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3G Network Coming to America 268

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the catching-up-with-the-times dept.
Not2Bryt64 writes: "Reuters has a story about Cingular building a nationwide 3G network. According to Cingular it 'will deliver mobile users data at rates of up to 470,000 bits a second -- fast enough to watch video clips over phones.'" I just hope it doesn't mean that we have to see more annoying Cingular commercials. But I want my video cell phone!
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3G Network Coming to America

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  • video on your cellphone be damned...

    The one thing that 3G is going to do for me is FINALLY provide a decent wireless service for my PDA that i can pay for along with my cell phone.
    • As a fellow techie/punk-rocker I can't help but feel inclined to find the irony amusing in the combination of a "hardcore" .sig-line and a comment complaining about unreliable and low-bandwidth wireless support for PDAs(Personal Damnation Accessory).

      No Offence meant, really. Just one of those cheap observational humour things.
    • Not to mention the potential to take my laptop to the park and telecommute on those beautiful sunny days. It could fill the gap ricochet left behind.
    • The one thing that 3G is going to do for me is FINALLY provide a decent wireless service for my PDA that i can pay for along with my cell phone.

      Heh, I'm sure with the wonderful [verizonwireless.com] providers [att.com] that exist in the United States, you will probably have the luxary of paying for the added services on a "per-byte" basis...
  • Now, just add Mandrake Gaming edition, Quake3, a little water and mix well.

    So how's the latency on this type of connection...?
  • by Transient0 (175617) on Monday December 03, 2001 @12:10PM (#2647980) Homepage
    my true love bought for me:

    five video cell-phones
    four sega dreamcasts
    three thinkgeek shirts
    two copys of The Hobbit*
    and 2.4.15 on a CD

    *One copy to read, another to keep under the mousepad for luck.
  • So how long... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    ... till the USA catches up with the rest of the world for mobile telecoms?
  • I heard that the EM radiation from Intel's new 3GIO bus interferes with 3G wireless devices. Intel has therefore been blocking the introduction of 3G wireless in the US.

    Is there any truth to this rumour? thanks ok bye

    • according to this [pcisig.com] 3gio transfers 2.5gb/sec using 8bit encoding (they also mention 10bit encoding in the doc). (I think), they don't give an exact MHz rating, but it works out to about 312mhz. (or 250mhz with 10bit) According to the FCC, 3g uses 2.5 to 2.69ghz and 1.75-1.85ghz. So, 3gio might cause some problems if it was sending one bit at a time, but I don't think it is. [fcc.gov]

      And even if 3gio did work at 2.5ghz (which I really doubt, the fastest clock in any PC these days is no where near that, other then in ultra-high-end CPU cores) PC put out that much interference, then you'd still have the 1.75-85ghz band.

      So in other words, I think it's just a misunderstanding of terms.
      • Are you kidding or just confused?

        In the cellphone context, "3G" refers to the next generation of wireless services. These will have faster data capabilities (>100 kbps). 3G licenses have been auctioned off in some European countries for ridiculous amounts of money, with nothing to show for it for a while and little hope of payback.

        "3GIO" in the PCISIG sense refers to an interconnection technology on printed circuit boards. No radio, except maybe some unwanted emissions....

        What the two have in common is an excessive use of the "3G" label, as in too many episodes of Star Trek.
        • Are you kidding or just confused?

          There's this little button next to 'reply' that reads 'parent'. If you click it, you'll see the post I was replying to. Well, if you're threshold is low enough.

          For you're convenience, I've pasted that message here:

          3G vs. 3GIO (Score:1)
          by Fucky Badger on Monday December 03, @11:11AM (#2647983) (User #535691 Info)

          I heard that the EM radiation from Intel's new 3GIO bus interferes with 3G wireless devices. Intel has therefore been blocking the introduction of 3G wireless in the US. Is there any truth to this rumour? thanks ok bye


          Oh, and it is possible for a device to cause interference at the frequency it's running at, if the signals are strong enough, and the shielding isn't on. A PC without it's case on can actually be illegal for home use in the US, because it moves from a Class B computer to a Class A. But the whole point of my post was that it probably wouldn't cause any problems at all.

