LTE: Free Speech Revolution

Sascha Segan at PC Magazine has an excellent primer on CDMA vs. GSM: What’s the Difference?

Two basic technologies in mobile phones, CDMA and GSM represent a gap you can’t cross. They’re the reason you can’t use AT&T phones on Verizon’s network and vice versa.

Five of the top seven carriers in the U.S. use CDMA: Verizon Wireless, Sprint, MetroPCS, Cricket, and U.S. Cellular. AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM.

That means we’re mostly a CDMA country. It also means we’re not part of the norm, because most of the world is GSM. The global spread of GSM came about because in 1987, Europe mandated the technology by law, and because GSM comes from an industry consortium. What we call CDMA, by and large, is owned by chipmaker Qualcomm. This made it less expensive for third parties to build GSM equipment…

Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) is the third generation (3G) system for networks based on the GSM standard.

LTE, however, has evolved into a single global standard. While it has different flavors (Time Division LTE and Frequency Division LTE) and can use different frequencies, the basic technology is the same. It’s based on Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA). It delivers bits at half the cost of 3G at more than twice the speed.

Making an LTE “world phone” is relatively easy. The technology is standardized. With Voice over LTE, the data channel can also be used to send voice. Variants can be seen in Apple’s Facetime, Google’s Google+ and Microsoft’s Skype.

Apps have made all the difference. Wireless carriers are just “dumb pipes”.

ZTE’s Grand X LTE (T82) phone works on China Mobile’s TD-LTE network (or just about any other). It uses the MSM8960 chip from Qualcomm and runs Android 4.0. It could probably be sold (unlocked) for $200 and use a (virtually) unlimited data service for $20/month. Flat.

Web Real-Time Communication, a new HTML5 framework, will enable the sharing of video, audio, and data directly between web browsers and open the door to a new wave of advanced web applications.

The time has come for a revolution. Lay municipal fiber. Occupy 2.1 GHz. Enable entrepreneurs to create a new and improved environment.

Of the people, by the people and for the people.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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