Next-generation mobile broadband technologies including 3G Long Term Evolution (LTE), xMax and Mobile WiMAX hold the promise of transforming the mobile broadband landscape.
Carriers are increasingly investigating the potential of these emerging technologies as a means to sustain their profitability and boost average revenue per user (ARPU).
“Carriers’ dependence on voice to increase ARPU can no longer be a driving factor, given the prevailing saturated market and various alternatives such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and reduced local and roaming call charges due to regulatory policies”, notes Frost & Sullivan Programme Manager Luke Thomas. “As a result, carriers are now keenly looking at various next generation mobile broadband technologies so as to increase their ARPU in data applications and remain profitable in the long term."
More than 62% of the current world population of nearly 6,6-billion is not connected to a cellular network. Various emerging wireless technologies still have potential to make major inroads into the vast untapped market.
Current Mobile WiMAX standards are not yet optimised for mobile VoIP at vehicular speeds. Frost & Sullivan believes that Mobile WiMAX will therefore initially target the ultra mobile PC or PC tablet market rather than the mobile smartphone market.
xMax technology will potentially enable service providers to promote unlimited local and long distant voice calls as well as unlimited text messages at very low monthly prices. xMax is a likely prospect to be the first 4G technology to be commercially available in 2008. Once 3G LTE is a ratified standard, its performance characteristics will be superior to Mobile WiMAX.
“A major portion of existing cellular networks would need a hardware upgrade to support 3G LTE,” notes Thomas. “Service providers are still undecided if they need to completely shut down circuit switched networks with the deployment of 3G LTE networks.”