WikiImages via Pixabay
We are using more mobile data today than ever before. AT&T Mobility says their mobile data traffic has surged 250,000% in the last decade since 2007. That’s simply incredible. Today, video streaming accounts for the majority of that traffic, to date. Today, we use our smartphones more for wireless data and less for voice calling. And that trend is accelerating. So how is AT&T (T) meeting this challenge and satisfying their customer expectations?
This is not the first-time AT&T has wrestled with rapid growth. As one of the most popular wireless carriers, AT&T has been running this race for a decade or longer. Remember when the Apple (AAPL) iPhone hit the market ten years ago? AT&T Mobility was the first and only carrier to carry that device for several years.
Before the iPhone, there was little consumer demand for mobile data. No one knew what was about to happen. Suddenly, the demand for mobile data skyrocketed for AT&T and they never looked back. Growth has only accelerated.
How AT&T Mobility Meets Rising Mobile Data Demand
To meet this incredible demand, AT&T says they are focusing on a variety of areas like LTE-A and 5G. They also have plans with fiber, which is not wireless, but then again most of the wireless industry is not wireless. In fact, the only part of the call that is wireless is between the handset and the nearest cell site. After that, a wireless call travels over a wire line network.
There are also other areas the company is pursuing, like the connected car and the home solution which offers telephone, television, internet, wireless, home security and more.
Growth is Contagious: Ask Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile
This kind of growth is contagious. If AT&T is showing this kind of growth, I think we can expect Verizon Wireless (VZ), Sprint (S) and T-Mobile (TMUS) to follow. They are all talking about increasing customer demand. Keeping up with the competition is always the big challenge. This is both a challenge and an opportunity for growth in 2017 and beyond.
So, just like the early days a decade ago, when the Apple iPhone and Google (GOOG) Android hit the marketplace, triggering a massive growth wave, the challenge and opportunity continues. However, growth looks different going forward. Growth is expanding into many new and different areas going forward. As every other industry uses wireless and mobile data to grow and expand, this is an incredible growth opportunity for the wireless industry, both networks and devices, for users and businesses.
AT&T Mobility Shows Network Speeds of 14 Gbps
Brent Moore via Flickr
AT&T Mobility says upgrades to their LTE-Advanced network are expected to deliver speeds of one gigabit per second starting this year. This will start in a few cell sites in a few cities and expand from there, the same way the wireless industry always expands. Today we talk about having a 4G network across the industry and moving toward 5G, but much of the network today is still using 3G. It’s a continual evolution.
AT&T Mobility also announced network speeds up to 14 Gbps, which is incredible. When they roll this out into the network, I don’t expect to see 14 Gbps speeds, but that’s the path they are heading. This speed is mind-blowing just to think about.
IoT, M2M, AI and Cloud Are Growth Opportunities
This is a growing opportunity in the IoT, AI, M2M and Cloud space. So, as you can see, speeds and growth in wireless networks are continuing to accelerate and expand. The wireless industry advances and transforms every decade.
The last major transformation was a decade ago when the first iPhone and Android hit the marketplace. The next major transformation is now beginning. AT&T and every other major competitor will see rapid growth continue.
I have written about this and will continue to do so. So, join me in 2017 as I follow the changing competitors and the changing industry. The best is yet to come.
Jeff Kagan is an Equities.com columnist. Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst, speaker and consultant. He follows wireless, wire line, telecom, Internet, cable TV, IPTV, Cloud, Mobile Pay, FinTech and communications technology. Email him at [email protected]. His web site is www.jeffKAGAN.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeffkagan