When first introduced, ‘4G’ had many meanings. Sprint claimed first to market with 4G in 2008 – building out a WiMax powered network on their 2.5 Ghz spectrum. AT&T and T-Mobile marketed their HSPA+ 3G network improvements as 4G, but the speed increase didn’t really justify the new name. Today’s 4G market in the US was largely defined by Verizon’s decision to build out LTE, which stands for Long Term Evolution. LTE provided the significant speed and capacity improvements expected from 4G. Today LTE is an international standard in 4G, pushing wireless speeds far past anything previously capable with other technologies. But what does the future hold?
The increased speeds and capacity offered with LTE has enabled more than just faster loading times. Voice-over-LTE, or VoLTE, enables phone calls to be transmitted as data over the air. This promises higher call quality calls when compared to 3G, and for users on Verizon and Sprint – it will offer the potential for simultaneous voice and data. However, this feature does depend on you having a supported device. Luckily, the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S5, and the LG G2 all support VoLTE out of the box. Verizon has announced VoLTE support is already enabled, however other carriers support of VoLTE is either pending, or only limited to certain areas.
While LTE has shown impressive speeds, carriers are already poised to make the transition into LTE-Advanced networks. With speeds greater than 100 Mbps, it is clear why this technology has large implications for businesses. Data rates north of 100 Mbps make download times minimal, and downloading or streaming large files, previously hindered by slower wireless networks, will be easily accessible. An LTE-Advanced powered device downloading at these speeds could use up an entire 2GB of data in less than three minutes of time.
This has major implications for businesses, particularly those interested in the area of telecom expense management. Unlimited data plans are largely a thing of the past, and LTE-Advanced devices will be able to chew through carrier imposed data limits with relative ease. With speeds like this, wireless data billing will have to change. Perhaps other U.S. carriers will take a cue from T-Mobile, who rather than charging overages, simply throttles back speeds after a certain amount of usage. For example, a carrier might offer 3 GB of LTE-Advanced speeds, and throttle you back to 3G or normal LTE for anything past that threshold. Rate plan analysis over the past few years will show that data use has already skyrocketed with LTE, and LTE-Advanced will only make the problem worse.
Where we fit in
Regardless of your wireless environment, or your experience with telecom expense management, mindWireless is here to help tackle the next generation of your business’ needs. Our experienced team of mobility experts can provide wireless consulting services ranging from Rate Plan Analysis, Billing Optimization, and 24×7 Branded Help Desk. Founded in 2000, mindWireless is the largest wireless-centered TEM firm, and manages wireless expense for numerous Fortune 500 companies. Looking to mitigate the uncertainty of your company’s wireless billing? Get a Free Cost Savings Analysis from our team of experts.