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4G coming up


The Economist has an interesting article this week on "4G":

Even as “third-generation” (3G) mobile networks are being switched on around the world, a couple of years later than planned, attention is shifting to what comes next: a group of newer technologies that are, inevitably, being called 4G. More hubris from the technology-obsessed industry? Not exactly. Some 4G networks are operating already, with more on the way. A technology once expected to appear around 2005 is here now.
While, as opposed to 3G, there is no clear definition of what 4G is (as the article correctly notes), in general I've always heard of 4G considered in the context of mobile service (mobile in general, not just for mobile phones) that runs on a data backbone, and voice is considered just another kind of data to be transported, and using data transports end-to-end. Essentially, the IP backbone replacing the voice backbone of the operators which, besides from making a lot of sense (especially considering that after the bubble-burst there is a lot of backbone capacity just waiting to be used), should also prove to be more cost-effective, hopefully resulting in lower charges to end-users (note the mention in the article of flat-rate pricing).

All things considered, it makes a lot of sense for '4G' to win over 3G, particularly if the operators can use the same spectrum licenses that they have obtained for 3G. Eventually there should be enough choice so that we can use cheaper (and possibly faster) connections when possible and let the connection speed/quality degrade gracefully as the infrastructure degrades (say, as you move out of the city).

It's happening!

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on June 1 2003 at 12:38 AM

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