Monday, September 27, 2004

Advent of mobile broadband

The last few months have been dramatic for the wireless industry. In the United States, Verizon Wireless announced its intentions to roll out 1xEV-DO -- which was dubbed by analysts as "the shot heard around the world." Indeed, soon thereafter, Sprint and Cingular followed with announcements for 1xEV-DO and wCDMA, respectively. In Europe, carriers, finally, embraced UMTS, with initial rollouts across certain key markets. And, in Asia, carriers, especially Japanese and Korean, continued their leadership position in wireless through announcements or trials regarding satellite and broadcast TV networks.

Does this period represent the advent of mobile broadband globally? Or, is it another period of hype, reminiscent of that of 3G a few years ago? Further, why do need mobile broadband to begin with? What are users, consumers and enterprises alike, going to do with megabit connectivity while moving at high speeds? And, if this is a seminal point in the history of wireless, what does it mean for incumbent corporations and for startup companies? Which corporations are likely to win, and which are likely to lose? Most importantly for Silicon Valley, where do the opportunities exist for entrepreneurs to create new, multi-billion dollar companies?

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