Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Sprint Nextel announced last week that it is planning to invest nearly ten million dollars in the British company IPWireless. Sprint has already, just this summer, invested 4 million with the company. IPWireless has been involved in the development of the 3G standard that allows high speed wireless data networks to deliver video and broadband content. Their standard based on UMTS TD-CDMA (UMTS means Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service and TD CDMA means Time Division Code Division Multiple Access) competes with WiMax. Trials are currently being run in Washington, DC in the 2.5 Ghz spectrum. This new service, called TVtd, will offer high-speed data services and mobile TV.
Clunky phones and poor geographical coverage has slowed the implementation of 3G devices in the US. So called third generation phones have been taking off in Japan and South Korea and other parts of Asia. 3G usage is still very slight in the US and only has a small foothold in Europe. The aggressive implementation in Asia is due to the push by handset makers and the mobile network operating companies. Japan has over 90 million mobile users, and as of last December, nearly 50 % of them were on 3G networks! South Korea, Hong Kong, Australia and Sweden are adopting 3G networks at a rapid pace. China will issue their first 3G network licenses later this year.
In the U.S., the expectations for this new technology were too high six years ago, when operators thought they could generate new revenue streams by offering video and data services over the handset. Cell phones companies are still researching to find the é─˙killer appé─¨ that will have customers clamoring for 3G services. CBS is currently distributing their content over a large number of delivery platforms. They are pairing with Google to allow their hit show é─˙CSIé─¨ to be rented over the Internet, and they are producing short é─˙microdramasé─¨ to be watched on the phone.
One thing is for certain, whether it is satellite, Wi-Fi, WiMax, or the emerging 3G technologies; we are going to receive more and more content wirelessly.