The U.S. Supreme Court just handed down a victory for privacy advocates: police can no longer access mobile phone tracking data without a warrant.
Wireless providers know which of its cell towers each of their customers is connected to, giving it a basic idea of where all of them are. Law enforcement agencies used to be able to obtain this data without permission from a judge.
The Big Four US mobile carriers–AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile–have just sent out a press release committing to push the issue of text to 911 capabilities, hopefully sooner than, but at least by, 2014.
These major players, plus The 911 Association and the Association for Public-Safety Communications Officials International, have decided to work together on standards and procedures to make this happen with a seamless transition to text to 911 services across the US.
The LTE version of the new iPad may cost $130 more than the Wi-Fi version, but the throughput that LTE delivers makes the iPad into a phenomenal mobile solution. The performance easily tops a large segment of home broadband services, which delivers tremendous value. Add the free personal hotspot feature available to Verizon customers and a MacBook Air (or other notebook) and you get a powerful business solution for professionals on the road.
Right now only 13% of iPad/tablet users worldwide have an active mobile broadband subscription, but that will change significantly over the next five years according a new report by research firm Strategy Analytics. The potential that the new iPad with LTE offers both mobile professionals and consumers will be one the key factors contributing to that change.
During our Mobile Management Month series, we noted that a number mobile management vendors have established strategic partnerships with consulting firms, telecom agents, and mobile carriers. According to a study, these kinds or partnerships are paying off for everyone involved – carriers, vendors, and business customers.
Most discussions around BYOD and costs focus on one of two areas. The first is the cost reduction that a company might see if employees provide their own iPhones (or other devices) and pay for their own mobile plans. The second is the cost for mobile management solutions to secure and manage those personally-owned devices along with the apps and data stored on them.
Those are major concerns, but research company ARCchart recently identified a completely different cost of the BYOD trend – the revenues that device manufacturers and carriers are likely to lose as BYOD becomes a standard practice across the business world. According to ARCchart, the worldwide mobile industry could take a hit as big as $40 billion over the next four years as a result of BYOD.
It’s a pretty good bet that iPhones and iPads will be responsible for 3G/4G traffic spikes around the Moscone Center in San Francisco this week as Apple developers lucky enough to score a ticket attend WWDC. Beyond this week, however, it seems that iPhone users have a tendency to gobble up a large amount of data – more so than other platforms including Android.
On average, iPhone owners represent about 20% of smartphone customers for mobile carriers worldwide. You might expect that those customers would amount to around 20% of data usage. That isn’t the case as iPhone users account for an average 45% of carrier data traffic and data use by iPhone users is more consistent than data consumed by Android customers.
AT&T is looking forward to a future when all devices, including iPads are sold with 3G or LTE built-in. That was the message that the carrier’s Glenn Lurie, president of emerging devices, told reporters at this week’s CTIA conference in New Orleans. That approach would be somewhat similar to many smart TV devices that include support for a range of features that users may or may not use – Netflix or Flickr on the Apple TV, for example.
Lurie described the current range of tablet options where devices, including the iPad, come in separate Wi-Fi and 3G/4G models as being “a little out of balance” – a situation he ascribed to the cost difference that 3G and LTE versions of a device compared to its Wi-Fi-only counterparts.
Carriers are constantly talking about the limited spectrum available for mobile devices. That’s the reason that give for instituting data caps and throttling heavy users. It’s reasonable to assume that carriers exaggerate the real issues somewhat when the trot this argument out as a case for data caps and tiered data pricing (they make a lot of money that way), but it is true that radio spectrum is a finite resource. With Cisco predicting an 39-fold increase mobile traffic use will over the next four years, carriers will need to find creative ways to manage the slices of spectrum that they have.
One option is to offload service to Wi-Fi networks. All iPhone (or other smartphone) users do this already to some extent when we connect our iPhones to our home networks. They deliver better performance and let use as much data as we want without having to worry about it impacting our next bill. Two mobile trade groups are looking to turn this same offloading model into a large scale option for carriers to deliver better mobile broadband while taking the load off their 3G or 4G networks.