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Long-Term Evolution, or LTE, is a standard for mobile communications technology from the 3rd Generation Partnership Group (3GPP). 3GPP is responsible for the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA network technologies that are (and have been) in wide use for commercial and other mobile communications networks around the world.
LTE is a set of enhancements to the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS). The European Commission is investing €18 million into research and deployment of Long-Term Evolution (LTE) networks and LTE Advanced networks later.
LTE promises low costs, high throughput and low latency for a better user experience over older network technologies. The LTE spec defines downlink peak rates of at least 100 Mbps and peak uplink rates of at least 50 Mbps.
System Architecture Evolution is a flat IP-based network architecture that is part of the LTE standard. It is intended to replace the GPRS Core Network.
Contrary to popular belief, LTE is not exactly 4G, as it does not comply with IMT Advanced 4G requirements. Cellular networks around the world have made plans to upgrade from their 3G technologies for mobile communications, to LTE and then perhaps on to LTE Advanced, which is a certified 4G technology.
LTE Advanced is backwards compatible with LTE, but LTE is not backwards compatible with 3G systems. TeliaSonera launched the first LTE services in both Stockholm, Sweden and Oslo, Norway, in late 2009.