The wireless industry is clearly investing in the smart city concept. Both Verizon and AT&T have teams dedicated to breaking open dialogue -- and sales -- between wireless players and city officials, with the goal of installing new technologies in metro areas that proponents say will make city life safer and more efficient. And analysts generally agree on the major opportunity presented by smart cities.
The 5G frenzy is real and it signals the importance that vendors and operators are placing on being considered an early leader and visionary in 5G technology. Although we may still be two to four years (depending on which timeline you believe) from actual commercial service, there's a lot at stake for wireless companies because 5G represents such a dramatic change, not only in technology but also in business models.
Sprint yesterday said that it is de-emphasizing its Virgin Mobile prepaid brand and may introduce a new strategy for the Virgin brand at some point in the future. The news highlights Sprint's continued struggles in the prepaid sector, mainly due to the successes that T-Mobile's MetroPCS prepaid brand and AT&T's Cricket Wireless prepaid brand have had in the market.
In observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, FierceWireless will not be publishing Monday, Jan. 18. We'll be back in your inbox on Tuesday, Jan. 19. Enjoy the long weekend, and we'll see you then.
There's clearly a tremendous amount of interest in the IoT, and much of it is justified. IDC recently predicted worldwide spending on the IoT will reach $1.32 trillion in 2019, representing an impressive 17 percent compound annual growth rate. Other forecasts are equally optimistic. But the IoT must overcome some huge hurdles before it reaches its potential.
This week at the Consumer Electronics Show here, where IoT was clearly one of the hottest topics around, the divide between AT&T and its competitors in the IoT space became even more evident as the company announced yet another deal with a car maker to embed its LTE modules, bringing its total number of deals with automobile OEMs to nine out of the 16 major car makers globally. And, perhaps even more importantly, AT&T announced a partnership several other heavyweights including Cisco, Ericsson, GE, Qualcomm, Deloitte, Intel and more to develop a framework for smart cities that will make it easier for cities to be connected. The group also named three cities that will be testbeds for this effort, Chicago, Atlanta and Dallas.
As the definition of 5G becomes clearer, many are seeing it as being the perfect solution to many of the problems that currently exist with the Internet of Things -- namely the inability to bring together disparate networks such as RFID and Bluetooth with the underlying cellular framework that needs to happen to make the IoT vision a reality.
I'm excited to introduce Colin Gibbs, the newest member of the Fierce editorial team. Colin is the editor of FierceWireless and will be reporting on all the latest news in the wireless industry -- from pricing plans and smartphone launches to spectrum auctions and network upgrades.