Wireless: The Favorite Child
Have you noticed that all you hear about anymore is Wireless, Smartphones, and Mobile Broadband? Well, get used to it, because Wireless has become the “favorite child”. If you have ever grown up in a family with a few or more kids, you know that one of those kids is perceived to be the parents’ favorite. The parents deny it of course, as they should, but all indications of their behavior tend to demonstrate otherwise.
Who gets all the praise at the analyst’s conferences? Wireless.
Who gets all the capital for expansion? Wireless.
Who gets all the personnel resource allocation? Wireless.
Who gets all the advertising spots? Wireless.
The favorite child! You bet, and for good reason: Wireless pays the bills. Over the past several years, wireless revenue has continued to grow where it is now 50% of AT&T’s and 63% of Verizon’s total revenue per their 2011 third quarter earnings reports. Wireless, smart devices, and mobile broadband are now the growth engines for these companies. The mobility arms for these companies and other providers are investing a greater and greater percentage of their capital and resources in upgrading and expanding their wireless footprint for their favorite child.
So, how are the other children doing? On the surface, it would appear that they are not getting their fair share of their parents’ capital love. But, let’s take a closer look. With favorite sibling wireless growing like crazy and requiring more food and clothing, the elder wireline children and the younger video children continue to reap the benefits of the parents’ capital spending on the chosen. Wireline is able to put more fiber in the network providing for the wireless growth and, at the same time, expand backbone and distribution fiber to meet the global demand for data bandwidth. The younger video kid gets to have a broader distribution channel being able to play in the sandbox with both wireline and wireless.
Continued wireless expansion has also provided an opportunity for personnel resource reallocation. Several hundred, if not thousands, of jobs have been saved and/or created with the parents’ dedication to making the impetuous child happy. Frontline planning, engineering, construction, and sales positions, which could have been jettisoned like autumn leaves in a gale, now have a firm foothold in a growing industry.
As with any favorite child, wireless was spoiled and allowed to take the parents’ gifts and buy whatever they wanted. The parents, realizing that the precocious adolescent was not in complete control, asked the elder wireline child to step in and provide much needed mentorship and guidance to the younger sibling. Financial discipline with fundamental contract administration and program management was established and allowed the wireless child to grow and mature under the tutelage of wireline, thus allowing the parents’ capital fortunes to be spread across other siblings, and to even adopt another wireless offspring.
So even though all OSP bluebloods continue to drive home the fact that the wireless network exists because of the wireline network, OSP must also admit that the wireless boom has had a tremendous effect on the Frontline wireline business. Hooray for Wireless!
Byron retired as a senior manager of AT&T and now is an Independent Consultant in Telecom Operations. During the last 12 years of his career, he held the position of Vice President - Construction and Engineering for AT&T West. Reach Byron at email@example.com.
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