#TBT: We don’t need no stinkin’ 3G … Or do we?; CDMA2000 comes to China … this week in 2001

5G Top Stories

Editor’s Note: RCR Wireless News goes all in for “Throwback Thursdays,” tapping into our archives to resuscitate the top headlines from the past. Fire up the time machine, put on the sepia-tinted shades, set the date for #TBT and enjoy the memories!

We don’t need no stinkin’ 3G
NEW YORK-Third-generation technology is completely unnecessary for taking advantage of data opportunities, which are growing even though widespread consumer adoption may be years away, according to speakers at the recent WirelessWednesdays “Killer Mobile Applications and Opportunities” seminar. “The widespread belief that you need 3G to do meaningful things is untrue because you can do a tremendous amount with existing networks. BlackBerry runs on a paging network. I-mode, which runs at 96 kilobits per second, is hugely popular despite competitors that are orders of magnitude faster,” said Omar Javaid, chairman and co-founder of Mobilocity. Particularly given the state of wireless networks in the United States today, the most successful wireless solutions will be those that use capacity least by taking advantage of synchronization, store-and-forward and bursts of information, he said. “We are looking at newer entrants like Stick Net, a Dallas company that uses a vector-based format on the mobile side. There will be better phones in the United States as Japanese phone makers make a push here,” Javaid said.“On the applications side, the notion of whether or not 3G is implemented doesn’t matter because the 802.11b wireless LAN offers much higher bandwidth than 3G and has the potential to be disruptive to 3G.” … Read more

Waiting for wireless internet
The wireless industry has already admitted–repeatedly–that it jumped the gun a bit on the whole wireless Internet thing, acknowledged that its fruition still is more than a bit in the future and comes with a significant price tag attached. Still, many are slow to forgive and forget. The story is the same no matter how you look at it, but depending on who is spinning, it may appear very different. Here is a sampling of related headlines I collected during the past week: “Amazon’s m-commerce effort fizzles along with the wireless Web” “Amazon axes Sprint PCS-will wireless distribution deals thrive?” “Wireless net: deflated expectations” “U.S. subscriber saturation in 2004 will push wireless carriers to 3G” “Wireless Internet ready to take off in U.S.” Translation: The wireless Internet was not ready yesterday and is not here today, but it is coming and will be crucial to the future success of the wireless industry. … Read more

Data is a ‘diamond in the rough’
NEW YORK-Wireless data is like a diamond in the rough, waiting for ways to smooth out its rough edges into sparkling facets that will attract growing numbers of consumers into increasing amounts of usage. Where there is a business problem, so too exists a business opportunity. That is the case with wireless data delivery, a space into which a host of players has entered to tackle different parts of the dilemma. In a sampling that is by no means all inclusive, RCR Wireless News examined the offerings of six companies in this niche in order to provide a flavor of what is and will be available to refine and tame wireless data. Sometime in May, Mspect Inc., Sunnyvale, Calif., plans a “beta test focused on a core set of customers” to monitor in real time the quality of service of short message service, Wireless Application Protocol, CDPD and Mobitex on mobile phones and handheld computers. The service will provide alerts about applications availability and quality, network performance and comparisons of service levels in different metropolitan areas. … Read more

FCC looks at USF reform
WASHINGTON-The Federal Communications Commission last week said it was overhauling its universal-service program by proposing new rules to determine how much telecommunications carriers pay into the universal-service fund and largely adopting a proposal from the Rural Task Force to subsidize rural wireline carriers. In the first action, the FCC proposed changing the way telecommunications carriers pay into the universal-service fund to make it more equitable for all carriers. The FCC is seeking comment on the way carriers are assessed the amount they pay into the universal-service fund. Some of these changes could include changing the assessments carriers pay to one based on units or lines, changing the basis used to determine how much carriers pay from billed revenues to collected revenues and whether to assess universal-service contributions based on current or projected revenues. The changes are necessary, the FCC said, due to changes in the marketplace, including the growth of wireless services. … Read more

Nokia hearts Symbian
Symbian received an important lift after Nokia Corp. said that half its third-generation mobile phones will use the company’s platform by 2004. The move ends speculation on whether Symbian’s stakeholders, including Nokia, L.M. Ericsson and Motorola Inc., will actually use the company’s operating platform. A variety of companies, including several Symbian licensees, recently released their 2.5-generation mobile phones and none included a Symbian platform. Many companies have said it’s cheaper to use a proprietary platform than purchase one. In addition, there are only a few devices on the shelves that use a Symbian operating system, and most are Psion plc’s personal digital assistants. Psion, a major Symbian stakeholder, recently bowed out of a smart-phone deal with Motorola that would have used Symbian’s platform. Ericsson’s R380s smart phone and Nokia’s 9210 Communicator are the only phones out today using the platform. Nokia’s announcement is especially important for Symbian as Nokia currently controls the lion’s share of the mobile-phone market. According to media reports, Nokia’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jorma Ollila made the pledge during a company road show in Germany. … Read more

CDMA2000 comes to China
With four big CDMA infrastructure contracts ramped up last week by China Unicom, the country’s second-largest operator, the Asian nation is on pace to race past the United States as the biggest wireless market in the world. The contracts, penned with Lucent Technologies Inc., L.M. Ericsson of Sweden, Motorola Inc. and Nortel Networks Corp., are to supply CDMA equipment in 11 provinces, including Beijing, the nation’s capital. The services are scheduled to take off in October. At the current rate, The Gartner Group expects the total number of mobile users in China to rise to 130 million at the end of this year, ahead of the United States. Merrill Lynch expects CDMA users to leap to 230 million by 2005. GSM remains the dominant technology, although CDMA, GSM and TD-CDMA protocols are expected to be complementary. “The characterization as to which of the technologies is going to be the winner is a matter of debate,” remarked David Murashige, vice president of strategic marketing for Nortel Networks. “The technologies are always undergoing the process of one-upmanship.” China had decided to adopt CDMA technology last October after backing away from it earlier in 2000. … Read more

Paging tries to reinvent itself
“Advanced messaging services.” It’s the catch phrase for the wireless messaging industry today, with most major companies betting everything that services like wireless e-mail access, Internet information and two-way paging will catch on with both consumers and businesses-and will compensate for the radical decrease in the number of one-way paging subscribers. Some companies are relatively new to the messaging game, such as Motient Corp. and Research In Motion Ltd., and are working to sell fresh services to new customers in an effort to become better known. Others-like Arch Wireless Inc., WebLink Wireless Inc. and Metrocall Inc.-are veteran paging companies that are now struggling to trade in their stodgy paging carrier image in favor of the more fashionable and more profitable advanced messaging carrier label. And, more importantly, these old paging carriers are trying to entice enough new and existing subscribers to their advanced messaging services in order to offset their rapidly declining one-way subscriber base. “One-way paging is going to be a dying industry, just as the telex was taken out by the fax machine and the fax machine is in the midst of being taken out by e-mail,” said Michael Gill, executive vice president and director of research with Tejas Securities Group Inc. … Read more

Check out the RCR Wireless News Archives for more stories from the past.

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