LTE or Long Term Evolution represents the evolution operators are going through to meet subscriber needs and demands in 4G environments.

Who's in charge?

LTE is developed and maintained by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) standards group. This network is the next generation from the existing Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS or 3rd Generation, 3G) networks.

 4G - 5G milestones

  • 4G (2008) networks brought all-IP services (Voice and Data), a fast internet experience, with unified networks architectures and protocols.
  • 4 G LTE ( for Long Term Evolution), starting in 2009, is doubling data speeds
  • 5G (starting in 2019) networks expand broadband wireless services beyond mobile internet to IoT and critical communications segments with speed up to X10 compared to 4G LTE

4G LTE features at a glance

LTE – often called 4th generation LTE or 4G LTE – have an all-IP flat networking structure. LTE is used for mobile, fixed and portable broadband access.

LTE is designed for lower latency (the time it takes for data to travel in the network) and increased bandwidth.

In fact, bandwidth increases can be as high as 100 Mbps on the downlink and up to 50 Mbps on the uplink.

  • The higher bandwidth enables faster access to content and applications, in particular video applications that can only be offered today on fixed systems.
  • The low latency enables time-sensitive applications like voice services.
  • The all-IP architecture enables new converging services based on the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS). The possibilities with IMS are explained in detail in a later section of this article.

There's more.

LTE back-ward compatibility

In order to provide the maximum amount of flexibility, LTE is compatible with existing mobile networks.

This encompasses formerly deployed network technology including GSM, cdmaOne, W-CDMA (UMTS) and CDMA2000.

When will 5G take over?

In short, 2019 was when 5G lifts off, and 2020 is when 5G networks and 5G phones will be available en masse for the users.

Discover key facts and more about  5G technology and worldwide roll-outs in our 5G web dossier.