Whenever talk arises about mobile networks, it immediately turns to 4G connectivity. All the major carriers are thinking about it in one way or another and before too long, a majority of mobile customers-both consumers and enterprise users-will be accessing 4G service to surf the Web, check e-mail, perform daily tasks and much more. Simply put, the 4G evolution is under way.
Exactly what that means for the average company is something that most firms are probably thinking about. After all, Sprint has been doubling down on the technology for months now and with Verizon expecting to have 38 cities supporting its 4G service by year’s end, the decision to either wait for more rollouts or access 4G now is something that businesses will make sooner rather than later. Here’s why 4G is the future of the enterprise.
1. It has speed on its side
The obvious benefit of 4G is that it can potentially deliver more speed than 3G networks currently available to companies. According to Verizon, for example, its 4G network can offer speeds between 1M bps and 12M bps. That’s a sizable increase over anything enterprise customers are using now to access the Web from a mobile network. And considering speed will only help companies, it seems that 4G is the way to go for most firms.
2. The carriers see value in it
It would be hard to say that 4G is the future if all the major carriers weren’t behind it. After all, if Sprint were leading that charge and AT&T and Verizon didn’t see value in it, few companies would care. But all the major carriers are getting behind 4G. That’s important. If the carriers see value in it and they push vendors to support 4G technology in their devices, it won’t be long before the enterprise benefits.
3. Build 4G and the customers will come
As noted, Verizon plans to make its 4G service available in 38 cities around the United States by the end of 2010. Going forward, that number will likely rise exponentially as the company continues to invest in the technology. That’s a good thing for all stakeholders. It means that as more cities are supported, the likelihood of companies jumping on the 4G bandwagon will only increase over time.
4. It will make 3G obsolete
Most companies invest in 3G technology right now, either through their smartphone data plans or via plans available for other mobile devices. But as 4G becomes more readily available around the country, companies will have no choice but to adopt the new technology. Carriers will make 3G obsolete, and the last thing companies should want to do is stick with an out-of-date technology.
The Time for 4G Connectivity Has Arrived
5. It’s about productivity
When it comes time for a company to make a decision, productivity must play a key role. If something increases productivity and it’s available for the right price, it makes sense. If not, it doesn’t. 4G will likely make sense on all those fronts. With Sprint’s Evo 4G, for example, the company charges customers a $10 per month “premium data add-on” in addition to the plan they choose. Considering the cheapest business option is $59.99, including minutes, that’s not such a bad deal, especially considering what customers get for it.
6. High-speed mobility is the future
Years ago, having employees tied to a desktop or notebook was the standard paradigm in the enterprise. But as smartphones have become more useful and high-speed connections have become more ubiquitous, companies and their workforces have become more mobile with devices that are smaller and faster than ever. The advent of 4G will only encourage enterprises to develop more powerful mobile business applications to make their employees more productive and to connect with their highly mobile customers.
7. Apple is serious about it
Apple isn’t the most enterprise-focused company in the technology industry. However, its iPhone and iPad are quickly becoming favorites of business users and companies around the world. And Apple seems very interested in 4G. In fact, Verizon Wireless told the Wall Street Journal in a recent interview that Apple has interest in the carrier’s 4G network. That’s important. If Apple supports the technology, it won’t take long for the competition to follow.
8. There might be no choice
Eventually, there might be no choice but to deploy 4G in the enterprise. The reason why is simple: Carriers want to see their customers switch to 4G, vendors are happy with it, and most IT decision-makers see value in it. When all those elements are combined, it quickly becomes clear that migrating to 4G when it becomes available in a company’s area will be an essential step forward, rather than a difficult decision to make.
9. There won’t be many other viable options
As of this writing, 4G seems to be the next logical step in the availability of mobile networking. There are simply no other options currently available that can match 4G in terms of its ability to combine availability and speed. That’s important for companies to consider as they determine whether 4G really is the way to go.
10. It’s what’s needed in the marketplace
As more and more people go mobile to perform their daily tasks, they want the ability to do more with the Web connectivity made available to them. The best connectivity option will soon become 4G. Although it’s in its infancy and there are many pitfalls that it can hit along the way, it just seems that 4G can’t come soon enough. And when it does become the dominant mobile service, we’ll wonder why we had to work without it for so long.