Compared to the UMTS auction 10 years ago, the 3G/4G frequency auction in May 2010 was far more modest and sober, reaching only a total of €4.4 billion for all of the frequencies. Also, benefitting of the experience made with UMTS and the technological development and improvement of both network and end-user equipments, the service and device launch happened at a far more rapid speed: first trials with "LTE as DSL replacement"? offers were already launched at end-2010, followed by offers addressing mobile users in selected towns in summer/autumn 2011. First users in 2011 were only able to use the LTE network via USB sticks or tablet computers, while LTE smartphones were launched step by step within 2012.
But still, about 10 years after the first service launches, the mobile broadband revolution has only started. At the end of 2013, around 38 millions of 3G/4G users are estimated (31% of all mobile users), i.e. in the past four years, about the same number of customers was acquired than in the five preceding years, so we can’t speak of an explosion so far.
About ten years after the first mobile "broadband"? offers were launched, usage scenarios or "killer applications"?, that had been described or pointed out at this time, are now becoming reality. In case the expected take-off or explosion indeed happens, the tasks for both mobile and fixed-line carriers and their network planners will be a huge challenge.
Which exact effects this will have for fixed-line wholesale carriers providing mobile backhaul services depend on the mobile operators’ strategy, their internal know-how and their infrastructure, in particular the access network situation of each antenna site.