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Waiting for the Wireless Internet
Posted: 09-Jul-2000 [Source: ZDNet News]

[Following on the heels of DoCoMo's success providing wireless cell services in Japan, AT&T is hoping 3G excitement will transfer to the US with 60 million users expected by year's end 2005. ]

by Richard Shim -- "It's hoped 3G networks will create the kind of buzz for a handheld, wireless Internet in the United States that the breakthrough iMode phone has generated in Japan. In just 15 months, DoCoMo has built its iMode service into a wireless powerhouse serving nearly 7 million users -- subscribers who use the iMode phone, which has barely 19.2Kbps access to the Net, for everything from reserving karaoke rooms to downloading music. DoCoMo is expected to introduce 3G service within the next year.

"Stateside 3G phones won't be available until 2002, but analysts are already doing the math. The Yankee Group estimating that there are 1.3 million users of wireless data devices in the United States -- and predicting that number to mushroom to more than 60 million by 2005.

"But at least one analyst, Mike McGuire at Dataquest, feels that 3G has been over-hyped to the point where users are expecting it to do things that it was not designed to do.

"According to McGuire, rich multimedia experiences will not be possible via wireless until fourth generation (4G) networks roll out in the next four or five years, although 3G wireless will be able to handle short, low-quality multimedia clips. Likewise, he said that, although the browsing of Web pages may be possible via 3G, it won't be easy.

"3G is not meant to be a primary synchronization technology, rather query browsing was its focus. 4G with its wider pipes is more likely to be conducive to real browsing," McGuire said.

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