Wireless falls short of hype

Picture this: Teleconferencing while on the go, using a wireless phone that

lets you browse the Web at the same time. Such technological miracles await

users of the much-anticipated third-generation wireless, also known as 3G

wireless.

The convergence of high-quality, high-speed two-way voice telephony

and Internet capabilities has been championed by industry, government and

the media, but a senior analyst for mobile communications said that kind

of communication is still years away.

"Its hype has never met up with its expectations," Bryan Prohm said

Tuesday during a conference sponsored by Potomac Forum Ltd. in Washington,

D.C.

Prohm, of the Gartner Group Inc., suggested 3G wireless will never fully

catch on. Instead, telecommunications companies will piggyback newer services — as they perfect them — onto existing systems. This is sometimes referred

to as 2.5G wireless, he said. A big problem facing 3G, he said, is that

there are already multiple standards proposed by multiple vendors. That

makes it difficult for companies to backtrack and begin building a single

standard that will allow for the global roaming necessary for the technology

to deliver on the hype.

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