Jeff Kagan, an independent wireless and telecom industry analyst, expects users to embrace new 4G wireless devices. Since Apple created a market for mobile data devices with the iPhone, he says, users have come to expect mobile data connections. The growing success of 3G-enabled e-readers is just one example, he says. When users can get data faster and more reliably, Kagan believes, they’ll want ever-broader classes of devices to be connected to the Internet.
Arogyaswami Paulraj, a Stanford professor who has worked on LTE and a competing 4G technology called WiMax, says it makes sense to focus on data applications, since revenue from wireless data exceeds that for voice in many parts of the world. However, Paulraj thinks that Verizon shouldn’t be too cavalier about its bandwidth needs. A big hit like the iPhone could leave Verizon scrambling, he says, adding that “LTE is a good technology, but challenged by the lack of spectrum.”
Lynch acknowledges that a plethora of new wireless devices could eat up whatever bandwidth is gained by going to 4G. “There will never be enough bandwidth for my vision of what wireless can do,” he says. But he believes that much of the new wireless traffic will come from simple IP-based devices sending relatively small amounts of data over the network–they’ll need to be connected, but they won’t be bandwidth hogs.