4G phones are coming down in price rapidly and now Alcatel has predicted that the first £40 4G handsets will be available next year.
Despite already being one of the companies pushing for more affordable 4G hardware - the Alcatel One Touch Pop S3 is available for as little as £79.99 - Alcatel has suggested there is still room to further lower the cost of 4G phones.
“You can't get a 4G product for the same price as a 3G smartphone one today," Alcatel UK and IRE director William Paterson told TrustedReviews while discussing the current state of the 4G phone space.
"You can get a 3G smartphone for £30 [but] it's not possible to do that [with 4G]," he added. "From that point of view you're still paying a premium”.
Looking to the future, however, Paterson sees the price of 4G phones falling quickly, with the next 12 months to see 4G capable handsets finally hit similar price points to their 3G counterparts.
Speaking on where 4G phones will move over the next 12 months he stated: "Next year, maybe not quite £30 – maybe £40 pre-pay.
“By the end of next year, basically everything's going to be 4G.”
Leading to these price cuts, Paterson sees Alcatel's phone stategy as a “step-by-step approach” that follows the natural development of the market.
“Back in 2008-2009 there was a whole number of manufacturers that spent a lot of money on 3G R&D and they've disappeared since... We've been very pragmatic about how we grew, how we developed our roadmap.”
However, Paterson also commented that there is some difficulty in the messaging of 4G, that it should not just be about speed, but about what you can do with it.
At present, while 4G contracts no longer tend to command a premium over 3G ones – they are rapidly becoming the standard – they do not tend to offer the kind of data allowances that make 4G particularly worthwhile.
The most generous data packages are at present offered by Three, which offers “all you can eat” data plans with a fair use 'cap' of 1000GB for as little as £12.90 a month.
Next, read our What is 4G? guide