Qualcomm has predicted this will be the year the industry sees the first deployments of LTE Advanced carrier aggregation (CA) in mobile networks, enabling operators to offer even faster downlink speeds.
CA enables networks to combine multiple radio channels across different frequencies, so for example, two 10-MHz chunks of spectrum in separate bands can be aggregated to effectively become one big 20-MHz chunk of spectrum, which when combined with devices equipped with Category 4 (Cat 4) modems, becomes capable of supporting 150-Mbps downlink speeds and even lower latency than LTE.
"We will see both CA and Cat 4 [modems] being deployed later this year," Ben Timmons, senior director of marketing and business development, told Total Telecom on the sidelines of Mobile World Congress.
Indeed, on the eve of the show, Chinese vendor Huaweil unveiled its latest smartphone, the Ascend P2, which incorporates a Cat 4 modem.
Meanwhile, Timmons was not willing to put a bet on where the first CA deployments might happen, but he did draw particular attention to South Korea.
"It is a hotbed of activity over there," he said.
On Monday, Qualcomm demonstrated 150-Mbps LTE speeds in partnership with Sierra Wireless and Ericsson.
Timmons was adamant that there will absolutely be demand for these kind of connection speeds.
"When consumers have got access to that kind of big [data] pipe, it will drive a big change in behaviour," he said. "It's going to happen."