3G to rise from ashes next year

Analysts predict a large number of commercial launches for the next-generation wireless technology in 2003, despite pessimism

The last quarter of 2003 will be the busiest in Europe for launches of 3G networks.

That's the prediction of cellular industry analysts EMC, who predicts "with confidence... in the region of 40 commercial launches next year", according to a statement.

EMC points out O2's Isle of Man and Monaco Telecom's networks remain the continent's only live 3G rollouts, but even these operate with limits.

GSM-centric vendors Nokia, Ericsson and Siemens/NEC account for around 80 percent of European 3G equipment contracts, according to the company.

Many network operators have become pessimistic about 3G's prospects, after paying 1bn euros (about £640m) for licences. Since then, the industry has showed signs of maturity, with handset sales levelling off and uninspiring demand for data-centric technologies such as GPRS.

To see the latest news on the next generation of mobile communications, see the GPRS/3G News Section.

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