Race is on for 3G wireless

By Ephraim Schwartz, InfoWorld |  Networking

COMMITTED TO riding the wave of next-generation wireless services, telecom titans AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint have set off on a 3G pilgrimage, outlining road maps to arrive at ballyhooed 3G (third-generation) wireless networks.

By most accounts, it's likely to be a rocky journey.

Despite a wealth of ambition by wireless providers, the road to 3G deployment is littered with potential stumbling blocks, including tenuous financing schemes, immature handset technology, and a general lack of planned services.

Perhaps the biggest hurdle is a lack of demand. Corporate America has not sent a clear signal that it is ready for 3G; many business users are questioning whether high-speed wireless access is worth the wait and the anticipated higher costs.

"By being focused and attentive to what is really needed to deliver business value, we can do useful things right now," said Don Benage, CTO of G.A. Sullivan, a software development company in St. Louis.

In fact, "3G services," a term that refers to high-speed wireless data for multimedia and robust applications, appears to be becoming a marketing term rather than a technical description.

Divergent paths to 3G

U.S.-based telcos are investing in 3G infrastructure but betting on different technologies to get there.

Sprint: The telco is migrating to a CDMA2000 network,which will soon hit speeds of 144Kbps. In 2003, Sprint plans to offer data rates as fast as 307Kbps, with later speeds set to reach 2.4Mbps.


Verizon: In a $5 billion contract with Lucent, Verizon will upgrade to CDMA2000 using new and existing base stations.


Cingular: The company is enhancing GSM network and claims GPRS (Global Packet Radio Service) capability in some markets.


AT&T: After a $6.2 billion alliance with NTT DoCoMo, the telco is in quiet mode, using standards UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) and WCDMA (wideband code division multiple access) for 3G.

"From a consumer's perspective, they don't care if it is a 2.5G deployment or 3G. They want to know how it will make a practical difference in their lives," echoed Tom Trinneer, vice president of the portal group at AT&T Wireless.

Two wireless giants,Verizon and Sprint, used the CTIA Wireless 2001 conference, hosted by the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association in Las Vegas this week, as a launchpad. Both promised to roll out 3G high-speed wireless access to data by the end of this year. Carriers such as AT&T Wireless and Cingular also have unveiled elaborate 3G road maps.

Join us:
Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Tumblr

LinkedIn

Google+

NetworkingWhite Papers & Webcasts

See more White Papers | Webcasts

Answers - Powered by ITworld

ITworld Answers helps you solve problems and share expertise. Ask a question or take a crack at answering the new questions below.

Join us:
Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Tumblr

LinkedIn

Google+

Ask a Question