Is this innovation in telephony?

What do you mean with innovation? This is the third example is where we look at Telephony and what the consumer want to archive.

I would like to talk to a friend in another place.

For a long time the only available option was to use a landline phone to a house and using state owned operators to handle the phone calls.

You called a phone number that was tied to one subscriber in a household. There was usually not more than one line to the house or apartment, so when calling a number you had to ask the person answering your call to fetch the person you wanted to talk with.

The improvements were going from one central phone, to serval phones in different rooms and to cordless phones in the homes. The benefit for you as a teenager was that you could sit in your room talking to your friends in a more private environment, not overheard from your parents. But for hundres years, it was more or less the same service and business model for most of us.

When GSM & CDMA networks and mobile phones arrived to the mass market it gradually changed the world of telecommunications.

The differences between landline phones for consumers are three. First of all it was your phone, when calling a mobile number you primary reach a person, not a household. The second was mobility, you could be reached away from your home but the third is less obvious. Landlines were mainly a monopoly business owned by the state. With mobile networks, private companies were allowed to enter the market and gave consumers a choice. Outside western world and east-block mobile networks gave the possibility for people to have a phones in the first place. Expensive, yes, so in the beginning the were used more like the old landline phones. 

Today, mobile phones and smartphones are more common than toothbrushes and the devices are more and more used for data communication. What kind of innovation is this? I think this is a more tricky question to answer.

I used internet e-mail via dial-up lines in 1987 and surfed the web on a laptop computer via GSM-network when Windows 95 was released. From 300 bps dial-up connection in 1986 to 100 Mbit/s30 years later is improvements in technology but nothing new. The major difference is from when only geeks used internet to today, when everybody uses internet.

The biggest difference is that the computer I use to surf the web today is that is instant on and with me in my pocket all the time, i.e. a smartphone. Not a computer on every desk that have to be started and connected to the network as before.

The challenge for telcos today are that you can use other services as Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook etc to communicate to friends in other places and that they are loosing their current revenue model. 

  • The transition from landline to GSM/CDMA was a new type of product that changed they way use used phones and gave opportunities for new market players and new business models
  • Faster data communication is more a gradual improvement of speed from year to year at the cost than previous years.
  • Smartphones disrupted the computer industry as they were a new products primarily aimed to individual consumers and sold with yearly contracts
  • Social networks and new communication services are currently disrupting the old telecom operators with new types of services and business models


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