Recent revelations from Future Market Insights (FMI) will provide both a scoff of dismissal and a gasp of alarm. The scoff of dismissal comes from its reports that say both major next generation communications technologies long-term evolution (LTE (News - Alert)) and LTE-Advanced connectivity systems are poised for substantial growth going forward. This isn't exactly a risky projection; this is on par with betting a million dollars on the only horse in a race without three broken legs. However, the projection gets downright daring when the term is considered, as FMI projects growth through 2025.
The reports note that LTE and LTE advanced will be growing parts of the next generation communications market going forward, as the overall capability improves and the networks reach the theoretical maximum download speed of one gigabit, as well as dropping overall system latency to its lowest. With no shortage of use cases for that bandwidth, ranging from streaming video to social networking to an array of business operations, it's a safe bet demand will not suffer.
LTE's connection to 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) standards, meanwhile, helps ensure that the network can be readily upgraded; this makes sure that demand will be met all the way to the theoretical maximum point. Plus, since the market can be further segmented down into points like infrastructure and end-user device applications, it helps ensure that there will be plenty of demand on hand.
Here's where things get interesting: the forecast period in the report goes through 2025. It may not be immediately clear why that's so interesting, but remember: 5G is expected to go into commercial availability in 2020, which means that LTE and LTE-Advanced's substantial growth period is to run right alongside the opening commercial availability of 5G.
How LTE and LTE-Advanced can grow in the next generation communications market when there's a whole new next generation communications technology set to arrive is a bit unclear, but it may come down to the standard issues of availability. LTE coverage has been rapidly expanding, but LTE-Advanced is still largely an urban affair. If LTE-Advanced becomes what amounts to the new LTE, that may well mean a fairly large expansion. Looking at a Verizon (News - Alert) map of LTE coverage shows most states blanketed with the stuff, but LTE-Advanced is still just a series of white dots. Given efforts from companies like Facebook and Google (News - Alert) to expand wireless access—Google largely gave up Google Fiber expansion for wireless development—that may not be the case this time around, however.
Still, it's clear that next generation communications technology is developing and coming along rather nicely. It may not be in the form we were expecting, but that doesn't count this exciting new field out.
Edited by Alicia Young