The WiMAX vs. LTE (Long-Term Evolution) battle may have only just begun, but LG is already making headway for the latter technology, having just announced the world's first 3GPP LTE handset modem chip for cell phones and data cards. This chip is theoretically capable of 100Mbps/50Mbps download/upload speeds; LG demonstrated it with 60Mbps down and 20Mbps up. This 13 x 13-mm chip easily beats today’s current HSDPA networks that support download speeds up to 7.6Mbps.
For the demonstration, LG used a test terminal running Windows Mobile to play a high-quality, on-demand video. In addition to this handset modem chip, LG is also developing a LTE-based data card for computers.
LTE shows a lot of promise moving forward, especially since 85% of today’s WCDMA carriers will be able to upgrade their networks to LTE at a lower cost than it would take to build a new network based on a different technology.
As the leading candidate to become the fourth-generation mobile phone technology standard, LTE’s potential speeds offers a lot of promise for consumers. For example, users could download a 700MB movie in less than one minute at speeds of 100Mbps. LTE technology could also make it possible to stream four HD movies simultaneously without any buffering. These examples show just how quick LTE can be.
While LG’s announcement represents a step towards creating a market-ready 4G phone, it’s only the first step: Many carriers (including AT&T and Verizon Wireless) have stated the infrastructure for LTE won’t be available until sometime in 2010. Additionally, LG stated that the first LTE mobile phones will likely reach the market in 2010. This timeframe gives the already-available WiMAX standard plenty of time to convince the world that WiMAX is the way to go.