Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Will We Be Ready For A Data Only Wireless Experience?

I spent a few moment going over the title of this post.  I was going between "will we be ready for a data-only wireless experience" and "are we going to be ready for a data-only wireless experience".

I'm asking this because of bits of information here and there that Apple may offer an iPod Touch-like device that allows data only without telephony.  Plus, there are rumblings of Android tablets in the work.  They're all going to need data connectivity and for mobile warriors, Wi-Fi only will not cut it.  

So, it make sense that more and more mobile devices will use the wireless networks but lack telephone functions.  Instead, we'll have to rely on VOIP apps.  Perhaps, it is as easy using something like Skype as a substitute for just such services.  

But I'm not so sure it's that simple.  It could be more complicated but in a good way.  We may be offered a plethora of choices.  For instance, Vonage, Skype, and Truphone quickly comes to mind as VOIP solutions on the iPhone and the Touch.

I'm sure the wireless providers will push their own brand of VOIP and other communication services.  In fact, I see the wireless providers compete with each other not only on data networks but against each other's voice offerings as well.  For example, an user might use Verizon's LTE network but opt to use ATT's VOIP service.  

And that's is just the voice services.  How about entertainment?  Now, you have cable or satellite TV.  With cable you are stuck with the monopoly in you neighborhood who, for the most part, only have to compete with the satellite companies.  In some areas, if you're lucky enough, will have fiber optic services for television.

In the wireless realm, it's gets more interesting.  Just about anyone can offer apps and services for music, videos, and other forms of entertainment.  Right now, if you're with Sprint, you get their TV services but if they open up their WiMax network to developers, we can potentially see different networks with their own offerings.

I'm only touch on telephony and entertainment.  There will be other wireless uses as well.  Video conferencing.  Gaming.  Richer media for the Web.  I'm sure you can think of a few other uses.  Now, think of the bandwidth that's going to be needed.

Now think of the number of new mobile warriors who will be joining us.  (Sorry, if you're reading this, I'm assuming you've got an iPhone, Android device, WM phone, or Blackberry or that you are in the market for one.)  

Bandwidth and masses.  It's going to be critical that the network is robust enough to support all the wireless activities that are coming online.  Hence, my earlier minor challenge of coming up with a title for this post.  Are we going to be ready with the network?  And will the mobile users be ready to take advantage of opportunities opened up by being mobile?  

Personally, I think it'll take time but I think mobile warriors will be ready.  But I think in the coming years and decades, we're looking at a lot of bitching about network reliability and bandwidth.  

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