Verizon, AT&T, Others: How the Wireless Industry Changed in 2012
Everyone Makes LTE Progress
Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks offer users faster speeds and carriers more efficient and cost-effective use of their networks. Without one, a carrier is toast. Consequently, in 2012, all the major carriers made progress in covering their 3G footprints with LTE. Verizon Wireless leads the way, with LTE in 470 cities. Meanwhile, T-Mobile lags farthest behind, but in December officials announced the company is ahead of schedule and by mid-2013 will be where it expected to be at year's end.
Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile are shaping and leading an industry undergoing astounding change. Smartphones continue to sell at an incredible clip: Shipments likely reached 567 million units in 2012, according to DisplaySearch, and are expected to be twice that in 2016. Tablet shipments were likely 122.3 million units this year and are expected to reach 283 million in 2016, says IDC. Add to those the traffic of hotspots, USB modems and laptops with built-in 3G, and one begins to sense the astonishing amounts of traffic for which the carriers are racing to build roads (while essentially creating the vehicles themselves). In 2012, as the carriers worked to accommodate wireless needs, anticipate future ones and develop the devices and services that we don't yet realize we'll someday want—as our cars, homes, wearable accessories and more will soon join our phones on their networks—deals were penned, policy was passed and an industry that now involves us all evolved in important ways.