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The battle for 4G dominance

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My colleagues and I have followed the 4G market developments closely – from EE’s initial foray into the market, to the poor auction results. After all, as an MVNO offering a business mobile solution with 4G capability, these issues are extremely relevant to our business and our customers. As the race for market dominance hots up, with EE (following their gaping head start) currently presiding over their one million customers, I’m particularly interested in seeing how the different operators will differentiate themselves in a bid to gain the upper hand and build market share.

EE (obviously) has the largest number of 4G subscribers, but its close rival Vodafone may be the one to watch as competing operators expand their services. It is hard to escape the numerous Kevin Bacon adverts EE has deployed to advertise its 4G capability, but with such entertaining marketing tactics designed to engage a consumer audience, savvy operators will try to play to a business market, with Vodafone the first to try this tactic. Moreover, Vodafone is also taking a strategic approach to its campaign; rather than simply reiterating the superior 4G download speeds, Vodafone is quantifying this for the user, outlining what they can do in return for their extra capability and therefore giving their service a much more immediate appeal. Clearly, the better value offering will eventually win, but I’m keen to see how EE’s dominance holds up now that it is being contended.

Of course, Vodafone and EE are not the only operators to watch. Three has promised a lack of premium pricing and unlimited data allowances, due to reach the market in December, however there will always be a question mark around their services. As for O2, they didn’t fare too well in the auctions and are rolling out slowly – it would seem their focus may be on other services? In my opinion neither should be written off completely before being given a fair chance; but with such stiff competition from the already successful incumbents, along with a large proportion of customers still debating whether they need 4G at all, it’ll be a tough market to crack, and accordingly, an exciting battle to watch.

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