Enterprise Mobility Trends: 2019 Wireless Network Quality

An Exclusive Look At The Enterprise Ramifications

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Steven Lerner

enterprise mobility trends JD power 2019

For mobile workers, there’s nothing more annoying than a missed or dropped call. There could be many factors behind this issue, but a new survey suggests that geography and the wireless network might be to blame.

In January, JD Power published a preliminary release of its 2019 survey on wireless network quality. The data from the survey revealed numerous connectivity issues throughout several U.S. regions, with users reporting more mobile challenges in rural and urban areas.

Which Wireless Network Was The Best?

Consumers rated Verizon as the mobile network with the fewest connectivity problems. The results in JD Power's 2019 survey, collected from 32,159 wireless customers, showed that Verizon had the lowest network quality issues per 100 connections. The study was conducted from July to December 2018.

Verizon was the only wireless carrier to rate higher than the average network quality performance across the entire country. It was also the only carrier to do so in every region, with a few notable exceptions:

  • T-Mobile rated higher than the average in the Northeast and West, but was still behind Verizon in those regions.
  • U.S. Cellular and AT&T rated higher than the average in the North Central states, but was still behind Verizon in that region.

“Verizon really excelled and it was a statistically significant difference, as opposed to their competitors in this past measuring period,” said Ian Greenblatt, managing director, practice lead of technology/media/telecom for JD Power. “In addition to having objectively the best network connectivity for its customers, Verizon makes sure that perception is cemented in the minds of the public.”

Impact On Enterprise Mobility Trends

Although JD Power surveyed consumers for this report, some of them likely use their mobile device for work. This data could be important to enterprises that have mobile policies tied to a specific carrier, such as with a corporate-owned personally-enabled (COPE) policy or with a ‘choose your own device’ (COYD) policy with approved networks.

“If I'm a decision-making IT professional and I have mission-critical connectivity requirements, I would say that both the perception and performance would have to weigh on my decision-making process,” said Greenblatt. “I would want the best.”

Part of the reason that JD Power’s wireless survey could be important is because of potential dropped calls between mobile workers on different networks.

“It has to weigh on an enterprise professional that requires that mission-critical connectivity,” said Greenblatt.

The Influence Of A BYOD Policy

Companies embracing a ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) policy is among the big enterprise mobility trends in recent years. A BYOD policy is now the rule, as opposed to the exception. However, given the fact that some wireless networks have higher quality connections and fewer dropped calls, could this survey buck the trend?

“If [enterprises] were placing their faith in these findings, I would think that it doesn’t necessarily encourage the trend to reverse and go back to providing these expensive handsets, because the prices are only going up,” said Greenblatt.

With the cost of mobile devices increasing ($1,000 is now the normal cost of a smartphone) enterprises are still likely to pass that cost along to the employer. Along with the other benefits of a having BYOD policy —quicker deployment, more satisfied workers — this survey will not reverse that trend. However, it could potentially speak volumes to an enterprise’s preference for a wireless network in situations where employers reimburse workers for mobile costs.

Where Does 5G Fit In All Of This?

One of the big enterprise mobility trends to keep an eye on in 2019 is 5G. With this new generation of mobile communications around the corner, carriers are investing in enhancing current infrastructure.

Although there won’t be a lot of enterprise 5G deployments this year, there could be some movement in 2020.

“I think over time the massive availability of a secured network near 10 gigabits per second will be evolutional,” said Greenblatt. “5G allows for massive parallel processing at the core.”