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How will 4G mobile services impact your business?

4G (or 4G LTE) is coming sooner than expected from Everything Everywhere the UK. So the question for your business is… how are you preparing to engage your employees with mobile content, streaming video and animation, richer content, apps, mobile extranets, responsive websites, cloud access and helping your remote and mobile workers keep connected and more productive?

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4G mobile, or to the average user, broadband on your mobile (up to 1Gbps — although this has a usual caveat but 40—50Mbps seems more likely), looks to give Apple sales in the UK a boost, as the new iPhone 5 is released. For more traditional business users, the BlackBerry 10 will also be released with 4G. So it doesn’t seem a surprise that Everything Everywhere, the mobile carrier, have announced that they have been given permission by Ofcom to use their spare capacity to launch 4G in the UK — the day before the rumoured iPhone 5 announcement.

A UK 4G auction has been delayed repeatedly and this news has upset Vodafone, O2 and 3 who don’t have any spare capacity in their network band at the moment.
So will the early release of 4G give Everything Everywhere a commercial advantage?
You bet it will, at least from a consumer and mindshare perspective. However, Ofcom believe that the commercial advantages are outweighed by the consumer benefits – which is nice of them.

Anyone that is looking to change or upgrade phones in the next six months are likely to be enticed with Apple, BlackBerry and Android-supported 4G mobile devices. It seems likely that it will also include the iPad with real 4G support (you may remember that they stated on the new iPad product marketing and packaging that it supported G4, but didn’t).

So how could the release of 4G affect your business? Well consider this landscape…

  • 92% of Adults in the UK own/use a mobile phone (Q1 2012 Ofcom) and 55% of them are smartphones. (Comscore)
  • The average UK broadband speed is 7.6Mb/s (Nov 2011 Ofcom), 4G will deliver 4Mbps > 1Gb/s on mobile, even in places that don’t have a landline that can use broadband.
  • Globally 58% of mobile workers expressed frustration accessing corporate applications that are not optimised for smartphones and tablets. (iPass Inc May 2012)
  • 36% of mobile workers intend to buy a tablet device in the next six months. (iPass Inc May 2012)

The benefits of 4G to business will become obvious over time, as more portable devices move into the office space (Google Nexus is now under £150 and there’s a rumour of a mini iPad), cloud-based services could become more accessible, organisations realise that video calling is now convenient and lower cost and broadband becomes the norm for all internet access.

Our clients are already working with us to allow extranets to become available on mobile phones and tablet devices. Working with our clients The Team are helping organisations consider the implications of the ever-evolving mobile digital marketing, B2B and communications world, and how their workforce and customers will most likely be impacted and what they will soon be expecting.

B2B marketing and employee engagement are often years behind direct marketing when adopting technology and techniques. With the emergence of broadband everywhere, prepare for another step change in your digital marketing strategy.

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