The world of wireless is changing. Ten years ago, it was inconceivable that you could check email, surf the Internet, listen to music and play games using only your phone. Today, you need only look at the iPhone, Blackberry Curve or Palm Treo to realize that you can do all of the activities listed above and so much more. The advances in cell phone utility is just starting to realize its potential, and experts forecast that over the next decade, the wireless industry will continue to boom.
Forecasters predict that:
- By the year 2018, wireless broadband technology is expected to generate approximately $860 billion in additional gross domestic product.
- In the next eight years, the projected total value of wireless broadband and mobile voice services is expected to exceed $427 billion.
- By 2016, the US is projected to have 81.9 million enterprise users, with 83% using wireless broadband.
These figures are all from the recently-released Ovum Report. The Ovum Report is a study funded by the CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association), which focused on the impact that the use and deployment of wireless broadband technology currently has, and is projected to have on the U.S. economy. The 2008 study was a follow-up to the 2005 Ovum Report, which studied the macroeconomic impact of the U.S. industry.
These findings affirm that while wireless technology is important to most Americans, its continued growth is also vital to the U.S. economy. Economic gains were most evident in the healthcare and small business sectors. According to the report, "in 2005, productivity improvements due to use of mobile broadband solutions across the U.S. health care industry were valued at $6.9 billion." That number is expected to triple by 2016. While healthcare has witnessed big gains, the increase in productivity due to mobile wireless services carries across the board and was valued at $185 billion in 2005. And despite current economic difficulties, wireless technology has enabled businesses to increase efficiency and productivity benefitting the economy.
With figures quoted in the billions, I sometimes find it hard to wrap my head around the reality of the situation. However, when I look at my cell phone, I realize how far the industry has come. What was once a brick-sized calling device is now a computer weighing only ounces. Yet, this realization is dwarfed by the enormous potential that the wireless industry has in store for the future. What is technologically inconceivable today may be the reality of tomorrow.