"None of the carriers have talked about their pricing plans, and without pricing, how real is 3G?" said Craig Mathias, an analyst at Farpoint Group in Ashland, Mass. "Right now, all we have are statements of intent. It is going to happen, but it will probably take longer than anyone thinks."
Jerry Yang, co-founder of Santa Clara, Calif.-based Internet portal Yahoo Inc., said that average wireless connection speeds of 9.6K bit/sec. suffer "in a world where competitiveness is based on how fast you can deliver bits." For wireless carriers to compete with fixed-line connections, they need to figure out "how to shove more data down their pipes," said Yang. "Until that happens, there will be less emphasis on data than in fixed line."
Users welcomed the 3G network rollout plans, saying that without higher speeds, the wireless Internet can't keep up with the wired Internet.
FedEx Corp., which operates a nationwide private wireless network capable of speeds of 19.2K bit/sec., has already started talking to carriers about their ability to provide higher-speed service, said Randy Ford, the Memphis-based company's manager of wireless system design. "We are looking at new technologies to augment our private network to provide us with even more information faster," he said.