As Telecom Asia reaches its 25-year milestone, it’s satisfying to look back and marvel at the changes in the mobile industry since Telecom Asia was first established.
In the 1990s, the mobile phone came into its own as a communications device.
Between 1997 and 2000, the mobile industry was wrapped up in the dotcom era, which fueled speculation for 3G and the prospects of mobile data services. This resulted in outrageous 3G radio spectrum prices in Europe and other markets, which almost crippled some of the world’s largest telecom companies when the dotcom bubble burst in 2000.
In 2001, NTT DoCoMo was the first to launch 3G (W-CDMA) and others followed suit, albeit at a tempered pace as companies recovered from their exuberant past. As 3G was deployed, service providers struggled to drive data service revenues. Handset manufacturers like Nokia and Motorola and a slew of application service providers (ASPs) attempted to buoy the mobile data market without much commercial success.
All this changed in June 2007 when Apple launched the iPhone in the US. Even though the iPhone was initially launched on a 2.5G network, it was an instant hit. Nokia, Motorola, and Blackberry were slow in responding to the iPhone and languished as a consequence.
Since then, the industry has seen unprecedented growth in data services, fueled by the proliferation of smartphones and a vast range of mobile services and applications. Now we see a flurry of activity by service providers to deploy 4G networks and other technology enhancements to cope with mobile data traffic demands.
In 2015, the mobile industry begins an era where there will be more innovation, change and disruption than ever. This new era will see a period of hyper-connectivity as efforts are made to connect sensors and other unmanned devices to create the IoT.