Although M2M users think they don’t need LTE, it offers numerous benefits, especially ‘future proofing,’ says Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider.
Although Long Term Evolution (LTE) seems excessive to machine-to-machine (M2M) users, it offers many benefits, including reduced operation costs and “future proofing,” according to the latest report from Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider, a paid research service of Heavy Reading.
LTE for M2M: The Long-Term Opportunity Begins Now identifies and analyzes these and other key issues affecting M2M adoption of LTE through 2015. It explores the major drivers of and barriers to adoption, such as bandwidth requirements, as well as industry strategies for reducing hardware premiums at a faster rate than volumes alone would enable.
“At first blush, LTE seems to have everything that M2M users don’t need,” notes Tim Kridel , research analyst with Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider and author of the report.
“That assumption is correct, but it also overlooks all of the reasons why so many operators, vendors and end users are already exploring LTE for M2M – and, in a few cases, using it.”
A couple of factors make LTE intriguing for M2M applications, Kridel says. “One is that its spectral efficiency and other attributes reduce the operator’s cost of delivering service below that of incumbent technologies such as GPRS, CDMA2000 1X and UMTS,” he continues.
“Further, some users are considering LTE as a form of future-proofing, especially those whose devices need to remain in the field for five, 10 or 15 years. For them, paying a premium for LTE hardware could be less expensive than replacing 2.5G modules when operators shut down those networks.”
Key findings of LTE for M2M: The Long-Term Opportunity Begins Now include:
- Despite drawbacks such as spotty coverage, band fragmentation and steep module costs, some M2M users are considering or deploying LTE.
- M2M adoption of LTE won’t begin to ramp up sharply until 2015.
- Operators, vendors and 3GPP are looking for ways to slash LTE’s hardware premium to spur M2M adoption.
- LTE is a viable option for future-proofing M2M applications not just against technological obsolescence, but from a business perspective, too.
- As consumers and enterprises migrate to LTE, operators could discount 3G to attract M2M users.
- Operator assurances about 1X and GPRS longevity face the reality of limited spectrum.