Intel chief slams 3G spending

Craig Barrett also warns that demand for chips in the PC sector is currently very poor

Craig Barrett, chairman of Intel, has predicted significant delays in the rollout of third-generation (3G) services, blaming the large debts run up by telecoms companies.

Barrett told German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung that the large sums of money spent by network operators on 3G licences means they cannot afford other investments -- and means it will take them longer to buy and install the equipment needed to roll out the services across Europe. "All the network operators agree that there will be big delays with 3G," he claimed.

Many analysts agree that the £22.5bn paid by network operators for 3G licences in the UK was too great. However, the government line is that this is good for consumers, as it forces the licence-holders to make 3G a success.

The Intel boss believes that the telecoms sector, which has been hit by losses and job cuts, will continue to struggle. He thought, though, that GPRS could provide a boost. "It's got pretty good bandwidth and, unlike 3G, operators don't need to construct a whole new network," he said.

Barrett also said that it would become clear later this year whether demand for PCs was improving. At the moment, demand for chips has "hit bottom", he said. Intel has previously said that it expects the PC sector to recover in the second half of this year.

Find out more about what's coming up in the wireless world with ZDNet UK's Special Report: The Road to 3G.

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