Chetan Sharma has been discoursing on what he calls the “4th wave of mobile communications” for some time. And I’ve commented on some of this from time to time. He recently put out an update of the 4th wave paper called the “4th Wave Index: Benchmarking the Growth and Evolution of the Mobile Ecosystem.” It’s an excellent paper. On the last page, there is a bold subhead that totally caught my eye. It said “Voice and Messaging Revenue line items will disappear from operating financials in the next 5-10 years.”
First of all, it does not mean that there won’t be any voice or any messaging. Obviously, there will be voice minutes, and there will be messaging such as text messages, and there will be integrated social media type of communications, etc. But it does mean a few things:
1. Voice and Messaging erosion from the apps that run on the data networks obviate any need to continually point out this negative trend. When it gets small enough, there is no need to point it out anymore.
2. Social networking provides different kinds of communications. It could incorporate voice, it could incorporate text. It’s intertwined more now and not so disparate.
3. The mobile service providers will be moving to what Chetan calls the “4th wave of mobile revenues” and will report on that.
4. The move to IP means that everything is data. Voice is a type of data. Text is a type of data. Video streaming is a type of data. Different metrics will be used to measure success.
The 4th wave is extremely exciting not only for mobile service providers, but also for application developers such as Dialogic. There are opportunities to add value in very many different ways. One such way I have written about recently is real-time communications and value-added services that go with them.