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4G Or Not 4G, A Business Perspective

We’ve had the build-up, the hype, the launch... and now the Isle of Man has a 4G mobile network. So what? How might your business benefit?  I have to admit that for my business 4G (also known as LTE) is largely irrelevant, it may accelerate the arrival of email to my phone by a few milliseconds. If you read the newspapers, magazines, or 4G providers websites you’ll be told how wonderful 4G is for personal entertainment such as downloading movies, speeding up Facebook etc., but the benefits for business are poorly articulated.  Despite this a report into 4G adoption in other countries by consultants Arthur D. Little says “47% of early LTE adopters report resultant cost savings, and 39% report increased sales. The creative, hotel and leisure, healthcare, IT and automotive and transport industries have benefited most widely”.


Sales people and visiting executives who do their admin work whilst on the move will be able to get more done during the day instead of waiting until they can connect to the hotel / cafe wi-fi. Accessing their corporate systems away from the office will become faster, more reliable, and more secure. The virtual office will take a giant step forward, changing the way we work.

Property surveyors, service engineers, delivery drivers, emergency responders, site managers and other mobile workers needing to upload photographs to share with colleagues, for condition reports, diagnostics etc., will find 4G a real timesaver which enables real-time collaboration and reduces the need to return to the office. Similarly if they use video conferencing to show office-based colleagues the nature of the problem they’re looking at. Downloading complex technical manuals at the point of need will obviate carrying large quantities of printed reference documentation in the engineer’s van and free up space for more spare parts.

Pop-up & mobile premises, exhibition stands and ad-hoc displays will be better enabled, depending on the location to have a hard-wired Internet access will be a thing of the past. We'll be able to occupy a new office and start working immediately, without a delay waiting for the Internet to be installed.

4G will provide better access to business systems whilst away from the office. Mobile working will become more efficient and effective as 4G business take-up increases, but the benefits for business don’t stop there.

IT will become simpler and cheaper for the increasing number of companies which have standardised on Virtual Desktops (VDI). 4G makes it easier and more reliable for staff to use their remote desktop away from the office, so they won’t need to create or edit files on their laptops. Some companies using VDI may even abandon traditional laptops for mobile workers and replace them with much cheaper and simpler alternatives such as Chromebooks which make good VDI clients.

4G will create new public advertising options, the ability to deliver large amounts of data to vehicles may mean that we see dynamic ‘posters’ on buses; these would change depending on their location and the time of day so that motorists behind the bus approaching Jaks could find themselves exposed to tempting images of steak & chips, whilst further up the prom they may be shown virtual tours of the Sefton Suites for sale.

4G reaches places that ADSL can’t. Business premises on the edge of the fixed-line broadband service have always been disadvantaged, and there are plenty on the outskirts of Douglas for example where ‘super-fast’ broadband is simply not available. 4G changes this, with download speeds of 50Mbps or more it will compete with super-fast broadband and leased lines giving digitally dependent businesses another option. In London Relish are offering 4G unlimited data 65Mbps business broadband for £25 per month as a replacement for fixed-line broadband, and dedicated 4G replacements for leased lines at prices that will make BT weep.  As 4G competition evolves in the Isle of Man market we may see similar disruptive innovation. For many businesses 4G, particularly in conjunction with Voice over Internet telephony (VoIP), will make the landline which has been with us for over 150 years, redundant.

4G finally delivers the long-promised ideal of wireless Internet at speeds which will enable everyone, whether they are deskbound or out and about. Whilst the Isle of Man’s current 50Mbps speed is impressive, in London’s TechCity businesses are already able to access 4G at speeds up to 300Mbps. Arthur D. Little also tell us that “84% of US LTE users say that, now that they have used it, they believe 4G is an important business tool”. As we learn to use it in business 4G will enable us to transform where and how our organisations work, see the Arthur D. Little report at


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