hockey stick of mobile data versus flatline of mobile voiceI read this article and chuckled to myself as I saw the data versus voice curve in this graphic. No doubt there is a great deal of truth to this statement that data applications traffic (web, movies, email, widgets) are greatly exceeding the voice application traffic in terms of Terabytes/year. This is not that funny.

What’s funny is that myself and other executives in Nortel used exactly the same graphic in 1997-2001 to predict and explain why there was such a great need for more optical network capacity and routers and switches and all manner of computing devices to meet consumers expectations for Internet service.

Of course, the more analytical executives asked about the pink elephant in the room: How do carriers make money when there is so much more data than voice? And then I would ask the question, why is there any voice? Shouldn’t every communications service be data?

Of course this was the challenge to the world’s regulatory regime which gave us the mechanism to invest billions in a voice-only network of high availability and high reliability, at a relatively low (not at the time though) price. The network providers had to wait for the endpoint, computer, software and users to catch up.

The same curve should bring up the same questions, arguments and concerns. If mobile data will consume 90% of the available spectrum (there is only so much electromagnetic spectrum) later this year, why is it only attracting 10% of the price consumers pay for service?

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