The LTE Party Will Continue

    The introduction of a new technology never means the end of what is already in use for a couple of reasons: It takes a long time for the new standard or protocol to work its way through the system and the latest technology is often beyond the needs of most users.

    The same will be true as 5G rolls out. ABI Research released data this week that forecasts that the number of LTE subscribers will double from 2 billion now to more than 4 billion by 2022.

    Added reasons that LTE will continue to be a major player are that demand is exploding and LTE is speeding up. The release says LTE use will grow from 109 Exabytes last year to 522 Exabytes during 2022. Per-user averages will grow from 1.2 GB per month to 5.7 GB per month during the same period.

    5G is getting the hype, but LTE is getting the business:

    LTE is and will remain dominant throughout the forecast period. It carries 67% of total mobile traffic today, increasing to 82% during 2022, while 5G will carry a mere 13% of total mobile data. At the same time, operator profitability is under pressure. The Average Revenue per User per month (ARPU) in the U.S.—the most lucrative mobile market—is approximately $43 today and will decrease to less than $35 during 2022. Network operator CAPEX is also under pressure and will continue to decrease until 2019, after which 5G deployments will ramp up.

    One-Year Rule for the FCC

    The era in which the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) takes long periods of time to make decisions on emerging technology is coming to an end. New chairman Ajit Pai, in what Computerworld called his first major policy address, said that technologies will be decided upon by the agency within a year of their submission. The speech was delivered this week at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

    Rules to use this time frame are already on the books, but aren’t generally enforced. The rationale for the acceleration is that dawdling allows other countries to jump ahead in the development process. A possible early use of the faster pace is opening frequencies above 95 GHz for experimentation, the story says.

    LTÜV Rheinland Establishes LPWAN Testing

    Making long-range Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity a reality requires ambitious development on many levels. A key is establishment of low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) networks. LoRa is a specification for doing this. This week, LTÜV Rheinland announced that it is establishing the first authorized testing facility in the United States.

    The press release says that the center will offer conformance and pre-compliance testing, regulatory testing and certification, LoRaWAN functional testing, electrical safety testing and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) testing. The test facility will be Fremont, California.

    Battery Explosions Continue

    The danger of batteries in personal communications devices exploding and catching fire was supposed to have passed with the recall last year of Samsung Galaxy Note 7s.

    It hasn’t, and the latest incident was even more frightening. CNET reports that battery-powered headphones worn by a woman on a flight from Beijing to Melbourne exploded. The woman was burned on her face, neck, lips and hand.

    The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has issued a safety warning. The bureau said it believes the batteries caught fire and that they and the plastic cover melted onto the floor of the craft. The brand of headphone was not released.

    Next Up: Brain/Computer Interfaces

    The MIT Technology Review reports that Bryan Johnson, the founder of Braintree, has invested $100 million in Kernel. The startup is developing implants that could link brains to computers. Johnson, the story said, is not alone in chasing this dream:

    According to neuroscientists, several figures from the tech sector are currently scouring labs across the U.S. for technology that might fuse human and artificial intelligence. In addition to Johnson, Elon Musk has been teasing a project called “neural lace,” which he said at a 2016 conference will lead to “symbiosis with machines.” And Mark Zuckerberg declared in a 2015 Q&A that people will one day be able to share “full sensory and emotional experiences,” not just photos. Facebook has been hiring neuroscientists for an undisclosed project at Building 8, its secretive hardware division.

    Johnson sold Braintree, an online payment company, to eBay for $800 million in 2013. The story says that he asked almost 200 people for advice on where to invest. The answer was neurotechnology. Last August, he announced the launch of Kernel and built what the story says is “the first neural prosthetic for human intelligence enhancement.”

    Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at [email protected] and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.


    Carl Weinschenk
    Carl Weinschenk
    Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk is a long-time IT and telecom journalist. His coverage areas include the IoT, artificial intelligence, artificial intelligence, drones, 3D printing LTE and 5G, SDN, NFV, net neutrality, municipal broadband, unified communications and business continuity/disaster recovery. Weinschenk has written about wireless and phone companies, cable operators and their vendor ecosystems. He also has written about alternative energy and runs a website, The Daily Music Break, as a hobby.

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