Having an LTE (News - Alert) network is not the same thing as effectively monetizing it.
That’s one of the takeaways of a new report by Strategy Analytics, an advisory firm that monitors the wireless industry. Strategy Analytics (News - Alert) said in a statement that operators are still coming to fully understand the opportunities and dynamics of the business of LTE.
“The LTE ecosystem is well underway, yet many operators are still struggling to capture a return on their network investments," said Susan Welsh de Grimaldo, director of wireless operators and networks. "Mobile operators must adjust their pricing strategies in an IP-centric world where voice and text revenues are declining. They must package consumer-centric services that add value and generate revenue to monetize LTE."
With operators still figuring out how to effectively build strategy around LTE, there’s an opportunity for carriers looking to pick up market share.
"Past success is no guarantee of future success—especially as competitors accelerate LTE deployments and LTE-Advanced comes on the scene," said Phil Kendall, director or wireless operator strategies.
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He added, “Defenders need to respond to competitive threats not only with plans targeting the ultra-price sensitive but also with premium options for segments where they can add value and differentiate.”
Four LTE approaches worth watching are multi-device plans with data bucket tiers, streaming media and mobile video, premium segment plans, and entry and mid-tier plans for more mainstream uptake, particularly with lower cost LTE smartphones.
There is a lot of opportunity in the U.S. for shared data plans, according to the report. Currently AT&T and Verizon (News - Alert) offer such plans, said Strategy Analytics, with recent introductions by Spring and T-Mobile.
The U.S. also is heating up in terms of mid-tier LTE plans, but the industry has not yet taken advantage of what LTE can offer in terms of premium plans.
Premium plans that emphasize quality of service is an area ripe for exploitation, according to Strategy Analytics. In particular, operators that leverage LTE’s ability to deliver tiered service should find success in the enterprise segment.
Video access is an area that is still waiting relatively unexploited.
With the bandwidth available through LTE, mobile operators can craft specific approaches to video access beyond simple tiered plans with varying data caps, suggested the advisory. It noted that C Spire in the U.S. is an early example of a company that is leveraging this opportunity, although it is still early days and there is as of yet no great champion of innovative LTE streaming video service.
Edited by Alisen Downey