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Rapidly falling device and infrastructure costs mean that the time is right for emerging-market operators to launch 4G services.


  • 4G is no longer just a high-end proposition in emerging markets, but device costs are still too high for it to be truly universal.

Features and Benefits

  • Analyses 4G best practice in an emerging market context.
  • Explains how operators can plan effective network rollout, pricing, and marketing strategies.

Key questions answered

  • How should operators approach 4G network launches in emerging markets?
  • When should they launch their networks?

Table of contents


  • In brief
  • Ovum view


  • Recommendations for operators

Market dynamics

  • Emerging markets present unique challenges with major growth opportunities

Seize first-mover advantage or launch soon after the market leader

  • Acting early and effectively

Move away from the premium pricing approach

  • Rethinking pricing strategies
  • Using low-data offers to target a broad base of users
  • Migrating users to higher-priced plans by offering incrementally more value

Pursue a phased approach to 4G network rollout

  • Meeting demand in phases
  • 4G in rural areas – uncertain demand but clear potential
  • Operators must assess 4G network-sharing possibilities
  • LTE is an opportunity to transition from other technologies to the global standard
  • VoLTE is coming but has not yet arrived in the mainstream

Use low-cost 4G devices to encourage subsidy-free mass-market uptake

  • Bringing 4G to meaningful numbers of users
  • Working closely with vendors to determine specifications

Leverage local content to differentiate and drive 4G uptake

  • Catering to local tastes

Marketing 4G on speed is obvious, but it works

  • Highlighting quicker downloading and uploading

Early indications point to increases in data usage

  • Gauging 4G’s impact on KPIs

Market status

  • Emerging markets are edging toward 4G
  • The emerging-market operators that are leading the way


  • Methodology
  • Emerging markets included:
  • Further reading
  • Author

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