LTE and overtaking of Wifi
"On average LTE is the fastest wireless technology worldwide, representing a real increase in speed on both 3G and HSPA+. 4G LTE is over 5x faster than 3G and over twice as fast as HSPA+ and represents a major leap forward in wireless technology."
It's important to note an important reference point from the above chart - LTE outperforms wifi. Taking my previous post, this means that an even bigger reason (quicker speeds) is taken away for people to move onto a local wifi connection - their mobile data connection is quicker.
Of course, other reasons come into play - whether the coverage is good enough to get the full speed benefits of LTE, the contention ratio (although, this can also have a significant impact on Wifi also). From a user's perspective, their only concern is whether they can access their content, network, as quick as possible.
Looking back at the evolution of mobile networks is probably a useful way of looking at this changing trend........
Changes in the efficiency with LTE
In addition to user-facing changes, there is also the back-end. Traditionally, 2G and 3G networks are designed in a hierachical formation, largely like a tree with the main trunk spreading out to all the individual leaves (base stations). It also means that at all times, all network management must be communicated through the central core. As we've moved from 2G to 3G and now to 4G, various methods have been used to reduce this network overhead but 4G brings significant changes, allowing local Radio Network Controllers (RNC's) to manage more and more tasks (such as handover between base stations, etc.). This will continue as more and more of the resource allocation is handed off to local controllers instead of a central core (much like the Internet).