LTE technology for Cambridgeshire

Long Term Evolution (LTE) is the new 4th Generation wireless communication technology.  It is a mobile high speed digital network with IP addressing. Voice services sit above the digital network for the first time in a mobile network.

A considerable part of this superb new technology was designed and built by the wireless communication and device technology companies based in Cambridgeshire.

However, the first ever compatibility test between a commercial LTE device and a commercial LTE network took place in Stockholm in Oct 09 (Samsung and Ericsson). A city scale LTE environment has been running in Stockholm ever since.

Exploitation is where you make money with telecommunication technologies.  In the case of LTE it looks like the UK will be last to market as no UK deployment can take place before a big frequency sell-off exercise that may take place next year.

Government responsibilities in this area are split between Vince Cable and Jeremy Hunt. The Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has taken on responsibility for the roll-out of high speed broadband – but not LTE. This is crazy as they are complementary technologies and LTE can be used to provide Broadband services to rural communities.

The Government also have an eye to making large sums of money out of the Frequency auction but I feel they might be disappointed.  The communications Eco-system has changed dramatically since the 3G sell-off and Telco’s are no longer in pole position – nor do they have the money. I have seen people forming a line down Huntingdon High Street to buy the new Apple iPhone but not to buy the new O2 or Vodaphone service !!

The LTE rollout is moving very fast. Scandinavia, Germany, North America and the Far East are implementing their rollouts at considerable speed. The UK Government plans to carry out a sell off of the Spectrum to raise cash for our strapped economy – but in the meantime other countries are actually exploiting the technology.

As Cambridgeshire companies have been very active in creating this technology we should be given a dispensation to deploy LTE applications now within the Cambridgeshire and Peterbourough LEP boundaries. Cambridge Wireless, Cambridge Network and the LEP could form an “expert” panel which could set and enforce the Frequency Allocation Plan within the LEP area.

My main area of expertise is RFID and Spain successfully argued a case for dispensation a few years ago for a project I was involved in – ahead of European Frequency changes. There is therefore a precedence for dispensations in this area.

We should therefore declare the first “City scale” and then “LEP scale” deployment of this LTE technology in the UK ahead of any Spectrum sale.  As we are not getting any financial support from Government we should at least be free to exploit our own technology.

Just think how such a move would encourage overseas Hi Tech companies to set up in Cambridgeshire !

If Cambridgeshire is not seen to be exploiting this new LTE technology we will also miss out on the 5th Generation technology which follows and our considerable expertise will not be taken seriously.

This is a serious and substantive issue and needs buy in and immediate action by our local and national politicians.

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