Under the FCC's newly approved net neutrality rules, wireless carriers and other ISPs will not have to go the agency and ask permission every time they want to introduce a new offering or mobile broadband plan, such as a new zero-rating plan, according to FCC officials.
WASHINGTON--The FCC voted, 3-2, to codify new net neutrality regulations for wireless and wireline networks that would bar blocking and throttling of content and ban carriers and ISPs from striking deals with content companies to zip their content faster to consumers. In doing so, the FCC is reclassifying broadband as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act, instead of a lightly-regulated information service, a move that carriers and ISPs have said will stifle innovation.
I think wireless carriers need more oversight than they have had--they deserve it after years of failing to provide data usage alerts and being unclear on throttling policies, among other harms to consumers. And wireless customers need protections than they have been afforded in the past. But I don't think the FCC should be playing traffic cop (no pun intended) with carriers' business models.
At the recent Consumer Electronics Show, AT&T announced that it would open up its Digital Life home automation and security platform to third-party products. The company also launched its M2X Data Service platform for the Internet of Things as a commercial product, and the carrier unveiled a rollover data plan. At CES, FierceWireless Editor Phil Goldstein caught up with AT&T Mobility CMO David Christopher to talk about rising competition in the wireless market, opportunities in the connected car and home markets, and more. Here is an edited version of that conversation.
M2M and the Internet of Things will create demand growth for mobile network connectivity, but revenue potential is mostly in the broader ecosystem implementing entire solutions and in providing holistic application services, such as in security monitoring and home automation. That might also be worth mobile operators pursuing. More fundamentally, however, they must also ensure they seize network services demand growth in general and accommodate it with corresponding cost reductions right across their networks.
2014 is nearly at and end and it's the time of the year when there are countless year-end review articles and 2015 predictions. While there were many highlights of 2014, I choose to hone in on network and competition. Instead of predictions, my 2015 expectations have been laid out with technology paths and the previous year's events.
The FCC did not conclude that the U.S. wireless industry is "effectively competitive" and in a new report declared that the market remains highly concentrated among the four Tier 1 carriers. In its 17th "Mobile Wireless Competition Report," the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau notes that consolidation is continuing.
Top-performing IoT carriers over the next two to three years will focus on their evolution from providing legacy M2M connectivity services to offering a solution that extends IT-based technologies into operational technology organisations.
Wireless carriers like to brag about their LTE networks in a lot of different ways, including their coverage, reliability and speeds. And while the average speed for downlink and uplink are probably the most important metrics to judge carriers' performance on--since that is what a consumer can expect to experience on a regular basis--maximum speeds are also worth noting.
Carriers often learn about Internet of Things opportunities late in the procurement process. Why? Because connectivity and connectivity management is relatively low on the list of important technology and business considerations when an enterprise is considering an IoT deployment.