Ofcom has published new research that says 4G mobile technology will deliver more than 200 percent of the capacity of existing 3G technologies, on the same amount of spectrum.
“4G mobile technologies will be able to send more information than 3G, for a given amount of spectrum. This increased efficiency means that 4G networks will be able to support increased data rates and more users,” said Dr Stephen Unger, chief technology officer at Ofcom.
The next generation of mobile spectrum is due to be rolled out in the UK from 2013. It is expected to deliver broadband speeds close to those of ADSL home broadband.
Ofcom said that the additional 4G mobile spectrum is key to meeting rapidly increasing mobile traffic, which is driven by the surge in smartphones and mobile broadband services such as email, video streaming and mapping services.
“The research that we commissioned indicates that early 4G mobile networks with standard configurations will be 3.3 times (230 percent) more spectrally efficient than today’s standard 3Q networks.
“To put this into context, a user on an early 4G network will be able to download a video in around a third of the time it takes on a 3G network. It is anticipated that this efficiency will increase to approximately 5.5 times (450 percent) by 2020,” Unger said.
The research, carried out by consultancy Real Wireless, analysed a range of 4G technologies, including Long Term Evolution (LTE), LTE Advanced and wireless technology WiMAX, which is similar to WiFi but covers much further distances.
The ‘4G Capacity Gains’ report also suggested an investigation into introducing small cells, or base stations, in peak demand and dense urban areas, to serve high demand in these locations.
Earlier this year, Ofcom launched a consultation for the auction of the 4G mobile spectrum, with proposals aimed to ensure widespread coverage of mobile broadband.
Depending on the outcome of the consultation, the telecommunications industry regulator aims to hold the auction for two spectrum bands, 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz, totalling 250 MHz of new mobile spectrum, early next year.