Author: Kevin Donoghue, CEO - Telesoft
Wireless technology has become critical for enterprise networks. Each generation of cellular technology has required substantial investments from mobile operators, but it has also helped mobile providers grow their revenue with new subscribers and increases in revenue per user.
In the 1980s, the first generation 1G introduced car phones. By 1991, 2G enabled customers to move their mobile phone service from cars and carrying cases to their pockets. Bulky phones with large batteries became relics and adoption of mobile service became more common. Second generation wireless technology also introduced SMS and other basic data services for mobile.
In 1997 3G brought superior voice quality; enhanced roaming; broadband data services with video and multimedia; up to 2M bit/sec; data always-on and better access to the internet. 4G WiMAX and Long-Term Evolution (LTE) enabled people to use mobile smartphones the same way they use PCs. It was adopted quickly because the market wanted the internet on their mobile devices. Now, seven years after 4G’s debut, mobile providers are starting to see their average revenue per user starting to decline.
What will 5G provide when it is rolled out in the next few years? Part of its appeal are faster speeds, but Joe Madden, Principal Analyst at Mobile Experts LLC predicts, “this is the generation where the mobile operators can compete at low cost, coming in with last-mile data services (Ethernet, DSL or cable modems) for homes and offices… to break the distinction between wired and wireless.”
If he is right, there will be heated competition between the cable and mobile providers. Cable and fixed operators are already capable of Wi-Fi-first smartphone services and internet services outside the home. Mobile providers are also positioning themselves to compete by making investments in media companies; witness the deal AT&T has with DirecTV. Moreover, Verizon’s moves to buy XO’s fiber network and Nextlink’s local multipoint distribution service with its 39 GHz spectrum will position it favorably for 5G applications.
Just when it seemed as though the carrier market was consolidating and there would be less competition, technology is making it possible for new companies to compete more effectively. Enterprises need to be prepared for these changes with accurate inventories for their current providers of network services and maintaining a clear view of spending. 5G has great promise for enterprises that are able to harness it to their advantage.Tags: Managed Mobility Services, Wireless Networks