As a growth strategy for the telecom industry, focusing investment on mobility and data services while withdrawing it from wireline voice is doomed to fail. The rise of Twitter, Facebook and texting teens does not change the fact that people still depend on voice for the vast majority of their communication needs. And a single phone model for communication makes as much as sense as a single shoe model for footwear.
The future of the telecom industry lies not in mobility or data services but in leveraging voice as the best means of conveying “social energy.” The notion of social energy — aka human connection — was emphasized inJohn Bowlby’s attachment theory circa 1940 and again inAbraham Maslow’s theory of a hierarchy of needs , from 1943. Bowlby argued that human connection is not optional, while Maslow ranked human connection as No. 3 out of five basic needs motivating human behavior. But while the pursuit of social energy drives the growth of Twitter, Facebook and the as-yet unknown next big thing in communication, it also serves to make even the presently problematic voice industry a multitrillion-dollar global business.