4G: Another new network service with cloudy benefits

4G is finally coming to EMEA – with services either prepared for launch or launching across multiple countries.  The latest is from the UK’s EE, which is planning to cover 70% of the UK population with 4G by 2013, and 98% by 2014.

And not before time. Sprint for example began rolling out 4G in America as far back as 2008. As Matthew Howett, practice leader, regulatory telecoms at research house Ovum points out: "Behind countries such as Angola, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan, Britain has rightly been lamented for being in the slow lane when it comes to 4G mobile services. However that is all set to change with Everything Everywhere’s (now EE) new brand for 4G mobile services.”   

But why the rush? Obviously, 4G is very exciting – video streaming, broadcast, video conferencing, Internet, email and access to corporate apps.  And it will be significantly faster than 3G. However the average user does not really understand the difference between 3G and 4G.

But one thing really is different this time, and that is the quantity of cloud-based products and services which consumers and enterprise employees can now access. 4G has a killer platform and that is cloud. Consumers have become increasingly used to cloud applications – Facebook, Gmail etc – and are starting to want all their data accessible from any device, wherever they are.  These ‘personal clouds’ are supported by evolving device technologies. They are also supported by mobile network evolution, as faster speeds become available.

And, following the ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) trend, companies may soon have to start contending with employee demands to have corporate information securely available across multiple devices. A kind of BYOC (bring your own cloud). This requires a reworking of corporate infrastructures to support a flexible cloud architecture.  Intel’s “Open Cloud  vision describes how this might happen: a world of interoperable “federated” clouds; “automated” movement of software applications and resources; and PC and device-savvy “client-aware” clouds that know what processing should take place in the cloud or on your laptop, smartphone or other device.

The combination of fast network access over 4G and interoperable cloud architectures offers the possibility of a real improvement in corporate infrastructure, collaboration and information sharing on the move. As Gartner says “When combined with mobile cloud scenarios, LTE/4G could provide significant value to enterprise mobility”.  And that would prove significant value to business, starting to justify they hype over 4G.

Intel Cloud Builders is a cross-industry initiative aimed at making it easier to build, enhance, and operate cloud infrastructure. Its work is relevant to enterprises, hosters, telcos, and service providers looking for transformational guidance that will yield more simplified, secure, and efficient cloud infrastructures.