Published on February 27th, 2014 | by Alexis Argent0
4Gon Discuss Mobile Data and International Roaming with Comms Business Magazine
Access to information whilst on the move is essential for business executives that need to have all the latest information and messaging at their fingertips, which is why the mobile data market exploded some time ago. The wider spread arrival of 4G will provide yet another impetus to the market.
How do you see 4G impacting the market?
On one hand, people’s behaviour is not radically changed by the impact of 4G; rather it accelerates the trends we are seeing now. Demand for and consumption of internet access will continue to grow for the foreseeable future, and that holds true for nearly every person and every sector. Everyone wants faster, higher definition video and better quality audio for example, as well as instant access to cloud based data and services.
Where you do see radically different benefits from 4G, is in the cost and speed of deployment of 4G solutions compared to DSL / cable. Because of this, in certain situations, such as on building sites, temporary offices, or say, university campuses, 4G mobile data could actually replace the last mile. For me, this is a landmark moment in the history of telecoms, especially when you consider it’s only going to improve from here on in, and so compete even more directly with DSL or fibre.
To give an example, a dual-sim 4G gateway can be set up in a matter of minutes and support multiple clients, providing an entire site with a high standard of internet access. At the very least, it makes 4G a no-brainer for any internet-reliant businesses looking for a back up solution.
Essentially, 4G means a truly airborne high-speed internet, and all the freedom that entails.
Is it just about speed or will there be new applications that take advantage of the greater bandwidth – for example, video conferencing on the move?
There will definitely be new apps to take advantage of the enhanced performance, but performance is about latency as much as bandwidth. More reliable throughput means everything from gaming to VoIP and video conferencing is more stable and accessible on the move, or wherever you’re working from. Other apps, such as vehicle or delivery tracking which require the delivery of data to or from a mobile object or person, may be less latency dependent but will still drive 4G growth.
Higher quality enterprise-ready 4G gateways are now so sophisticated that, for example, they can take 4 sims, and load balance them to provide a consistent connection, all of which can be set up from start to finish in just a couple of days. There is simply no comparable way to provide internet access, especially for more inaccessible sites, that doesn’t take a long time or isn’t extremely costly.
Does better connectivity automatically equal more revenue opportunity?
Internet access is the primary application, upon which all other applications rest. This makes it the primary revenue opportunity, and the reason resellers should be investigating 4G gateways first and foremost, if they want to capitalise on the 4G opportunity.
Does 4G live up to the hype?
Absolutely. For example, you can combine multiple 4G sims, which together can deliver over 100mbs of bandwidth for a relatively small amount of money. This is extremely good value, when you consider that you can order it one day and have it up and running the next.
Have international roaming solutions solved the problem of using data abroad?
Frankly no, roaming is generally still too expensive for most users. For example, O2 recently charged me £3 per MegaByte in Europe, but in Brazil (or anywhere outside of Europe) you’re looking at £6 per MegaByte. So using just 1GB in Europe is not going to be cheap, and outside Europe, the cost is even more prohibitive.
Because of this, the best option is still to buy a local sim, for which you may well need to show your driving license or passport and ensure the phone you want to use is unlocked.
It’s always worth checking what offers or bolt-ons a carrier may be offering prior to departure, but generally it’s all still too costly. I believe the cost will come down though, as I’d argue operators would be better to capitalise on the universal demand for international usage more sustainably.”
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