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Claranet Boss Warns 4G Mobile Broadband is a Red Herring for Consumers

Tuesday, Sep 25th, 2012 (1:28 am) - Score 609

The Managing Director of UK ISP Claranet, Michel Robert, has warned that the forthcoming launch of superfast 4G (LTE) based mobile broadband services will initially be a “red herring” for consumers due to its patchy coverage and short battery life. But businesses could benefit.

Roberts suggests that the excitement surrounding EE’s somewhat controversial plan to launch the UK’s first 4G service by the end of this year, one year ahead of their rivals, was understandable because the country had been “lagging behind other major economies in rolling out 4G“.

Michel Robert, Claranets Managing Director, said:

4G on consumer mobile devices is a bit of a red herring – at least until battery life improves. As the New York Times recently pointed out, 4G absolutely kills mobile batteries: a combination of the increased processing power required for data-intensive communications, and the need to switch between 4G and 3G networks in areas of patchy coverage.

Until this issue is resolved, 4G will be most relevant to businesses, not consumers. Businesses will be able to use a 4G enabled router to access cheap, fast and effective backup connectivity in the event of any disruption to their main network. Rather than invest in redundant physical networks, businesses will instead be able to connect via a superfast mobile connection.”

According to Roberts, 4G will initially be more of a “curious novelty” for consumers and he’s probably right. The early 3G phones suffered similar issues with coverage, battery life and performance that took several years to iron out and even now there are still advantages to be had by switching back to 2G when you don’t need a data connection (save power).

On top of that 4G speeds, which have huge potential for the future, won’t deliver a truly massive improvement over the best that existing HSPA+ / 3G services can offer. Certainly the situation will get better but it’s perhaps better to wait for competing services to arrive before picking a network, which is a decision that should always be based on more than mere 4G support.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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