Few of us have driven a buck fifty on the freeway—that is, 150 miles per hour. A lot of car companies won’t even allow their cars to get to 150. (The speedometers go up to 180, but your engine is limited to around 140.) Why? Because 150 mph is just too much for most drivers to handle.
Not only is 150 fast in terms of mph, it’s fast in terms of Mbps (megabits per second). However, the majority of us can not only handle it, we welcome it. And mobile device manufacturers aren’t afraid of letting their customers speed. Today, Samsung Electronics announced the Galaxy S4LTE-A, the world’s first smartphone using LTE Carrier Aggregation technology to deliver peak data rates of 150 Mbps. By the way, the phone is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor.
Carrier Aggregation is a foundational feature of LTE Advanced. While today’s 4G LTE services are delivered over a single narrow channel—sometimes called a carrier—LTE Carrier Aggregation brings together two or more carriers to simultaneously transfer data, resulting in data delivered twice as fast. Using a transportation example, regular LTE is like a two-lane road whereas LTE Advanced is four-lane highway, meaning more data and faster speeds.
For some added perspective, 150 Mbps is twice the peak speed of today’s fastest LTE networks. In an interview with Reuters in South Korea, JK Shin, co-chief executive of Samsung Electronics, said that a three-minute download of a movie clip using today’s LTE technology would take just over a minute on an LTE-Advanced network.
The Samsung announcement today is only for South Korea, but it may be the first of many. So what’s 150 going to do for you?
- Fewer interruptions during high-definition streaming of your favorite show
- Faster speeds with mobile gaming
- Instantaneous web browsing of content-rich web pages
- Faster downloads of robust files and applications
Beyond these benefits, I see LTE-A as yet another invitation to developers and content providers to stop viewing the mobile platform as a second or third screen and exercise full creative license to produce more robust and complex games/apps and hyper- vivid multimedia.