Telecommunications/Technology

CTIA: Wireless products, services driving socioeconomic change

On the island, the public and private sectors are overseeing a number of projects to further the use of wireless technology.

Wireless products and services are a powerful agent of social change that give billions of people around the world, including Puerto Rico, with anytime, anywhere access, according to a recent report by BSR and commissioned by CTIA-The Wireless Association.

The “Socioeconomic Impacts of Wireless Technology” report cites a variety of case studies and uses on the adoption of, and trends in, wireless-enabled applications for finance, healthcare, education and community engagement, which could apply to Puerto Rico’s current developments.

  • Mobile Finance – Around the world, there are billions of “underbanked” or “unbanked” people, but through wireless technology, they have access to market information and banking services so they receive a fair price for their goods and services and protect their money.
  • Mobile Health (mHealth) – From remote monitoring to disease management, wireless technology is helping to improve healthcare outcomes and address the healthcare worker shortage. In the U.S., chronic disease treatment costs more than $1.4 trillion each year, but using mHealth could mean a savings of more than $21.1 billion per year.
  • Mobile Education – By using mobile technology, interactive learning may happen at any time and virtually anywhere. Technology-based instruction can reduce the time it takes students to reach learning objectives by 30 percent and 80 percent.
  • Community Empowerment – Wireless technology empowers citizens around the world to create and interact with their communities and the world, hold their political leaders accountable and organize for social, political and economic change.

On the island, the public and private sectors are overseeing a number of projects to further the use of wireless technology.

While the government has vowed to invest $3 million by year’s end to outfit the island’s 78 municipal town squares with Wi-Fi accessibility, private efforts lead by the Puerto Rico Bridge Initiative are deploying broadband infrastructure needed to extend high-speed Internet throughout Puerto Rico.

The “Socioeconomic Impacts of Wireless Technology” report also highlights the role that licensed spectrum availability and the world’s six billion mobile connections have played in encouraging innovators to develop a range of applications.

“The wireless industry has already revolutionized the way we communicate and we’re now seeing how it’s improving almost every other industry by making them more productive and efficient, and its changing peoples’ lives for the better all over the world,” said Steve Largent, president and CEO of CTIA.

“To continue the great innovations that Americans and the rest of the world have come to expect from the U.S. wireless industry, our members must have access to spectrum so they may continue to create new products and services that will benefit individuals in  developing and developed countries,” he said.

“This report highlights just some of the exciting possibilities to meet urgent social needs,” said Marshall Chase, Manager, Advisory Services, BSR. “There are rapidly growing opportunities for people to create vibrant new communities, connect with critical services, and improve their quality of life using wireless technology. To ensure these benefits, the industry will have a critical role to play in providing access at an affordable price.”

Author Details
Business reporter with 25 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other areas of the economy.

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