3 Questions: The impact of 3G on IT

Not only does 3G technology provide mobile data features, but it also significantly increases the capacity of mobile networks.

By Carl Weinschenk

With Ira Brodsky, the president of Datacomm Research. 3G networks are being deployed, albeit far more slowly than initial projections. Brodsky recently wrote a report—distributed by Alexander Resources—that details the deployment prospects for CDMA2000 1xEV-DO services.

This interview originally appeared in the IT Business Edge weekly report on "Empowering a Mobile Workforce." To see a complete listing of IT Business Edge weekly reports or sign up for this free technology intelligence agent, visit

Question: What must planners and IT departments be aware of concerning 3G's impact?

Brodsky: I think that the business environment has changed due to the economy in terms of how IT departments approach new technology. They approach it more skeptically, with more of a viewpoint that there has to be a clear benefit, preferably a cost benefit to adopting technology. So I think that the timing here is pretty good because enterprises are already going through an evolution in terms of what some people call the "real time" enterprise, trying to speed the flow of information in terms of ordering things, being able to respond to customers more quickly. All of those efforts tend to support the idea of advanced communications. How should IT approach it? I guess they should be [skeptical] on one hand but on the other hand recognize that new capabilities can still provide an opportunity for a win for the IT department.

Question: Should planners cut telecommunications deals now giving them options if, for instance, other carriers introduce 3G services that they like better than what the incumbent offers?

Brodsky: That's going to be tough. What they have to do is understand what the technologies are, which carriers are implementing different technologies, and implement a strategic decision. Once they make a choice, unless it's a pilot project, it's expensive to switch....Once you buy the device, you do not want to turn around and buy a new device. After a few years, when you think you've exhausted most of the value [from the device], then maybe switch. Enterprises have to understand the technology now, before they make a commitment.

Question: You see more of these new technologies than most people. What impresses you most?

Brodsky: One is this technology doesn't just provide mobile data features but also significantly increases the capacity of mobile networks. That is going to be a key to the services ultimately being affordable. If carriers build up more capacity, they need to fill those pipes and are going to be more aggressive in developing data services. In the past, they added data—but it cost a lot to support, so they added it as premium services. Now they are positioned to supply data services to the entire customer base. The other major development is that it's not isolated data services or basic transport services. We are seeing a whole range of services with a range of business and consumer applications. That goes for everything from network infrastructure, to devices, to lining up software developers.

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