Smart phone troubles ahead

July 27, 2011
By

Realtors® who have become dependent on smart phones to communicate with their clients are increasingly using mobile web browsers to access property information. The explosion of smart phone usage in the U.S. may hit a major roadblock in the next few years. Simply put, we are quickly running out of bandwidth to support the rapid increase in usage.

By the end of 2011, 85 percent of all cell phones on the market will be capable of browsing the web according to the 2010 Swanepoel Trends Report. The report shows that Realtors® are already ahead of this curve with a 90 percent adoption rate for smart phones.

Cell phone guru Dick Betts shared some startling statistics. According to Betts, the number of mobile Internet users will increase more than 50 percent in the next four years from 100 million to 158 million. In that same time frame, data usage on mobile devices is expected to increase almost 1400 percent.

Betts is even more concerned about the lack of capital dollars that major cell phone companies will have to invest in meeting bandwidth demands. He believes Verizon loses $400 on every sale of an iPhone and with the volume of sales, the company could be too cash strapped to invest in increasing their infrastructure to keep up with demand.

As further proof of the pending bandwidth crunch, watch the actions of the phone companies. Last year, AT&T stopped offering an unlimited data plan and just recently, Verizon did the same thing.

The one positive development with this issue is that most smart phones can now access Wi-Fi in addition to data feeds from cell towers. That may help ease or delay the troubles ahead for smart phone data feeds.

Only time will tell if the dynamic increase in mobile data consumption will outpace the capacity to deliver the data to users. Let’s hope we are not heading back to what it was like to access the Internet on a 1200 baud modem…ZZZzzzzz…

About Dave Phillips, CAE, RCE:
Dave Phillips, CAE, RCE is the Chief Executive Officer at the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors®. Follow Dave on Twitter.
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3 Responses to Smart phone troubles ahead

  1. Peter N. Lamandre on July 27, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Dave,

    Do I feel a source of non-dues revenue beginning to develop?

    Great info ;)

  2. Dave Phillips, PAR CEO on July 27, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Harry,
    Interesting thought. Maybe bandwidth will become a commodity (like electricity) and PAR could find a role to play in protecting members. This gives me a few thoughts…thanks.

  3. Harry McCarty on July 27, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Dave: Thanks for this information. Will PAR be able to make some agreement for REALTORS in PA to at least have a bandwith lock in for the state members? Best regards, Harry

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