In an attempt to replicate the success achieved with formulating the GSM standard, the EU has announced the creation of an €18 million R&D fund to ensure Europe has a strong influence on the direction of LTE.
While LTE has yet to be commercially deployed, the EU hopes that this new funding will trigger European technology developers to start work on LTE Advanced (why not LTE+?), with this next progression to offer download capacities of up to 1Gbps, a significant increase over the promised 100Mbps available from LTE.
According to Richard Webb from the market research company Infonetics, this move by the EU indicates how important mobile broadband has become. "But it perhaps tells how Europe has lost some of its edge--especially compared to Asia--as the market has moved on to more advanced wireless technologies."
The development of LTE was also assisted by EU funding which totalled €25 million some years ago. Trials of the technology are already underway in the UK, Sweden, Spain, Norway, Germany and Finland with other countries in the pipeline. 3G operators are forecast to spend around €6 billion on LTE equipment over the next four years.
Commenting on the launch of this investment programme - which is expected to become available in January 2010, the EU Telecoms Commissioner, Viviane Reding, said, "Europe's research know-how will continue to set the tone for the development of mobile services and devices around the globe, just as we did in the past decades with the GSM standard."
Motorola demos LTE in Ericsson's backyard
T-Mobile CTO: I'll invest in LTE, not HSPA+
LTE voice: T-Mobile alone in pushing specs
TeliaSonera makes 'world's first' LTE Internet connection; T-Mobile Austria demos LTE
Are LTE subs growth rates over 400% believable?