Mobile Future

White House Official: Wireless is ‘A Powerful Tool to Address’ Society’s Challenges

"We’re in the adolescence of the mobile and wireless revolution," said White House policy expert Tom Kalil, as he began his discussion of wireless issues and federal policy at today’s Mobile Future luncheon in Washington.

Kalil, the Deputy Director for Policy in the Office of Science and Technology, said the Obama Administration understood and respected the immense economic and social benefits of a burgeoning wireless industry.  "We want to create the right policy environment for private sector investment," he said, adding that "[Wireless] innovation is a powerful tool to address the broad range of challenges we face."

As an example, he cited mobile healthcare – "a really promising area."  He also cited the power of wireless in connection with other advances such as nanotechnology, which will soon put the entire contents of the Library of Congress on a device the size of a sugar cube.

At a subsequent panel discussion, Debbie Goldman, an economist with the Communications Workers of America, discussed the linkage between wireless investment and union jobs.  "There are 45,000 union workers in the wireless industry," she said. "Telecom networks are good employment opportunities that offer good career jobs for [union workers]."

Also on the panel was Citi Investment Research analyst Michael Rollins, who discussed the relationship between industry investment and government regulation. "In the telecom industry, you deal with long-life assets," he said. That makes changes in regulation a cause for great concern.

Also presenting at the luncheon were economists Robert Hahn and Hal Singer, who discussed the economic implications of exclusive mobile handset contracts between manufacturers and wireless carriers.  To access their paper, please click here: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1477042