process of funding research on Long Term Evolution (LTE) Advanced technology, that will offer mobile internet speeds up to a hundred times faster than current 3G networks. LTE is becoming the industry’s first choice for next generation mobile networks, also thanks to substantial EU research funding since 2004. 25 years ago, Europe already made the GSM standard the backbone of modern mobile telephony. Based on Europe’s joint research and the strength of the EU’s single market, the GSM standard is today used by 80% of the world’s mobile networks. LTE promises to be a similar success as EU-funded research continues to bring cutting-edge technology to the daily lives of Europeans.
It’s not a huge amount of money but it’s a great start and a confidence boost for everyone working in the European mobile technology sector.
Read through the press release and you’ll find some interesting info.
- LTE is expected to be commercially available in Sweden and Norway in the first half of 2010
- By 2013, operators worldwide are expected to invest nearly 6 billion Euros ( $8.6 billion) in LTE equipment, according to market analysts.
- Overall, in 2007-2013 the EU will invest more than 700 million Euro into research on future networks, half of which will be allocated to wireless technologies contributing to development of 4G and beyond 4G networks.
- EU research on networks of the future and LTE: http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/ict/future-networks/
- EU-funded project Wireless World Initiative New Radio (WINNER): http://www.ist-winner.org
For more technical reading and discussion on the subject of European 3G and 4G mobile networks, check out Mobile Society.