          So a better question would be are you kidding or just confused?
          • F. Badger's post was below my threshold, but in any case HE was presumably joking. There is no particular connection between 3GIO noise and 3G wireless. Buses make noise and radios are sensitive, but he was presumably punning on "3G". This is Slashdot, after all, where bad jokes turn into unsubstantiated rumors. You apparently took him too seriously.
            • But beyond the name 3G and 3GIO both share the 2.5ghz number, so it's possible that someone, somewhere might have thought they interfered with each other.
  • So what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nbvb (32836) on Monday December 03, 2001 @12:11PM (#2647985) Journal
    As long as wireless providers insist on keeping the idea of a "mobile phone" then this is useless.

    Watching movies on my phone is dumb -- I'd rather watch them on my home theater or in a real movie theater.

    Reading/writing email on my phone is dumb -- I'd rather do that on something with a _real_ keyboard, thanks.

    If we can make wireless devices that actually have a _use_ (think wireless Newton), then maybe we're getting somewhere.

    If I can read my email comfortably and actually _write_ a response (pressing 4433555555666 just to write "hello" is unacceptable!!) then I might have a use for it.

    Of course, none of this matters since 3G doesn't work anyway.
    • by tswinzig (210999) on Monday December 03, 2001 @12:22PM (#2648093) Journal
      Watching movies on my phone is dumb -- I'd rather watch them on my home theater or in a real movie theater.

      Reading/writing email on my phone is dumb -- I'd rather do that on something with a _real_ keyboard, thanks.


      Relax, their will be PC/PCI cards that use 3G technology to provide you with internet access just like your ethernet and WiFi cards today.

      If we can make wireless devices that actually have a _use_ (think wireless Newton), then maybe we're getting somewhere.

      The SprintPCS Visor phone springboard module [sprintpcs.com] actually has built in support for 3G, so that when sprint turns on their 3G support (now in testing), the visor phone will be ready for it. (Although it only supports the lower ISDN-like speeds of 3G, which is what Sprint PCS will roll out first.)

      In fact, I daresay Sprint PCS is closer to rolling out 3G than Cingular, since they already have an all digital CDMA network laid out across the nation, and have been testing 3G for quite some time.

      http://www.sprintpcs.com/aboutsprintpcs/Cdma_3g/ in dex.html
    • If we can make wireless devices that actually have a _use_ (think wireless Newton), then maybe we're getting somewhere

      See the Treo from Handspring (www.handspring.com). The wallstreet journal reviewed it last week and loved it.

      Add high G3 bandwidth to it and presto -- awesome mix! PS - Usable like a Newton? Who do you know that actually used that brick for anything on a regular basis? Usable like a palm device I can understand.
    • Re:So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Cutriss (262920) on Monday December 03, 2001 @12:29PM (#2648151) Homepage
      Well, I think you probably know the whole reason that wireless providers in America are doing this: $$$

      In Asia, wireless devices are utterly *booming*. They're functional, stylish, and most importantly, useful. Companies over here see how much our youth and tech-savvy individuals respect and revere the wowing technology and products they have over there, and figure that they can give us some knock-off crap and we won't know the difference. The problem comes from the fact that Asians have long had exposure developing and using handheld devices like what are sold overseas. Here, with the solid exceptions of the Psion/Palm/Newton devices, nobody likes handhelds. Take a look at how many people like those little Casio organizers - They're cheap $30 plastic devices that break in no time. They reek of feature creep, and their PC connectivity it pathetic - Output to a CSV file? You're kidding, right? Marketers just don't have a clue about the American audience of personal/home technology buyers compared with the eastern markets.

      Unfortunately for them, we're a lot smarter than they think we are, so we won't fall for it. Unfortunately for us, though, the odds are reasonably good that it'll get crammed down our throats whether we like it or not (Anyone try to get service for a Motorola Lifestyle analog cellphone these days?). At the end of our contracts, they'll transition us all to the stupid new phones they'll make, and they'll declare 3G a success because millions of people use it, regardless of the fact that they were forced into it.
      • The overhead for operating a mobile network here is much higher because you need a lot more towers to reach the same number of people. That extra cost prohibits attractive pricing of most of the handheld mobile devices.
    • Although I agree with you with most of your skepticism about the worth and importance of 3G, having used Blackberry (not a cell phone, I know) I must say that I find it _very_ nice. It's not a "thumb" keyboard, not "real", but still quite effective and painless. I can write 30+ wpm comfortably, enough to make the service very worthwhile in my opinion. I suspect I might find the Handspring Treo to be equally useful and in a better configuration (e.g., fewer devices).

