LTE Advanced in operation with more than 20 carriers
Last summer, SK Telecom in South Korea was the first to light up an LTE-A network whose performance was the original definition of the “fourth generation” wireless standard. However, the marketing machines of the wireless carriers would not be daunted, and the advent of plain-old-LTE forced the standards bodies to re-write the specifications.
In the United States, AT&T has LTE-A running in and around Chicago, Illinois, with other markets in the works. AT&T uses LTE-A in support of VoLTE which is now in service, albeit with very limited handset support at the moment.
Other carriers around the world are either testing in lab-type conditions or already operating live test networks, achieving some impressive data speeds in the process. Industry groups are projecting to see the current number of networks with LTE-A in operation to double by the end of this year.
2015 will obviously see accelerated growth as wireless providers phase in implementation through carrier aggregation (bonding two separate frequencies to increase capacity), MIMO (multiple-in, multiple-out) antenna arrays, and other solutions to ensure connectivity such as, coverage and Wi-Fi hand-off solutions.
You know what all that means right? 2015 will see hardware supporting the much faster LTE-A networks as commonplace. LTE-A has been achieving real-world speeds in excess of 150Mbps, and testing in excess of 450Mbps.
What is interesting is that LTE-A is still “4G.” The fifth generation has not yet been defined, but some are projecting first commercial deployments within the next 5 years, and then things are supposed to get really fast.
source: Light Reading