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LTE is short for Long Term Evolution. It is regarded by some as a replacement for current 3G-based networks e.g. WCDMA/UMTS, HSDPA, and HSUPA. However, LTE is more of an upgrade or enhancement of 3G technology the same way that EDGE is an enhancement of 2G technology.

As such, it is not exactly a replacement, and while many refer to it as 4G technology, it is more accurately 3.xxG technology.

With LTE, we are looking at theoretical speeds in the range of 100mbps. Current HSDPA networks offer 7.2mbps maximum speed in theory. LTE is simply a huge leap in broadband speeds.

While there are currently no LTE-enabled phones on the market, a number of networks are firmly committed to deploying LTE. Already, network operators in Sweden and Norway are deploying the first LTE networks. The UK and Finland also have LTE networks under construction, so it looks like the stage is set for a shift.

Question: when do we expect the first LTE network in Nigeria? While this may sound like a far-fetched question, please bear in mind that there are several developed countries that do not have 3G networks that are as robust as some of those that we have on ground in the country right now.

So, who is going to bell the cat here in Nigeria? And when?


  1. LTE! LTE!! LTE!!!. Whoa! I wonder; in the short term will there be the market for it? Is there the critical mass to support it? What apps will require 100mbps that wouldnt run on good ol 3G. Multimedia streaming? At what cost? What about licencing issues? These are real issues that may crop up on the road to LTE. I think we will overcome these even with the usual disjointed incrementalist ways we do things in this country.

    I suspect MTN will jump at it first supported with their new investments in the WACS cable system (NCC just gave them landing licence). Glo second, maybe,if just for show at first. Experience has shown they don’t like being outdone. Both are likely to target the top segment of the market. This means limited coverage to the biggest cities in the country. I think LTE will come in around Q3/Q4 2012. We will most likely grapple with uptake of real 3g and attendant post consolidation issues through out 2010 and 2011.

    Thats my take!

  2. Dclique,

    LTE only satisfies the 3GPP requirements for a 3G standard. Officially, it is 3G – like WCDMA, HSDPA, and HSUPA.

    LTE is not 4G, though there are those who want to use that term for hype and marketing purposes.

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