Progress of 4G / LTE mobile technology

LTE (Long Term Evolution) technology is often referred as” 4G” for marketing purposes. The LTE represents an advance in the flow of cellular networks, but the term “evolution” reminds us that progress is still awaited. The “real” 4G should reach speeds of 100 Mbps during a displacement and 1 Gbps at a standstill.

LTE mobile communication technology is the fastest growing technology in the world. The historical milestone of 500 commercially open networks was achieved in 77 months from the first launch of the service, nearly 5 years less than the time taken by 3G / WCDMA systems, and 6 months faster than HSPA. The Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) estimates that at least 550 LTE networks were commercially opened in late 2016 in more than 170 countries.

Approximately one-quarter of LTE operators have relied on LTE-Advanced systems. Others have turned to Pro LTE-Advanced technologies, sometimes called 4.5G. The number of LTE and LTE-Advanced subscriptions reached 1,835 billion worldwide in November 2016, including 40% for China’s 4G. The size of the market generates a significant impact on the global mobile ecosystem, not only in the peripheral and infrastructure market, but also in the development of new technologies. In 2017, the focus will be on migrating customers from 2G / 3G to 4G. To accelerate migration, Chinese operators will strengthen their retail chains to provide more clustering options between devices, content and data. They will also be active on the development of NB-IoT (Narrow Band-Internet of Things) and digital services. The Chinese government opens the door to private companies investing in state-owned telecoms operators. If the big Internet giants, such as Baidu, Alibaba or Tencent, invest in China Unicom, they also shake the Chinese telecommunications industry.

LTE networks are evolving at different rates around the world. Download speeds in LTE in Singapore, South Korea and Hungary reach more than 40 Mbp s. Globally, the average LTE connection is 17.4 Mbps. In India, the average LTE bit rate is 6.4 Mbps, compared to 14 Mbps for the United States.

In France, much of the territory is now covered in 4G. At the end of 2016, 27,090 sites are in use in France out of a total of 31,180 sites. For the metropole, the distribution of 4G sites in service is first Bouygues Telecom (11,100 sites), then SFR (10,565 sites), Orange (10,300 sites) and Free Mobile (7,838 sites). The number of 4G antennas active in the DOM-TOM increased from 179 to 815 in one year. For now, apart from local players, only Orange and Outremer Telecom (SFR Group) have deployed their network there. 4G has therefore made good progress in France and efforts still need to be made to ensure full coverage of the territory. See also www.anfr.fr/ www.cellular-news.com/

 

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