ITU sets IMT-Advanced standards, including LTE Advanced and WiMAX 2

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The International Telecommunications Union approved specifications for the next generation of wireless broadband, IMT-Advanced, and said that LTE Advanced and WirelessMAN-Advanced (better known as WiMAX 2) meet the new standard of providing speeds of up 100 Mbps.

Although not a surprise, since the two technologies have long been slated as IMT-Advanced candidates, the decision by the United Nations telecommunications body means that equipment makers will now be able to build to the more advanced standards. The ITU touted IMT-Advanced as being able to provide speeds up to 500 times faster than typical 3G connections, classified as IMT-2000.

IMT-Advanced technologies also use spectrum much more efficiently, allowing for higher data transfers on less bandwidth.

The ITU caused an industry kerfuffle in December 2010 when it said that LTE and mobile WiMAX could be billed as forerunners to "4G" technologies--as they are marketed in the United States--although they technically do not meet the IMT-Advanced standards. 

U.S. carriers have already started staking out claims about when they will deploy the new technology. AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) has said it will launch LTE Advanced network technology in 2013, although it has not said when in 2013. Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) said in October it will deploy LTE Advanced on its 800 MHz spectrum by the first half of 2013. Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) has said it can deploy LTE Advanced technology in a TDD-LTE overlay on top of its mobile WiMAX network. Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) has not yet announced when it might deploy LTE Advanced.

For more:
- see this release
- see this AP article
- see this The Verge article

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