Changing Market

By Guy Kewney  |  Posted 2004-10-24 Print this article Print

What was interesting about the exhibition, at least at the business level, was the realization that the market is indeed changing. A year ago, wireless was solely an individual effort. The risks were hard to assess. The benefits were not quantifiable by analyzing historical data. And the revenue streams? Heck, most people were sure there wouldnt be any, apart from the money made by electricians climbing ladders to install antennae. SBC plans to offer Cingular-Wi-Fi roaming to businesses. Click here to read more.
This year, all of the big mobile operators are starkly aware that theyre in a race. They cant provide all of the antennae they need to cover the planet on their own, so they have to find a way of signing up the thousands of local and rural wireless networks that are proliferating.
Well, yeah, obviously. So why is [an internationally based network operator] doing so well in the United States with this strategy, yet lagging hopelessly behind in Europe? Surely, commercial wireless is far more advanced in Europe. Again, theres a rational, business-sensible answer: "The revenue streams from mobile data in Europe are far more established, to the point where wireless data capacity is saturated." Logical enough. And then theres the jaundiced view of a consultant who has done a lot of work for this outfit: "Well, theyre fiercely nationalistic and dont like people from other European countries having control over their strategy. And most of the drive to provide alternative wireless has been promoted by the British staff in London, so theyre closing London down. They want to be in charge back in [large, well-known, non-British city in large, well-known, non-British country] ..." You know, if it werent for the fact that Star Trek props are so clearly based on 1970s technology, Id wonder if it wasnt documentary. Enterprise Wireless? Starship Enterprise Wireless, more like ... Check out eWEEK.coms Mobile & Wireless Center at for the latest news, reviews and analysis.

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