In a speaking style that reminded us of former President George W. Bush, Stephenson started off with a rather pointless history lesson about the growth of mobile data. First he recalled the "messaging era" from 2000 to 2006, when "U.S. mobile data traffic grew 75,000 percent." That was followed by the "smartphone era," which began in 2005 and which has generated more than 1,000 petabytes of traffic on U.S. mobile data networks during the past five years.
Now we're entering the "mobile cloud era," stated Stephenson, during which mobile data traffic volumes are set to grow by a projected 75 percent during the next five years. "Think about LTE now and combining that with the cloud. ... When you put all this together it is going to be rare that you walk into an electronics store and buy something that is not connected to these networks," he said.
It seems we are also stuck in another epoch -- the $200 billion-market-cap-company-CEO-gripes-that-he-can't-get-enough-spectrum-and-it's-too-expensive-to-build-networks era.
Stephenson's main point was that the FCC's recent decision to increase the available AWS spectrum by 50 megahertz will not provide any immediate benefit, as that capacity will "probably ... [be] put to use in the next six to eight years."
He also complained that there is too much spectrum "out there in the hands of speculators who have no intention of putting it to use" in networks.
Stephenson called on regulators to come up with a faster review process for spectrum transfers and, with that in mind, he nudged his telecom industry peers to give regulators concrete proposals for how to make better use of spectrum that is available (and needed) in the market.
Just before Stephenson took the stage to play the victim, Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) President Grant Seiffert announced the TIA's annual conference will be moving to Washington, D.C., next year so the industry can better get the attention of regulators.
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- AT&T: Most iPads Stay Connected
- Verizon Fears 4G Spectrum Shortfall
— Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading