By 2020, Ericcson says that North American smartphone users will chew through 14 GB of data per month, up from just 2.4 GB right now. All that data will put a strain on cellular networks, which has led Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ), and other carriers to look for new ways to offload some of that data demand. (NASDAQ:ERIC)
One option is to use unlicensed airwaves to send LTE signals. This would use airwaves typically reserved for garage door opener signals, baby monitors, and (most important) Wi-Fi signals. The technology is called LTE Unlicensed, or LTE-U, and it's causing a stir among some tech companies.
Alphabet's (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and others contend that LTE-U will disrupt current Wi-Fi signals, and degrade user experience on phones, tablets, computers, game consoles, and anything else connected to Wi-Fi.
Click on the slideshow below to learn about the opposing arguments, and why both sides have some legitimate points.
Chris Neiger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), and Qualcomm. The Motley Fool recommends Verizon Communications. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.