Is mobile redundant? No, not the technology. But has word “mobile” become redundant? After all, mobile is so ubiquitous these days that it seems as if everything we talk about in tech—from apps to devices to the networks themselves—is inevitably “mobile.”
And who better to ask about the ubiquity of mobile technology than the CEOs of Ericsson and Qualcomm and the SVP of Network Operations at AT&T. I had the great fortune at CES this year to moderate a keynote panel featuring Hans Vestberg of Ericsson, Dr. Paul Jacobs of Qualcomm and John Donovan of AT&T. And this was the first question that I asked this all-star panel.
So, has the word “mobile” become redundant? If anybody can answer this question, it’s three of the most experienced and prescient executives in the technology industry.
For Vestberg, it’s the combination of mobility, broadband, and the cloud that’s all important. “I think the question is going to be actually whether we need wires,” said Jacobs, suggesting that what we think of as “mobile” is actually often “fixed.” And like Jacobs, Donovan didn’t write off what he called a “ground network”—arguing that “the physics in the ground are better than the physics in the air for the economics of delivering packets.”