Motorola has begun to test its LTE (Long Term Evolution) wireless network in the United Kingdom in hopes of eventually establish its LTE technology as the de facto standard 4G for Europe. Currently most European mobile operators utilize the 3G, or HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) standard, to provide mobile data for their users.
The HSPA network supports theoretical speeds up to 14 mbit/s, speeds which could enjoy a significant boost under LTE, whose download speeds will eventually reach over 100 mbit/s. LTE will not be able to claim the 4G title uncontested, it will have to conquer several competing technologies before it can enjoy high speed supremacy.
Intel, has backed the rival WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) standard which is currently deployed in several countries and is in a trial period with Sprint. European carrier Vodafone recently completed a successful trial of a 3.5G HSPA+ that could serve as a temporary alternative to a far reaching and costly network upgrade. If enough carriers choose to use the stopgap HSPA+, and the speeds provide satisfactory to its users, it may prove to be a significant blow to prompt LTE acceptance.
As mobile data-centric smartphones continue to gain mainstream acceptance, we will see mobile carriers begin to lean on data speeds as a way to differentiate from their competitors. Keeping that in mind, when carriers compete consumers usually benefit, so hopefully we will see this market segment heat up over the next few years.