LAS VEGAS – American businessman and entrepreneur Mark Cuban has a prescription for the wireless industry.
No, it’s not more cowbell; Cuban on Thursday said what wireless needs is a mainstream high bit application that will help drive adoption, innovation and the industry’s conversations with federal regulators.
According to Cuban, the industry currently lacks a mainstream app that consumes a large, steady stream of data, an app that would motivate the public to get behind the push for more bandwidth.
“When you look at apps, you know, the most popular ones don’t consumer a lot of bandwidth,” Cuban said. “And maybe autonomous cars will be that, maybe telemedicine will be that, telesurgery, maybe robotics, but there’s no mainstream app that just says 100 mbps sustained, no drop outs. Because of that, that changes the discussion with the FCC, it changes the way people perceive the need for bandwidth.”
Since most consumers mainly interact with low bandwidth apps like Facebook or Snapchat, Cuban said they’re not looped in to the feeling of urgency for more bandwidth that is prevalent in the telecommunications industry.
Cuban said the application that finally catches people’s attention won’t be for streaming “reruns of Gilligan’s Island,” but will be a use case for “something of importance” in people’s lives. Right now, he said, applications aren’t changing people’s lives, they’re just simplifying things.
“That’s the challenge right now, there’s not that application that just drives everything,” he said. “We need that ‘Okay this is a game changer’ and that will drive adoption and speed just like Internet drove adoption of broadband.”
During his keynote appearance, Cuban also raised the question of whether the advent of 5G would lead consumers to cut the Internet cord en masse.
“Just like they cut the TV cord to Internet and just how really we don’t wire our homes anymore, are people already so used to using wireless that when they’re getting 100 mbps of throughout – maybe a little more, maybe a little less depending on circumstances – are they just going to say what do I need this wire for?” Cuban said. “Those are the big questions.”