Yesterday saw the long awaited launch of 4G, going live in 11 cities across the UK.
So if you are lucky enough to live and work in London, Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, Glasgow or Southampton you should (with the right equipment and data plan) be able to download faster than anyone on 3G.
EE are the only network provider currently able to offer the benefits of 4G mobile broadband, promising download speeds between 8Mbps to 12Mbps, delivering connectivity up to five times faster than 3G, but in reality will likely only be twice as fast as the latest 3G technology.
Theoretically 4G mobile broadband can actually provide speeds of up to 100Mbps for downloads and 50Mbps for uploads, but let’s just say that is highly unlikely for users (at the present anyway).
But what is this 4G or fourth generation technology going to actually do for us?
Well it’s not going to get you to the moon and back, but today’s average mobile does have more processing power than the Apollo 11 moon landing computers in 1969. If the moon is a little too far too reach, how about a significant business boost instead.
Everyone has become hungry for information and data, the speed at which that data and information can go from one point to another or to multiple points is now just as important as the data itself.
The media has largely focussed on the direct benefits to consumers who adopt 4G, the amounts they can download, how much they can watch and their social interactions. However the benefits for the population at large go way beyond that. What about all the business services that will benefit from improved speeds, 4G mobile broadband is a big benefit and potential game-changer for business.
Already live in many other countries, 4G will open up opportunities for businesses:
1) Connecting Things
4G mobile broadband will open up better information sharing and data performance between the devices and resources a business employs. That might be a vending machine automatically requesting more products as its low on stock, or it could be environmental monitoring technology reporting back the performance of an estate located across the country.
2) Cloud Computing
Businesses are adopting more and more cloud-based services. With those same services integrating across different platforms and devices, being able to access your product database, customer contacts or financial data as a mobile workforce will benefit hugely from 4G mobile broadband performance and speed.
3) Business Efficiency
As all businesses look to strengthen their market position and reduce their costs, the deployment of M2M (machine-to-machine) technologies or smart systems will become paramount in delivering effective business services, 4G will help to improve business sustainability and improve access to mobile broadband networks, where speeds will surpass more traditional broadband connectivity in parts of the country.
In all this commotion lets not forget completely about our beloved 3G. The network upgrades will inevitably mean an increase in bandwidth, 3G technologies such as HSPA+ will benefit from this as well and with theoretical downloads of 21 Mbps and upload of 5.76 Mbps, 3G might just in the short term give 4G a run for its money. Especially in areas where 4G is not available at launch or in the near future!
So let’s not be afraid of the big bad wolf on Halloween, business should embrace 4G mobile broadband as it will provide a distinct competitive advantage! Even if you cant get 4G’ed, then why are you not using 3G.
As for what you do in your spare time, will everyone be desperate for that ‘all you can eat’ tariff, or will it be more of an ‘all you CANT eat’ occasion? How much faster do we need to be able to ‘like’, ‘watch’, tweet’, ‘pin’, ‘listen’ or ‘download’? Only time will really tell.
3G took at least 5 years to become established as the norm, so let’s give 4G some time to become a part of all our lives, commercially and socially.