Profitability of mobile data in question, claims T-Mobile CEO

Executives speaking at a CeBIT NGMN meeting said that flat-rate mobile data tariffs will lead to usage increasing at a far greater rate than operator revenues. This shift will demand the cost of providing mobile data connectivity be driven down if they were to continue to make money.

Hamid Akhavan, CEO of T-Mobile, said that this could lead to a complete decoupling of traffic and revenues. "It is only a matter of time before we lose all profitability on mobile data. In the past, user experience has been driven by the average traffic on a cell site. Today it has to do with how much peak traffic you can carry in a cell."

Akhavan explained that the cost-per-bit of handling such traffic could be lowered through better spectral efficiency and simplified network architecture. However, he also said it would be essential to reuse "existing assets", adding: "The world doesn't need any more cell sites".

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