Feature Article

October 25, 2014

Mobility TechZone Week in Review: The Future of Mobile Services

Where exactly does mobile technology stand today? It seems that it wasn't that long ago when everyone was using flip phones, and now it appears that smart phones with the ability to access the Internet at any time are the new standard. Because of this, mobile service providers are transforming their practices to better accommodate and take advantage of the new way things work – some more successfully than others. Over the past week several headlines came out that highlighted which services are growing and which ones are shrinking, while carriers are doing their best to prepare for the next big shift in consumer demands.

AT&T, for example, has appeared to stay afloat in the sea of change according to their Q3 2014 results, which were posted earlier this week. The company reported a revenue growth of around 2.5 percent, with mobile revenues in particular increasing by 5 percent. However, it also appears that the company's operating costs went up by more than 7 percent while wireless service revenues remained relatively unchanged from last year's figures. While the company is still successfully growing, it may have to adopt new strategies soon to reduce operating expenses and keep revenues growing.

Meanwhile, Apple is investing further in the smart phone market as the number of global apple users rises. A study conducted by TrendForce shows that overall smartphone shipment has increased worldwide by more than 9 percent, which was largely influenced by the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus release. As such, a large proportion of global smartphone shipments included these among other Apple products, which helped rocket the company ahead of brands like Samsung, Huawei and Lenovo.

However, one market that mobile carriers seem to be unprepared for are Over The Top (OTT) services, where the industry is expected to lose a combined $14 billion dollars this year. OTT works by providing a third-party mobile phone service that works off of a customer's data plan, and allows the customer to get away with purchasing fewer pre-paid monthly minutes. This figure shows a rise of around 25 percent against last year's numbers, and though some carriers like Verizon are rolling out their own OTT services the rest of the industry is slow to catch up so far.

To support all of this increase in mobile tech usage, the FCC is already considering the implementation and organization of powerful 5G networks around the nation. The FCC launched an investigation to determine how 5G networks may be doled out in the future, and while the organization has no plans to define what a 5G network should be constrained to, they recognize the need to lay out framework for assigning certain bandwidths to the carriers that can support their usage.

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