There's little doubt that one of the big moves of 2013 is pretty much going to have to be the rise of LTE. It's already underway in a lot of places, and there are plans in the works to bring even more into play. Everyone wants higher speeds and more bandwidth, and in the comparison between 3G and LTE, there's little doubt that at least some of that is here. But LTE isn't easy to establish, nor is it cheap. That in turn means it's time to start looking at how to monetize LTE.
As with just about anything, however, knowing that it needs to be done and figuring out how to do it are two very different things. LTE is a bit different in that there's a good way to go right off the top of the bat. Specifically, the rise of LTE allows mobile network operators (MNOs) to start offering new services that they couldn't previously because they didn't have the speed and bandwidth necessary to bring them into play. There are plenty such services available that many MNOs would like to offer, and now can thanks to LTE, like mobile video calling and Web-based collaboration tools, tools that may or may not be too welcome in the general consumer circles, but would certainly be welcome in a business environment.
Bringing WebRTC better into the picture is also going to be a significant priority move for companies seeking to recoup LTE investments. With WebRTC systems in place, it allows for even better quality communications tools, including those we talked about previously like mobile video calling and collaboration. One of LTE's greatest selling points is its low latency, and the lower latency is, the better things are overall for WebRTC users. That, in turn, means those users are more likely to pay for it, and keep paying, allowing MNOs to recoup that investment more readily.
Given that a recent survey from Informa pegs 70 percent of MNOs worldwide as believing that 4G services should be launched right now, it's clear that there's a sense of urgency to get the new technology up and running. Again, that's great, but LTE needs to make money before networks can justify putting the services into play. New applications, released on a "the sooner the better" basis, will give networks a significant advantage when it comes to getting and keeping customers.
Everyone wants more speed, everyone wants more bandwidth, but what really makes the money in a mobile network is being the one to provide just what the user wants. Controlling the user experience, offering the mobile collaboration tools that are easiest to use or the most effective (ideally, both at once) will go a long way toward bringing the necessary revenue to recoup the expense of setting up an LTE network in the first place.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey