LG Mobile has followed other South African mobile operators in pledging backing for Long Term Evolution (LTE) on their networks, although the technology has been available in the country for 15 months now but with users until recently unable to take advantage of it.
LTE is a high-speed technology that allows users to quickly load videos from websites such as Google’s YouTube and watch high-definition clips without a hitch.
It is the standard for higher-speed mobile services and is being adopted by carriers around the world. The technology offers peak download rates of minimum 100 megabits per second that can go as high as 300Mbps, compared to a maximum of 50Mbps for current 3G standards.
To put it in context, you can enjoy downloads and Internet browsing that seem as fast as WiFi connections at home. But the faster service comes with a price — LTE plans cost consumers about 20 percent more.
LG Electronics says that it now is offering a solution to consumers with the launch of two new handsets that support the LTE technology: the Optimus LTE HD, which is available immediately to the networks for testing, and the Optimus G, which will only be ready for network testing around mid-December and available to customers in the first quarter 2013.
Lee Ramsden, general manager at LG Mobile Division, says there are a couple of things that need to be in place in order to make LTE work.
He said: “The most important one starts with the handset. Can the handset upload and download at the speed required to perform LTE at the expected level? Do the networks have the spectrum to deliver this versus when the networks are re-farming spectrum? Is it going to have an impact on voice and data services to existing customers?”
“The market will always have its share of early adopters. What this means is that the full spectrum might not be available right now nor the product as prepared, but as the market, which is niche, grows, so will the spectrum. The early adopters will push the process forward.” Ramsden added.
He further expressed that the scenario with LTE is no different from previous industry transitions, such as the move from Edge to HSDPA for example, and demands the same considerations before widespread adoption and application can take place.
“LG has extensive distribution on LTE networks in Korea, Japan and North America. The R&D developments gained though actual experience means that we can bring a great product, to a new market, effectively leap frogging our competitors. Within these markets LG hold a substantial subscriber share.”
LG Mobile has already started engaging with the networks on their LTE device strategies.
“With Vodacom’s 4G-announcement last week, it has accelerated everyone’s plans and momentum is being gained to supply LG product in time for launch. With LG’s LTE global expertise and product, we have positive expectations to increase our higher end device distribution,” Ramsden added.