LTE, or Long Term Evolution
, isn't looking to be very "long term." The next generation mobile broadband
protocol, or 4G
, isn't even being deployed commercially yet, and already the European Commission is looking to spend some big bucks in order to research the next-next big things.
Starting on New Year's Day 2010, the EU will release right around $25 million in order to research "ultra high-speed" mobile internet, which it hopes will act as the underpinning on the next generation of mobile services. Details are pretty vague about what it hopes to accomplish by doing this, but given the size of the investment, we suspect it's not just doing this on a whim. EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding had this to say about the ambitious project:
"Europe's research know-how will continue to set the tone for the development of mobile services and devices around the globe, just as we did in the past decades with the GSM standard."
If you'll recall, the a number of nations have already put forth plans to get all of their citizens connected via broadband within a few years, so this could just be the EU trying to one-up everyone else. Regardless of the scenario, Long Term Evolution (LTE) Advanced technology will be at the forefront of the EU's mind in early 2010, with hopes of it providing speeds up to 100 times faster than existing 3G networks. 100 times!
Currently, the normal version of LTE is being testing in Finland, Germany, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Britain and is expected to be commercially available in Sweden and Norway in the first half of next year. LTE Advanced promises lower prices and mobile broadband speeds up to one gigabit per second, though there's no clear-cut answer to "when?" Ah well, at least you can have a great deal of confidence that the iPhone 4G you buy next year will be outdated as soon as you place your pre-order.