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LTE device uptake to drive 4G mobile broadband market: Telsyte

Analyst firm predicts 4G will have a 19 percent market share of mobile connections by 2016 as long-term evolution device sales increase

4G mobile adoption in Australia will be driven by increases in 4G long-term evolution (LTE) mobile devices from 100,000 in 2012 to 7 million in 2016, according to a report from Telsyte.

The Australian Mobile Services Market Study 2012 estimates that 4G will have a 19 per cent market share of total mobile connections by mid-2016, due to LTE sales, and in some cases may provide an alternative solution to fixed-line broadband.

Telsyte analyst, Alvin Lee, said 4G could be useful for Australians who have difficulties accessing a faster fixed-line broadband connection, those who are renting and wish not to install any fixed-line services, or those who rely heavily on their mobile devices with minimal requirements of fixed-line services.

"For Australians who fall into these categories, 4G provides a more comparable speed, and therefore is considered as an alternative fixed-line broadband offering," he said.

Lee also predicts that LTE adoption will be driven by mobile broadband devices in the next 12 to 18 months due to the limited options in smartphones and tablets.

"The latest iPad and the forthcoming iPhone are unlikely to be able to connect to any of the Australia's LTE networks," he said.

"We expect around half a dozen LTE devices to be made available in Australia by the end of June 2012."

According to Telsyte, Telstra currently promotes five LTE devices on its network, including two smartphones, a media tablet and two mobile broadband devices. Another one to two mobile broadband devices will be launched by Optus in the next two months when the Optus LTE network goes live.

This week Telstra announced plans to expand its 4G network in Newcastle. Broadmeadow, Callaghan, Georgetown, Jesmond, Kotara East, Lambton, Mayfield, Mayfield West, Waratah and Waratah West will all be upgraded to 4G coverage.

However, the move to 4G will be slower than the move to 3G services as only two out of three carriers in Australia are currently planning to deploy LTE networks.

"Carriers are also unlikely to access to the 700MHz spectrum until 2015 which could further slow uptake," Lee said.

The Telsyte research also found that 25 per cent of Australians with smartphones are regularly using voice or video call applications, with Skype being the main application.

"Some applications require a better data connection to provide users a more complete experience," Lee said.

"With typical speed of up to 40M megabits per second [Mbps] on LTE network, it will open a lot of doors for applications that are data hungry and with a more spontaneous response requirement, such as turn-by-turn navigation and video applications."

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU


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