I saw an article at MarketWatch that talked about 3G and how it has not lived up to expectations. Well, I could have told you that in 2002. I know that I said that in 2002 because in 2002 I gave a presentation at the Ann Arbor Computing Society entitled “The State of Wireless.”   

In my presentation I stated the following conclusions:

  • 3G is dead and we will talk more about 4G before 3G ever gains any traction.
  • Wireless networks will become incompatible with each other.
  • Hot Spot is a cheap single world wide standard

The wireless networks incompatibility did not happen, but oodles of Wireless networks did spring up (eg WiMax, BlueTooth, GPRS, Edge, 802.11 a, b, g, etc). The hardware vendors did their job and ensured most devices could talk multiple wireless network standards. I did not expect the hardware vendors to play ball. At the time I thought Qualcomm would mess things up, but the reality has been that Qualcomm has been turned into a fringe player (which I knew would happen).

Though, I did say 3G is dead before it even started. As my presentation said the problem was that 3G cost too darn much. The consumer would not be willing to support such expensive infrastructure if there are cheaper alternatives.

Hotspot technology I knew would become popular, and knew that in 1999 because of a German university study.

A German study in 1997-1999 found that people do not want information everywhere, but in specific places

–Study involved student information management habits at a University

–Café, Airport, Airplane, Train station, etc

–At other places information is a bonus, but not something that you would pay large amounts of money for

Now hotspot technologies are a given and people expect to find “hotspots.”

Ok enough of the past, what about the future?

The article says that 4G is not an issue because content providers, consumers and network operators don’t want to hear about. Network providers want the 3G infrastructure to pay off.

But here are the facts, 3G is dead, was exploited by the governments to attract huge license fees to fatten their spending tendencies. This in turn means that 3G will be too darn expensive! 3G is a white elephant.

4G technologies like HSPA, Wi-Max or LTE are going to revolutionize the meaning of connection and you can blame it on one device. The iPhone! I am critical of the iPhone, and I still think it is a dud! I still don’t think the economices and market analysis of the iPhone works. But what the iPhone will do is give the phone device makers a kick in the butt to provide content and accessibility better than the iPhone. This is already happening in Europe with many music labels, telcos, and phone makers providing a cross-Europe iTunes competitor.

The iPhone is scaring the pants off the big companies and that is a good thing! To keep Apple and the iPhone at bay the big telcos and telephone makers will adopt 4G because they will preceive that they have no choice. Those telcos that do not adopt 4G will be at a serious disadvantage.

Hmmm, I wonder if this is why the iPhone has no 3G. Maybe they are going to skip 3G and jump directly to 4G. Makes you wonder does it not? 😉