4G Emerges Slowly But Changes Everything

Posted by at 1:17 pm on December 7, 2010

2011 promises to be a big year for 4G, as operators scramble to roll out network upgrades, new devices hit the street and marketing for next-generation services reaches fever pitch. But while many players are eager for 4G to stir excitement, few will reap 4G revenue in 2011. In a new report, “Yankee Group’s 2011 Predictions: 4G Fuels the Decade of Disruption,” Yankee Group predicts a slow start for 4G but says moves made by players in 2011 will determine their ultimate fate in the marketplace.

“Connectivity-”especially mobile connectivity-”drives disruption in the telecom arena,” said  Jason Armitage, senior analyst at Yankee Group and a co-author of the report. “Once 4G takes hold, its impact will be swift and profound, and 2011 is the year to prepare.”

The full report is available for free download at  http://web.yankeegroup.com/Predictions2011FreeReportPage.html. Yankee Group’s 2011 predictions for 4G are:

1.  4G will be a drop in the ocean. By the end of 2011, the world’s most important 4G technology (LTE) will account for only 0.04 percent of all mobile lines.

2.  4G will fail to win the enterprise. Currently, less than a third of enterprise decision-makers believe 4G is important; that number won’t budge by year end.

3.  The 4G killer device will be a hotspot. Users will gravitate to hotspots’ simplicity and savings, reducing 4G subscriptions in the long run.

4.  Competition in the U.S. will create a 4G marketing mess. As operators slap the “4G” moniker on everything from WiMAX and LTE to HSPA+, confusion will abound.

5.  A denial-of-service attack will take a 4G network down. In their rush to roll out 4G, operators are cutting corners on security; one unlucky operator will pay the price.

6.  Chinese vendors will beat 3G incumbents in their own backyards. Both Huawei and ZTE will make key 4G wins outside Asia, to the detriment of established players.

7.  4G users will spend twice as much time on the mobile Web as their non-4G counterparts. Companies that invest in mobile Web sites and free or near-free rich media content will benefit most.

8.  Mobile video will not drive consumers to 4G. Mobile video won’t be the killer 4G app everyone expects; instead, consumers will spend more time with music services like Pandora and Slacker.

9.  The Web will not save operators in the mobile apps market. Operators think 4G will give them a leg up in mobile apps, but Apple and Google will still lead the market in 2011.

10.  MVNO hype will build, but most of it will lead to nothing. 4G MVNOs will fail for the same reason most 2G and 3G MVNOs failed: Most won’t complement their hosts’ businesses.

11.  Pricing will end in tiers. 4G will herald the introduction of tiered mobile data pricing models, and flat-rate pricing will be gone forever.

12.  Carrier VoIP will still be AWOL, despite 4G. 4G’s speed and bandwidth are multimedia must-haves but not big voice necessities. Few operators will launch services before 2013, allowing over-the-top companies to gain an early lead.

13.  Google will take the wheel in mobile data. Currently behind Apple and others in the mobile space, Google will quickly grab the mobile lead as 4G rolls out.

Yankee Group Presents 4G World

4G World, the only conference and expo covering the entire ecosystem for next-generation networks, will hold its next events on April 27-29, 2011, in Chengdu, China, and on Oct. 24-27, 2011, in Chicago. Visit  www.4GWorld.com

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