The AT&T IPhone 5 and the potential impact of Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology

The AT&T IPhone 5 and the potential impact of (LTE) technology

By Hopeton Smalling

Today marks one year since the passing of Steve Jobs the founder of Apple computers. On this day, it’s fitting to review a feature of the new IPhone 5, because it demonstrates that Apple is still future focused. “..skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it is” This quote from Wayne Gretsky is profound, comparing it to the impact that Long Term Evolution technology (LTE) will have on data usage. Steve Jobs used this quote to describe the next generation innovation of his team at Apple. LTE technology is a new standard of mobile broadband that will promote innovation. ATT and other mobile providers are stating that that LTE can have speeds up to ten times faster than 3G and will revolutionize mobile devices. To put LTE in perspective, you should remember the impact that broadband has had on everyday uses of a computer. Remember when 56k modems were the main source of connectivity for residential and business email? (I know most of you are not old enough to remember the moan and groans from the back of a 100lb desktop computer.) However, the cloud and rich content support of LTE will make dialup seem as archaic as the printing press. Further, there are uses of data that are yet to be developed, that will leverage LTE.

If you consider that 2G mobile speed only provided basic text, email, and basic web with voice connectivity. 3G speeds advanced society with mobile access to internet, video and applications. To highlight the impact of LTE, consider that mobile broadband TV requires the streaming of lots of data. Mobile video wouldn’t exist without 3G speeds and reliability. It’s certainly hard to believe that the world existed without YouTube or Hulu on mobile devices, but it did. Now LTE technology will support improved rich content, and cloud access with lower levels of latency. Now the issue for most mobile subscribers is the management of data charges.

When one thinks about the impact of data charges on usage, it reminds us of the important topic of net neutrality. Net Neutrality is the concept that content will not be throttled, but content will remain open and not be blocked. (Like it is in many countries like China) This issue is much more important than the cost of data. This issue is about freedom to engage content without restrictions from internet service providers or other entities. There are still debates about what the future of content will be. However, as mobile providers have planned, next year could be when more devices will be rolled out with this technology.

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