I was reading my recent copy of Conferenza Premium Reports, an E-mail newsletter put out by Shel Israel (and his partner) that covers the major tech conferences. This week he covered the Dow Jones Wireless Ventures conference and opened with this headline: “Wi-Fi v. Cellular: Whom Will Eat Whom?”
Apparently, one of the conference participants, in suggesting that cellular providers have the upper-hand, pointed out that last year there were 500 million cellphones sold as compared to 40 million PCs. Having recently spent time in the local office of Sprint, my cellphone provider, I am struck by how profitable the cellphone business is. At any of the local Sprint stores you stand in long lines, and haggle like third-world street merchant. But there isn’t much room to haggle, because you are really asking them for the bestow upon you the privilege of something that you can not live without: an instant communication device and access to the wireless network that it works on. I’m sure that Wi-Fi will make money one day too, but something tells me that as that day approaches it’s the cellphone guys that will be carrying the most money to the bank.
Anyway, what do I know? Answer: not as much as the guys who spoke at the Dow Jones Wireless Ventures conference. So if you are interested in the latest technology trends consider subscribing to Shel’s newsletter; Send him an E-mail and ask him for a free copy of one of his newsletters and you’ll see how valuable a resource it is.
Incidentally, a recent BusinessWeek article suggests that “in a few years, [the telecom world] will be a sectorless industry, with phone, cable, and even power companies all selling the same communications services.” If you are willing to pay the subscription fee, you can access the article here.