And you thought 3G speeds were getting quick...
This week sees the finalisation of 3G's long term successor, the fourth generation 'Long Term Evolution' (LTE) which will offer peak download speeds up to a remarkable 326Mbps (megabits per second). Uploads will peak at 86Mbps.
As with the trials of 100Mbit 'Super 3G' last year, the process has the backing of the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) - a group formed by industry heavyweights Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, France Telecom/Orange, Nokia, Nokia Siemens Networks, Nortel, T-Mobile and Vodafone which also counts China Mobile, Huawei, LG Electronics, NTT DoCoMo, Samsung, Signalion, Telecom Italia and ZTE amongst its ranks. So basically what it says, goes.
3GPP says LTE achieves its stunning performance at the 20MHz band of the wireless spectrum and real world performance may vary depending on coverage and the number of users accessing the service at any one time. Still, even cut this figure in half and it remains mind blowing.
Just as beneficial as this radical bandwidth supercharging however is news that LTE will drastically cut latency, reducing it to just 10 milliseconds. This means the lag between starting a download and reaching the fastest data rates is microscopic - a vital aspect if services such a mobile TV and streaming media are to successfully take off.
LTE's commercial availability isn't expected until 2010 or later but I'd argue current 3G technology still has a lot of headroom and handset manufacturers will need this time to create phones which can truly capitalise on it. As for fixed line broadband, well, I wouldn't be buying shares in BT...