      Of course, none of this requires 3G. However, I do think that having the ability to get at least a 56k connection _reliably_ has a great deal of potential. Much past that point I do not see any obvious utility other than perhaps for mobile laptops, certainly not enough to justify spending inordinantly more for 2-3G level service.
    • Re:So what? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Frac (27516)
      My friend was vacation in Japan over the summer. While visiting an aquarium, he saw someone pointing his DoCoMo phone at the fish. Turns out he was using the built-in camera to take snapshots of the fish, so his friend on the other side of the conversation can see what he was looking at. Given that it was pre-3G when he was there - now, the same person would probably be watching a live video feed of the fish instead.

      Watching movies on my phone is dumb -- I'd rather watch them on my home theater or in a real movie theater.

      How big is your home theater again? Can you fit that in your pocket?

      No one said they're showing feature films on the phones. Is this the ONLY application you can think of for movies?

      Given that some applications can be frivolous, there are plenty of people that are using such "extrataneous features" in socially-enriching ways. Just because you're too boxed up in your "I need a real keyboard or home theater" mindset, don't speak for the rest of us.
    • If I can read my email comfortably and actually _write_ a response (pressing 4433555555666 just to write "hello" is unacceptable!!) then I might have a use for it.

      So get a real phone. On mine I just type 43556 and the thing figures it out based on context.

      Unfortunately I'm a pathetic loser, and do not know anyone else with Text message service on my providers crappy-ass TDMA network. If I did, I'd probably be able to send them pretty fast.

      You can really do a lot with a 12key keypad if you have the right software. Hell, people in Japan send messages in Kanji
  • by color of static (16129) <smasters@NosPAm.ieee.org> on Monday December 03, 2001 @12:11PM (#2647986) Homepage Journal
    Most of these wireless solutions bandy about large bandwidth numbers, but never give break downs of actual usage scenarios. I imagine that this is the bandwidth in a cell or for optimal loading scenarios. If so, then I can see only getting old modem speeds in the average cell in a metropolitian area.

    Shared bandwidth maybe effecient for the carrier, but it can really bite for the user.
  • 3G is cool and all, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that it will enable wireless video on demand.
    That is something that I'm still waiting for in the wired world.
  • So now (Score:5, Funny)

    by wiredog (43288) on Monday December 03, 2001 @12:12PM (#2647991) Journal
    Instead of just talking on their cell phones while driving, they can watch video on their cell phones while driving. Oh joy. [ddjembedded.com] Oh rapture. Oh ecstasy.
    • Oh No You Can't (Score:2, Informative)

      by Tim Ward (514198)
      You get the high bandwidth quoted only when stationary next to a base station. If you're driving the bit rate drops to well below anything you'd want to use to watch video.
  • There is some good information about 3g networks here [3gnewsroom.com].
  • I am so sick... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tswinzig (210999) on Monday December 03, 2001 @12:13PM (#2648005) Journal
    ...of the primary 3G usage example being "watching video over your phone."

    NO ONE is going to watch video over a phone for long periods of time, even if the battery could handle it.

    However, how would you telecommuters like to be able to work from ANYWHERE in the world without sacrificing your high-speed, always-on connection to the internet?

    IT is a cool invention, but 3G really could change the world.
    • Re:I am so sick... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by moonboy (2512) on Monday December 03, 2001 @12:38PM (#2648219) Homepage


      Surely you don't think that video over a mobile phone is being pushed merely to watch movies.

      Please!!

      The reason for video over a phone is simply to improve communication (oh and of course to show you advertisements so the companies can make more money ;). With "video phones" another dimension will be added to distance impaired personal communications. Actually seeing the person you are talking to (their facial expressions) is what makes face-to-face communication so desireable, but when that is not possible, video-phones will be the next best thing.

      I work for a broadband provider and one of the big products being developed is video conferencing over an IP/VPN. People want to see the people they are talking to. It's the next logical step after standard voice communications.

