San Diego Telecom Industry

Research Project


Project Scope

San Diego is a well-known, yet little researched, occurrence of a high-technology regional economy. From once being a “sleepy Navy town,” in the 1980s and 1990s the local economy diversified with the growth of new firms in both telecommunications and biotechnology.

Our project studies the growth of the San Diego telecommunications cluster, the role of key institutions such as universities, the military and trade associations, as well as key individuals and firms that fueled the growth of local industry. We are combining both quantitative and qualitative data to build upon prior research on technology clusters such as Silicon Valley (e.g. Saxenian 1994; Kenney 2000).

Through the end of 2009, we have completed more than 65 interviews, with company founders, early employees, venture capitalists and others involved in the success of the region. We also have a database of more than 300 telecommunications-related firms with operations in San Diego, based on Dr. Simard’s 2004 Stanford dissertation.

The researchers of the Wireless Valley research project are:

With Dr. Irwin Jacobs prior to
May 2005 speech in Silicon Valley.

Research Program

Planned Book

The major focus of the project is the preparation of an academic book on the topic

Joel West, Digitizing Communications: From MIT to Qualcomm.

Click here for a book prospectus.

Papers in Progress

The researchers have prepared a series of papers that have been presented at academic conferences:

Versions of these papers have also been presented at MIT, ETH Zürich and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.

We are currently working to finalize these for journal publication.

Research Completed

This is research that has been completed and is now available:

Return to Joel’s home page or see his full list of publications on wireless telecommunications

Last Updated March 22, 2010