The GSM Association is set to push the next-generation Long-Term Evolution (LTE) standard into the hearts and minds of people around the world with the association’s recent vote to support the emerging 4G standard as the next step after HSPA. Following on recent successes in LTE’s field-tests and Verizon’s consideration of the technology for their next-gen mobile broadband network, the GSMA has granted the LTE standard an official position as the 4G successor to the 3G HSPA networks currently used by AT&T in the US and Rogers in Canada.
This move signifies the GSM industry’s official support of the LTE standard over the UMB and WiMAX standards that are being backed by non-GSM carriers. Rob Conway, CEO of GSMA, has called upon the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to ensure that the industry will win the necessary spectrum to carry out their LTE plans. With the backing of the United Nations’ telecom regulatory body, LTE has a bright future ahead. The GSMA “will work with other companies and organizations developing LTE technology, and start working with the NGMN (Next Generation Mobile Networks) initiative.”
We should start to see LTE applications pop up around the end of the decade, so we’ve still got a way to go before we see LTE mobile broadband speeds of 100Mbps hit the US. WiMAX could very well have a future in the US’s mobile broadband environment if it gets to market in time to capture early-adopters’ hearts. Like the saying goes, “first to market, first in your hearts.” Okay, we made that up, but if WiMAX does make it to market before LTE goes online, it could gather enough support to remain viable well into the future – even if it is a “3G” technology.