In recent years, the advent of mobile internet services has brought about significant changes to the way UK professionals work.
Once tied to their offices, employees can now work on the move, using web-enabled smartphones, laptops and media tablets to access files, documents and the internet wherever they are.
The link between a physical office presence and productive work has been broken, enabling employees to work more efficiently and eliminate ‘dead time’ spent travelling, waiting for meetings to start or sat around in hotel rooms.
Wherever they are, business employees – providing they have a mobile device – are able to do something productive which contributes to overall business output.
But there is still room for improvement where mobile working is concerned.
The mobile internet lacks the power and bandwidth of fixed broadband, meaning it takes longer to access files, download files and stream rich media content.
Despite innovation in the mobile technology sector, some applications and programs are not well suited to use on handheld devices.
But as mobile broadband internet improves, all this is set to change. With 4G services looming – the next-generation of mobile broadband – employees will gain increased online functionality.
Already in use in a number of countries around the world – including Sweden and the US – 4G mobile broadband offers faster download and upload speeds, wider coverage and greater reliability.
This means employees can work harder, faster and in a wider variety of locations on their mobile devices.
UK media regulator Ofcom is set to auction off spectrum in the 800MHz and 2.6GHz frequency bands later this year, allowing internet service providers to launch 4G solutions.
But businesses want to gain access to next-generation capabilities as soon as possible.
According to research conducted by Everything Everywhere, nine out of ten business leaders see 4G as being crucial to the future competiveness of their firms, and the UK economy in general.
Some 86 per cent said they believed next-gen mobile broadband can help them boost business productivity, as employees will have more opportunity to work effectively on the move.
Ofcom believes 4G services will be up and running in the UK by 2013 or 2014 by the latest, but company bosses want access to faster dongle, tablet and smartphone speeds as soon as possible.
“Half of the countries on the G20 list of the world’s biggest economies already have 4G,” noted Martin Stiven, vice president of B2B at Everything Everywhere.
“[This is] leaving British businesses at risk of falling behind their rivals.”