Mobile broadband technology is evolving at a fast pace, and 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) is set to become the dominant technology. In North America, mobile network operator Verizon Wireless launched the first large-scale LTE network in 2010, and today carries 60% of the global LTE traffic.
Based on Verizon's experience, Milan Vuckovic, wireless policy development analyst at Verizon, examined how LTE could drive economic growth and bring access to rural areas, during our August Internet governance webinar which took place last week.
Mr Vuckovic explored the potential of LTE and the socio-economic benefits it can offer. The following were the main points discussed during the webinar (summarised by our host):
US public policy has enabled a vibrant mobile broadband marketplace:
- It has allowed flexibility of use of technology and spectrum frequencies
- It has given rise to competition
4G LTE delivers wireline broadband speeds in a wireless environment:
- A downlink of 5-12 Mbps
- An uplink of 2-4 Mbps
With the advent of 4G LTE, wireless technology is at a point where it can transform economies:
- It enables innovation and delivers socio-economic benefits
4G LTE is well-suited for reaching unserved and underserved rural areas:
- 700 MHz spectrum propagations are ideal for reaching rural areas and helping to bridge the digital divide
During the webinar, Mr Vuckovic also discussed questions and comments raised by the participants, including: Is deploying of LTE significantly more expensive? Can operators share LTE spectrum allocation? Are the frequencies on which LTE operates different from those of 3G networks?
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