Long Term Evolution (LTE)

LTE is one of two technologies in use as the next 4G cellular network (the other being WiMax). Between the two providers for 4G service, most carries have signed with LTE technology including MetroPCS (who launched their LTE 4G network in Las Vegas on Sept. 21st, 2010), Verizon, and AT&T. So far only Sprint has signed with WiMax.

LTE (an acronym for Long Term Evolution) is a next generation cellular technology that is an evolution of the current GSM technology used in current GPRS, EDGE and HSPA networks. These current technologies (EDGE being 2G, HSPA and HSPA+ being 3G and 3.5G respectively) are already used in AT&T and T-Mobile USA's cellular networks, and GSM technology is used by almost all European and Asia cellular network providers, which will ultimately lead to LTE being used as the primary 4G technology in most of the world. Opposed to this is CDMA technology, which is only used by Verizon Wireless, Sprint, the US regional carriers (Metro PCS, Alltel, Cellular South, etc.) and a few Chinese carriers. Verizon and Metro PCS, so far, is the only CDMA network that has announced plans for a LTE network. Verizon has stated it's network will be live by the end of 2010, while Metro PCS has already launched its LTE network in Las Vegas, along with the worlds first LTE handset, the Samsung Craft. AT&T promises mid-2011, while T-Mobile, who is just now completing its 3G network, is upgrading its towers to 3.5G HSPA+, touting speeds comparable to competitor's 4G networks, which will be limited at launch. Sprint has stated that it is "looking into" LTE as a companion to its current WiMax network but hasn't made any formal plans. Many of these networks will not have cellular phones that support the networks right away, but instead will focus on data cards for laptops at launch, which will benefit most from the speed boost.

The biggest application for LTE is in cell phones, which is the primary target for the technology at the moment. However, with the surge in popularity of smart phones and the ability access the internet on multiple devices, the technology could also be employed in laptops, touch screen devices (like the iPad), handheld video game systems (Sony PSP or Nintendo DS) and USB devices that use cell phone towers to connect to the internet.

Related Links:
1. Article on LTE at Kosmix: http://technology.kosmix.com/topic/Long_Term_Evolution
2. "Overview of the 3GPP Long Term Evoloution Physical Layer" by Jim Zyren at Freescale:

3. Article of 3GPP Long Term Evolution at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3GPP_Long_Term_Evolution
4. "WiMax vs. Long Term Evolution: Let the battle begin" at Computer World: http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9085202/WiMax_vs._Long_Term_Evolution_Let_the_battle_begin

5. Article on LTE at Nortel: http://www2.nortel.com/go/solution_content.jsp?segId=0&catId=0&parId=0&prod_id=61700

6. Definition of LTE by Search Mobile Computing: http://searchmobilecomputing.techtarget.com/definition/Long-Term-Evolution-LTE

7. "Long Term Evolution: 5 Things Everyone Should Know" at Moble-Broadband-Reviews: http://www.mobile-broadband-reviews.com/long-term-evolution.html

8. Article of LTE Advanced on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LTE_Advanced