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Home Page Editorial
(May 9,  2001)

From Publisher and Managing Editor's Desk... 

With ongoing debate on 3G spectrum allocation, lack of predominant network standards and lower subscriber base, will North America lose its technology leadership to Europe and Japan during the next decade? This is an important question facing North American cellular industry? We are sure Mr. Wheeler, CEO of CTIA , Mr. Powell, Chairman of FCC and many other executives of wireless infrastructure vendor community have been asked this question. What is the real prospect? What can FCC and US Congress do? What can industry do? Is it good for International trade?  Does it really threaten American economic efficiency engine?  The smart phone industry is pretty well gone to Europe for design and Asia for manufacturing. Here is MobileInfo.Com's assessment in a point form. 

  1. It is true that balance of technological prowess is changing in wireless and mobile commerce arena. America does not hold the same superiority in 2001 as it did a few years back. Here are some of the facts and reasons:

  • Lack of network standardization in North America - Europe has had single network standard - GSM for some time.  Thanks to competition and lack of regulation in telecommunications cum cellular industry, North America has everything - GSM, CDMA and TDMA. 

  • Europe has higher Internet-enabled subscriber base than Europe. Ratio of cellular subscribers to population is higher in Europe than in USA and Canada.

  • 2.5 G and 3G network plans in Europe and Japan are head of similar plans in North America. There is a gap of, in our opinion, two to three years, if you consider the time for debate, resolution, allocation auctions and then implementation.

  • Two out of three infrastructure giants (Nokia and Ericsson) in mobile infrastructure are based in Europe than in North America. Europe holds an edge in handset area. 

  • European and Japanese network service providers (Deutsche Telecom, Vodaphone and NTT DoCoMo are gradually investing in American service providers.

  • There are many more m-commerce related product developments coming out of Europe now than we saw before. I appears that they are ahead of America in WAP browsers and  WAP servers.This is based on an unscientific analysis based on the number of press-releases we get here, even though we are based in North America.

  • Europeans' use of SMS is higher than in north America. 

  1. The above advantages in favor of Europe tell only a partial story. On the whole, North Americans use web more than Europeans. Factors where North America still maintain an advantage are as follows:

  • Fundamental research and technology that feeds commercial exploitation in wireless continues to come out of US defense establishment. Many of the 4-G wireless networks will probably emerge out out of US companies.

  • The building blocks and plumbing required for m-commerce are predominantly coming from North American vendors. Qualcomm's CDMA technology, wireless chip technology from TI, Intel and Broadcomm and mobile application server software continue to give North Americans an advantage. Most of the security software is from Canada and USA. 2G to 3G modems are coming from Canadian companies. 

  • If you combine wireline and wireless consumption, Americans still utilize a highly-reliable and higher-capacity telecommunications networks for personal and business communication as compared to Europeans.

  • North America maintains a lead in PDA and handheld hardware arena.

  • There are more options for consumers and businesses network service providers than relatively monolithic state-controlled telecommunications industry.

  • American businesses are still more efficient and retain a competitive advantage to this day.

  • While B2C mobile commerce in Europe may move ahead of North America, Americans have implemented B2B mobile applications ahead of Europeans, based on our unscientific analysis.

  • The number of mobile computing and wireless software product vendors continue to be in America's favor. On the positive side, these companies will find Europe a fertile ground for their wares. 

  1. The above competition between the three continents is good for the industry. Let the best from Europe, 

  2. USA and Canada must move forward by adopting wireless network infrastructure and m-commerce initiatives in the following ways:

  • Resolve quickly the spectrum allocation issue. Let TV industry vacate the spectrum for wireless data. Let Mr. Powell use his persuasive power with entertainment industry to achieve a compromise, if required.

  • Let FCC learn from Microsoft and adopt a spectrum licensing pricing model based on usage.

  • Let us invest in software that can give us bandwidth efficiency. Encourage vendors like BlueKite, Fourelle, Net2Wireless and Flash Networks.

  • Let us encourage technologies from vendors like ArrayCom. Let us build a hybrid network architecture utilizing Internet for long-distance and a combination of IEEE 802.11 LANs,  wireless broadband to solve the last mile problem and 3G UMTS. Each of these technologies has a place.

  • Develop standards in all areas of m-commerce. This includes network infrastructure, handset form factor, device (handset and PDA) accessory standards (for add-on cards) user interface, location-based application standards.

  • Let us work on next generation unified protocol - that will replace and enhance WAP, adopt the best features of I-mode and allow easy migration from these disparate standards of today. 

  • Let us bring the best minds of the Internet, wireless networking and IT together to take a holistic viewpoint. Only then can we build unified applications for the wireless Internet.

Chander Dhawan - Your Site's Principal Consultant and Publisher

Do you want to make any comments on this editorial? Send us an e-mail.


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