SMBs Risk Falling Behind Larger Firms If They Don’t Adopt 4G

4G © Shkanov Alexey Shutterstock 2012
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Vodafone survey says cost and a lack of understanding about 4G are the biggest barriers to adoption

Vodafone says SMBs risk falling behind larger competitors if they do not embrace 4G, claiming that cost and a lack of understanding about the benefits of LTE are the biggest barriers to adoption.

A YouGov survey of 1,200 senior decision makers at British companies and in the public sector, revealed that almost two thirds do not currently use 4G connectivity and that two fifths have no plans to use it at all.

43 percent admitted to having a poor understanding of what 4G can do for them, while one third said they did not see how LTE could benefit their business.

SMB gap

4G, Mobile, Smartphone © Digital Storm Shutterstock 2012However there appears to be a growing gap between different sizes of organisation. Just 24 percent of SMBs are using LTE compared to 39 percent of larger businesses.

The operator says this is curious given the fact that nearly a quarter of all SMBs cited faster responsiveness to customers and suppliers as a key business priority, while 41 percent claimed transferring media rich files is essential to their business and 67 percent viewed mobile connectivity as important – priorities which Vodafone says 4G can help achieve.

“Despite the growing availability and affordability of 4G devices and services, the lack of a true understanding of the benefits that the technology can bring, as revealed by this survey, is undeniably holding enterprises back from reaping the rewards of introducing 4G to their business,” said Phil Mottram, UK enterprise director of Vodafone. “This barrier is also preventing businesses from gaining an advantage over their competitors here and abroad in the increasingly competitive global marketplace.”

Half of those who have adopted 4G cited increased speed as a benefit, while 43 percent calimed they could now respond to customers and suppliers quicker and nearly half thought the ability to us business apps on the move was a key advantage. Forty-two percent said they could now support flexible working among employees.

“To help decision makers see the viable business case in upgrading to 4G, Vodafone is committed to helping businesses understand how 4G can benefit them based on their business functions, needs and priorities using the greater speed and capacity that 4G can provide.”

Vodafone currently has 2.2 million 4G users – less than a quarter of EE’s ten million – and its LTE network covers 57 percent of the UK population. Recent tests by regulator Ofcom found Vodafone delivered average download speeds of 16.4Mbps across five UK cities, slower only than EE, and average upload speeds of 13.1Mbps – again slower than EE and roughly the same as O2.

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