How to make LTE useful and drive adoption
By most accounts, LTE is blazing fast, especially on Verizon. The problem, as made very apparent by the new iPad, is that a 3GB cap is simply not enough for even “normal” use by customers buying cutting edge LTE devices. Even 10GB wouldn’t be enough for a very moderate user when video streaming or video chat are becoming commonplace.
I think the carriers basically suck. At least there is competition, but it’s almost a collusion of crap. Neither Verizon nor AT&T seem willing to push the envelope to lure customers to their side. The iPad or iPhone doesn’t care. They work anywhere. Sprint is trying to push truly unlimited to draw in iPhone customers. That’s smart.
I think something that could actually work, make LTE relevant, and make the carriers a lot more revenue and profit, is something they seem to have no interest in. It’s quite simply to provide home broadband service. Clear and similar companies are trying to do this, but their services are pretty bad and throttle in as little as 10GB. And it’s not their own network, they just piggyback.
Let’s take Verizon, though. They could offer a family plan that combines the data of all devices in a household. This could include a “home” broadband device, an LTE modem. While at “home” Verizon could offer more reasonable caps, a minimum of 150GB to make them a true broadband provider competitive with cable providers or DSL (I’d prefer at least 250GB).
It’s simple enough for Verizon to track where a user is. So long as that user is using data from “home” then the larger cap is used. If they “roam” outside of their home area then a smaller cap, perhaps 10GB or so minimum, would be in place.
Verizon could properly plan their infrastructure if they knew where users would be. If they knew X users would be at home on a given tower they could plan that capacity appropriately, with a side effect being they would likely have more towers in the long run as they could draw in more customers.
Offering something beyond simply LTE on a mobile device could bring in more customers, therefore more revenues. Those revenues are more predictable, especially geographically speaking.
I think this is a win-win and I’m not sure why no carrier has tried it, unless there is perhaps some FCC issue I’m not aware of if they were to also become a “home” ISP.
I would drop Comcast in a heartbeat and move all my iPhones/iPads to the first carrier that offered something like this. It has a network (pun intended) effect that also provides lock-in. It’s a benefit to me, as a consumer, since I can break free from cable and combine all my Internet data into a single bucket. Since I’m using 90%+ of my data at home, the smaller roaming cap is acceptable.
Imagine if AT&T also combined this with their huge wifi hotspot network, giving them even more advantage.