|B/OSS Insider Blog|
Will 4G Delays Help or Hinder Adoption of New Services?
By Timo Ahomäki
For years, the promise of all regions receiving a universal 4G network has been on the horizon. As a result, the popularity of services that are reliant on this new network to fully flourish has grown.
However, with the significant delay in 4G rollout in regions such as the U.K. and Australia, the question must be asked: Exactly what will the impact of this holdup be? In such territories, customers will find themselves almost four years behind their counterparts that are already reaping the benefits of 4G – such as the U.S., Korea and Scandinavia.
Earlier this year, Tecnotree conducted an international operator survey that determined mobile payment services, video-on-demand and cloud storage as being the three most valuable content services that can be offered to customers. These are also services that are highly reliant on fast network speeds in order to work at their best.
Operators in regions that are yet to receive 4G should not be sitting by idly. For them to close the gap created by the rollout delays and catch up with the more established 4G regions, they should use this time to prepare. Although it is relatively easy for these new technologies to be overlaid the old networks, there still needs to be preparation with operators ensuring now that the right infrastructure is in place. And this applies not only to the networks but also to operators' business support systems and processes.
However, there is a silver lining. When the 4G rollout is finally completed in the remaining regions, operators will have had plenty of time to study the established areas. They will therefore be able to take advantage of existing processes, technologies and business models that have already gone through the initial teething period, which is when customer disappointment is most likely to occur. Instead of introducing a fledgling idea to the consumer and business markets, operators will be able to go straight in with highly established offerings.
In order for this to be the case, operators need to understand the requirements of their customer base in depth and in turn, educate them in planned services and product bundles early enough. If this preparation is put in now, by the time the 4G rollout finally does come to these areas, operators will be able to select the tested business models, marketing campaigns and advertising plans from other regions that best fit this new demographic. Customers will be well versed in using these new systems and so be able to take advantage of 4G service offerings from the off.
The question therefore changes to whether this is enough to play catch-up once it is possible to implement these established technologies. Only time will truly tell. In the meantime, such regions should remain positive that, despite holdbacks in rollout, the popularity of 4G-preferable content services such as mobile-payment services, video-on-demand and cloud storage still remains high.
Timo Ahomäki is VP, product management, Tecnotree Corporation.