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Fresh LTE Perspectives from Altair

CES-2013

A Good Kind of Noise – CES 2013

Jan 23, 2013

Trade shows are noisy.

They’re noisy both literally and figuratively. Vendors are trying as hard as they can to lure show-goers into their booths by making literal noise. And industry players are hoping to achieve a bit of mindshare at the events by announcing exciting things … or at least by announcing things in an exciting fashion.

As a result, to stand out from everyone else, a company either has to make a tremendous amount of literal noise, or announce something so major, that the sound of such an announcement reverberates – figuratively – off the convention center walls.

At CES 2013, which took place recently in Las Vegas, Verizon Wireless made such an announcement.

The company announced that family plan customers can now add consumer devices, like the new Samsung Galaxy camera, and in the near-term future gaming devices, for just $5 per month.

And, by the way, Verizon Wireless also announced that almost half its current network traffic is now LTE, and that it expects its LTE network to have the same coverage as its 3G network by mid-2013.

In other words, the LTE era is here.

Back in the day – like 1-2 years ago! – when 3G ruled,  it would cost in the neighborhood of $40/month to be able to add a gaming device onto your mobile account. Simply put, it was cost-prohibitive. Who is going to pay $40/month to play games against people they don’t know?

But LTE, as we’ve said all along, has such efficiency built into it, and such a large amount of bandwidth available for the operators to offer their customer base, that a $5/month scenario is not a losing proposition for them the way it would have been with 3G.

And hey, playing games against someone you don’t know for $5/month is pretty darn reasonable, wouldn’t you say?

Of course, from the operator perspective – in this case, Verizon Wireless – $5/month isn’t a risk either, because LTE gives the company the necessary network capacity to handle all the data that customers will be transmitting by playing these games, posting these photos on social media, and doing other data-heavy things.

And I expect lots of other consumer devices to be launched over the course of this year that will really make the LTE vision a reality.

So Verizon’s announcement at CES might not have seemed like the noisiest, but to me – and to the LTE industry – it absolutely was.

-Eran Eshed

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