One factor that can be expected to continue driving borderless networking to new levels is the continuous decline in the price of wireless services. Despite consolidation in the wireless sector, prices have steadily fallen over the last decade, according to a study from the General Accountability Office (GAO).
While AT&T and Verizon now account for 61.7% of all wireless subscribers (up from 51.5% in 2006), the average price for wireless services was “approximately 50% of the price in 1999,” the GAO finds.
Moreover, the agency points out that buyers are generally receiving more services for their money, such as more voice minutes to use for lower costs.
What explains the drop in prices in a post-consolidation environment?
Speculation from the GAO indicates that economies of scale resulting from increased wireless penetration and the development of truly nationwide networks might be the reason. Wireless penetration has increased significantly over the past decade, rising from 38% in 2000 to 91% in 2009.
Now able to reach many more people, the total cost of providing service per user has steadily dropped. What’s more, nationwide networks have helped to reduce the roaming fees of the past, making mobility more affordable and efficient for the right-now, real-time demands on workers—regardless of where they may be.
The GAO’s research also points to a steady expansion of wireless handsets and devices in the market. “Wireless handsets have evolved from the more traditional handsets that offer basic features such as voice and text messaging, to smartphones that offer Internet connectivity. Over the past two years, the industry has experienced an increase in smartphone adoption, led by the Apple iPhone.” It’s no longer unheard of for participants on a video conference to be connected from their smartphones.
So what does all this mean for enterprises intent on reaching new levels of performance and growth?
It means that that the border associated with wireless access is steadily being spanned. While concerns remain about the availability of bandwidth to address the multimedia-rich demands of today’s workers, there is now an opportunity to cost-effectively expand the application of wireless services to create a more mobile and agile enterprise when supported by a borderless network.