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28
May
2010

LTE in Consumer Devices: Technophile's Pipedream or Future Reality?

POSTED BY Global Administrator
Following on from last week's post about the recent LTE World Summit in Amsterdam - I thought I'd share a little more - part 2 if you like. I hosted one of many breakfast briefing tables on Day 2. About 8 of us were there around the table - from different continents and different parts of the industry. We chatted around the topic above, because whilst it may seem a long way off, with games mentioned as one of the key applications for LTE then it's on the radar screen. There was a degree of scepticism about how soon we’ll see embedded LTE in consumer devices for several reasons. First the issue of cost of embedding compared to device price. This is an interesting point and I'd add here  - how long has broadband been available? How many consumer devices are wi-fi enabled and how often is the connectivity used? Cameras are of course available with wi-fi and GPS but they tend to be the top end models. When you look at HSPA enabled devices, the answer is that there are 27 out of 1983 mobile broadband enabled devices that are categorised as consumer electronics (source: GSM World.com) - typically tablets and some cameras but also a watch phone from LG. Second what would be the business model (I mentioned this last week). Third how would services be managed in relation to SIM cards and subscriptions. No-one around the table knew if SIM cards would be in every device. I subsequently asked Gemalto and they say that every device will have a SIM but there would be one overall subscription to cover all the SIMs. I’m still doubtful about the practicalities though because if you have say 5 devices you want to enable, you could end up with services from say 3 operators which smacks of being unwieldy. So..more questions than answers at this stage!