3G Lessons

WSJ writes about the lessons learnt in Asia:

Lesson No. 1: Phones need to be sleek and small.
Lesson No. 2: Target the youth market.
Lesson No. 3: Teaming up produces results.
Final lesson: Don’t make companies bid for new parts of the wireless spectrum to offer 3G.

In heavily networked Japan and South Korea, young people such as Ms. Suzuki don’t think twice about using their mobile phones to create short movies, watch the Webcam inside their home or download pop songs from the Internet. In South Korea, people can even watch live, streamed television on their phones — one operator offers eight channels — and use their phones to make bank transactions or buy movie tickets.

That is a sharp contrast to the U.S. and Europe, where advanced mobile services driven by high-speed Internet connections only now are getting off the ground. “You typically see [phone] innovation in Asia first, and then it makes its way over to North America,” says Perry LaForge, head of a Costa Mesa, Calif., telecommunications trade group called CDMA Development Group.

Consumers in the U.S. and Europe may never go wild for advanced “third generation,” or 3G, phone technology like the mobile-phone aficionados in South Korea and Japan. Still, industry executives say lessons can be learned from those nations that could speed the adoption of 3G technology in the West.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.