Global mobile operators and device makers are betting that the next level of transmission technology will ramp up mobile phone usage in a way that thirdgeneration technology has so far failed to do.
Socalled fourthgeneration (G) mobile technology now being developed would allow twoway communication in voice video and data on a scale that was previously impossible companies said at a Samsung G Forum mobile conference.
G would allow mobile users on the go to enjoy services that they can now get through personal computers with highspeed broadband connections.
"G is to deliver highspeed broadband for data and visual centric information. Everything before G is voicecentric" said Ali Tabassi Sprint Nextel Corp. vice president for innovative technology.
Operators have spent billions of dollars to speed up their mobile networks to offer video photos Internet access and other services which they hope will boost revenues and make up for the lacklustre growth of voice calls.
But growth in usage of thirdgeneration (G) services has been slower than expected.
G technology which allows video calls and wireless Internet access has yet to become widespread and has caused concerns that it may not generate enough profit to justify the amount spent to build the networks.
G A FAILURE?
"G was a failure" said Kim Kiho Samsung's senior vice president for telecommunications networks. "The market did not respond and it is already becoming an oldfashioned technology."
Others disagree. Kristin Rinne chief technology officer for Cingular Wireless said: "We're just beginning to hit that exponential curve in terms of data usage (in G).
"We're going to have to demonstrate we can deliver those products and services to customers. If that doesn't happen there isn't a need for G" Rinne told Reuters.
Japan's NTT DoCoMo Inc. is among a handful of operators that have seen some success with G. Users of its G service known as FOMA amount to more than percent of its total subscribers.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) defines G as a wireless technology that transfers data at megabits per second while the user is moving and gigabit per second when stationary.
At the highest speed users can download a movie in . seconds and send songs in . seconds according to Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. which presented a G service demonstration at the forum.
The spectrum for G service will be allocated at a global conference in October next year and the commercial rollout is expected after standardsetting around .
"After G will become the mobile service that embraces everything" Lee Kitae president of Samsung's telecommunication networks business told reporters.
Sprint Nextel said earlier this month it would spend up to $ billion over two years to build a G network using WiMax technology along with Samsung Motorola Inc. and Intel Corp..
"G was too much technologydriven" said Hong Wonpyo executive vice president for South Koreabased KT Corp.'s mobile Internet business. "From now on we need to see demand from users grow together (with technology)."