Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology is ahead in the race as the most sought after next-generation (4G) wireless network standard in the market. 4G wireless networks are aiming to cope with substantial demand for high-speed wireless data services and mobile video. Theoretically, LTE is expected to achieve download transmission speeds of 300Mbps and offers several advantages over other wireless technologies. 

According to the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA), there are now 64 operators across 31 countries committed to LTE, compared to 31 network commitments the same time a year ago. GSA said another 24 operators are also planning trial runs of LTE. Globally, 22 LTE networks may become operational by end 2010 and this figure may go up to 39 by end 2012. 

TeliaSonera AB of Sweden has become the first telecom carrier in the world to deploy LTE networks. The U.S. telecom giant Verizon Wireless (VZ) is all set to deploy LTE by end 2010 and its nearest rival AT&T (T) is likely to follow suite in 2011. In Asia, the largest Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo (DCM) will start offering LTE service from December 2010 and its rival KDDI Corp. may also install LTE network by end 2012. 

In Europe, Vodafone Plc. (VOD) will offer LTE in 2012. Other major telecom carriers that are already in the LTE race include China Mobile Ltd. (CHL), Metro PCS Inc. (PCS), and Singapore Telecommunications. 

LTE offers several advantages over other 4G techniques like WiMAX, Ultra Mobile Broadband (upgrade of CDMA EV-DO) and Multi-input Multi-output (MIMO) Wireless LAN. This includes improvement in spectral efficiency, lower costs, and solid integration with other open wireless standards. These are the compelling reasons influencing the switch to LTE technology.
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