Today we have something from one of my colleagues, Sylvain Fabre, who has recently put together a collection of research on cellular 4G. Sylvain Fabre is a research director in the Carrier Network Infrastructure group of Gartner.
4G: The Next Frontier for Celluar Networks
Recently, a committee of UK members of parliament criticized mobile operators for fighting over how to share out the airwaves that will deliver the country’s next-generation services. The UK is currently on track to be one of the last European countries to hold its fourth-generation (4G) auction, and politicians do not think should be delayed further by clashes between mobile operators. This is not surprising given that 4G will change the future of the mobile broadband experience for both consumers and business users, and further delays could be damaging to UK businesses. Beyond the technology evolution, what’s the real business case is for communications service providers (CSPs) to even try and keep up with subscriber demand for mobile data by providing an improved access network?
After all, there is clear expenditure for CSPs with diminishing returns. Indeed, across all regions there is increased pressure for CSPs to consolidate in order to gain the necessary scale to maintain profitability, as significant additional network expenditure is occurring. As a result, CSPs are exploring what new services 4G can offer with true differentiation and a real chance for premium pricing, above and beyond what 3G can already offer. In our Special Report, “4G: The Next Frontier for Celluar Networks,” we examine the latest trends, potential uses and best practices regarding the use of fourth-generation technology.
At present, the main technology being used for 4G is Long Term Evolution (LTE), which may not be quite 4G but is the first logical step on the road to it. Although the optimal pricing model and business case for the use of 4G by CSPs is still being worked out, the high speeds and lower latency offered should provide CSPs with an opportunity to serve the enterprise segment. This represents a new departure for CSPs who should make sure that they develop clear use cases for the enterprise market that illustrate the potential value of 4G.
Through 2020, as both the volume of connected things increases and the use of the data received from things gets used meaningfully, things will create the majority of meaningful interactions on the Internet and utilize the Internet in ways that save money, create value, improve products, and enhance experiences for enterprises and consumers. This will have massive implications for not only the amounts of data being moved across mobile networks, but also the signaling load – as the majority of connections will be wireless, rather than fixed. This is a unique opportunity for CSPs to provide the necessary wireless connectivity using 4G – first LTE and then LTE Advanced (LTE-A). The bottom line is that fourth-generation technology offers many opportunities to communications service providers in several verticals, beyond just telecommunications. But it also requires that significant changes are made to network and business models.