The mobile broadband industry is evolving rapidly, with the successful global deployment of 3G in certain regions, the next iterations lined up are LTE or 4G and 5G. 4G and 5G are nothing but the acronyms for fourth and fifth generation of mobile telecommunication technology succeeding 3G. Long Term Evolution (LTE) can be deployed by mobile operators in two different ways .i.e. global system for mobile communication (GSM) and code-division multiple access (CDMA), depending on the radio frequency spectrum available. 4G can support data speeds of up to 100Mbps in the downlink and 50 Mbps in the uplink. Both 4G and 5G are based on IP packet switched network infrastructure. The next advancement to 4G networks is 5G, which can deliver speeds up to an astounding rate of 10 Gbps. LTE is governed by 3rd generation partnership project also known as 3GPP whereas 5G is governed by a new body known as 5G Infrastructure Public-Private Partnership, in short 5G PPP
When it comes to benefits, LTE and 5G technologies has lot to offer to consumers as well as businesses, which includes support of higher data rates ( upload and download rates), lowered latency or response time of the network, better security with multilevel data encryption and other security enhancements, deeper coverage than its predecessor technology, higher reliability and seamless roaming. These technologies have various applications like in internet services, multimedia services, voice calls over Internet Protocol (VOIP), gaming services, video telephony and mobile TV.
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Increasing mobile broadband connections, high data consumption in various applications such as video streaming, video conferencing and by new mobile devices and efficient use of spectrum are some of the factor that are increasing the adoption of LTE and 5G technologies.
The challenges that need to be addressed in order to deploy such advance technologies are few compatible devices, scarcity of spectrum availability and the network infrastructure required to support such high data rates which incorporates high investment.
LTE and 5G market can be segmented into spectrum, releases and geography. The spectrum segment includes long term evolution frequency division duplex (FDD LTE) and long term evolution time division multiplex (TDD LTE). Apart from few countries like China, India and Hong Kong which follow TD LTE, rest of the world use FD LTE technology. The releases segment includes Rel 8, Rel 9, Rel 10, Rel 11, Rel 12 and Rel 13. On the basis of geography the LTE and 5G market can be sub-segmented into North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Japan Middle East and Africa.
With the introduction of new advanced technologies like 4G and 5G, the mobile broadband segment aided trends such as smart cities, smart devices, mobility, cloud computing and ubiquitous computing to grow.
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The key players that are involved in development and deployment of these technologies are Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Huawei Technologies, Nokia Solutions and Networks, AT&T INC, Motorola Solutions Inc., NTT DOCOMO Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., China Mobile, Verizon Communications. As for their strategy these players use innovations and expansion of their product and services geographically so as to gain a competitive advantage. For example, in 2012, Huawei, launched a new generation of network architecture for LTE-B of FusionNet, which comprises of several core technologies, including multi-stream aggregation, traffic adaption, spectrum efficiency optimization and interference coordination, at the 2013 Mobile World Congress (MWC). In addition, in 2013, Ericsson expanded SK Telecom‘s LTE-Advanced service by upgrading its software in 84 cities of south-eastern regions of Korea and thus strengthening Ericsson’s leadership as the main supplier to SK Telecom. Further, in 2014, Alcatel-Lucent attained a deal for providing 4G LTE network overlay solution to America Movil subsidiary Claro in Dominican Republic.