4G netbooks and tablets will make an impact by 2015


4G might be considered the connection choice for future mobile phones, but new research has claimed this will spread to other portable devices at a fast rate.

The report from Juniper Research has predicted netbooks and tablets will account for 20 per cent of all LTE subscribers by 2015, as the industry integrates the technology into more devices.

Howard Wilcox, the author of the report, said: "Juniper's view is that mobile operators will be keen to embed a wide variety of devices with broadband wireless connectivity, because they see this as a route to stave off average revenue per user (ARPU) declines."

The numbers will equal that of laptops using this type of connectivity, he added.

It will not be a smooth ride, however, as the research also pointed out issues around connectivity, customer support and business models that would need to be addressed to ensure high adoption.

A particular issue is the ongoing debate about how best to offer data plans to consumers, something the mobile phone industry is already worried about.

A survey conducted by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in August showed almost half (47 per cent) of the mobile executives interviewed were worried unlimited data plans were damaging their revenues and a number of mobile providers have already ditched their offers and imposed limits.

However, there are concerns that reverting back to a tariff model would put off customers off from using data, again leading to dips in profit.

Natasha Good, co-head of the mobile group at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, said: "With pricing positioned firmly at the heart of the solution to the mobile industry's challenges, questions remain over whether consumers will be easily weaned off flat-rate data tariffs and how long mobile operators can stave off the need for investment in new technologies and infrastructure to maintain quality levels for a new breed of data-hungry consumer."

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.