Apple, Google, Sprint Among Winners in Yankee's 2011 4G Predictions

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Apple, Google, Sprint Among Winners in Yankee's 2011 4G Predictions

by Michelle Maisto

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Prediction: 4G Will Be a Drop in the Ocean

By the end of 2011, only 25 percent of North American consumers will understand what 4G means, says Yankee Group. Incumbent operators, such as Vodafone and AT&T, will win out, as they'll "be able to align 4G investments with pragmatic adoption forecasts." Pictured: A new Vodafone ad campaign starring F1 driver Jenson Button, indie rock darling Florence Welch and supermodel Lilly Cole.

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Prediction: 4G Will Fail to Win the Enterprise

Similar to how consumer-owned smartphones first made their way into enterprises, users buying 4G adapters will demonstrate the case for 4G business applications. Pictured is the LG VL600 4G modem that Verizon introduced with its LTE 4G service.

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Prediction: The 4G Killer Device Will Be a Hotspot

Personal WiFi hotspots, known as MiFi, enable multidevice users to deal with just one mobile device plan. When the hotspot is 4G, everything will additionally speed up. Pictured here is AT&T's $50 Mobile Hotspot MiFi for its 3G network.

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Prediction: Competition in the U.S. Will Create a 4G Marketing Mess

A matter of "long-term concern," says Yankee, "is the extent to which T-Mobile, Clearwire, Sprint and Verizon Wireless are using the 4G moniker as a marketing tool." Recently, T-Mobile surprised people by advertising its HSPA+ network as 4G.

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Prediction: A Denial-of-Service Attack Will Take Down a 4G Network

Speeding to deployment, some security corners may be cut that will cost operators in the long-term. AT&T's struggle, says Yankee, is "particularly poignant," as it works to rollout 4G while supporting its iPhone customers on 3G.

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Prediction: Chinese Vendors Will Beat 3G Incumbents

Tier 1 players shouldn't dismiss Chinese vendors as offering inferior solutions, says Yankee. The competition they pose over the next five years will be considerable. Pictured is China-based Huawei's testing center.

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Prediction: 4G Users Will Spend Twice as Much Time on the Mobile Web as Their Non-4G Counterparts

By the end of 2011, 4G users are expected to spend more than 36 minutes a day browsing the mobile Web. The new Microsoft ad campaign for its Windows Phone 7 phones, features the tag line: "It's time for a phone to save us from our phones." Pictured: the WP7-running Dell Venue Pro.

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Prediction: Mobile Video Will Not Drive Consumers to 4G

Mobile video is constrained not just by bandwidth but how much attention users can spend on video. Instead, mobile apps and Web browsing will for now lead 4G use.

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Prediction: The Web Will Not Save Operators in the Mobile Apps Market

Unfortunately for operators, says Yankee, "Apple and Google own the most popular mobile Web browsers and are well-positioned to optimize these for app discovery and search." Pictured is Apple's new store in Shanghai, China. (Image courtesy of Apple.)

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Prediction: MVNO Hype Will Build, but Most of It Will Lead to Nothing

In theory, the 4G MVNO business should be a successful one, says Yankee, "but it won't be." To succeed, the MVNO can't compete with its host in any meaningful way. The Kyocera Loft, pictured, is offered by the MVNO Virgin Mobile.

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Prediction: Pricing Will End in Tiers

Goodbye, flat rates. ??íIn 2011, 4G mobile data plans are expected to be tiered. Where the business model supports it, however—as with the Amazon Kindle—connectivity will come as a built-in standard.

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Prediction: Carrier VOIP Will Still Be AWOL, Despite 4G

Most operators are still planning their 4G networks and won't support VOIP on 4G in the short-term. Only T-Mobile and other operators using HSPA+ offer voice support on their "4G" networks. The new T-Mobile myTouch 4G is pictured.

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Prediction: Google Will Take the Wheel in Mobile Data

More bandwidth means more data traffic, says Yankee, and "Google is the most successful company at monetizing that traffic." Pictured is Google's Dublin office.

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