Monday, February 13, 2006

Where does 3G fit in the U.K.?

Techworld has a feature article on the potential benefits of 3G and whether it can displace Wi-Fi technology. Some of the factors include convenience and coverage as well as pricing, and the article details the efforts of U.K. network operators.

Rachel Lashford at Canalys said, "Before we see significant uptake, operators need to sort out predictable costs. There are flat monthly charges, but they tend to have a usage limit of 1 Gigabyte. Those details need to be sorted out."

On the topic of price drops and tariff, Lashford commented, "I think operators need tariffs to remain high, so their share prices are highly valued. There is a perception of future revenue opportunities, and operators are not prepared to let that go yet. They've set their tariffs at a level where they are waiting for service uptake."

The article then looked into faster technologies such as HSDPA (high speed downlink packet access), sometimes called "Super 3G" or 3.5G, which "will arrive later this year [in the U.K.], taking 3G networks to about four times their current speed."

Lashford agreed that HSDPA may be key and would be sold to businesses first. She said, "We will probably see card first approach. It will be promoted to business notebook users, and there will be data cards before there are phones."