An intersting conversation on twitter spurred this post.
This morning, one of Verizon’s bloggers (CZ) mentioned the lack of press coverage following a USA Today story on AT&T’s announcement on opening their network (he did not link the article on Twitter). I was not surprised one bit. Here’s why:
With regard to technology and policy, Mainstream media (MSM) is primarily interested in battles and watching all the hype create chaos. Here’s some examples –
RBOCs vs CLECs
Licensed vs Unlicensed
Old (Teleco’s) vs New (Tech Co’s)
Open vs Closed
Hands off the Internet vs. Save the Internet
As I mentioned in the Twitter post, these distinctions no longer matter. Rapid advances in technology have obliterated these silos.
One real disservice over the years was the constant echo from some reporters about how Wi-Fi would be the “death nail” for cellular. At my former company (AT&T Wireless), we didn’t see the technology as a threat. In fact, we embraced it and were looking to set up services in airports and hotels. We also supported and helped legislative efforts (Senator Barbara Boxer & Senator George Allen initiative – “Jumpstart Broadband Act”) to free up 255 MHz of spectrum in the 5 GHz band (which utilizes 802.11).
There were other reasons to follow this strategy. As I have mentioned previously, we were spectrum capped (Regulators had a spectrum cap on carriers – it no longer exists) and over subscribed. Accordingly, Wi-Fi would enable folks to get off the cellular network. Over half of cellular calls are fixed calls (in your apartment, at airport etc.) so it made sense to free up capacity. On a technology point, Wi-Fi has not demonstrated hand-off (at high-speed or distances) as well. Therefore, mobility will always be a core competency of the cellular network.
Unfortunately, we were never able to execute on our Wi-Fi initiatives due to being acquired by Cingular. However, a great deal of what T-mobile is doing (with UMA and Hotspots) is what AT&T envisioned.