commentary Australia's mobile carriers are currently trying desperately to
shove their shiny new third-generation (3G) networks down
The claimed benefits to upgrading from the legacy networks
mainly used for voice and SMS are endless. TV direct to your
mobile, video calling, mobile Web browsing, e-mail. The list goes
Yesterday your writer flipped open his handset and discovered
he could even get the latest news of Britney and K-Fed's
impending divorce with just one tap.
Who could want for more?
Of course, none of these extra features are attractive to the
large companies and government agencies who are Australia's
largest bulk users of mobile phone services.
For example, the Australian Federal Police has a fleet of some
2500 handsets, but you can bet the force doesn't want its
officers watching the Ashes via their mobile while on the
Even features such as mobile Web browsing and e-mail don't
really fit into the corporate picture unless they can be
integrated with companies' existing enterprise collaboration and
filtering systems. This is why Research in Motion's BlackBerry
device has been so successful -- it takes advantage of new
technologies but doesn't rock the boat.
Nevertheless, there are some indications that large
organisations are starting to find 3G attractive.
When Telstra launched its nationwide Next G network in
October, the telco's boss of its enterprise and government unit,
David Thodey, said his division had already signed up 23 large
customers for the network, consisting of nearly 10,000 services.
On that list were Mission Australia, Century Drilling and Downer
While the AFP is keeping mum on why 3G is a must, there are
some obvious benefits, including transferring large image and
video files at a crime scene while on the road. I guess on the
job training from CSI re-runs could also be an option.
Now of course, whether they like it or not, every large
organisation will be forced to use 3G sooner or later as the 2G
networks are eventually phased out. But one could surmise that
CIOs at some of these early adopters are looking to gain a
competitive advantage by jumping on board before that time.
The increased bandwidth that 3G offers certainly bring some
interesting applications into play -- for example Telstra is
offering software from Dexterra that allows applications such as
SAP and Siebel to run on mobile phones. Then there's vendors like
Salesforce.com that have long seen the need for solutions that
work outside the office.
It's likely that organisations with such specialised mobile
needs will adopt 3G speedily now that its ubiquitous around
Australia, while others will hold on their legacy devices until
they reach end of life status.
What do you think about 3G mobile services -- a
corporate competitive advantage or a needless luxury? Drop me a
line directly at email@example.com or post your opinion below this article.