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

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 (1:28 am) - Score 604
claranet uk isp

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.

Leave a Comment
1 Response
  1. Avatar DTMark

    Battery life is the bane of modern mobiles. I’ve had plenty and finally settled on an old Apple iPhone 3GS which has a battery that will go for two days without charging – to me, the absolute minimum requirement.

    But to be fair there’s no real “killer app” for mobiles which needs serious data connectivity yet. Even a basic connection running at little more than dial-up speeds will enable you to check your bank balance or do basic browsing. Video conferencing might be it, though.

    Given how backward broadband is in this country both in terms of speeds and coverage with urban areas seeing less than 10Meg – really basic home connectivity – I’d always assumed that 4G would be the challenger to ADSL, not 3G (just a natural progression), and mostly used in home scenarios plugged into a power socket.

    Our home broabband is 3G and I’ve been looking forward to 4G as it’s the most realistic means of us getting any kind of widespread broadband network round here. For rurals it could be a real game-changer.

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