4G LTE Technology: 10 Things Enterprises Should Consider
Not Enough Devices Support It
When Apple launched the new iPad earlier this year, it became the first from the mobile giant to actually offer 4G LTE. Does that surprise you? It might surprise you even more to find out that few other device makers support the technology just yet, either. This year will be a big one for LTE, but if you're planning to make the leap now, you'll be surprised to see how few devices support the technology.
Consider the Cost
Unfortunately, the cost of 4G LTE is a major barrier to entry. In order to get all the data you'll need, you can expect to dole out nearly $100 a month for the ability to access the networks. Verizon Wireless, for example, charges $80 per month for 20GB of data. Don't need all that? The 10GB option will set your company back $50 per month.
Don't Go Overseas With It
The United States is far ahead of Europe in 4G LTE adoption right now. In fact, Europe is still trying to get the spectrum ready to deploy the high-speed networks. So, if you're sending employees overseas and want them to connect to 4G LTE, don't expect it to happen.
Not All Carriers Are Created Equal
Although all major U.S. carriers like to talk up their 4G LTE networks, beware that those services are not all created equal. Verizon expects to have about 260 million people covered by its service this year, and AT&T will trail with 200 million people covered. Sprint and T-Mobile are expected to fall way behind that.
Data Caps Are an Issue
As of this writing, none of the major U.S. carriers is offering users unlimited data on their 4G LTE plans. So, be careful which plan you choose for employees. Will they be using a lot of data? Will they not need so much? Determining data usage is a major factor to consider.
Does Speed Matter?
Considering that requirement to analyze data usage and the sheer cost of it all, you should consider whether 4G LTE is really worth it. Sure, you're getting faster data speeds that are quite noticeable when jumping from 3G to 4G LTE, but consider that few people are actually using those ultra-high-speed networks. What's more, if employees aren't on wireless data all that often, it might prove to be a waste.
Coverage Is Relative
Remember those statistics about Verizon and AT&T being able to cover more than 200 million people by the end of the year? Well, it's important for you to realize that those figures are relative. For the most part, LTE is readily available in major and midmarket cities, but in suburbs or other areas where there might not be so many people, you're stuck with 3G. Keep that in mind before making the LTE plunge.
Don't Let the ‘4G' Fool You
OK, so all this talk of 4G LTE might make you think that the technology is the logical successor to 3G. Think again. In reality, 4G LTE is a bridge technology until we can get to the real 4G. That said, don't expect actual fourth-generation high-speed networks to come around any time soon. Carriers are spending way too much on LTE for that to happen.
Watch Out For the Battery
Apple made the smart decision in the new iPad to bundle the device with an improved battery, realizing that LTE would be a big drain. Other companies, however, haven't been so forward-thinking. If battery life is important to you and your employees, be sure to remember that LTE connections will drain the battery quite rapidly.
It Should Make For a Better Hotspot Service
If you have employees who are at client offices and need to all connect to a mobile network through wireless hotspot service, 4G LTE might prove to be a better solution. For one, the connection speeds are faster, which should mean employees will be far more productive. Hotspot users should be the first in line to pick up 4G LTE service.