Surging mobile data traffic drives LTE

LTE 4G will give laptop and smartphone users access to faster mobile data, but we won’t benefit from until 2015 according to a report by Juniper Research.

An analyst at the firm told us that although the technology could theoretically allow users to download a film on their phones in 10 minutes, the reality will be that, like with broadband, speeds will vary.

Windsor Holden, an analyst at the company, told TechEye: “Ten years ago we had the 3G network, which was boosted by Apple’s creation of the iPhone and apps store. Mobile users quickly picked up on this trend and smartphone users began using this technology. However, the sheer amount of people using this medium means HSPDA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) levels have gone through the roof leading to slow traffic and dropped signals.”

He said this was something O2 experienced last year.

“LTE will help with this problem providing faster network speeds, but there are problems with this technology,” Holden added.

He said one of the main issues was how smartphone manufacturers would implement LTE chipsets into their devices to reflect the different needs of smartphones. This includes different frequencies, one for urban areas, one for regional and another for international roaming.

According to Holden, many companies have not yet made this a main focus, although he said “Samsung could be one manufacturer” who had.

He also said users would first see the technology depicted in mobile dongles before they came to smartphones – in about three year’s time.

The research also found that only one in every 20 mobile subscribers will benefit from the technology. The number of LTE mobile broadband subscribers is expected to exceed 300 million globally by 2015.

Report author Howard Wilcox added: “Although 1 in 20 globally is low overall, in fact our research found that usage levels will be significantly higher in other regions such as North America where it will be closer to 1 in 5 as major operators plan rollouts in the next 6 months.”