      Check out this article [usatoday.com] at USAToday [usatoday.com]. See the small picture. There is a small video camera in the hinge of the phone. This is what video phones will/should be used for. Not movies.

    • However, how would you telecommuters like to be able to work from ANYWHERE in the world without sacrificing your high-speed, always-on connection to the internet

      I'm not sure about this, but how does 470,000 bps pare up between upload and download speeds? Is it 460,000 bps download, and 10,000 bps upload? Download speeds are useless for two-way communication if the upload speeds don't come reasonably close.
    • Happier now? You can see DivX movies or whatever on your laptop, wherever you are. You can videoconference from your seaside cabin in the summertime.
    • NO ONE is going to watch video over a phone for long periods of time, even if the battery could handle it.

      Yes they will. You put a camera on the phone (remember this bandwidth is two way), and video conference with other 3g users. No one is going to stream TV* onto their cell, but video does have its uses on phones.

      *(Although I wonder if some phone makers might not stick UHF/VHF receivers onto their videophones the way some are putting FM radio receivers in. A lot of places around the country still have active TV broadcasts that only require an antenna to receive, although in some places it's mostly cable-only)
  • 3g and Ipv6 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by iritant (156271)
    It's unfortunate that we do not yet have a good ipv6 routing model (it's roughly the same as ipv4, which has serious multihoming scaling problems), since these guys are now going to deploy this stuff in h/w. It gives companies like Cingular the excuse to keep their networks private.

    As for video on my cell phone, the cell phone has a form factor designed for a human hand. So far as I know there is no plan for a human hand upgrade ;-)
  • Ericsson's share was likely to be over $2 billion, Nokia's "well over" $1 billion and Siemens' worth $600 million, indicated the upgrade that Cingular initially said was worth $3 billion was closer to $4 billion.

    I wonder where they're getting the funding for this outlay? For four billion dollars, someone sure believes in 3G.

    The Gardener

  • Who thinks this is good: Telemarketers.
    Who thinks this is bad: Me.
    Who thinks this is ugly: Phone companies.

    This is not how we do it!
  • You know, an improved wireless back bone is in all our interests... Think about the speed offered by 3G with a link for your PDA (drool). Lately I've been seeing cell phone game competitions (best Snake score anyone?), but wouldn't it be interesting to see a shooter on your cell phone? (Odd twist to lan gaming eh?)

    OTOH, this could suffer a catastorphic death to high cost and a perception that it's a fad. Witness the trouble going on with @Home. If high speed internet for a traditional internet market is floundering... who's going to jump on the band wagon for high speed Cell Phones?

    • If high speed internet for a traditional internet market is floundering... who's going to jump on the band wagon for high speed Cell Phones?

      Well, there is a major interest in getting the infrastructure out there, what's interesting is that according to the FCCs 3g page [fcc.gov] the bandwidth from a 'stationary' install can be up to 2mbits/sec... faster then DSL. It would be pretty ironic if people ended up using wireless for home internet the way some people now use wireless for home telephone.
  • ... as the rest of the world, and use them across the whole country.

    Then we'll no longer have phones that work in only 199 countries of the world, we'll be able to get ones that work in the USA as well, and no longer be in a communications black hole when travelling to the States!

    (For making voice calls, that is. Of course nobody wants video clips or other advertising on their phone.)
  • I just hope it doesn't mean that we have to see more annoying Cingular commercials.

    Could be worse, it could be Verizon setting up this network. Then you'd have James Earl Jones playing bass with a fake goatee, trying to show you the quality of streaming Pr0n through the Verizon network.
  • Costs (Score:5, Informative)

    by osiris (30004) on Monday December 03, 2001 @12:16PM (#2648037) Homepage
    I dunno about the states, but here in the UK 3g mobile networks have basically hurt the phone companies really bad financially. The government put up the 3g licenses for auction and the top 4 mobile companies paid something like a combined 60billion ukp for them. And that doesnt include actually building the network.

    Plus, some pundits have already slated it as doomed as the current networks are already vastly popular with relatively cheap phones. It would have to take a big incentive for most people to get rid of their cheap gsm phones and move to 3g ones. Because chances are, they are gonna be expensive so the phone companies can actually try to break even. Its gonna take em a long time though...

