A year ago, ITU (international telecommunication union) received six candidate technology submissions, all of which were eager to be labeled 4G. After an year of deliberations, ITU officially announced the technologies that meet its newly drafted 4G requirements. All other technologies fall by the wayside.
Welcome to the 4G world
Exactly one year after its initial press release confirming six technology submissions, ITU released another press release. To be regarded as 4G, the submitted technologies had to be compliant with the IMT-Advanced requirements. After studying all technologies, ITU’s Radio communication department, ITU-R, decided that only two technologies were worthy of being termed 4G – LTE-Advanced and WirelessMAN-Advanced (better known as WiMAX 2).
What does this mean for the market?
Realistically speaking, very little. That LTE-Advanced and WiMAX 2 should be deemed to only two existing 4G technologies comes as no surprise. Those planning to launch 4G services weren’t exactly waiting for ITU’s nod towards the technologies. Services, in fact, are already being tested and rolled out in many locations.
What this does mean, however, is that people now have a much better understanding of 4G technology. There will be no more vague references to the IMT-Advanced document. No more debates on whether Wimax 2 or LTE-Advanced are really 4G technologies. The matter’s been settled for once and for all.
Wimax 2, however, seems to be running out of favor in many locations, with network operators preferring LTE-Advanced for the most part. Nokia, the biggest phone manufacturer in the world, is also backing LTE-Advanced. This is bound to have a huge impact on WiMAX adoption. The success of WiMAX depends majorly on widespread acceptance in countries like India.
When can you expect to use 4G?
The announcement by ITU also doesn’t change any timelines in terms of 4G roll-out. Those living in developed nations like the US can expect to use 4G by 2012. That might seem a bit too far-off, but hey! 3G isn’t all that slow, now, is it?