Never mind the hyperbolic title. It’s just my first reaction to a new study which found 47% of United States consumers felt they “didn’t need 4G.” I realize my passion for mobile technology surpasses the average American consumer by miles. But, I can’t help but pity those lost souls who are missing out on the magnificence of portable and fast-loading online content.
A survey by Piper Jaffray conducted with the participation of 3,000 individual consumers concluded that roughly 12% believed 4G was better than 4G LTE, 26% thought they were the same thing, 15% (correctly) said that 4G LTE was better than 4G (assuming HSPA+/WiMAX), and 47% said they “don’t need 4G.” These results are troubling for industry leaders such as Verizon, because they demonstrate a failure to communicate the benefits of 4G LTE. On the other hand, T-Mobile benefits from consumer ignorance about 4G. With HSPA+, T-Mobile can advertise their “4G” network and play on the same level for 85% of consumers who don’t know that 4G LTE is the “best.”
55% of those surveyed were considering purchasing the new iPhone (unreleased). Apple will undoubtedly throw 4G LTE into the device, as they did with the newest iPad. Perhaps with the new iPhone, American consumers will finally grasp the true greatness of 20 Mbps download speeds. At least a large chunk of this LTE ignorance may be due to the popularity of the 3G/HSPA+ only iPhone 4S.
An iPhone with LTE will stack up extremely well next to the top tier Android devices. LTE has been the strongest selling point, in my humble opinion, for Android devices over the last several months. With the two-year contract model, consumers weren’t interested in locking themselves in to twenty four months of 3G while others enjoyed the spoils of LTE. With LTE service on every competitive smartphone operating system, the battle for consumers’ wallets will certainly heat up.