The Future of Telecom
Hesse also discussed opportunities for the telecom industry with the Stanford audience. He told them that he believes the future of mobile devices is in the Far East, specifically in countries such as China and India, where the population continues to burgeon and the thirst for these devices is insatiable. "It took 100 years to build 1 billion fixed phone lines but only 20 years to add 5 billion mobile subscribers," Hesse said. "And more of those new phones will be bought and used in the Far East than anywhere else-although there is still a large market in North America that needs to be served.Sprint has been quick to jump on that opportunity, pushing network solutions for small and midsize businesses, as well as enterprises and universities. In 2011, for example, the company installed a campuswide wireless 3G network for Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL). The network encompasses dozens of facilities and boosts faculty and student options for voice and data communications. The network consolidates multiple frequencies and includes the future option to migrate users from fixed landlines to mobile devices. Just to make things more interesting, the installation had to leave the campus aesthetically unmarred and operate smoothly, despite precious little space for network infrastructure. "WUSTL selected Sprint to create an on-campus network because it offered the most innovative plan and best overall value for its services," said Jan Weller, assistant vice chancellor for information services and technology. Calling for Better Standards After the Stanford speech, Hesse spoke with eWEEK and stressed that new and better standards need to be agreed upon by all players in the industry. His position as chair of the CTIA should have some influence on this. He added that Sprint is rallying hard for the developer community to join forces and innovate for new and better applications, architectures and delivery methods. "Sprint incubates innovation by offering state-of-the-art developer sandboxes, coding labs and collaboration tools where partners, equipment manufacturers and developers can create and test," Hesse said. "No other wireless carrier provides this kind of support for innovation partners. "This approach to innovation is called -open.' We support everyone from large developers to those thinking up the latest cutting-edge content from their basements. We don't restrict access to any applications, on any operating platform." Sprint's largest competitors take a closed, walled-garden approach to development, Hesse contended. "They create their own carrier app stores, locking down devices with pre-prescribed search engines and adding -bloatware.' We think that policing innovation in this way stifles it." "Dan Hesse is one of the true innovators in our industry," said Recon Analytics' Entner. "Back when Dan was the CEO of AT&T Wireless, he introduced the Digital One Rate program, which did away with all long-distance charges. Now he's got the unlimited access rate going at Sprint, which nobody else is doing." Editor's Note: eWEEK Staff Writer Nicholas Kolakowski contributed to this story.
"Last year, for the first time, the U.S. wireless industry carried more data [email, text, Web browsing and so on] traffic than voice traffic. Within the next three years, data traffic will be 66 times what it was in 2008."