The CTIA Wireless I.T. & Entertainment Convention is in full swing in San Diego and the spotlight is on the future of the cellular industry.
In a speech at CTIA, U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski praised cellular carriers for moving towards more open network policies and sympathized with concerns over bandwidth. “I believe that that the biggest threat to the future of mobile in America is the looming spectrum crisis,” he said. Genachowski cited expectations for future growth in the use of smartphones and netbooks as a serious concern that could create a “traffic jam” on the “information superhighway.” He stated that more wireless spectrum will be required to support the increase in demand and better network management will be needed from the FCC.
Wireless carriers believe that they should have freedom to manage network traffic for the benefit of their customers. AT&T Wireless CEO Ralph de la Vega made the case by pointing out that while iPhone users make up only three percent of its smart phone customers, they eat up 40 percent of its data bandwidth. He stated that AT&T needs to “manage the network to make sure that the few cannot crowd out the many.”
Pressure from the FCC has influenced AT&T to change its position on Internet-based phone services for the iPhone. This week AT&T announced that it has cleared the way for Skype and other VoIP applications that it had previously blocked from the iPhone Apps Store.
Republicans sent a letter to the FCC this week expressing opposition to the FCC’s plan to regulate the telecom industry with laws designed to insure network neutrality. They argue that telecom companies should remain free to manage network traffic as they see fit. They fear that government regulations would reduce the industries motivation to upgrade networks and ultimately harm consumers.
- FCC chief lauds wireless companies [Reuters]
- GOP Warns of Net Neutrality Perils [Ecommerce Times]
- AT&T Knuckles Under on VoIP for iPhone [Ecommerce Times]
- FCC Chair Warns of Wireless Gridlock [Ecommerce Times]
- Genachowski lays out FCC mobile strategy at CTIA [Computerworld]
- AT&T Wireless CEO Hints at ‘Managing’ iPhone Data Usage [Computerworld]
- AT&T has change of heart about VoIP over 3G for the iPhone [Ars Technica]