The World Bank has a list of 331 indicators on which they measure the 'health' of a country.
One section of the World Development Indicators relates to infrastructure. In here there are indicators for number of mobile connections, internet users and fixed line broadband subscribers per 100 people. LTE can not only help increase a countries ranking against these infrastructure indices, but can also have an impact on the economic, social, health and education rankings.
While LTE is often seen - and sold - as a high speed premium service for mobile data consumption, its also important to understand that via tools such as policy management operators have the ability to manage and segment the way this bandwidth is delivered and priced. That means that through LTE, operators have the option to offer a cost-effective and efficient way of providing affordable access via mobile connections as well as delivering fast premium services.
This matters as the roll out of fixed line broadband is expensive and in many countries there are vast areas where there is no fixed broadband coverage. Operators will roll out LTE in the cities first, but as soon as possible after that it makes sense to roll out LTE to areas where the cost of providing fixed line is prohibitive. We've seen from mobile banking and the success of mpesa that people use their mobiles to innovate and deliver solutions where the traditional way of doing things (e.g. going to the bank branch) is not always an option. LTE offers so much more and provides the opportunity to foster widespread innovation. 2014 will be the year when LTE starts to gain traction in many developing countries. The opportunity is to leverage this to provide access to improved quality of life to many people.
Martin Morgan is the Director of Marketing at Openet.