Wireless March Madness: ATandT, Sprint and Verizon Last Three Standing
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And then there were three. Three carriers that is: AT&T, Verizon and - in the rearview mirror - Sprint Nextel.
If the worry among the upcoming CTIA show organizers and PR community was that all the news had already been delivered at the Mobile World Congress, AT&T erased that worry March 20 by announcing a $39 billion deal to acquire T-Mobile. I was reading the news while Jet Blueing down to Orlando, Fla., for the annual CTIA event, which is dominated by the major carriers. While the proposed deal will bear some regulatory scrutiny, business and tech execs need to be developing a strategy now for a world where there are only three pipes to carry their company's mobile applications.
The rise of the mobile Internet has already touched off a scramble on the application side and the smart device side of the equation, but aside from persistent grumbles about monthly connection costs and dropped calls, there has been too little thought about the carrier in the middle of the equation. With the worlds of WiFi and wide-area networks constantly evolving, and with the possible entrance of new wireless players (remember when Google was thought ready to build out a wireless network?), if you are a company business exec, CIO or technology exec, you are going to have bet your infrastructure on one of the big three in the near-tearm - like in the next five years, at most.
So, what should you do? Start by thinking about more than simply monthly connection costs and enterprise bundles you can buy. First, figuring out those bundles would stress out IBM's Watson supercomputer. The bundles are confusing because flat rates lead to price wars. Also, in the long run, arguing bundle price is shortsighted when you would be far better off starting to look at the infrastructure services the carriers are wrapping around their pipes.
Okay, right, I know they are not pipes, but even the carriers know they need to capture all those cloud computing services that are so much in the news if they want to start locking in businesses. Without that lock-in, the mobile Internet would become a world of churn. If all those cloud vendors were tuned into what was going on, the EMCs, Amazons, Microsofts and Googles of the world would start to realize their biggest competitors will be the carriers rather than the old vendors putting on a new cloud outfit.
For more, read the eWEEK article: ATandT, Verizon, Sprint: Down to the Big Three in This March Madness.