opinion

How 4G Internet Access is Changing the Mobile Market

Stephen Yagielowicz

The latest mobile technologies are breeding new services and customer expectations, with the rollout of Fourth Generation — Long Term Evolution (4G LTE) Internet access fueling much of the fire on this front.

Despite the buzz surrounding the tech, many consumers don’t understand its benefits and many of their business counterparts may also be in the dark, prompting a closer look.

In simple terms, 4G combines the mobility of 3G with the speed of Wi-Fi, severing the need to offload heavy data transfers to Wi-Fi connections, as many 3G users now do.

“Probably the biggest benefit of 4G is that it will be upwards of 10 times faster than current 3G network speeds,” Richard Goodwin wrote for KnowYourMobile.com. “The obvious benefit of this is that you’ll be able to do things faster, consume more media on your device and work harder — although not necessarily in that order.”

In simple terms, 4G combines the mobility of 3G with the speed of Wi-Fi, severing the need to offload heavy data transfers to Wi-Fi connections, as many 3G users now do.

For details, an Arthur D. Little report entitled, “The Business Benefits of 4G LTE” (www.adlittle.com/downloads/tx_adlreports/ADL_UK_Business_Benefits_01.pdf), provides an in-depth analysis of the technology and its implications for commerce, noting that 4G provides substantial performance improvements over previous technologies and offers the promise that connectivity will no longer be a barrier to realizing the benefits of enterprise mobility.“

4G LTE, when compared with 3G, allows more applications to be truly mobile [and] provides faster sharing of large files and streaming media and improved performance for latency-sensitive applications, such as real-time videoconferencing or remote desktops,” the report states, adding, “Compared with Wi-Fi, LTE offers full mobility and provides convenient, secure connectivity at true broadband speeds.”

It seems that two-way adult videochat services are excellent uses for 4G technology.

“LTE will deliver improvements in the performance of many existing applications, and make feasible new applications that depend on reliable high speed or responsive data transfer,” the report states, citing examples such as remote monitoring and highdefinition mobile videoconferencing.

“The improved user experience and practicality of LTE will also hasten uptake of those existing applications that already work on mobile devices — but just not very well.”

The high bandwidth of LTE also supports the rapid set-up of temporary workplaces, as an alternative or backup to fixed broadband connections, the report notes, providing yet another use for the technology by webcam studios setting up shop in remote locations and adult producers on the move.

Of course 4G provides many other benefits to businesses.

The report states that 67 percent of companies using LTE in the U.S. have seen increased productivity as a result, while 47 percent have lowered costs; 39 percent have won more business; and more than 75 percent claim that 4G helped their company “innovate and jump the competition.”

As for the U.K., the report notes that there is a clear public commitment to widely deploy 4G LTE and business customers are already anticipating its advantages, citing an EE-commissioned survey revealing that 94 percent of IT decision-makers believe that 4G will be “an important business tool.”

The survey also finds that 84 percent of respondents are “excited by the prospect of introducing 4G,” while more than 60 percent are planning to deploy 4G services “within six months of its launch.”

With real-world benefits such as large file transfers, rapid workplace set-up and rich machine to machine and remote monitoring applications, plus robust videoconferencing, rich media collaboration and remote access to business applications; it is no wonder that the Arthur D. Little report reveals a bright future for 4G.

Although some of this shift from 3G is merely evolutionary economics, as products reach the end of their life cycle (i.e., if 3G was so great, then 4G must be even better — something we just can’t live without — at least until 5G comes along), the benefits that 4G delivers are substantial; but how can you go about getting 4G Internet access today?

According to the company, CLEAR (www.clear.com) is 4G Internet that allows consumers to go online at home or on-the-go, by transmitting 4G signals from towers around their town; for fast, dependable access to everything online, “Whether you’re on your couch, a park bench or virtually anywhere in-between.”

CLEAR offers flexible Internet plans with unlimited access to fit most every need, without additional charges or overage fees. With download speeds of up to 6 Mbps and 1 Mbps uploads, the company claims that its $49 per month service is designed for people who are always online and who regularly enjoy watching movies, playing online games, and listening to music.

Porn isn’t mentioned, but you get the idea.

The company offers its services through CLEAR Spots, Sticks and Hubs.

Spots will allow customers to create their own Wi-Fi hotspot, compatible with any Wi-Fi enabled device, connecting multiple devices and users. CLEAR Sticks are small dongles that plug into a laptop’s USB port, with no battery needed; while a CLEAR Hub easily connects to a computer or router to provide 4G Internet to your home or office.

The services provides quick installation, easy set up and no long-term contracts, so users receive everything the 4G Internet has to offer without getting tied down, delivering what the company calls “your Internet, your way.”

“Just turn on or plug in your CLEAR device and get online quickly,” a rep says, promising, “No complicated installations or waiting around for professional installers.”

CLEAR warns that certain parts of a residential or commercial structure, city, metropolitan area, or other geographic region may have limited or no coverage, due to factors such as terrain, foliage, weather/atmospheric conditions, building structure and materials or network traffic congestion, which may affect your coverage at a particular location at any given time — but improvements in technology and the addition of more towers could help some of these issues as the system matures.

While there are other service providers, CLEAR was selected as the example because of an image on its website that depicts its CLEAR Spot, alongside a laptop, tablet, phone and digital camera.

It is the digital camera that intrigued this author, because while Wi-Fi connectivity is an expensive option on his professional-level Nikon (costing many hundreds of dollars), this capability is increasingly being added as a standard feature on entry-level cameras, where “direct to social media” imaging is commonplace — and something also enabled by 4G technology — further re-shaping how consumers interact with digital media today.

Just as blogging gave everyone a voice, these technologies allow everyone to share their vision — processes which will help drive the next generation of erotic imagery and bring new opportunities to forward-looking marketers and service providers seeking to gain a technological edge — at least until their upstart 5G competitors come along.

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