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Experts: 4G means business

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on July 22, 2012 1:50 AM

For regular users it means faster download times, quicker data transfer and the ability to live stream video, but for industry in Wayne County the implementation of fourth generation data networks in Goldsboro could mean more business and better service to customers.

U.S. Cellular premiered its Goldsboro 4G network in March and Verizon Wireless customers in the city gained access to Verizon's high-speed data network last week.

The implementation of each carrier's 4G Long Term Evolution network will mean new network speeds 10 times as fast as their 3G counterparts.

Karen Schulz, the regional spokesperson for Verizon Wireless, said making Goldsboro the state's newest 4G hub will allow businesses that benefit from machine to machine technology -- from doctors to Realtors to vending machine companies -- to operate more seamlessly and with more speed.

Dee Taylor, the director of sales for U.S. Cellular in the region, agreed.

"You have people, like Realtors, that find a lot of value and a lot of benefit in what they're able to do with their devices," she said. "It's all about enhancing our customers' lives. We feel like a mobile phone is supposed to make your life easier."

Ms. Schulz said that's important to Wayne County industry, since businesses have begun to look at high-speed wireless networks as infrastructure much in the same way businesses in previous generations looked at water and sewer lines in a city.

Wayne County Development Alliance President Joanna Helms said she didn't have a good handle on what the new network would mean for recruiting new businesses or retaining current enterprises, but said all improvements to the business climate in Wayne County were welcome.

"Anytime we improve our infrastructure, which includes things like 4G, it boosts our ability to provide services to existing industry and recruit new industry," she said. "It's one more feather in our cap."

But Sue Howell, vice president at Prudential The McMillen Real Estate Group, said the innovation will mean a lot for her business, and will help out those in the finance industry.

"Realtors are so reliant on technology now I can't imagine going back to the days when we had to do things otherwise," she said, noting that electronic signatures, scanning and faxing are now staples in the industry. "Because immediate response is so important, it's something you have to have with you all the time now."

Her iPad, she said, only has wireless internet capabilities, but as response time becomes more and more important in the real estate, mortgage and banking sectors, agents without universal networks are going to get left behind.

"You have to have that now or you're not going to survive," she said, noting that responding to leads, counter offers and responding to emergencies are all very time-sensitive. "Anybody that is competing for the business that has to have capabilities of internet and phone. We're in a first-come first-serve industry where the average response time is less than an hour."