ATLANTA—At the CTIA Wireless 2004 conference here on Monday, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell challenged attendees to keep up with wireless innovations and self-regulation, while Cisco Systems Inc. CEO John Chambers said we are entering into a new age of "IP mobility."
Powell, speaking in an interview setting with new Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association CEO Steve Largent, the former NFL star wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks, said he does not see new government regulation of the wireless industry in the near future but cautioned that such regulation could become a reality if the industry doesnt do enough to continue to grow and to police itself.
"[Regulation] is not inevitable, but its a risk when an industry really begins to mature, when you invite us to rely on the service," Powell said. "Its your [opportunity] to lose. Competition and innovation make it difficult to justify regulation where there was none before. A lot of regulators are looking at wireless as an example of how to approach it. The regulatory sector is bright. Let the businesses anticipate the needs of their customers."
Powell said that for the wireless industry to succeed, it needs to control its own destiny. "Its important to manage ones regulatory future in order to have more certainty over the investments you make," he said. "Otherwise, you give up your fate to other groups. Id rather control my own fate than depend on others."
On the subject of VOIP (voice over IP), Powell considers it "the most disruptive technology to come along." Thats disruptive in a good way, he said, stressing that the industry should not think of VOIP as telephony but "as an integration application [where] you will see its real potential."
"Its just an application that uses voice," Powell said. "The sky is the limit. Its a killer application."