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UK regulator says 4G will deliver 200% capacity gains

New research from UK regulator Ofcom claims that the next generation of mobile technology will deliver more than 200 per cent of the capacity of existing 3G technologies, using the same amount of spectrum.

According to Dr Stephen Unger, CTO at Ofcom, this increased efficiency means that 4G networks will be able to support increased data rates and more users:

“The research that we commissioned indicates that early 4G mobile networks with standard configurations will be 3.3 times more spectrally efficient than today’s standard 3G networks. To put this in context, a user on an early 4G network will be able to download a video in around a third of the time it takes today on a 3G network. It is anticipated that this efficiency will increase to approximately 5.5 times (or 450 per cent) by 2020.”

The research also revealed that the capacity gain from the increased spectral efficiency of 4G technologies will not on its own be sufficient to meet the expected growth in demand for mobile data. Ofcom believes that as well as using existing spectrum more efficiently, more spectrum itself is also needed, some of which will be gained from the auction of new spectrum at 800MHz and 2.6GHz in 2012. This is equivalent to three quarters of the mobile spectrum in use today.

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