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3G faces threat from ultra-cheap technology
Posted: 11-Mar-2001 [Source: Sunday Times]

[Faster than speeds promised by 3G, 802.11 offers data speeds of up to 11 megabits per second without building expensive infrastructure. ]

by Paul Durman -- "Third-generation mobile phones have had a troubled birth. The licence costs have left many telecommunications companies heavily indebted, struggling to afford the cost of building new networks and facing delays in the roll-out of their high-speed data services.

"Now a new threat has appeared - a wireless technology that is much faster than 3G and can handle many of the same applications, but which appears to be considerably cheaper. Instead of requiring new mobile networks costing billions of pounds, the technology can work from base-station transmitters for the home that cost just $250 (GBP170).

"The wireless technology, clumsily christened "802.11", is rapidly being adopted in America, particularly in "tech towns" such as Boston, San Francisco and Seattle. Base stations are being installed in cafes, hotels and airports, allowing anyone within about 100 yards to connect a laptop or digital organiser to the internet via a high-speed connection.

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