UK Government Backs LTE Technology


The 4th generation mobile technology could help the country realise the goals of the recent Digital Britain report

UK technology minister Stephen Carter has visited Motorola’s UK testing facility to examine progress on the company’s Long-Term Evolution (LTE) network and asses its ability to help improve broadband roll-out across the country.

Carter visited the Swindon site late last week as part of his remit to deliver on the vision for UK broadband roll-out detailed in the government’s recent interim Digital Britain report. According to a government statement, LTE technology could help the UK secure a place “in the forefront of global innovation, investment and quality in communications and technology”.

Known as 4th generation mobile technology, LTE offers download speeds of up to 100Mbps and upload speeds of 50Mbps. Although the technology is still in development, trials such as Motorola’s are already going ahead and some hardware designers have been designing chipsets and base stations.

“In the interim Digital Britain report we proposed a Universal Service for broadband, which could be delivered by a combination of fixed and mobile, wired and wireless networks, and we remain committed to doing that,” said Carter. “Motorola’s trials here in Swindon are not only important in terms of inward investment and innovation and service development; they could also represent an important step towards stretching broadband coverage to the remotest parts of the UK.”

According to government figures, around 20 percent of consumers are connected to the internet via mobile devices. This number is likely to grow as technologies improve and the transition to 4th Generation technology is expected to begin in earnest in late 2010 or early 2011, the government claims.

Motorola launched its Swindon LTE trial network and testing lab in February and marked the occasion with a live, standards compliant LTE call, the company said.

“Motorola is at the forefront of 4G development which will address the mobility demands of today’s consumers who are looking for personalised media experiences and operators looking to lower their cost per bit and gain a competitive advantage,” said Joe Cozzolino, senior vice president and general manager, Motorola Home & Networks Mobility, in a statement at the time.

According to Motorola, LTE is based on “orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM),” which it describes as a radio frequency technology that has “high spectral efficiency” which should allow much increased capacity and lower costs per bit of data.

Motorola is not the only communications company backing LTE technology. Nokia executive James Harper recently said that the world’s largest cell phone maker is committing to LTE and plans to have devices on the market by next year.