    However, considering that the states isnt all gsm already, i hope your 3g network gets sorted properly.
  • For me, the most interesting point is that the US will be adopting 3G (to some extent). This means 3G will be present in US, Europe and Japan. With mobile devices becoming increasingly important, this can only be a good thing.

    (arguably a bad comparison:-)
    Would the internet be where it is today if the US used IPv6, Europe used IPv4 and Japan used IPv7 ?
  • by niekze (96793)
    Let's just hope they handle their money a little better than @Home.

    @Home today, Gone Tommorrow.

    There's no place like @Home...or is that there's no place for @Home.Oh well.
  • Can I hook one of these up to my laptop and get broadband wireless internet? That's the Killer App (tm) for this technology IMHO at least in the short term.

    Ben
  • by sphealey (2855) on Monday December 03, 2001 @12:19PM (#2648060)
    Any hope the quality of a voice call will go back to where it was in 1980 (in North America, anyway)? I am constantaly amazed at (a) just how bad the voice quality of digital cellular is [yes, dropouts count as "poor quality"] (b) how willing people are to pay for such bad quality.

    sPh
    • Any hope the quality of a voice call will go back to where it was in 1980 (in North America, anyway)?

      Sure, we can go back to that era of quality by:

      - Turning in our cheap, tiny cell phones for huge, expensive, briefcase-sized, semi-portable brick phones.

      - Reducing the number of people using cellphones down to the number in use in the 1980's. That is, roughly 17 people nationwide.
    • It would certainly be sweet though; with modern audio compression on a monaural audio track you could probably get near CD quality with just 32-48kbps. (well, at least as close as would matter with the kind of microphones and speakers you'd be using with a cell phone... probably 22khz with 16bit sampling would be good enough)

      Unfortunately, most people are happy (and used to) shitty sound quality over the phone. They'll probably just compress the hell out of regular voice to save overall bandwidth (ie, why have everyone using the full pipe when you could have them using 12kbps, with packet-switched systems it really would make a difference)
  • As long as their Digital Wireless network around here still has static for phone calls, I won't be impressed with them. 3G has potential, but I don't think american companies will be able to make much out of it. They don't understand their real market.

    Nextel's got a partial clue, but they still have some major lessons to learn.

    -Pete
  • Sounds like a fantastic start, but I want to know more. In my opinion, speed is only one of the major variables in the wireless networking equation. It balances against cost, coverage, and openness. A high speed, reasonable cost, general purpose network with nationwide coverage would be a dream come true. A high speed, high cost, proprietary network that only works in major cities doesn't interest me much.

    As an aside, though, am I the only one who wonders about the weird fixation cellular network planners seem to have with video clips? Honestly, if you asked me the top 25 things I'd want to do with a high-bandwidth portable personal communications device it wouldn't even occur to me to put "watch video clips" on my list. Am I the one who's out of touch here, or are they?
    • it wouldn't even occur to me to put "watch video clips" on my list

      "Video clips" is a marketdroid euphemism for "commericals". Cell phone providers love the fact that they will be able to send you targeted advertising, preferrably tied in with a GPS for on-the-spot targeting. Big Business doesn't create technology for the benefit of consumers, they create it as a way to deliver more advertising.
  • by chess (40930) on Monday December 03, 2001 @12:21PM (#2648081)

    It is only GSM V.3, being based on TDMA.
    It is done via channel bundeling and new protocoll for airinterface.

    3G is WCDMA (here in Europe) or some other stuff (ask Qualcomm).

    cees
    • 3G is UMTS

      this is more like 2.5.

      GPRS/EDGE is a way to bridge the gap between 2G and 3G. Using this tiered approach, providers can save money by not having to completely update their equipment at once to go 3G.
      • As I understand it, UMTS is a specific application of WCDMA at ~2.1 GHz defined by the ITU with a core network specification based heavily on GSM.

        As CDMA operators in the US already exist with their own frequency allocation, 2.5G solutions with most of the 3G benefits will pop up to cut costs.

