LTE, orÂ Long Term Evolution, refers to a wireless broadband technology built to support internet access via smart phones and other handheld devices. LTE is sometimes referred to as 4G (fourth generation) because it offers notable improvements compared to other cellular communication standards likeÂ GSM (2G standard) and UMTS (3G standard).
The LTE technology is architecturally based on TCP/IP (Internet Protocol), which allows LTE to support mixed messaging, video, voice and data traffic. LTE offers increased data rates with a downstream potential of 100 mbps and 30 mbps upstream. It also offers a scalable bandwidth capacity, reversed compatibility with UMTS and GSM technologies and reduced latency. Theoretically, LTE can support and download speeds of up to 300 mbps, but the actual bandwidth available to network users sharing the service is significantly less.
The Long Term Evolution technology has a limited geographical coverage globally; however, telecommunication providers are actively expanding the coverage of their LTE 4G services. The 4G LTE coverage is likely to continue growing as new devices that support it are being rapidly manufactured. Despite the fact that the technology is the same, different providers use different network frequencies or bands. This means LTE devices are not inter-operable among networks.