Today's smartphones and tablets
Today, smartphones include wonderful still image
capability, as well as high-definition movie capture and
high-resolution displays that make it enjoyable to download all kinds
of rich media-from e-mail messages to photos, music and
videos. Thus, each new smartphone results in a 3x to 5x increase
in the data communications demand.
But it doesn't stop there. Tablets are being
purchased in the millions and they are an incremental new market for
mobile users. Plus, each tablet user wants to see the news,
weather, sports, books, magazines, music and videos. Thus, the use
of rich media in tablets is even greater than in smartphones. That
results in even more demand. Plus, the demand is only going to
keep rising over time.
The operators are dealing with this by making it
easier for subscribers to obtain the rich media they need by
encouraging the use of Wi-Fi (in-home and out), as well as
time-shifting the demand to the evening and night time when the network
is at a very low utilization. For example, AT&T is building out
supplemental Wi-Fi networks in a number of major, dense downtown areas
such as San Francisco and New York.
In the long term, the only real solution is going to
come from allocating more wireless spectrum to mobile. President Obama
called for just that in his recent State of the Union address. With some help from the FCC,
operators will eventually be able to provide more 4G/5G services to
hundreds of millions of subscribers who want to benefit from using
their iPhones and iPads all day, every day.
That's going to take many years. In the meantime,
you'll likely have to "plug into" hot spots to upload and download most
of your rich media (such as videos).
J. Gerry Purdy, Ph.D. is Principal Analyst of Mobile & Wireless at MobileTrax LLC.
As a nationally recognized industry authority, Dr. Purdy focuses on
monitoring and analyzing emerging trends, technologies and market
behavior in the mobile computing and wireless data communications
industry in North America. Dr. Purdy is an "edge of network" analyst
looking at devices, applications and services, as well as wireless
connectivity to those devices. Dr. Purdy provides critical insights
regarding mobile and wireless devices, wireless data communications and
connection to the infrastructure that powers the data in the wireless
handheld. He is author of the column Inside Mobile & Wireless that
provides industry insights and is read by over 100,000 people a month.
Dr. Purdy continues to be
affiliated with the venture capital industry as well. He currently is
Managing Director at Yosemite Ventures. And he spent five years as a
Venture Advisor for Diamondhead Ventures in Menlo Park where he
identified, attracted and recommended investments in emerging companies
in mobile and wireless. He has had a prior affiliation with East Peak
Advisors and, subsequently, following their acquisition, with FBR
Capital Markets. For more than 16 years, Dr. Purdy has been consulting,
speaking, researching, networking, writing and developing
state-of-the-art concepts that challenge people's mind-sets, as well as
developing new ways of thinking and forecasting in the mobile computing
and wireless data arenas. Often quoted, Dr. Purdy's ideas and opinions
are followed closely by thought leaders in the mobile and wireless
industry. He is author of three books as well.
Dr. Purdy currently is a member of the Program
Advisory Board of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) which
produces CES, one of the largest trade shows in the world. He is a
frequent moderator at CTIA conferences and GSM Mobile World Congress.
He also is a member of the Board of the Atlanta Wireless Technology
Forum. Dr. Purdy has a B.S. degree in Engineering Physics from
University of Tennessee, a M.S. degree in Computer Science from UCLA,
and a Ph.D. in Computer Science and Exercise Physiology from Stanford
University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclosure Statement: From time to time, I may
have a direct or indirect equity position in a company that is
mentioned in this column. If that situation happens, then I'll
disclose it at that time.