Wireless Heads to the $1 Trillion Mark

Carl Weinschenk

There are three news items during the past few days that complement each other perfectly, and serve as an apt assessment of how completely wireless has taken over the present-and the future.


The first item is the large-scale relocation of wireless spectrum being proposed by the Federal Communications Commission. Chairman Julius Genachowski, in making the pitch for the relocation, suggested that there could be a 35-fold increase in traffic during the next five years. The story describes the usual intrigue associated with governmental efforts to free up spectrum. The FCC's goal, the story said, is recovering 300 MHz in five years and an additional 200 MHz during the next five.


The second item is that Gartner says that worldwide mobile revenue from voice and data will exceed $1 trillion by 2014. That's one of the most impressive figures this side of the number of new addresses that will be created by the move to IPv6. Gartner sees a three-stage continuum. The first was that of "iconic devices such as the Motorola RAZR and was dominated by device manufacturers." The second era, which we are in now, is called "the application era" by Gartner and exemplified by the iPhone and app and media stores. The third, writes Gartner, lies ahead:


Going forward, the service and social era will build on the application era, but it will be characterized by cloud services and streaming media. Applications will survive, but often as a component of a more complex end-to-end experience involving the cloud.


The final dovetailing piece of news was AT&T Mobility's quarterly results, RCR Wireless said that the company added 2.6 million connections during the third quarter. The breakdown was 321,000 direct prepaid adds, 1.2 million more connected devices and 406,000 net additions (presumably, gains minus those who "churned," or left) through resale partners. The total was 30 percent more than the year-ago quarter.


All folks observing the market agree that wireless is the wave of the future. Indeed, it is the wave of the present. The reality is that the growth will be fueled by new services-as laid out by Gartner-by largely overlooked machine-to-machine commmunications and by services transitioning from wired to wireless. Connected Planet is running a four-part series on how carriers and service providers can cope with what writer Kevin Fritchard says will be growth of 25 to 50 times current levels. The first installment is a review of various predictions and related commentary. The estimates, as can be expected, range from the merely aggressive to the truly dramatic.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Oct 26, 2010 9:50 AM Virginia Virginia  says:

Good piece, Carl.  You might be interested in what Richard Bennett says today on the spectrum issue: 


Oct 26, 2010 10:01 AM Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk  says: in response to Virginia

Thanks, Virginia. I will check it out.


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