As was the case when service providers rolled out the 3G networks some time ago, a greater number of cellular subscribers will be in a position to upgrade a personal or business device in 2014.
It will mark the tipping point when with any new device where there is a new contract or renewal present will be done so with an LTE capable device. As these contracts are typically three years in length, many of the legacy corporate or individual user contracts will be reaching their respective end.
Evidence of this being that Rogers & Bell added LTE in September 2011, with Telus following in February of 2012 (relevant for western Canada locations). Keeping this in mind, all new subscriber contracts of devices signed with these providers will be LTE capable.
RATES OF LTE AND 4G ADOPTION
A key challenge that is still facing the service providers is both the continued addition of LTE to macro serving cell sites and the current frequency being used to support 4G. The number of cell sites continues to grow but many rural areas aren’t yet supporting the upgrade to LTE.
With initial LTE frequencies being 2100 or 2600 mHz, the signal penetration will not be as strong inside buildings as would 850 or 1900mHz due to the wider wavelength cycles of higher frequency bands. The resulting effect may be the prevalence of LTE users to feel their service is poor receiving only two-three bars when within any indoor location.
In some cases where the devices struggle to pick up a strong enough LTE/4G signal, they will revert to 3G and its inherent performances versus the much quicker data rates with LTE. This may remain an issue even with robust macro coverage due to many of the current construction practices for new LEED certified buildings.
This service would potentially affect the use of apps, sending of photos, texts, or emails from within building premises where Wi-Fi isn’t available as a connectivity option. The impending results may be complaints from the user base.
As complexities of Wi-Fi solutions increase due to number of users, device capabilities, or security concerns, organizations and companies can also look to an alternative means of optimizing their own or their staff’s investment in portable devices.
WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?
The solution is a “Cellular Enhancement Solution”. A Cellular Enhancement Solution is comprised of various hardware that amplifies service providers’ signals via a direct carrier feed, or off-air from a macro serving site feeding a configuration of a donor antenna, amplifier(s), and interior antennas rebroadcasting a cleaner, higher powered signal within building confines.
These solutions range in size from products that cover residential or small offices to those that are capable of supporting high number of users in areas such as campuses or high-rise condo or office tower environments. These solutions aren’t new to the wireless industry as they have been deployed for many years by service providers in North America and abroad.
The key for businesses and organizations that are considering enhancing their user experience for either employee efficiency or customer service is educating themselves and understanding their applicable needs, what technologies are available, what is permitted for use on licensed networks, and where to go to find a solution provider.
Data based business solutions and applications are experiencing immense growth, and customer expectations for service in retail environments continues to evolve. We encourage companies of any size to understand how to optimize their investment in portable devices and benefit from having the best “in-building” coverage for any user type.