14:332:301 Forces and Strategies that shaped the Wireless Revolution

Course catalog description: A broad view of how business strategies are created based on examples from cellular and other wireless systems. Historical overview of communications and communication systems, basics of wireless technology, technology and politics of cellular, basics of corporate finance, economics of cellular systems and spectrum auctions, case studies in wireless business strategy, the strategic implications of unregulated spectrum, a comparison of 3G and WiFi, sensor networks and the wireless future

Credits and contact hours: 3 credits; 1 hour and 20-minute session twice a week, every week

Prerequisite Courses: None. Junior standing

Corequisite Courses: None

Topics to be covered:

  • “Orientation”- The nature of “systems thinking;” communications systems- a historical perspective; the pros and cons of monopoly
  • Wires and waves—the coming of instant communications; mobile telephony on the eve of cellular.  
  • The long road to cellular; cellular economics and the million-dollar cell; technology challenges; the politics of monopoly and competition.  
  • Cellular technology, economics and politics after 1984; pocket phones and digital phones; nationwide roaming; regulatory strategies in the US and Europe; standards wars; recap of cellular
  • Communications technology made simple; traffic and the benefits of size; frequency and the cost of coverage; channels and the cost of spectrum; digital communications and the cost of bits
  • The FCC’s other strategy: unlicensed spectrum; cordless telephones and WiFi; the wireless Internet
  • 3G and the cost of bits; Info stations; introduction of the class project
  • “Keeping Score”: A primer in corporate finance- assets and profits; cash flow; leveraging; stock price
  • Some case studies in strategic thinking- One-2-One, Nextel, AT&T; Iridium; 3G; AT&T Cordless