LTE Will Grow. It Just Needs Hot Devices

Those hot new LTE networks are coming online around the world, offering speed galore, but an analyst firm says that without the right devices, the operators won’t offer those speeds to many subscribers. Much like we had to wait for devices to take advantage of 3G mobile networks, LTE will face the same adoption curve, according to TeleGeography.

I remember testing Verizon’s 3G service almost 10 years ago driving around in my car with my laptop open listening to Internet radio, thinking, “Cool, but it’s not something I’d pay $70 a month for.” This was before smartphones, before Facebook and before the emergence of a real-time web, when being disconnected was still socially acceptable. Smartphones, and primarily the iPhone (s aapl), helped drive 3G adoption into the mainstream, and LTE will likely require some type of mass market adoption of a device such as a tablet with embedded LTE to hit its stride.

Of course, because LTE networks are still going to face some capacity issues if everyone walks around streaming HD video on their iPad, I also think the spread of cheap and ubiquitous Wi-Fi, as well as newer pricing models for cellular data will end up playing a large role in driving adoption too. According to TeleGeography Analyst Peter Bell, speaking about 3G and LTE: “Both technologies suffered from a lack of suitable devices immediately after their launch, but a raft of new LTE devices is expected to hit the marketplace in the coming months. Mass-market adoption will not be far behind.”

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