Liz Gannes

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Expensive Mobile Data Plans Will Soon Be a Relic of the Past, Says Cisco CEO (Video)


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As data traffic increases 300 percent over the next five years and non-PC devices become more than 50 percent of usage, what happens to the networks moving that data around?

They can handle it, said Cisco CEO John Chambers in an interview at D11 today.

And meanwhile, mobile plans are going to get cheaper. “Price points are going to come down rapidly,” he’d be willing to bet in conversation with AllThingsD’s Walt Mossberg, who was skeptical of cellular’s capacity and carriers’ inclination to make less money.

“Transport will become free,” Chambers said, forecasting a world where cellular data charges fall just like voice cell service. “Architectures will change. With intelligence throughout the network, the network will become the platform of the future.”

Beyond cellular capacity, Chambers said universal connectivity is coming closer thanks to SP Wi-Fi, or Cisco’s “Service Provider Wi-Fi,” which uses unlicensed spectrum to offload data. Wi-Fi, he said, will account for 80 percent to 90 percent of the growth of cellular networks.

That will enable the enterprise to go to emerging markets, chimed in Box CEO Aaron Levie, who was onstage with Chambers. When more people are online all over the world, that creates “a massive market opportunity by dramatically increasing what you can do.” It could seriously change the scope of the enterprise to have that many more customers.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik