The telecom carriers would like to you to believe that they have the fastest or most reliable network. They want you to care about that, and they tell it to you all the time via their advertising campaigns. This reveals one thing that you should take note of, they know the answer to the question of ‘How’, but they don’t yet grasp the question of ‘What’.
I have been in the wireless industry for many years, and have watched the wireless carriers in all their forms struggle to get people to notice them as a viable solution for access to the Internet of Things (IoT). The struggle is relatively a simple one or at least it should be, yet the carriers to this day are still not quite grasping the answer.
Since 1999 I have been telling most anyone who would listen that the network is not what should be sold. The network should be reliable, fast, and easily accessible. The network should allow anyone to use it, and it should be accessible by many types of devices. The network is the answer to the question ‘How’. While this may seem a bit Utopian, bear with me for a moment. The network should be open to allow any company that can provide a connection to the IoT so that that company can provide service to an end user. The end user connects to the network and utilizes it to get to the company’s, of their choosing, Internet connection. Today we have a form of this very network in very limited fashion. Carriers have agreements for what is commonly known as ‘Roaming’, it allows you to utilize another carriers network when the carrier that you pay does not have suitable access for you in the area, and you pay for the privilege of that access. Why is this important? You pay twice for access that you should already have in the first place, and they are still selling the ‘How’. Which is something that you should never have to even be concerned with.
So let’s get to what they should really be telling you about, the ‘What’. I mentioned that I have been telling people who would listen that the network is not the thing that should be sold, and it is true. Really what the carriers should be telling you about is ‘What can you do when you have access to their network’, this is the answer that will sway customers to their network. The answer to ‘What’ comes in many forms, and many people know the answer without even asking the question. Video conferencing, Email, Web surfing, tweeting, editing pictures, editing videos, streaming video or audio, there is just so much to the answer of ‘What’. The carriers should be satisfying the answer to ‘What’ with networks that can support those needs of the users. Having the fastest or most reliable or most coverage on the network should not be selling points, they should be expected from every network by the users who pay for their use.
You as a user of any network, should expect reliability, speed, and coverage. You should be able to pick up your device and know that you can accomplish any task no matter where you go.
I had a plan back in 1999 to allow this very thing, circumstances thwarted that plan and I have been watching ever since the slow crawl of the carriers towards what I had planned. It is painful to watch, they could have been so much further along than they currently are. It is time for the customers of the carriers to start asking “What can I do with this network?”. There are some very innovative ideas out there that take the ‘What’ to the next level, now we need the networks to be at a level where we are no longer asking for the answer of ‘How’.
Disclaimer: I work in the wireless industry and the company I work for provides services for telecom and other vertical markets. The comments made in this post are not a reflection of nor representation of my employers views or opinions. This post is not intended to defame or be inflammatory, it is simply an opinion based on observation and experience.