3G: The wait is still on

Whilst most people believe that the arrival of third generation (3G) technology would enable broadband access with mobile devices, what most do not realize is that it would be another two to three years before 3G services become fully affordable.

Whilst most people believe that the arrival of third generation (3G) technology would enable broadband access with mobile devices, what most do not realize is that it would be another two to three years before 3-G services become fully affordable.

Speaking at the launch of the Bluetooth accesss strategy by Axis Communications at ITU Telecom Asia 2000 in Hongkong, Jan Sjonell, general manager for Axis Communications, Asia Pacific said that it would be a few years yet before 3G fully takes off.

A recent IDC forecast predicted that more users would access the Internet via wireless devices than wired connections by the end of 2002. Similar growth in wireless connectivity is reshaping corporate network architecture.

"Mobile devices are developing much faster than today's mobile networks," said Sjonell. "Today, people have the power at their fingertips with their mobile devices but they cannot fully utilise this power because today's mobile networks are mainly designed for voice. In the near future, however, nearly every portable computer, mobile phone and handheld device will be equipped with a Bluetooth chip that will enable it to have broadband access to the Internet and multimedia applications.

"Most people believe that 3G will solve this problem. What they do not realise is that we have to wait another two to three years before 3G-services are available to the general public. These services are likely to be expensive because of high infrastructure and licensing costs."

In addition, bandwidth for 3G will be constrained in high traffic areas as many people will have to share the limited frequencies, he said.

According to Sjonell, the proliferation of wireless devices will change not only how people access the Internet, but also where and what they use it for. With Bluetooth technology, the opportunities for consumers as well as operators are limitless.

For instance, phone calls can be routed automatically via telephony services to your mobile phone, wireless faxing and printing, automatic download of electronic mail and VoIP.

"Axis' solutions will recognise these devices automatically and provide new broadband services," said Sjonell, of Axis' Bluetooth Access Point.

According to Axis Communications, it delivers high-speed access to all Bluetooth enabled mobile devices such as cellular phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), portable PCs or other information appliances, in addition to supporting data and voice services for both traditional networked and emerging wireless devices.

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