Five years ago, AT&T launched the first iPhone, and that was a 2G phone. On August 3rd, AT&T submitted a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission and plans to shut down its 2G network by 2017 as it continues to upgrade its systems to faster technology. What is the faster technology? Does 4G LTE ring a bell?
The Evolution of LTE
In January 2011, a Forrester research paper titled “2011 Mobile Trends” wrote, “The attention paid to 4G will vastly outweigh the impact of these new networks” and “We recommend that you ignore the hype.”
LTE (Long Term Evolution), marketed as 4G LTE, is a mobile broadband communication standard based on the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA network technologies. 4G LTE brings four key benefits to mobile devices: higher bandwidth, lower latency, improved security, and prioritized QoS.
In January 2012, a Pyramid report on “LTE Devices and Applications; Next-generation mobile networks driven by video services” pointed out in one of their key findings that “LTE is gaining strong momentum and has already overtaken mobile WiMAX subscriptions during 2011. To date, 35 mobile operators have launched commercial LTE networks, a range of 197 devices have become available and the technology is maturing since the first network became live in late 2009.”
AT&T 4G LTE is now live in 51 markets and 74 Million Americans have access to AT&T 4G LTE (as of January 2012). LTE deployment is to be largely completed by year-end 2013. Quite a few LTE devices are available and consumers are excited to take advantage of the speed of 4G LTE.
What LTE Means to Developers, Business Owners, and Operators
As a developer, ignoring the LTE trend in 2012 would be unwise. It is to your advantage to be familiar with LTE technology, and it will be beneficial to understand its implication for app development. The white paper “Best Practices for 3G and 4G App Development” addresses best practices that can help developers leverage the benefits of LTE.
As a business owner, it’s time to consider what product is the best offer for the LTE network. A good question to ask might be, “What services can be enabled or enriched in the LTE mobile space?” For operators, a good question to ask might be, “What are the new possibilities and revenues with the 4G LTE network and devices?” “Do we have the infrastructure in place to realize the possibilities sooner and better than our competitors?”
Many can benefit from LTE, but no matter what role you play, now is the time to get up to speed and answer the questions at hand.