Question: How much mobile data is downloaded by U.S. enterprises and consumers every hour of every day? Answer: 1.5 times the information housed in the Library of Congress.

That’s a lot of bits and bytes, and wireless carriers along with application developers and equipment suppliers continue to grapple with how to monitor and monetize this phenomenon that continues to drive the industry and the economy.

Kicking off the opening session of the CTIA Enterprise & Applications 2010 gathering yesterday in San Francisco, Sybase CEO John Chen addressed a crowd of 600+ wireless, mobile and IT professionals (a much smaller group than the annual CTIA Wireless show, but much more targeted), emphasizing the profound impact of mobility without losing sight of industry challenges that may hinder its pervasiveness.

“Mobility is going to be the backbone of the economy,” he said, “and it will have to be global.”

Chen also noted that more people are opting for smartphones than for PCs. Because of this shift from the desk to the streets, he urged the wireless industry to come together to simplify the myriad ways people access business and personal data on the go, creating new specs that would make such operations as mobile banking accessible through fewer clicks. If the industry itself tackles this problem, it would preclude government initiatives to do so, thus making sure such things as cross-border data storage of business information would be assured.

And it appears the long-awaited nationwide rollout of LTE (not ignoring the recent rollout of the technology by Metro PCS) will begin with a vengeance between now and the end of the year.  Speaking on behalf of his company, Verizon Wireless, President/COO Lowell McAdam unveiled the network launch in 38 major metro areas, covering more than 110 million pops. In addition, Verizon Wireless will cover more than 60 U.S. airports with LTE, and it is offering to partner with rural carriers to get the network out even farther. Some 200 rural carriers have petitioned to work with Verizon Wireless, and five have been approved so far.

“We are driven by the vision to provide ubiquitous wireless broadband connectivity and mobility to rural and urban Americans alike,” McAdam said in his keynote segment yesterday. “With our initial 4G LTE launch, we will immediately reach more than one-third of all Americans where they live, right from the start. And, we will quickly introduce 4G LTE throughout the Verizon coverage area.” Here are some of the cities that will be first in line for LTE:

  • Large sections of the Northeast Corridor, including Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. as well as Rochester, N.Y.
  • Throughout Miami and south Florida, Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and New Orleans along with Charlotte, N.C., and Nashville
  • Chicago, St. Louis, the Twin Cities, Pittsburgh and major cities in Ohio
  • Major population centers in California as well as Seattle, Phoenix, Denver and Las Vegas

(Editor’s note: significantly missing from this list is Kansas City, and we’re following up, but we think we know why.)

McAdam noted enterprise users and businesses will benefit from LTE from the start. “It’s not all about speed, although LTE is 10 times faster than 3G,” he said. “Latency is cut by almost 50 percent.” Verizon Wireless expects LTE average data rates to be anywhere between 5 Mbps and 12 Mbps on the downlink and 2 Mbps to 5 Mbps on the uplink in a loaded network environment.

A complete CTIA Enterprise & Applications wrap-up will appear in an upcoming issue of Communications Technology magazine.

-Debra Baker

The Daily

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