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Data over voice?

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Wednesday, 11 January 2012 00:02

I lost my phone on New Year’s Day and I have not replaced it as yet! Actually life has been good without it. How do people contact me? Those who really wanted to got me on the landline and that was it!

In this day and age when everyone must have a hand held device (no longer can it be called a mobile phone) is this really possible? I think I have proved it, 10 days without a device and I am yet surviving, it has not affected my business.

This is not to say that I am cut off from the highly-connected world that we live in, I do look at my emails and answer them, I take essential calls on my land phone, but I enjoy the quietness of life without being constantly talking and being reachable for conversation.

This situation has given me some food for thought, just to compare and evaluate the telephone against other modes of communication that’s available to us, like – SMS, email, and of course the World Wide Web.

When I was a little boy, it was the age when my grandfather knew better than my father and most things my father knew better than me – a time when knowledge was mostly linked to experience. Today we live in a different age when knowledge is all about how good your search engine is!

I know a little girl who had her world of fantasy shattered this Christmas when she got to Google and typed ‘Is Santa Claus real?’ and up came a long detailed answer, including the fact that parents stuffed stockings with gifts.

In the world we live in today, no lie or truth is precious anymore, knowledge is free and just at our fingertips. There is so much matter being created every second of the day, with social media and blogs, etc., so much so that the generation we live in is probably the most verbose that ever lived in the history of the world.

It was reported in yesterday’s papers (source Reuters) that “IPhone 4S users transfer on average three times more data than users of the older iPhone 3G model which was used as the benchmark in a study by telecom network technology firm Arieso. Data usage of the previous model, the iPhone 4, was only 1.6 times higher than the iPhone 3G, while iPad2 tablets consumed 2.5 times more data than the iPhone 3G, the study showed.  Today’s generation of smartphones is placing increasing demands on available carrier bandwidth as applications become slicker and average personal usage of videos intensifies. That sharp rise in data consumption puts more pressure on wireless operators to speed up capacity investments, as they are struggling already with clogged telecom networks to keep up with growing demand for data services on the go.”

Likewise, I may be able to live without taking a phone call, but certainly not exist without checking my mail and keeping an eye on social media and seeing what’s going on in the net. The information on this is, in fact, a source for survival and will become more and more important for all levels of the social strata to be connected.

Today as the mobile phone can even double up to surf the net and check your emails and 3G becoming more and more popular, it becomes important that the Internet penetration into Sri Lanka’s populace should be more than just 8.3 per cent. And this is the challenge for the telco operators in Sri Lanka today – but the question is, do they see the opportunity?

(The writer, a PR consultant and head of Media360, was previously a mainstream journalist in print and electronic media. He also edits a new media website.)

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