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EU to pour €18m into next, next generation mobile

Long Term Evolution not long term enough

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The European Union is planning to invest €18m in the next generation of the Long Term Evolution standard, promising 1Gb speeds to those unhappy with the 100Mb/sec available from LTE.

The funding becomes available from the start of next year and the ARTIST4G consortium will be spending September deciding how to divvy up the loot between companies interested in taking LTE to the next level before the existing version is even deployed.

The EU is justifiably proud of its wireless funding, having poured money into GSM (which has paid off nicely) and LTE, which could yet prove useful - but it's hard to see the application for 1Gb speeds on a mobile phone right now. Surely it's not necessary to "turn mobile phones into powerful mobile computers", as Ms. Reding puts it in the release.

Those speeds are, of course, top end and largely unachievable in the real world, but even a tenth of that would surely be enough for the most profligate YouTube user. But laptops and tablets might appreciate it, and LTE's aspirations also encompass fixed wireless and backhaul, where 1Gb/sec is a perfectly reasonable data rate.

LTE is really about flexibility: providing everything from long-range narrow band transmissions to huge data rates transmitted across great swathes of frequency, with the next generation version of the latter offering the potential for a 1Gb data rate - and who wouldn't want to download the El Reg home page in two thousandths of a second to a mobile phone? ®

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