Is This a Warning for AT&T and Verizon?

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While AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ) get busy spreading out their 4G empires in the U.S., Korean operators are asking whether the next-generation wireless network can even be profitable.

A 4G network is undoubtedly the next step in mobile connectivity at the moment, with the LTE system leading the way. While predecessor 3G was fast, 4G is faster — and in the rapidly changing tech world, things always have to get faster (or smaller), or they risk falling behind.

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For AT&T and Verizon, two of the nation’s biggest mobile carriers with a combined 70 percent share of the market, falling to the back of the pack is not an option. That is the reason both companies have been earnestly pushing forward with the development of their 4G networks. Verizon touts its web as the nation’s fastest 4G network, while AT&T claims it has the biggest 4G network.

What’s not to love? Consumers benefit from enhanced networks that let them use their smart gadgets at faster speeds and in more places, while carriers enjoy the new customers who join in so they can get 4G before others. However, there is a cautionary story to pay attention to: the Korean market has shown that new customers may not be making up for all the infrastructure expenses…

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