updated 04:55 pm EST, Wed November 24, 2010
4G Americas officially recognizes LTE as 4G tech
The ITU this week officially declared LTE-Advanced has been officially recognized as a 4G wireless standard. The upgraded LTE now joins WiMAX 2 as an IMT-Advanced technology. This final ratification took place at the ITU-R Study Group meeting held over the past two days in Geneva, Switzerland.I n order to qualify for official 4G status, wireless technologies need to achieve peak rates of 1Gbps in hotspots and 100Mbps while mobile, have to be fully IP-based and have the ability to switch between networks that include 4G, 3G and Wi-Fi.
Regular LTE had nine official commercial deployments in 2010, with 11 more expected before year's end that includes Verizon in December. There are reportedly over 250 companies interested in deploying LTE-based networks, with CDMA, Greenfield, GSM and WiMAX providers among them. How many would upgrade to LTE-Advanced isn't known. LTE-Advanced won't get detailed technical standards until about early 2012.
The certification could help end a debate in the US over what constitutes 4G and possibly dampen marketing claims. T-Mobile has been claiming that its HSPA+ 3G service represents 4G because of its roughly comparable real-world speeds, while AT&T has objected. Sprint is already calling its WiMAX network 4G but can't reach more than 16Mbps at peak and gets 3-6Mbps in official averages.
Current LTE already reaches theoretical peaks of 100Mbps but can't usually do so on a phone or a portable modem.