LTE is on the rise and HSDPA+ is expanding, yet a recent survey from Morpace [PDF]suggests most smartphone owners are yawning at 4G wireless technology. What is wrong with these folks, why are they not falling for the marketing hype?
1. Money rules
When shopping for a new phone, 61 per cent of customers look at the price of the handset first. It's not the speed or specs, but the almighty dollar that influences purchases.
Unfortunately, many 4G handsets come with a premium price tag that people are not willing to pay. Only 40 per cent would pay more for 4G, 60 per cent would rather travel in the slow lane of 3G.
2. You want me to pay what for data?
Carriers, at least in the US, are dropping unlimited data plans and replacing them with expensive, tiered plans that give you a measly 2GB of data for $US25-$30, 5GB for $US50 and so on. This cost increase is not lost on customers - 29 per cent of those surveyed look at the price of data plans when choosing a wireless provider. Only 4 per cent look at network speeds.
Consumers may have heard of 4G, but a whopping 48 per cent of smartphone owners could not name the benefits of this technology. You can partly blame this sad statistic on slick marketing and the ITU whose casual usage of the term 4G has diluted its meaning.
Ironically, contracts that carriers push on their customers are partially to blame for slow 4G adoption. Only 34 per cent of customers are willing to upgrade to a 4G handset before their contract is over. The other 66 per cent will ride out their two-year agreement before adopting this next generation technology.
Carriers are rolling out 4G at a furious rate, but the technology only hits the major metropolitan areas. Customers outside this golden zone are not going to pay a premium for a 4G phone when they only have 3G coverage. Some good news, though. 83 per cent of 4G customers say they are "satisfied" or "highly satisfied" with 4G network performance.