Mobile Apps & the Wireless Data Quandry


Earlier this week, I had a chance to attend the Under The Radar event, a fashion show of sorts of new companies currently seeking funding. I would not like to go into the specifics of which companies impressed the most, but instead I would like to focus on an over arching theme of the show. Many if not most of the start-ups I came across, had an idea that they could sell a lot of services over wireless carriers’ networks.

Streaming radio shows, downloading videos, photo and music sharing – if you can do it on the web-top, well there is an unshakeable belief that it will be done on the mobile devices. Their rote response was since data is becoming a large part of the carrier ARPU, they are more than willing to grant audience to any “start-up with a service” that can help them get a few more dollars from consumers, especially if it means signing flat rate data plans that can pad their revenues by $10-to-$20 a month. I don’t blame the carriers, for they in the business of making money.

That maybe so! But is cramming more and more data into the wireless pipes a wise thing to do? It is bound to have a detrimental impact on the quality of the networks, even 3G networks, when and if they roll out. Will there be a “wireless hourglass” that will become signature of an overused infrastructure.

My primary concern is voice calls. I have cut the cord, and only use a wireless phone for all my communication. But now I have started to worry! Today most carriers fail to live up to their primary role as voice service providers. After all and many a times we have thrown the phone in anger and frustration over dropped calls. I just want a phone that works – everywhere.

Also, The Mobile App Bubble


William Luciw

Hi Om,

Thought you might enjoy this post …

Best Wishes!

-+- William

IBDNetwork Presents Under the Radar Consumer Technologies

“… Valerie Cunningham was kind enough to invite me to the IBDNetwork “Under the Radar: Consumer Technologies” event on Tuesday, May 31st 2005. The all day event was held in Building 1 on the Microsoft Campus in Mountain View, California. …”

–> American Idol for Startups
–> Mobile Digital Lifestyle Blah Blah Blah …
–> Carriers, Friend Or Foe?
–> Carriers Or Carrion?
–> Don’t Be A Tool … Be A Service!
–> Patent This!
–> Feed Me, Seymour!
–> Online Advertising Is BACK, BABY!
–> Search The Future …
–> But What About Google And/Or Yahoo! … ?
–> Everybody’s A WINNER!

Thomas Hirsch

There are a couple companies that manufacture highly technical filters that allow much more data to be transported much more accurately over 2.5G and 3G networks. The companies are ISCO International (ISO) and Superconductor Technologies (SCON), the latter manufactures mostly filters that use High Temperature Superconducting (HTS) technology, the former has moved to non-HTS filters that are as good or better than similar HTS filters. Interestingly, ISO is having a record year in 2005 and SCON also is doing quite well. Verizon is a major customer of both. But rather little information is published because the telcos usually require NDAs because they don’t want the world to know that they need to upgrade their networks. Note that HTS is somewhat of a misnomer in that the temperatures remain extremely cold, though warmer than in earlier superconducting technolgies.

chris holland

Frankly I have higher hopes for and am more excited about hybrid phones that’ll support a variant of 802.11 or even WiMax and satellite-based 3G or GSM networks, that’ll make it easier for me to make calls for free and/or dirt-cheap with CD-quality sound unlike the crappy codecs used by all mobile phone carriers today, due to the limited amount of bandwidth they have at their disposition.

THAT is when mobile revolution will truly happen.


Given that even 2.5G data is prohibitively expensive for most people — $80/mo. for a laptop card, $40/mo. for data on a Treo, etc. — I don’t think we have too much to worry about. Granted, if Cingular launches HSDPA in conjunction with a phone that will let you rent movies over your phone and watch them on your TV, that may change things, but I doubt that’s coming any time soon.

Personally, I wouldn’t mind having a podcast aggregator on a phone that plays MP3s, but even that’s probably two years away at the earliest…


Om, the voice quality of 2/2.5G and 3G networks is independent of the data pipe utilization, unless the operators mess with it. The voice traffic is always higher priority, and in-fact uses the data-traffic share of pipe allocation as well when they are free (and if they are not, then well, it can still snatch that allocation away from data traffic).

So, I dont see this issue affecting voice quality unless, as I said, the carriers have really messed up. These are ofcourse of primary concern to the operators as well as the designers when designing these networks. Voice is still bread-and-butter !


As an aspiring webapp builder, where do you find out about such events? We are still on the hunt for seed money for our calendar project and would have loved to attend such an event!

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