We asked leading experts of the telecommunications industry to explain what they think the mobile ecosystem will look like in 2030. Michael Calabrese, Director, Wireless Future Program, Open Technology Institute at New America contributes the following:

By 2030 our wireless future will have arrived. Today’s cutting edge wireless standards, such as 5G and Wi-Fi 7, will be fully mature and in the rearview by then.  But the biggest change will be bandwidth abundance and the obliteration of practical distinctions between wired and wireless networks, as well as between licensed and unlicensed connectivity. Consumers will connect, automatically and based on pre-set algorithms, to the least costly wireless connection that meets their need. Networks they access will vary based on location and application as devices shift seamlessly among multiple licensed wide-area networks (for true mobility), unlicensed access to fiber networks, and wholesale providers, including satellites, for narrowband or localized connectivity solutions. Mobile data consumption will be exponentially greater than today, yet bandwidth will be relatively inexpensive. Unlike today’s siloed spectrum allocations, virtually all underutilized frequency bands will be open for dynamic spectrum sharing by devices that rapidly detect and aggregate available capacity across low-, mid- and very high-frequency bands depending on the application. Consumers will connect to anything and everything in their lives, including through augmented reality glasses, watches, earrings and other wearables. Enterprises will have unlimited access to spectrum capacity, particularly indoors for IoT, provided they don’t interfere with primary licensees beyond their property. Smart home, city and enterprise wireless networks will interconnect, yet be customized and deployed on an extremely decentralized basis, much like Wi-Fi today. Best of all, high-capacity, low-latency wireless connectivity will be virtually invisible to the average person, much like electricity is today.

Michael Calabrese is director of the Wireless Future Project, which is part of New America’s Open Technology Institute. He also serves as a senior research fellow affiliated with the Asset Building Program. Mr. Calabrese focuses on developing policies that promote pervasive connectivity, including spectrum policy reform, mobile market competition, wireless broadband deployment, and IT investment and innovation more broadly. New America is pioneering a new kind of think and action tank: a civic platform that connects a research institute, technology lab, solutions network, media hub and public forum.

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