A new competitive paradigm for mobile broadband.

In the race to expand mobile services to include broadband and multimedia, many mobile operators are championing a standard known as Long Term Evolution (LTE). LTE includes substantial changes to both sides of the mobile network – both the radio access network and the core network. But while it will require significant capital investment, LTE is expected to unlock new revenue streams and provide better competitive positioning by allowing mobile network operators to offer broadband services and a better quality of service in a way that greatly improves the efficient use of network resources.

Alternative technical paths to delivering mobile broadband services are available. Some, such as High Speed Packet Access (HSPA), are near-term solutions on a path to later versions of LTE, and others, such as WiMAX, appear to be long-term alternative or complementary architectures. Some mobile network operators have already announced their intentions to pursue these and are actively deploying them.

An examination of the business rationale and key technical components of LTE can provide a solid basis for understanding the bigger picture, which has given rise to the various solutions. This paper is an attempt to explain the high-level architecture standards and issues, and, of course, the “lingo” of the LTE community to those who are familiar with communications technology but who lack in-depth knowledge of the mobile industry.