TBT Throwback Thursday web new 702x3361 1

#TBT: Mobile commerce needs more speed; WISPs and WASPs; Timing the 3G investment cycle … this week in 2001 – RCR Wireless News

Editor’s Note: RCR Wireless News goes all in for “Throwback Thursdays,” tapping into our archives to resuscitate the top headlines from the past. Fire up the time machine, put on those sepia-tinted shades, set the date for #TBT and enjoy the memories!

‘M-commerce’ experience is slow, frustrating

The idea sounds compelling. With Web-enabled cellular telephones, users can dial up their favorite merchants to make automated purchases. It’s called mobile commerce, but for skeptics like Lawrence Steinert, it’s more a promise than reality. When it comes to new technologies, Steinert is no shrinking violet. He is president and chief executive officer of Chicago’s 4 MFG Inc., an e-commerce marketplace selling everything from pallets to forklifts for manufacturers. But using his cell phone for more than conversation frustrates him. “For now, wireless Internet connections are way too slow, and the text display on my phone shows me just a few lines at a time,” Steinert says. “M-commerce isn’t worthwhile. I’d rather wait until I get back to my office and use my desktop computer to order something.” So far, many other consumers have made the same decision. Nevertheless, Boston-based consulting firm Yankee Group predicts that Americans will make $50 billion in annual wireless purchases by 2005. … Read more

Optus surveys its suitors

SYDNEY, Australia-Cable & Wireless Optus confirmed it has received revised proposals from parties interested in buying the Australia-based carrier. Vodafone Group plc, Singapore Telecommunications and Telecom New Zealand are understood to be interested in buying the carrier, which has mobile, consumer and corporate data assets. According to a report in the Financial Times, SingTel launched a revised cash and share offer of about $8.95 billion and currently looks to be in the lead for sealing a deal. SingTel would likely hold on to all of Cable & Wireless Optus, while Vodafone and Telecom New Zealand would keep only the wireless assets. … Read more

Q&A with Tom Wheeler, CTIA president

WASHINGTON-The Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association’s name may have changed, and CTIA may hope to increase its membership by focusing on wireless data, but it is by and large still concentrating on the issue that has been front and center for the last several years: spectrum and how to get more of it. Continuing a tradition, RCR Wireless News Washington Reporter Heather Forsgren Weaver sat down recently with CTIA President Thomas E. Wheeler to see how the wireless industry’s central trade association has changed as it has taken on the “and Internet” mantel. The answer appears to be not much.

RCR Wireless News: What new issues are you currently working on that were not issues two years ago?

Wheeler: I think everything is evolutionary. Everything has a root someplace else. We would probably define our top two public-policy activities as the spectrum question, which has two subsets: getting the spectrum cap lifted, and secondly, getting more spectrum. The other public-policy issue is our relationship with local exchange carriers. That also has two subsets. One is interconnection and how much the interconnection rates are. The other is how universal service will end up playing out and our ability to offer services-competitive service-in rural areas. (When asked to further clarify, Wheeler confirmed he was talking about the ability of wireless carriers to be granted eligible telecommunications carrier status, the first step in the process to receive universal-service subsidies.) … Read more

WISPs and WASPs vs. carriers

Like the stubborn ache of a mild whiplash, new wireless application service providers (WASPs) and wireless Internet service providers (WISPs) are chipping away at the territories of established carriers, according to a study released by Friedman, Billings and Ramsey & Co. Inc., a consulting and market research group. The 136-page study, which expresses confidence in the future of the wireless industry, says, “Although the major carriers currently control the relationship with end users, the emergence of new WASPs and WISPs should challenge their position in the market.” Riyad Said, managing director of FBR’s communications services, identified some of the new WASPs as Aether Systems and Canada-based 724 Solutions and the WISPs as OmniSky, GoAmerica and Research In Motion. “These providers came into the market with an angle of providing and optimizing the development and delivery of wireless application data,” he said, adding that this enables them to access different networks and mobile devices. He said the established carriers are primarily based on voice applications, which leaves great room for new entrants to position themselves for the future, where data is expected to reign. … Read more


BUCHAREST, Romania-Throughout the 1990s, NMT analog wireless systems became somewhat obsolete, particularly with the advent of GSM technology. Digital GSM systems, which offer users services such as short message service, caller ID, group calls and data transmissions, are widespread throughout Europe and have outperformed NMT networks in terms of user numbers and profitability. NMT operators have been forced to transition their analog networks to digital systems or close the NMT networks altogether. The NMT Memorandum of Understanding established several solutions to help NMT operators survive. GSM 450 MHz was encouraged by vendors Nokia Corp. and L.M. Ericsson, and the CDMA 450 MHz solution was backed by Samsung and Qualcomm Inc. A third solution involved a hybrid technology using GSM’s baseband and signaling and a digital Terrestrial Trunked Radio solution known as D-NMT (Digital NMT) and proposed by Swedish company Radio Design AB. Most operators and manufacturers embraced the first two solutions, but the third option did not have sufficient backing to move forward. GSM 450 MHz technology has the advantages of GSM’s widespread adoption in Europe, allowing roaming among different networks and a full range of feature-rich services and capabilities that are already available in the 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 1900 MHz bands. … Read more

‘Browser phone’ users in Japan exceed 30 million

TOKYO-The number of browser-phone users in Japan exceeded 30 million as of the end of February 2001, according to the Telecommunications Carriers’ Association, an industry body. According to the TCA, the number of users of browser-phone services provided by three Japanese carriers reached 31.41 million. Separately, NTT DoCoMo announced the number of users of the carrier’s popular i-mode services exceeded 20 million. The country’s other two carriers also expanded their browser-phone user numbers in February: EZ Web services provided by KDDI Group increased by 453,900 subscribers to 6.11 million, and J-Sky services provided by J-Phone Group increased by 509,800 to 5.52 million users. … Read more

Trying to peg the timing of the 3G investment cycle

The new CEO at Andrew Corp. is promising that the manufacturer of wireless communications equipment will double the company’s revenues in four years. Guy M. Campbell, who succeeded Floyd English in October, announced at the annual meeting last month that he expects Andrew to reach $2 billion in revenues by 2004. The Orland Park-based company posted $1.02 billion in sales last year, up 29 percent from 1999. Andrew is counting on a wave of orders as wireless service providers begin building a network of infrastructure to support third-generation networks. Built on a broader radio-frequency spectrum and all-digital transmissions, 3G will enable wireless users to send and receive data at blazing speeds. Andrew makes the base-station antennas, power amplifiers and filters that will be the backbone of 3G. Most experts agree that 3G will require massive new infrastructure. Allied Business Intelligence Inc., headquartered in Oyster Bay, N.Y., forecasts that the worldwide total of wireless base stations will rise to 2.85 million in 2004 from 823,000 in 1998. Almost every station carries some combination of Andrew components. “For Andrew, 3G represents our largest new opportunity, and we intend to capitalize on it,” Campbell, who also is president, told shareholders. But the timing of this potential bonanza is not easy to predict. … Read more

Check out the RCR Wireless News Archives for more stories from the past.

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