Let’s say you run a business in the U.K. and a fast mobile broadband Internet connection is essential. Your field sales and operations teams don’t have office desks because they’re gone most of the time. Access to product availability, pricing and features is critical. As CEO of the company, you’re 110% responsible for making this year’s projected revenues and profits. Feel pressured?
Slow Mobile Broadband in the U.K.
Top 10.com, a group of designers, developers, web marketers, writers and other professionals in central London just released a 3G wireless network report showing average wireless network download speeds of 2Mbps or less. On a clear day when it’s not raining, you might average half of that. The myth of “average” speeds.
The organization even released an iPhone Web speed app so consumers and business folks can watch broadband slowly dripping from their faucets.
Milton Keynes, not a person but a city, less than an hour from London, gets a whopping 1.73Mbps download speed, 45% slower than the rest of the U.K. Other Midlands’ cities with large populations put up with just over 2Mbps, while Birmingham, the U.K.’s second largest city–population one million–is the 10th slowest in the country at 2.43Mbps.
At those speeds, it takes 10 seconds to load one webpage on a smartphone, an hour to watch a movie and two minutes for a mobile game. Honk.
No, I’m not talking about Uganda. This is London calling. And if you think iPhone users were unhappy with AT&T in the U.S., imagine their temperament slogging through mobile mud on the British Isles.
So if you’re that CEO, dependent on super-quick wireless connectivity for business growth, you’re up mobile creek.
Meanwhile in South Korea, Australia and a Few Other Places
Perhaps you should move your company to South Korea or Australia. SK operators churn out 14Mbps per second, while Telstra in Australia got on the HSPA+ 3G connectivity bandwagon, like T-Mobile here in the U.S., several years ago. That wireless technology unbelievably has a top download rate of 168Mbps, although Telstra is rolling it out at only 84Mbps in 2011.
Back in the Mobile Broadband US of A
But let’s say you want to run your mobile-intensive business in the U.S, a country beyond the eight ball when it comes to 100 mile per hour wireless Internet.
Per Akamai, the average bits per second streaming across our carrier’s networks is…3.9Mbps, which includes all data services for phones and other mobile devices. Most consumer and businesses experience even slower speeds when you consider network latency, in-building vs. outside use, moving public transportation, weather and wind direction. Bottom line, without a super-fast wired Internet, consumers and business owners will cry foul as the rest of the world improves its networks.
Help is On the Way
Yes, there is good news for you, Mr. C.E.O., as Verizon Wireless, AT&T and Sprint/ClearWire, launch faster 3G and 4G mobile broadband services for smartphones, laptops and other MID’s (mobile Internet devices). A massive mobile Internet re-build is in the making.
Driven by the unceasing demand for data–forget the phone calls–Verizon Wireless’ LTE network is zipping along nicely at 15-20Mbps while Sprint/Clearwire’s WiMax pumps out around 5-6Mbps. AT&T, not to be overcome by the competition, is building its infrastructure too.
The good news is laptop dongles and 3G/4G smartphones get these speeds. The bad news–only in certain areas of the country. Roll-out to the greater U.S. is circa 2012-2014.
4G broadband revolution, as Herbert Hoover said about the end of the Depression: “It’s just around the corner.”
The U.S. cellular industry, like rabbits in heat, is rapidly building out its solutions. And for good reason. The global number of Internet connected devices has now surpassed the number of connected computers. In June, 2010, according to the CTIA, nearly 244 million MID’s were active in the U.S., an increase of six million+ year-over-year. And over 89 percent of handsets running on carrier nets had Web browsing ability.
Bernstein Research estimates more than 1.5 billion wireless Internet devices will ship worldwide in the next five years, including 450 million smartphones.
If you want to know the future of 4G mobile broadband, download a comprehensive 205 page PDF from 4GWireless.org.
U.S. Business Growth Dependent on Fast Mobile Broadband
Back to our forlorn CEO running a mobilized workforce. What’s the answer to his/her conundrum?
They’re many answers and solutions as mobile carriers, telecommunications, Internet and other companies fund a massive overhaul of mobile broadband. Delivering high speed wireless service to consumers and businesses, especially mobile video, is a long and arduous task not solved overnight.
But one thing is clear. Solution providers must keep their ears open to consumer and business needs. Only through collaboration will we enjoy the mobile broadband revolution of this century.