BTL Chairman, Nestor Vasquez and Ericsson Executives sign on loan agreement for 4G services.

Looking at the ecological process that humankind has transitioned through, it is quite evident that communication is a requirement. It is predicted that when humans came into existence on earth, they did not know how to communicate with each other. They couldn't speak any language; they had no idea of the use of body language and it was even more difficult to communicate with people who were at a distance. They couldn't communicate so they faced hardships individually. Now, humankind wants to communicate on the go and one such communication environment is mobile communication. Mobile communication means communicating while on the move. There have been several developmental stages, such as, first generation (1G), second generation (2G), third generation (3G), and fourth generation (4G).

The first generation network consisted of distributed transceivers that helped in communicating with mobile phones. The structure of the mobile phone was analogue and it could only be used for voice traffic. As mobile communication gained publicity and more people migrated to the technology, the existing technology couldn't fulfill the needs of the overwhelming majority of people. Therefore, new techniques were applied to the existing system to make it more beneficial and accommodating. The new system was developed into the second generation of mobile communication (2G). The characteristics of 2G ensured that more users were provided with communication services and with greater security. The 2G introduced data transfer through mobile rather than only voice data as in 1G, SMS text messages are an example. To provide higher data rates at higher speed, the need for advanced generation was felt and third generation was introduced that could fulfill the growing needs of mobile users. The 3G used higher frequency band with a greater amount of bandwidth than 2G and provided greater data rates both in mobile and in fixed environments. It gives up to 2 megabits per second (Mbps) and allowed for video streaming and Internet Protocol (IP) telephony to develop further and provide cost effective services. Mobile users in Belize have experienced and enjoyed the transition and functionality of their mobile devices and services offered. With digital convergence and the need for more and more sophisticated and compact devices, Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL), with the support of a US 8-million-dollar loan from the Government of Belize, has embarked on the provision of 4G services.

Fourth generation (4G) also called Long Term Evolution (LTE) offers one platform for different wireless networks. These networks are connected through one IP core and integrate wireless technologies, avoiding the need for new uniformed standards for different wireless systems like World Wide Interoperability for Microwave Acsess (WiMAX), Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS), wireless local area network (WLAN) and General Packet Radio Service (GPRS). The 4G network will increase the data rates incredibly, by providing 100 Mbps to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) in stationary and mobile environments respectively. The 4G can be considered a global network where users can find voice, data, and video streaming at anytime and anywhere around the globe. In the 4G integration of network, its applications are seamless therefore; there is no risk of delay. With the increase in the data rates, the mobile phones are made to perform higher performance applications. In 4G, the mobile phone is not only calling, but it is an extraordinary device that can be used for a variety of purposes.

Mobile communication has become the vital aspect of our lives and its importance and scope cannot be denied. Mobile users demand advance techniques with efficiency and sophistication. To provide users with the technology, they anticipate, is no doubt a challenging job. The fourth generation of mobile networks is developed to meet the requirements of users in data rates and speed, while keeping quality of service assurance as an inherent condition. The promises 4G made are quite high and it has the potential to become the miracle technology that humans clamor for. No matter what technology is behind it, 4G wireless is designed to deliver speed. On average, 4G wireless is supposed to be anywhere from four to ten times faster than today's 3G networks.

BTL will launch its 4G network October of this year.

The Guardian