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Mobile Broadband Goes to 4G

What's next in mobile broadband? Meet 4G.

This story appears in the January 2007 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Now that we've all gotten used to the concept of 3G, it's time to look ahead to 4G. Mobile broadband over 3G EV-DO and EDGE networks currently delivers real-time traffic info, video clips, push e-mail and internet access to most large cities across the U.S. There still isn't a clear delineation between that and 4G, but the next generation's upside potential could be fixed download speeds in the 1Gbps neighborhood and downloads at 100Mbps when you're on the move. That's a whole lot of bandwidth, but you're going to have to wait for it. Large-scale commercial 4G networks aren't expected until 2010, and Japan and South Korea will likely lead the way in rollouts.

Some big companies have been dropping big hints about 4G. Samsung recently conducted a field demonstration of its 4G technology in South Korea. Sprint Nextel--along with partners Intel, Motorola and Samsung--also announced a 4G wireless broadband initiative based on the mobile WiMAX technology standard. They expect download speeds between 2Mbps and 4Mbps and a relatively fast deployment. The Sprint network should be in trials by the end of 2007.

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