By Marvin Blecker, Tom Sanchez and Eric Stasik
Cellular communications technologies have undergone dramatic changes during the last 25 years, as major technological improvements revolutionized the way the world communicates, and both consumes and creates digital content. Significant investments in research and development (“R&D”), combined with efficient standardization and patent licensing practices, brought about these changes and enabled successive generations of cellular communication standards to be implemented quickly and widely. The high data rates and lower prices achieved through third generation (3G) standards ushered in many of these changes, and created innumerable benefits at all levels of the industry, as mobile devices became viable platforms for internet browsing, sharing photographs, social networking, and even watching videos. The broad deployment of advanced devices and high-speed cellular communications networks has also supported the development of entirely new businesses—from Uber to ApplePay to mobile streaming video from Netflix, Amazon, DirecTV, CBS, NBC and others—based entirely on high-speed cellular communications infrastructure. With even faster data rates and more efficient use of wireless spectrum, the fourth generation (4G) ecosystem promises to be larger and even more successful than the 3G standard it is replacing. Those improvements will undoubtedly continue as fifth generation (5G) standards are developed, which will further increase performance and efficiency of cellular communications for the benefit of all.
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