3GPP Long Term Evolution (LTE), is the latest standard in the mobile network technology tree that produced the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA network technologies. It is a project of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), operating under a name trademarked by one of the associations within the partnership, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute.
The current generation of mobile telecommunication networks are collectively known as 3G (for “third generation”). Although LTE is often marketed as 4G, first-release LTE does not fully comply with the IMT Advanced 4G requirements. The pre-4G standard is a step toward LTE Advanced, a 4th generation (4G) standard of radio technologies designed to increase the capacity and speed of mobile telephone networks. LTE Advanced is backwards compatible with LTE and uses the same frequency bands, while LTE is not backwards compatible with 3G systems.
MetroPCS and Verizon Wireless in the United States and several worldwide carriers announced plans, beginning in 2009, to convert their networks to LTE. The world’s first publicly available LTE-service was opened by TeliaSonera in the two Scandinavian capitals Stockholm and Oslo on the 14th of December 2009. LTE is a set of enhancements to the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) which was introduced in 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) Release 8. Much of 3GPP Release 8 focuses on adopting 4G mobile communication’s technology, including an all-IP flat networking architecture. On August 18, 2009, the European Commission announced it will invest a total of €18 million into researching the deployment of LTE and the certified 4G system LTE Advanced.
While it is commonly seen as a cell phone or common carrier development, LTE is also endorsed by public safety agencies in the US as the preferred technology for the new 700 MHz public-safety radio band. Agencies in some areas have filed for waivers hoping to use the 700 MHz spectrum with other technologies in advance of the adoption of a nationwide standard.