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December 21, 2009

Is a Pay-for-Bytes Consumed Model in Our Future?

By Susan J. Campbell
TMCnet Contributing Editor

What would we do without apps? With the consistent growing demand for bigger and better as far as applications are concerned, developers should expect to see some convergence in platforms, according to Stu Elby, vice president of network architecture for Verizon. Elby recently spoke with TMCnet’s Carl Ford (News - Alert) to share his insights on 4GWE and what the future may hold. One constant challenge will be balancing the openness and reliability of the network.
As for new networking devices joining the 4G world, there is a large volume of devices entering this space as machine-to-machine. At the same time, a number of verticals will adopt 4G as the broadband foundation of M2M devices still to come. In terms of social networking, Elby said adding mobility features will drive adoption. As for classifying MIMO, OFDM, WiMAX (News - Alert) and LTE technologies, Elby pointed to the benefit of the competitive nature between these different elements.

When asked what he would do as president of the United States, Elby would continue to push the open market and promote tax incentives. In terms of 4G growth, the adoption of this technology will determine its value in the industry. Verizon (News - Alert) is one company seeking to achieve significant U.S. deployment by the end of 2010. As for Elby’s outrageous prediction, he predicted the entire industry would move to a pay-for-bytes consumed model to remove all concerns over fairness, cost of bandwidth expansion and usage asymmetry.
The exchange follows:
Carl Ford: Applications are all the rage in the marketplace, and they’re helping sell consumers on today's network. How should we expect applications to evolve as network broadband expands?
Stu Elby: As there are more devices and users, app developers will expect some convergence in terms of development platforms and APIs. Additionally, API’s will begin to include applications’ access to the core network as is the case with Verizon Wireless’ VDC.

CF: 4GWE is all about how customers’ adoption of technology is changing the network. What critical issues do you foresee for network operators?
SE: The issue of balancing openness to security and reliability of the network is and will remain a constant challenge. Additionally, the operator is bestowed with the unique and onerous responsibility of protecting its subscriber’s private information. Managing customer privacy data in the face of open, third party applications is challenging.

CF: Barnes & Noble has now joined the e-reader business and Garmin (News - Alert) has added new networking solutions. What devices do you expect to join the 4G world?

SE: We see the large volume of devices entering 4G as machine-to-machine – nothing a consumer would wear on their belt. Verticals such as energy, healthcare, security to name a few will adopt 4G as the broadband foundation for a plethora of M2M devices that don’t exist today. 
CF: Social networking is a large part of consumers’ use of their smartphones. How should we expect it to impact our work lives?

SE: Adding mobility features such as location and real-time communications to social networks will enhance their value and therefore adoption significantly. SN and smartphones will have a very symbiotic relationship in the 4G world. 
CF: WiFi led the way into MIMO and OFDM, and WiMAX and LTE (News - Alert) are now alternate methods of adoption of these technologies. How should we classify the technologies? Are they competitive, complimentary or serving separate requirements?

SE: From a service provider and systems/platform provider they are competing markets, which is probably healthy. The important point is that by sharing the underlying chip technologies – like OFDM – the aggregate market size will drive volumes and thereby drive down cost quickly. This will benefit the entire industry and consumers independent of which 4G ‘camp’ you are in.
CF: If you were president of the United States, what tech-friendly policies would you enact?
SE: Come on… you can’t be serious. I do believe that in the case of technology, the open market works much better than legal mandate. Tax incentives are a good way to achieve policy without resorting to mandates. 
CF: What are some of the areas of 4G you’re expecting to grow in the next few years?
SE: Metcalf’s Law is still with us. The value of 4G will be tied to its adoption and hence, in the near term, its deployment. Verizon is looking to achieve significant U.S. deployment by the end of 2010. If others follow suit, then we can expect to see some real game-changing services emerge.
CF: Please give me one outrageous prediction pertaining to our markets for 2010.
SE: That’s a hard one. When you stand in the middle of technology R&D, nothing seems outrageous. Here’s one – to address issues like generating revenue to pay for bandwidth growth, net neutrality concerns, and the non-homogeneity of consumer bandwidth usage (only a few percent of the subscribers consume most of the network’s bandwidth), I predict the entire industry will move to a pay-for-bytes consumed model. This would remove all concerns of fairness, cost of bandwidth expansion, and usage asymmetry. Of course, it would reverse the trend Americans have become accustomed to.
CF: Talk to me specifically about your presentation at the 4G Wireless Evolution conference. What kinds of people or companies should come to your session?
SE:  will be speaking on behalf of my company, Verizon. Anyone interested in what one of the worlds largest carriers and most aggressive in 4G, is actually doing in 2010 and beyond will want to attend.
To find out more about Stuart Elby and Verizon Wireless, visit the company at the 4GWE Conference. To be held Jan. 20 to 22 in Miami and collocated with ITEXPO East 2010, the 4GWE Conference will focus on the realities of deploying 4G technologies and delivering broadband wireless applications to a growing community of wireless broadband consumers. Elby is speaking during “Network Operators Prepare for the 200MB Lifestyle.” Don’t wait. Register now.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Amy Tierney

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