LTE Is Heating Up

6:00 PM -- Dude! Get ready for a summer filled with ads touting the pure awesomeness of operator X's sweet LTE 4G network.

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

neo1068 12/5/2012 | 4:59:28 PM
re: LTE Is Heating Up

This is why Sprint can own the market with no data cap on LTE. I used 6GB in one weekend out camping letting my fellow campers use my hot spot. 2GB may have been good in 1992, but not with todays applications.

Eric Kainer 12/5/2012 | 4:59:25 PM
re: LTE Is Heating Up

I have recently spoken with several carriers, and come to the view that we will see much more intelligent and differentiated data caps.  We already see T-Mobile with a slowdown upon exceeding the cap.  Expect to see new plans such as rollover - similarly to what AT&T does on the voice side - as well as day-and-time differentiation as virtually all carriers have offered since the '90s.

Rather than skepticism regarding Verizon Wireless' move to metered (or, perhaps more appropriately, bucketed) data pricing, I see this move as a way for carriers to drive service and offer innovation.  Sprint/Clearwire and T-Mobile have clearly staked their claims, let's see where Verizon Wireless and AT&T come out.

One thing is certain: each carrier's analytics team will be working hard to derive real-time intelligence from the innovating environment.

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