Category One

Fresh LTE Perspectives from Altair


Where, Oh Where Is That Killer App?

Jan 2, 2012

I read a recent report that discusses the lukewarm reception for Verizon’s LTE service. We are one year in, and it seems that a disappointing number of devices have been shipped to-date, to those who have decided that the promise of 4G is worth the upgrade.

I’d like to suggest that a fundamental dynamic at play here. We all know that LTE is faster than 3G. Much faster. And we know that the relative cost for that speed is quite reasonable.

But is it so much so that people will be willing to end their current user agreements, upgrade to 4G phones and sign new contracts?

The answer, it would seem – at least according to this report – is no. And the reason is that there are no apps in place yet that make a user say, “Wow! I want my LTE!”

I’ve mentioned in the past that the real market-maker for 4G is going to be the non-phone devices, such as tablets, cloud computing, M2M applications, dongles, etc. On the consumer side, video has not proven to be the key market-making application – in terms of the smartphone market. So there is a major answer that needs to be provided for the consumer market to take off.

What I am particularly interested in, within the context of the report I mentioned above, is what will we see at the upcoming CES in Las Vegas? Is that market-making application there, or are we going to have to hope that users are compelled by high-speed Internet service alone?

Because I just don’t think High-speed Internet is compelling enough.

So as we head into the New Year, now that LTE is here, let’s all hope we see some exciting and compelling applications that will drive the consumer LTE market.

Happy New Year.

– Eran Eshed

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