LTE Is Heating Up
The signs are already there: Verizon Wireless is busy promoting the efforts of Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and others with the launch of its LTE innovation center in Waltham, Mass. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), meanwhile, is adding more LTE products to its lineup before the actual launch of its LTE network.
What's interesting is how cheaply some of the data cards and mobile hot spots using the mobile technology are being priced. The new AT&T LTE modem is $50 with a rebate. Verizon is offering a promotion on the Mi-Fi 4510L 4G LTE hot spot, which is $50 a pop until later this month. All these come with a two-year contract, natch!
In many ways, a personal hot spot looks like the most sensible way to utilize LTE right now. You can connect Wi-Fi tablets and smartphones to the 4G network at home and on the go.
Data caps could certainly be a problem, however, with a MiFi unit. I haven't extensively tested data usage on one of these yet, but I'm relatively sure that you could burn through a 2GB cap with three or four devices connected to a personal hot spot. I'd be interested in hearing any readers' experiences on this.
Nonetheless, expect these unsexy-looking black or silver boxes to be amongst the vanguard of LTE devices marketed to you now or later this summer. These gizmos are probably loss leaders for operators, but they're a lot cheaper than LTE smartphones and tablets, as well as a gateway into the world of 4G.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile