Mobile Insights from CTIA Super Mobility Week

This past week, I attended CTIA’s annual Super Mobility Week in Las Vegas. I’ll be reviewing my notes, pics, and media kits between assignments throughout the month but wanted to share an overview of the keynote presentations each morning to provide an overview of the mobile industry.

Meredith Attwell Baker, CTIA President & CEO

One of the bigger points raised during Baker’s keynote address kicking off Super Mobility Week is in regards to the wireless spectrum. As the demand for HD-quality mobile video continues to skyrocket, carriers are feeling bottlenecking speeds due to limited bandwidth capabilities.

The Internet of Things is quickly becoming a real thing, and more and more households are owning more and more connected devices, all requiring wireless bandwidth to communicate with each other. The FCC, wireless companies, and content creators are all working hand-in-hand to help address these issues moving toward 2020. Check out her full keynote address below.

Marni Walden, Verizon Wireless EVP

As could be expected, Walden focused on mobile video, highlighting Verizon’s 4G/LTE network, Edgecast, Uplink, Intel Media, and recent acquisition of AOL.

She described the tipping point we’re at where 20% of households are cablecutters and OTT penetration is expected to reach 80% in 2018. 40% of millennials have never paid for TV, and nearly half discuss what they’re watching on social media while watching.

More and more Americans in every demographic use mobile video, and 2/3 of millennials consider their smartphone their primary source of video. This is a huge shift from as recently as two years ago, when mobile devices were commonly referred to as second-screens. To help illustrate the point, Walden brought in a few more C-suite execs for a chat.

Jeffrey Katzenberg, Dreamworks CEO

Katzenberg discussed Dreamworks’ recent acquisition of Awesomness TV and described the shift in content creators moving toward mobile video. While Hollywood is still creating hour and a half movies and 21-minute TV shows, they’re also delving into the world of 4-10 minute, bit-sized content that has the same quality as Game of Thrones or House of Cards.

Katzenberg sees YouTube stars adding traditional television to their repertoire, while mainstream Hollywood talent focuses on building Internet followings. He lauded Buzzfeed and Vice for their new media approach where content isn’t simply repurposed, but instead reinvented and revolutionized.

David Penski, Vivaki CCO

Penski focused on how advertisers are reacting to this shift, and how more and more advertising dollars are being focused on mobile (with a 50% gain year-over-year). Instead of diluting and repurposing ads (though that also happens), even advertisers are looking more at integration and results, as opposed to the old way of targeting spots.

Check out their discussion below.

Bob Pittman, iHeartMedia CEO

Bob Pittman started iHeartRadio in order to learn more about listeners. As soon as you use iHeartRadio on a mobile device (a third of listeners), they now know more about you than the radio station ever did. Because of this, they can target ads and demographics to pair advertisers with consumers on a much deeper level than ever before.

In this environment, attribution becomes more important than ratings, and advertisers are able to focus on the outcomes instead of the processes. Learn more about how iHeartMedia is redefining mobile advertising in the discussion below.


Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia Founder

Wales took a different approach to describing the future of our connected world, using his nonprofit Wikipedia and for-profit Wikia brands to illustrate the point. He described the purpose of the Wikipedia project and how a connected world can enable free advertising. Watch the video below for an overview of how Wiki’s are continuing to help change the world.

Tom Wheeler, FCC Chairman

The FCC’s biggest problem right now is figuring out how to supply the demand for wireless spectrum. Even with an offload to localized Wi-Fi won’t meet the estimated demand for mobile bandwidth by 2020. It doesn’t help that companies like Apple are enabling 4K video recording and streaming from a mobile phone.

Learn how the FCC plans to meet the growing demand for wireless consumption over the next five years by watching the video below.

Glenn Lurie, AT&T President & CEO

Just like Verizon, AT&T is focused on mobile video, but Lurie also focused on the company’s commercial, industrial, and city applications. With smart cities, fleet, home, vehicles, fitness, TV, tablets, farms, cargo, and more, AT&T envisions a world where everything is connected, and is leading the charge in the IoT space.

AT&T’s Digital Life is expected to connect 25 billion things by 2020 by offering open API’s, integrating with Nest for connected homes, partnering with Kika M2M for connected bicycles, supporting Permobil’s Connected Wheelchair, partnering with Jaguar and Land Rover for connected cars, exploring Connected Health with Dr. Lynda Chin at the University of Texas, and implementing Digital Life Personal Security, which connects your home’s security system to your mobile devices.

Learn more about AT&T’s vision of a connected future by watching the video below.

Marcelo Claure, Sprint President & CEO

Chuck Robbins, Cisco CEO

Both Cisco and Sprint are underdogs in today’s connected world. The new leaders of these former giants sat down together with Meredith Attwell Baker to discuss how they plan to disrupt the industry and lead their companies back to the forefront.

Claure was brought in by Sprint to shake things up. Within a year, he started a phone leasing program that was copied by Apple just this week. Sprint also has the largest wireless spectrum warehoused and plans to leverage this to increase speed and reliability, using Denver as the model for future markets.

Robbins rose through the ranks of Cisco and was groomed to replace his former boss. He’s now using his in-depth knowledge of Cisco’s business to position them for success moving forward. The restructuring isn’t easy, but he believes Cisco can once again become an industry giant.

Learn more about how the wireless underdogs are planning to disrupt the mobile industry in the video below.

Robin Thurston, Under Armour CDO

Under Armour isn’t just a clothing company – it’s an innovation company focused on connected fitness and building a community to make every athlete better. By acquiring MapMyFitness, MyFitnessPal, Endomondo, and creating UA Record, Under Armour is integrating sensors into all their clothing to collect data that can be analyzed by apps to help break every existing world record in sports.

Thurston showed a picture of a crowd listening to the Pope in 2005 and 2013 to illustrate how ubiquitous mobile devices have become in our lives. He then described Under Armour’s vision of health and fitness in the future.

Learn how Under Armour plans to maximize humans’ physical potential in the video below.

Brian Penny Red HatBrian Penny is a former business analyst and operations manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer. His work has appeared on Huffington Post, The Street, Hardcore Droid, High Times, Fast Company, and BBC.


Dr. Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer. You can find his work in Cracked, High Times, HuffPost, Lifewire, Forbes, Fast Company, and dozens of other places, although much of it is no longer under his name. Dr. Penny loves annoying fake media.

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