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March 12, 2008

4G – will it ever happen?

INTERNATIONAL – A recent report by ABI research predicts the next generation of mobile broadband, dubbed ‘4G’, will take a long time to take off, and even five years from now will make up only a tiny proportion of mobile Internet users.

The study, reported on by sees regular 3G connections as being the most prominent in 2013.

The report is an update on ABI’s Mobile Subscriber Database study which monitors and predicts mobile subscriber usage on a global scale. According to the report, there were over 3.4billion mobile subscribers worldwide at the end of 2008.

Although the official definition of ‘4G’ isn’t due from the International Telecommunication Union until the end of this year at the earliest, it’s generally recognised to include Long Term Evolution (LTE), WiMax and Ultra Mobile Broadband (UMB). The specification for ‘4G’, when it’s finalised, is predicted to support 100Mbps data rates.

Although LTE and UMB each have their own champions, WiMax seems to be forging ahead with a number of Intel-based Mobile Internet Devices already in the works. And, as far back as 2006, Nokia has said that a WiMax-enabled Internet Tablet would be appearing some time this year.

For now though, it looks like we’ll all enjoying the benefits of 3G for a while yet.