2012-2014 LTE


  • Speed: Decent 5-15 megabits average, 30-100 megabits peak
  • Capacity: Lousy, only a few hours of TV/month. 2 gig caps would disappear absent market power, but it’s hard to offer caps above about 15 gigabytes
  • Design: Mostly towers, with about 20% WiFi and small cells
  • 20 MHz maximum
  • Users: 10’s of millions, not hundreds of millions, with 3G still dominant
  • Policy goals: get it built, with the right price and capacity


2013-2020 LTE Advanced 4G can be 10 times better. (Shared gigabit)

  • The technology will come quickly, but only in a few regions will it be deployed 
  • Speed: Better 10-50 megabits average is possible, 1 gigabit shared peak 
  • Capacity: Better 25-75 gigabyte caps at an under $50 consumer price practical, although won’t be available without strong competition or regulation. 
  • Design: Towers will go to 8 MIMO small antennae, doubling or tripling throughput100 MHz, where available.
  • Massive policy changes required most places to make contiguous large blocks available
  • 30-70% WiFi, femto and small cells “bottoms-up”
  • “HetNets” Heterogeneous networks. For better capacity, not peak speeds
  • Interference smart, self-organizing networks (SON). Mesh features
  • Users: it will be 2015-2018 before LTE dominates in most markets
  • Policy goals: Total spectrum policy revamp for more sharing, use it or lose it, and obligatory network design for efficiency., including number of towers and small cells/offload
  • Where weak competition means deployment delays or high prices, more effective strong policy.

2015-2025 5G, probably with five times LTE Advanced capacity


Early discussions of how to use better coding, higher MIMO, cognitive radio and other interference reduction measures, meshes etc.
Think of a small cell on every street light or similar.