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Worldwide spectrum, broadband shortage predicted due to 4G

Spectrum shortage will impact on network performance, such as lower speeds and dropped calls and sessions as demand exceeds supply

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Deloitte has predicted a spectrum and broadband shortage around the world on the back of growth in smartphone shipments and global 4G rollouts.

Deloitte has released the predictions in its 2013 Technology, Media and Telecommunications Predictions report. The company has predicted that more than 200 operators in 75 countries will provide 4G by the end of 2014.

"We are likely to see lower prices initially to encourage use, but this won't be sustainable. Despite LTE spectral efficiency, it will still cost carriers US$5 to US$10 to carry 1GB of data, sufficient for streaming one to two hours of HD video," Deloitte Australia's lead telecommunications partner, Stuart Johnston, said in a statement.

He said Australia is currently experiencing a spectrum shortage, which will only get worse.

"LTE, for example, is 16 times more efficient [than] 3G when it comes to moving data. But demand is outstripping technology innovation. In the seven years it took to develop and deploy LTE, wireless traffic has increased 30 times," Johnston said.

The spectrum shortage will impact on network performance, such as lower speeds and dropped calls and sessions as demand exceeds supply, the report states.

Johnston said the phablet, which range in screen size from 4.5 to 5.5 inches, will also become a more popular device in 2013. However, the way consumers use smartphones will vary.

"[A] growing number of smartphone owners, close to 2 billion by the end of the year, some 400 million will rarely or never connect their devices to data. This is an important consideration for those organisations developing a 'mobile centric' customer strategy," he said.

Deloitte has predicted that by the end of this year, mobile devices will only make up 15 per cent of Internet traffic, signally that computers are not dead.

"So although the share of connected device traffic from mobile devices is rising ... it is paper they are replacing - not PCs," Johnston says.



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