Nokia Siemens Networks today said it has already run a demonstration of cellular Internet access beyond even 4G. Now called LTE Advanced, the format uses a new radio relaying technique that extends the network without requiring that the carrier build out the entire network infrastructure to a given access point. This will let users on the edge of the network get LTE's faster speeds as carriers can simply put relays in areas where coverage, not bandwidth, hurts performance.
Speeds on the fringe can get up to 50 percent of the technology's 160Mbps peak connection, NSN says.
LTE Advanced has yet to be greenlit but is under study by the 3GPP group that controls most 3G standards and is being submitted as an ITU standard. No release window is given for the technology, though it would act as a subset of LTE and so would come to market more quickly than the basic 4G service itself.
The core LTE technology is due to go live in Europe and North America as early as 2010 and promises practical speeds of 100Mbps or more in strong coverage areas. AT&T, Bell, T-Mobile, Telus and Verizon all expect to use the service for future cellphones.