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Major Mobile Milestones – The Last 15 Years, and the Next Five

Cowritten with Usha Andra, Senior Analyst, Visual Networking Index, Service Provider Marketing

2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the VNI Mobile Forecast. For a decade, we have analyzed, reviewed, and made projections about mobile networking and how consumers and business users’ behaviors and expectations have changed based on device innovations, network enhancements, and a seemingly never-ending variety of mobile applications and content options. Our work and focus on forecasting the growth of global mobile network traffic and wireless service trends has given us an opportunity to cover one of the fastest growing (in terms of user adoption) and constantly interesting global industries ever developed. Over the past 10 years, mobile data traffic has increased 6,000-fold, and over the past 15 years, it has increased an incredible 600-million-fold. The average smartphone owner today is carrying a computing device more powerful than 10 PCs from 2000. And mobile devices have evolved from devices for calling and texting to devices for calling, texting, tweeting, posting, watching, gaming, banking, navigating, shopping, and reading.

Here’s a very brief summary of some of the major mobile milestones that many of us have experienced over the last 15 years, in five-year increments. What did we miss or would you add to these timelines? We’ve also provided a quick snapshot of our projections for the next five years. Let us know what you think…

Pre-2000: The wireless wilderness shows early signs of development

In 1973, the first mobile phone call was placed with the words “guess where I’m calling from?”, the motto of the early days of cellular voice. Mobile phones became commercially available in 1979, but the early phones were expensive and heavy, with large nickel cadmium batteries weighing them down. In the 1990s, lithium ion batteries were introduced, reducing the weight and size of the phones by more than half, and the phones began to be offered at more affordable prices. Also in the early 1990s, 2G phones deploying GSM technology were introduced, marking the shift from analog to digital communications. With GSM, limited data services such as text messaging and paging began to be available. The GPRS standard was introduced in the late 1990s, delivering packet-switched data capabilities to existing GSM networks and allowing users to send graphics-rich data as packets.

2000 – 2005: “Call me”

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Mobile voice was still the dominant voice application in this era, but Read More »

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The Ubiquitous Nature of the Internet of Everything (IoE) drives new Network Requirements

Taru KhuranaCo-written with Taru Khurana, Senior Analyst, SP Thought Leadership

The ubiquitous nature of Internet of Everything (IoE) is driving a digital transformation in many industries and businesses. This digital disruption has already begun and it’s driving advanced cloud access and network performance requirements for a wide range of devices and machine-to machine (M2M) connections. Faster broadband speeds and lower latencies as well as wider network access are essential enablers for the future of IoE that many envision. The growing number of cloud applications that are being developed for a wide variety of business and consumer uses are dramatically changing the demands and expectations of public and private network services.

Consider the connected car. Integrated “infotainment” is a growing feature trend that is being implemented in many types of vehicles. This type of mobile connectivity will create even more reliance on the Internet to bring Read More »

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Observations from Mobile World Congress 2015

I have just returned from a very interesting and jammed-packed week at Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona. A record 93,000 plus people are estimated to have attended this year’s premier technology festival. Much has changed in the industry over the last year since I reported my observations of MWC 2014. However, what is most remarkable is how the boundaries of mobility continue to expand and morph – everything now seems to be mobile? As such, the show offers a fascinating glimpse into the future of technology and the major social and business shifts that we can expect in the next few years.

MWC_Barcelona

The following are my personal observations and extrapolations from the show Read More »

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Observations from Mobile World Congress 2014

I have just returned from a very interesting and jammed-packed week at Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona. More than 75,000 people were estimated to have attended this year’s MWC, and its fabulous new conference facilities proved a great place to celebrate the industry’s accomplishments and catch a glimpse of its potential future.  Much has changed in the industry over the last year since I reported my observations of MWC 2013.  However, what is most remarkable is how the boundaries of mobility continue to expand and morph – everything now seems to be mobile?

The following are my personal observations and extrapolations from the show, based on my conversations with operators, customer meetings, analysts, and colleagues, as well as from simply walking the show floor: Read More »

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Wi-Fi Value-Added Services Improve the Retail Bottom-line

Retailing has always been a tough business.  But, the move to online shopping, the challenging economy and changes in shopper’s behavior has placed even more pressure on traditional retail margins.  Retailers are constantly looking for ways to get more people in to their store and to spend more.  Traditional retailers have long envied the massive amounts of valuable data that online retailers have available to help them better understand customer behavior and implement winning marketing tactics.  Online retailers know such valuable information as: how frequently customers return, how long they spend on the site, what they looked at but didn’t buy and where they went before and after coming to the site.  With this information, online retailers are able to rapidly adjust prices, promote certain items, and re-configure the layout of the site in almost real-time in order to increase the probability and value of a sale.  None of these data and insights has been available to bricks-and-mortar retailers – until now.  The increasing availability of Wi-Fi in retail locations is changing all of that.

Shopping malls and retailers are increasingly offering Wi-Fi to their customers as a service to connect their mobile devices to the Internet.  Hidden in this Read More »

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