As evidence from a new report by Deloitte reveals that increased 3G penetration and mobile data usage in a country can substantially increase the GDP per capita growth rate, I believe that the research highlights the enormous potential of 4G to bring dramatic increases in productivity to organisations that position themselves well to exploit the benefits.
Deloitte found that increasing 3G penetration by as little as 10 per cent increased GDP per capita growth by 0.15 percentage points, while doubling mobile data usage – as had happened across the 96 countries studied over four years – resulted in an increase of 0.5 per cent.
The extra speed afforded by the 4G networks that will roll out over the next year will help drive up employee productivity. We are in the midst of a transition in working models for organisations across a broad range of industries, away from largely static operations based in a traditional office and towards more highly mobilised and dispersed workforces.
Constant availability – even well beyond ordinary office hours – and productivity on the move are becoming modern necessities rather than added extras, all driven by the rapidly-swelling penetration of smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices.
However, the full benefits of mobile working will only be reaped if the underlying next-generation network infrastructure is sufficiently stable, resilient, and widespread. It is all very well having forward-thinking organisations leading a charge towards a mobile-device-driven ‘office of the future’ – but if we are to see truly dramatic increases in productivity and profitability then organisations will need the raw speed and performance offered by 4G to be more widely available than it currently is.
The evidence is clear – making mobile Internet connectivity faster and more widespread is a highly cost-effective way of stimulating economic growth, as companies are able to facilitate much greater productivity among their employees. While it is still far to soon to think about quantifying the impact of 4G in the UK, I would not be surprised if the economic boost both for individual organisations and for ‘UK plc’ vastly outstripped that of the transition from 2G to 3G.