As the mobile industry continues to go through its changes, the eyes are increasingly focused on Washington, specifically the Federal Communications Commission.
To kick off the conference, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski stepped on to the stage before the attendees of the CTIA Wireless I.T. and Entertainment conference in San Diego. He started off by applauding the announcements yesterday from AT&T about opening its network to VoIP and Verizon Wireless for its partnership with Google.
Early in the speech, he didn't offer any specifics from Washington but rather spent time reflecting on the way that the people in the audience are changing the world with mobile innovation.
Oh, and he mentioned that he has an iPhone.
Genachowski, who has been on the job for only a few months, took time to note how important the mobile industry is to the enhancement of the American economic competitiveness. And he wants to keep the momentum going.
How does he plan to do that? Today, he unleashed his mobile broadband agenda, a four-part plan:
Unleash the spectrum for 4G mobile broadband and beyond. Calling spectrum the "oxygen of our mobile networks," he noted that the short term outlook is adequate - but for the long term, the biggest problem is a looming spectrum crisis. Mobile data usage is exploding, he said, in a game-changing way that's eventually going to pinch the spectrum.
Reallocate spectrum being used for other purposes. The less spectrum available slows down broadband rollouts to meet the demands. "There are no easy pickings on the spectrum chart" and this will be a long-term process involving all stakeholders.
Develop fair rules of road for an Open Internet. He said it takes an open Internet in both a wired and wireless world to foster growth and he thinks there shouldn't be concerns about a closed Internet.
Empower the consumer so it can feed a vibrant, competitive and transparent marketplace. Through that, people are motivated to be creative, take risks and use resources available to them. But they also need to know what's out there for them - and that's where the transparency comes in.
There shouldn't be confusion, he said. He believes in an open Internet where people accessing information from a mobile phone or desktop computer should have the same accesses. But he also noted that he was aware of too much government and was leaning on the industry for help in every aspect of mobile technology.
"When we say we don't know yet what to do about handset exclusivity, we mean it," he said. "We need your input."
Gallery: Sights from CTIA Wireless I.T. & Entertainment Show