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4G – our perspective


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4G has proved an interesting topic in mobile communications, regularly making headlines across the last year. From the surprisingly small sum raised at the spectrum auction, to EE’s super-fast roll out and subsequent price reduction offer, 2013 looks to be an exciting year for 4G and its full launch. As a Product Specialist in Mobile and Intelligent Networks at Redcentric, I’d like to talk you through my thoughts on the current 4G state-of-play, as well as what to expect from future 4G developments.

The 4G network is, as you would suspect, the 4th generation of mobile communication technology. An improvement on the 3G offering before it, 4G boasts much faster broadband access, in particular for bandwidth-hungry applications on smartphones, such as video conferencing and downloads. Despite its attractive promises of high-speed access and the ability to do more from remote locations, the auction of 4G mobile spectrum raised less money than expected (a still-impressive £2.3bn as opposed to the anticipated £3.5bn). Though many were reporting this from a negative angle following the initial release of figures, I personally am excited by the prospect. If mobile telecommunication companies have spent less money on acquiring the service, they will be able to spend more money on developing that service into one that offers greater benefits for the end user. And this sentiment was echoed with the poor coverage of 3G following its initial release, with its hefty £22.5bn auction price tag hindering the ability of mobile providers to perfect their offerings before putting them to market.

EE, the first mobile provider to roll out a 4G service, offered its users an initial 4G upgrade plan in late 2012. And though the official reason has not been cited, it is rumoured that its subsequent drop in price earlier this year was due to a lack of adoption during its initial foray. With its latest marketing ploy – 4G service in 50 UK black cabs in an effort to attract those not aware of the network’s benefits – revealed this week, it seems EE is stepping up its 4G push, but is there something to be said for less haste, more speed? Other providers successful in securing a portion of 4G spectrum have not yet rolled out their service, and this may play to their advantage. I predict that when services begin hitting the market this year, those who have invested time and money into improving their service before rushing it to the end user may reap the benefits, in terms of both adoption rate and profit; I’ll keep you posted.



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