U.S. wireless telecommunications companies are expected to invest $25 billion to $53 billion in the advancement of 4G between 2012 and 2016, according to a new report from Deloitte.
But even better, Deloitte argues that those investments could result in $73 billion to $151 billion in gross domestic product growth as well as potentially creating 371,000 to 771,000 new jobs.
Based on the survey, this could play out in two ways:
The $25 billion figure assumes a baseline scenario in which U.S. 4G deployment proceeds at a moderate pace and the transition from 3G to 4G extends to the middle of the decade. Under these conditions, U.S. firms are vulnerable to incursions by foreign competitors capitalizing on aggressive efforts in their home markets to deploy 4G networks and develop 4G-based devices and services.
The $53 billion figure assumes a scenario in which U.S. carriers invest more rapidly in 4G networks and start to produce popular 4G-based offerings before global competitors gain traction. In this scenario, the demand stimulated by new offerings justifies more network investment, setting off a virtuous cycle of investment and market response that positions the U.S. to retain its mobile broadband leadership.
For either of these possibilities to play out, 4G development will also depend on other factors, including the need for the top tech companies creating new 4G-enabled products and services, and even the adoption of cloud computing as it "enables the U.S. to take full advantage of 4G's potential impact" by giving much faster and possibly cheaper access to content and applications from anywhere.
Of course, when it comes to the aforementioned 4G products, mobile device manufacturers will need to address some of the aspects that are already considered roadblocks by mainstream consumers, such as exorbitant prices for both products and service plans as well as typically poor battery lives.
On the international level, Deloitte has found that over 150 carriers in 60 countries are committed to developing 4G technology and networks, with South Korea, Sweden and China as some of the leaders in this movement.
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