Telecommunications companies in Japan are already working on an extremely high-speed mobile data platform that should be available for the Japanese smartphone-using public in the next few years. Top Japanese mobile network company NTT Docomo is working on the new network technology called LTE-Advanced, is the telecommunications industry’s successor to fastest existing network technology today called LTE, for Long Term Evolution technology.
Currently, LTE data transfers are already blazingly fast, at almost 300 Mbits per second downloading and 75 Mbits per second uploading. But this new standard could potentially allow huge volumes of videos and other data to be processed up to seven times faster than by LTE. The current clock times of LTE-Advanced during tests are at a whopping 3.3 Gigabits per second. The speed of this new technology is reliant on employing a data transfer protocol that utilizes multiple frequency bands at the same time. The new standard is expected to resolve data traffic jams particularly in many urban areas. With the current upsurge of smartphone users and the demand for data coverage shooting up by the millions, the telecom industry is concerned that current LTE-based wireless services might be overwhelmed soon, causing disruptions of mobile services. This is why NTT Docomo is putting this project at the forefront, planning to put it into practical use as early as two years from now. Other Japanese mobile carriers like KDDI and SoftBank are also developing mobile data platforms based on this new technology in a bid to improve their services.
A logical question comes to mind, and is always asked by consumers when issues of new exciting technology comes out – if this is going to be much better than LTE, why wait until after 2 years to put it out? The answer to that is two-fold, having implications on both handheld device technologies (e.g. your smartphones) and network-side infrastructure. At the moment, smartphone makers are still putting out LTE standard devices. There are no smartphone devices – at least from the popular manufacturers – yet that are designed to take advantage of LTE-Advanced. And LTE, outside of Japan, is still a relatively new technology. Most network carriers in Asia have just finished upgrading their data platforms to full LTE capabilities. It would take at least a couple of years before companies start upgrading their network infrastructure to a newer, much faster, mobile data standard.