With the Mobile World Congress wrapped up, now's as good time as any to recap what's happening in the mobile infrastructure business, and what to look forward to in the next few years.
The most important development, technologically speaking, is likely the rise of small-cell companies, providing similar services to carrier-operated LTE stations, but at far less cost than building full stations, and which are independently owned (for now, anyway).
But, it's not just the physical technology or the development of software that's going to be important in the years to come. What really matters is the slow, but steady definition of roles in the mobile infrastructure market. The development of cloud computing and the rise of the so-called, "over-the-top," apps are sucking up more data than can be comfortably supplied by carriers.
Now, the problem lies in who is going to build the infrastructure to provide the growing demand for data? That hasn't been decided, and the funding and building likely won't come from one source. To resolve these issues, the industry needs to work together. Right now, that's not quite happening, but app developers, mobile carriers and small-cell companies are starting to work together. And most importantly, they're starting to cater to the consumers that fuel their businesses.
Because that's what's most important: making sure that the consumer is able to access, at an affordable price, the new technologies that are becoming available. Sure, it's exciting to see greater speeds or more coverage areas. But, if the people who this infrastructure is built for aren't able to use it, then what use was its construction? Ultimately, it would be useless. So, in order for any of this to matter, these improvements need to be felt as far away as mid-Missouri.
And that's mobile infrastructure in a nutshell. Looking forward, there's a lot to be excited about. Thanks for sticking with us for the coverage!