2013 predictions: Three director of network strategy Phil Sheppard

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Sheppard reckons more investment in new sites and upgrades will see an improvement in the overall service provided, while new tariffs catering for data-hungry consumers using 4G will transform the market

The focus on network capacity and new technologies will only grow in 2013. Regardless of technology, all operators will continue to invest heavily in new sites and site upgrades, so customers should see a constant improvement in coverage as well as improvements in data capacity.

The launch of LTE has led to customers having more awareness of the technologies that sit behind the networks they use and raised expectations about what they should be able to achieve on their devices.

Over the next two years, the new LTE networks will gradually fi ll up with data-hungry customers. While these networks are offering great speeds now, as they fi ll up we’ll see speeds coming down to a steady norm, hence the 10-12 Mbps being promoted for customers with LTE devices versus the much higher headline speeds.

New tariffs for the data-hungry LTE world will gradually transform the market, making it clearer and clearer where the future value lies. Data allowances will be particularly important and will become the key battleground in plans where voice and messaging will increasingly be viewed as just part of the data bundle.

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