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Mobile Internet Data: Hype Colliding with Reality

Prof. Andrew Odlyzko

Interdisciplinary Digital Technology

University of Minnesota


Tuesday - July 28, 2009
Archived Video
Available (WMV format)

$295.00 USD

Briefing Abstract

A wide consensus holds that mobile data will lead to the next telecom revolution. The volume of data transmitted over wireless is skyrocketing, growing at rates that are almost surely unsustainable. This is in contrast to wireline data volumes, which are growing vigorously, but at a sufficiently slow rate that capex does not need to grow to accommodate them. However, this growth in mobile data is not accompanied by a similar willingness to pay. The implications for technologies and business models of wireless carriers will be explored.

Key points to be highlighted at this e-TelecomBriefing:

  • Wireline traffic growing at about 50% per year, can be accommodated with current capex

  • Wireless traffic growing at over 100% per year, far faster than technology is progressing

  • Low willingness to pay for mobile data

  • Voice is a cash cow and likely to remain so

  • Wireless service providers have incentives to use kludgy technology solutions to protect the voice cash cow

  • Seemless mobility between wireline and wireless is not achievable

  • Strong tension between incentives to build walled gardens and ones to encourage innovation.

    Speaker Profile

Andrew Odlyzko is a Professor at the University of Minnesota. He had a long career in research and research management at Bell Labs and AT&T Labs, then ran an interdisciplinary center and handled other administrative jobs in Minnesota. He has written over 150 technical papers in a variety of fields, has three patents, and serves on numerous editorial, advisory, and supervisory boards. He may be known best for the earliest debunking of the myth of Internet traffic doubling every three or four months and for demonstrating that connectivity has traditionally mattered much more for society than content. Among his current projects is the MINTS effort, which monitors trends in Internet traffic. More information, including papers and presentation decks, is available on his web site,