Critical Challenges for Wireless Telcos to be Explored at Sept 22 IEEE ComSoc/ SIPA Panel Session

Thurs Sept 22 IEEE/SIP event at HP Cupertino (see description below) will hit AT&T and Sprint with request for comments on the greatest challenges they face as wireless telcos.  Here’s the short list I’ve prepared:
  1. Preventing network saturation from the explosive growth in mobile data traffic.  Potential solutions include data offload to WiFi hot zones/ Femtocells, smaller cells/ sectors using “nano Base Stations, ” Self Organizing Networks (see 4. below), Traffic Shapping/throttling,  tiered data plans to discourage heavy data use, etc.
  2. Making money off the boom in mobile data usage.  Examples include capitalizing on LBSs, new pricing models for network access (e.g. Amazon eReader 3G), M2M, IoT, eCommerce, eHealth, Smart Grid, eBanking, smart phone wallet, etc.
  3. Having to support multiple device types and multi-mode Base Stations that can handle 2G, 3G, and different versions of “4G’ – mobile WiMAX and LTE (neither of which is ITU-R Complaint true 4G.  Roaming and hand-off will be challenging problems to solve.
  4. Deploying new technologies that have been researched for years but don’t ever seem to be ready for prime time,  Examples include cognitive radio, software defined radio and self organizing networks.
  5. Bigger pipes (either fiber or microwave based) for backhauling more 3G/4G traffic.  With more subscribers buying 4G smart phones & tablets, the backhaul could be the bottleneck (more so than the mobile access network).
  6. Including QoS, local caching of videos, RF awareness in wireless netweork architectures, especially “4G.”  These will be very important for good quality streaming (mobile) video, video conferencing/ video chat, medical imaging, and other real time, low latency applications.
Note that all of these challenges can be opportunities for wireless telcos, especially #2, above.

Joint ComSoc/SIPA meeting: 6pm-8:30pm on Sept 22 @ HP Cupertino Campus: 

Trends, New Markets and Opportunities for Wireless Telecom Providers


  • Michael Finegan from Sprint M2M Solutions Group
  • Sumeet Ahuja from AT&T Mobility Group


  • Alan J Weissberger, IEEE ComsocSCV Chair and Manager of global ComSoc Community web site


As more and more devices get connected to telco networks (estimates are around 850 million by 2016), there will be an increased demand for complete IT solutions that can automatically provision services, monitor, analyze and control the connected devices. There will also be a pressing need to collect and act on real time data.

On the consumer side of the telecom industry, there are huge challenges confronting wireless telcos. Will they be able to capitalize on new value added services or just be purveyors of dumb pipes that are used by others to make money?

What types of new services or markets might telcos enter and will they be able to monetize and gain from emerging technologies that others are deploying? For example, can telcos make money from home security monitoring, telemedicine/e-health, life style automation or other “connected home” types of services?

To ensure future growth and stability for M2M (Machine to Machine) communications and mobile broadband (3G/4G), telcos need to think ahead to anticipate and cope with the expected of mobile data traffic as well as the management of millions more end points. Mike Finegan will reveal how Sprint will enable M2M communications with its network resident, “purpose built” platform. He’ll also identify some very interesting M2M applications.

[Note: IEEE ComSocSCV members had a wonderful tour of Sprint’s M2M Innovation Center in Burlingame, CA this past March.  Presentations are available for download from our web site:]

AT&Ts Sumeet Ahuja will discuss optimizing bandwidth consumption through metered plans, better technical management of the network and bandwidth on the back-end, and other related topics. He will also share AT&Ts observations of user behaviors, patterns and trends and rise of non-traditional players who are seriously challenging telco revenues.

More info + Registration link at:


For more information on IEEE ComSocSCV upcoming & past events, please visit:

0 thoughts on “Critical Challenges for Wireless Telcos to be Explored at Sept 22 IEEE ComSoc/ SIPA Panel Session

  1. The wireless telcos have missed some huge opportunities to monetize apps/ services using the “dumb pipes” they provide. These include:

    -mobile app stores
    -social networking
    -on line gaming
    -mobile eCommerce
    -Location Based Services (LBS)

    How can they make up for lost ground and participate (=make money) in the mobile value ecosystem?

    1. Thanks for your comment & I’ll ask the panelists that question.

      A new hot button I’ve been reading about is mobile wallet/ virtual wallet from Google, MSFT and PNC Bank. Will use Near Field Communications (NFC) to make a cell phone function like a credit card.

      It seems the wireless telcos won’t make any money off that new business either. Am I wrong about that?

  2. 9/22 ComSoc Event was a great success!! Sprint and Asentria were Outstanding!

    Spectacular recovery last night! AT&T speaker cancelled with <24 hrs notice and we were in a quandry as to how to proceed. Fortunately, Mike Finegan was able to recruit 2 more Sprint panelists and Viodi's Ken Pyle arranged for Tom Mitchell of Asentria to talk about M2M communications using his company's RTU= Remote Terminal Unit/ Remote Telemetry Unit. Asentria is a Sprint M2M partner and also did a deal with Tata in India.

    Thanks also to your two Senior IEEE ComSoc officers- Affif SIddique (session chair) and MP Divakar (Secretary and maker of the Certificates of Appreciation for the 3 speakers)!
    From Mike Finegan- our go to guy at Sprint:
    Alan and team:

    Thank you for host an excellent event. Alan, both Chris and I were very impressed with your review of Sprint first. We appreciate the opportunity to work with the IEEE organization…. I look forward to the event on Saturday.

    Kind regards,

    Dear Alan, Thank you again for including Sprint in your IEEE ComSoc program tonight. Your energy and passion are a clear force in the Silicon Valley. I look forward to attending future events and will share your comments with my PR team.

    Thank you again and look forward to seeing you at the developers conference.

    Christopher Brydon, Sprint Area Director, Northern California
    From IEEE ComSoc-SCV Secretary & Progam Mgr MP Divakar: I echo Alan's sentiments. Mike, you are a go to guy who is always forthcoming with answers to probing questions, not to mention making yourselves available for events like these. You and… your sprint colleagues made it happen tonight, matched by Tom's welcoming willingness to participate barely 3 weeks into his new position!

    I also would like to thank the SIPA folks, Hema & Vikash, who, inspite of the last minute setbacks, did not flinch and took care of the logistics to make this event happen. I don't have their emails and I remain assured that Affif would do justice by forwarding this to them.

    I am glad to be part of the communications technology scene in the Silicon Valley and I strongly feel that my association with all you professionals is well worth every second of it!

    MP Divakar, PhD

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