The 4G Battleground: Providing Content or Internet Access

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  • Author: Gary Breed
First, most companies with cell phone origins are touting services as the way to utilize new broadband channels. These most basic of these services include subscriptions to weather reports, stock quotes, news headlines, etc. “Yellow Pages” type directories tied into GPS navigation is one of the more advanced services being offered. The companies following this approach are using HSDPA or 1xEV-DO broadband technologies, which are part of the “3G” family of technologies, supporting data transmission up to 3 Mbps (downlink). Then there is the approach from the computer side of the business, where the future of wireless communications is seen as extending the reach of the Internet to handheld portable devices. Their efforts are focused on display technology, including new small-screen protocols for Internet content that is targeted to wireless devices. These broadband access technologies are a combination of WiFi® and WiMAX™, which offer downlink speeds from 5 Mbps up to tens of Mbps. While the “phone” part of these devices may initially use existing wireless networks, some providers anticipate converting to VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol).