If There is an LTE "Killer App," it is Speed
Consumption of video content arguably is the end user behavior enabled most by Long Term Evolution fourth generation networks, according to new tests by Ofcom, the United Kingdom telecommunications regulator.
On the other hand, watching video on a smartphone was an activity that just seven percent of respondents had used a smartphone to watch content, and those that did spent an average of 15 minutes per day doing so, Ofcom says.
The most likely content to be watched on a smartphone was short online clips. That activity represented 36 percent of all time spent watching audio-visual content.
So oddly enough, at least so far, for most people, LTE has not apparently changed user behavior very much. Most users do the same things using 4G that they do on 3G.
In an April 2014 study, Ofcom found 59 percent of smartphone owners who use 4G had downloaded or streamed video content over a mobile network at least once, compared to 41 percent of non-4G users. But few seem to do so with any regularity.
On the other hand, 4G does not seem to change behavior about use of email, mobile
apps, accessing music content or making VoIP calls. So, at least so far, though use of video might become a killer app for 4G, it is difficult to say there is one key feature of 4G that most users recognize as the key difference from 3G, other than better experience because pages load faster.
If so, then “speed” is the candidate for “killer app,” though as recently as 2011 many would have said there is no killer app for LTE.
Some 28 percent of all 3G and 4G users report they limit their data usage to remain inside their usage caps.
The study also shows 4G download speeds were more than twice as fast as 3G speeds. The overall average speed for 4G was 15.1 Mbps, while for 3G average speeds were 6.1 Mbps.
Upload speeds over 4G were more than seven times faster than those on 3G: 12.4 Mbps on 4G and 1.6 Mbps on 3G.
Web browsing also was faster on 4G than on 3G. The average time taken to load a standard web page took 0.78 seconds on 4G; 1.06 seconds on 3G.
Latency on 4G was 55.0 ms; 66.8 ms on 3G.
Nothing ever remains static on a mobile network. In March 2013, EE was the only UK 4G provider, and had 318,000 4G subscriptions at the end of March 2013, accounting for less than 0.5 percent of all U.K. mobile subscriptions.
By March 2014, 4G was offered by all four national mobile network operators, serving six million customers, about eight percent of all mobile accounts in service.