T-Mobile USA: Does mHealth need 3G?

John Lynn’s review of last weeks Mobile Healthcare Expo in Las Vegas over at the EMR & HIPAA Forum offers an interesting quote from Scott Ellis, Business Development Manager of Telemedicine for T-Mobile:

most mHealth applications work perfectly fine on 2G and don’t actually need the higher 3G and 4G speeds

Whilst I’m going to be the last person to dismiss the opportunity for healthcare providers to realise the potential for SMS, Mobile Calls, Caller ID, etc, I’m very surprised that T-Mobile USA could be missing the mark so widely. Isn’t this statement about as nonsensical as a boss at BMW claiming that there’s no more need for them to build anymore cars because MOST people could actually get around on public transport?

Dear Scott Ellis: The business case for 3G has been proven time and again. Mobile operators the world over have reached the capacity of their 2G networks which were not designed for the amazing plefora of data, video and M2M services that healthcare providers can leverage today. Health IT providers have very stringent requirements for network security to ensure the safeguarding of their data and more advanced networks (like 3G) are required to satisfy these. Please meet me on our exhibition booth at the mHealth Summit in Washington (8-10 November) and I’ll give you completely free of charge a book (written by a Finn in 2002) that will educate you about the opportunity for profitable 3G services and I will show you how the lives of Patients and Doctors are being transformed through the use of 3G.

It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order, this lukewarmness arising partly from fear of their adversaries, who have the laws in their favour; and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything new until they have had the actual experience of it

The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli 1469-1527

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6 Responses to T-Mobile USA: Does mHealth need 3G?

  1. Pingback: ICMCC News Page » T-Mobile USA: Does mHealth need 3G?

  2. John Lynn says:

    Thanks for the link to my post. I was really surprised when he said that too. Sounded like short sighted marketing spin to me. I guess you have to do that when you have the slower network?

    I wish I could be at the mHealth Summit in Washington. Looks to be a great event. Just a little out of my budget this year. Plus, it’s amazing the number of mHealth conferences there are now.

    • No need to thank me for the link to your post, I’m very grateful that you shared your thoughts on the event – I wish more people made the effort.

      Rather than marketing spin he may have been trying to sell the easier propositions (and for that I wouldn’t really blame him as there is a lot of low hanging fruit that is being ignored as providers scrabble to do something with a technological wow factor).

      As for the “slower network” I’m not so sure they do… these 3G WiMax networks (that operators like Sprint are trying to name 4G) might seem quicker in the lab but out there in the real world it’s a different story eg. 99% of mobiles (including all the iPhones) can’t connect to a WiMax network.

      Sorry to hear you won’t be making it to Washington, let’s hope I get some time between the stand duties, meetings and mHealth presentations to write a review.

  3. Scott Ellis says:

    David/John,
    I think my point may have been missed during the panel, I was not trying to say that there is no need for 3G in healthcare applications, I was simply pointing out that with TODAY’s applications 2G is enough. We certainly will be using 3G moving forward and to that point T-Mobile is marketing our “4G speed” network speed. My comments were based on current applications, not those of tomorrow. Perhaps I s

  4. Scott Ellis says:

    Last sentence… Perhaps I should have clarified. Please feel free to contact me.

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