Dr Mohammad Yaseen is the Chairman of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). Prior to joining the PTA, Dr Yaseen served as Director of Strategy at PTCL Pakistan, as Senior Consultant for Advanced Networks and Systems, Australia, as a System and Project Engineer at Alcatel Submarine Networks Australia, and as a Senior Research Officer at Essex University, England. Dr Yaseen has produced 30 international and national publications on telecom technologies, ICT growth, strategies and design of telecom networks. Dr Yaseen represented the PTA at various international and national forums, including the Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT), where he was appointed Vice Chairman of APT Study Group 2 (Networks).
Muhammad Amir Malik is the Director for ICT at the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. He is responsible for policy and research-based studies of emerging and current ICT’s. Mr Malik provides liaison with the Ministry of IT, Government bodies and ICT operators to foresee issues and latest trends in ICT market by studying the International regulations and practices, implication of future technologies on ICT sector of Pakistan. Mr Malik is responsible for devising and implementing mechanisms and policy recommendations in these areas. He has also served at the Ministry of Information and Technology as Project Director, as a Project Manager with Finlays, at SAP AG as Senior Technical Support Consultant, as a Research Engineer at Air France, as a smartcard programmer at Schlumberger and as a Site Installation Engineer at Alcatel CIT. Mr Malik is an Electrical engineer. He earned an M.S. in CS and Telecommunication Engineering from ENSIMAG, INPG, France
PC and mobile phones are invading each other’s traditional application space, but this competition brings ‘win-win’ results. Mobile Internet growth outpaces growth of internet via PCs, especially in the developing world. In Pakistan, mobile Internet users increased 18 times faster than PC users. The PC still has its place, due to its native advantages, but the combination of mobility and ubiquitous access to the Internet on smartphones is particularly engaging. There is no longer distinction between devices that deliver Voice and those for IT services. Regulators must consider this for issues of privacy, mobile advertisement, intellectual property rights, data protection, security and mobile spam.
The world of digital devices is getting more interesting. A device is introduced with specific facilities, followed by an enhanced version (or otherwise another device) inheriting the basic functionality of the previous device as one of its added property. The latest era of convergence has dramatically changed the landscape of computing and mobile devices, where in the first place both types of devices were introduced with no cohesion at all. Computing devices like personal computers have been known for carrying out general purpose tasks such as word processing, spreadsheets, databases, Internet browsing, e-mail, digital media playback, games, and personal productivity applications. Similarly, mobile handsets have been produced for making mobile telephone calls across a wide geographic area.
However, advancements in mobile phone technology and the smart phone revolution have led to a situation where people are wondering if they even need a personal computer any longer. Today’s mobile phone is operated by specialised operating systems and is fitted with a whole new world of software applications. It offers robust multimedia experience, holds handsome data storage space, provides rich Internet browsing facility and above all, enables mobility of usage - ‘anywhere, anytime’. Moreover, smart devices like the iPhone have introduced screens carrying a four inch of display providing viewing advantage to consumers.
The PC is now in a competition with mobile phones and it appears that this competition has brought a win-win situation. One can play games on a PC, use Internet, access entertainment and exercise it for all sorts of creative things, but primarily, the PC is a personal labour force. Equipped with peripherals to input and output information, a reasonable viewable screen, fast multi-core processors, large memory and a keyboard / mouse to play around, personal computer is still useful with these unique features. However, the primary popularity gained by mobile phones is ‘connectivity with mobility’. If you need to check an important work email while at dinner, it’s just a matter of reaching into your pocket, whereas no one would carry a personal computer to a dining table. The mobile connectivity is getting faster and more reliable while offering access to Internet and online services. Now that 4G wireless is on the market, faster data rates and quicker connectivity is within reach.
Steve Jobs (former CEO of Apple Inc.) has predicted that the ongoing shift in technology away from the PC and toward mobile devices will continue. He compared the role of the PC with that of the truck. “All cars were trucks because that’s what you needed on the farm”, he said. Now trucks are one in 25 to 30 vehicles sold. “PCs are going to be like trucks. They will still be around” He added, “This transformation is going to make some people uneasy”.
One of the most demanding factors of mobile phone comparison with computers is the Internet accessibility. Today, the personal computer remains the dominant platform to access the Internet globally. However, the number of people accessing Mobile Internet is growing fast. It is expected to overtake the PC as the most popular way to get on the Internet within the next couple of years.
Especially in reference to the new generation of Internet users, Internet consumption via mobile devices is becoming a growing habit. As consumer dependence on mobile phones grows, they increasingly engage themselves with new applications. Mobile phones are poised to become a dominant Internet platform outside the home. According to global market research firm Ipsos Insight, Internet access via the mobile phone has actually outpaced wireless access from a notebook PC in many of areas of the world. Furthermore, there is also some proven evidence of successful delivery of several electronic services to rural populations through mobile phones particularly in developing economies.
Internet browsing via a mobile phone is showing rapid growth in global market. Research reveals that France, Japan and UK are exhibiting the leading growth in this regards. Taking the example of Pakistan, the following chart highlights interesting Internet usage trends over one year span (June 2009 – June 2010).
The number of PC Internet users was increased by a small margin of 0.5 million in a year (19.0 million to 19.5 million) whereas the number of mobile Internet users shot up by a margin of 8.9 million during the same period of time. This indeed represents a case of the growing popularity of mobile Internet users in developing economies.
According to a latest research, the PC penetration in the industrialised world households is now 71 per cent, whereas the mobile penetration in these countries is 96 per cent of households. In the emerging world countries PC penetration is 23 per cent of all households, whereas 59 per cent of households in these countries have at least one mobile phone.
According to latest data available with IDC, vendors shipped 100.9 million smart phones during the fourth quarter of 2010, while during the same time period 92.1 million PC shipments were logged by IDC. This is said to be the first time smart phones surpassed PC shipments.
While the mobile phone is rapidly becoming a primary medium for various applications and a platform for delivery of Internet content, regulators are preparing to address issues such as access to services, privacy for the user, mobile advertisement, intellectual property rights, data protection, security and mobile spam. The merger of IT devices with Communication services is ultimately at the core of convergence trends with virtually no distinction between the device-end delivery of voice and data.
While these communication networks, media and devices are converging, regulators can foresee new trends and challenges in a digital future. In a nutshell, the mobile phone is part of the natural progression of the PC, and an extension of it. The mobile phone may grow to be more significant than the PC, while the combined technology brings even more benefits and winning prospects for all!