        I blame the FCC for not licensing frequency bands for a praticular protocol that can be shared between companies and instead licensing frequency bands directly to companies and creating this hell. Of course, the FCC pre-dates this type of technology, so it's not all their fault. At least they aren't selling bands yet.
  • by BluePenguin (521713) on Monday December 03, 2001 @12:21PM (#2648089) Homepage
    Okay, if you want an idea why you could possibly want vide on your cell phone, drop the idea of watching movies/TV Shows/other entertainment.

    Now, think about a small video camera in your phone. 3G is the bandwidth to speak to eachother Face to Face (well sort of) over a cell phone. Add a little cradle for the thing (so you can sit and look at it) and you can put a face on the other end of the line. IMHO, that would be a worth while use of video on a phone.

    But if that wasn't good enough, imagine calling 911, getting patched to an Paramedic with a video phone, and being able to pass video data to mdical techs on their way to the scene (they may even be able to help provide instructions for emergency care). Useful stuff if you ask me.

  • High-speed wireless. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lemmy Caution (8378) on Monday December 03, 2001 @12:23PM (#2648102) Homepage
    I'm going to dissent from the naysayers and say that this is a good thing. The ability to move large amounts of data on small, easy to carry devices is going to have a lot more consumer penetration than some of the other geek-fantasies will. Moving video around will have somewhat limited usefulness (although the newswires have done amazing things with the bulky satellite video phones; this will make reporting from remote areas even easier). But the complaints about the video display miss the point entirely: once the video data is flowing, you can output to a number of interfaces; imagine piping that video stream to a sunglass-display, for example. (Remember, not everyone drives to work, which is why this sort of thing is more popular in mass-transit oriented countries like Japan and Europe.) Think of the ability to set up remote monitoring of facilities, video conferencing and the like.

    It's a little bit of a leap for some geeks to move from the productivity-centered focus of desktop computing and its derivations to the idea of communications-oriented socializing technologies, but for most people the latter is usually more exciting.

    • Hispeed Data will be great, but not at the expense of VOX/POTS and SMS. The problem with most G2.5/3 schemes, is that one must sacrifice reliability and (sometimes) quality in voice to get working hi-speed data.

      It's damn risky when all the money is made on voice and the quality of voice, and none of the money is made (yet) on anything else.

  • by JoeGrind (324053) on Monday December 03, 2001 @12:23PM (#2648103)
    From what I've read so far, Cingular is one of the cellular service providers who will be offering the Handspring Treo [handspring.com]. An integrated pda, cell phone, messaging system, and all around wireless device plus more bandwidth can't possibly be a bad thing. Hope it works out.
  • instead of. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SETY (46845)
    Instead of 3G video, how about:
    Improving call quality, dedicate more bandwidth and more CRC checks, etc.
    I want my bloody phone to make phone calls and do that well. That is all.
  • ... watch video clips while riding your Segway scooter [slashdot.org]?-)
  • by jht (5006) on Monday December 03, 2001 @12:33PM (#2648183) Homepage Journal
    I see virtually no point to fancy 3G technology and broadband phones. All I need to see in a mobile phone is the following:


    - Good voice clarity - equivalent to wired when in better-than-marginal conditions.


    - Good enough battery life to talk for at least 3 or so hours on a charge. LiIon batteries for no memory and good power density.


    - Antennas that are either recessed or integrated to the body. Nokias do this well in current models. No protruding breakable dongles like the StarTAC.


    - A phone that fits in my pocket.


    - The ability to download phone numbers from my PC. But that's all the PIM functionality I want.


    And from the phone company, I want the following:


    - Coverage almost anywhere. Digital, too. No more AMPS service anywhere.


    - No roaming. At all. And no long distance if the carrier has a national footprint.


    - Either free incoming or "caller pays" incoming, the way real telcos do it.


    - Finally, and most importantly - I want a service that just gives me minutes, at a comparable cost to wired minutes. I should pay less than $0.10 per minute for any kind of outbound call, regardless of location or destination. One of the things that sucks the most about US mobile phone companies (I can't speak to what they do elsewhere) is the way they differentiate between peak and off-peak, and the high cost of minutes once you use the monthly allotment. I don't pay extra on my wired phone - I shouldn't have to on a mobile.


    Slightly better data support would be nice (up to, say, 56k support), but not essential. If I need wireless data badly enough, I can buy it separately. And if I want broadband, I probably will do better having it wired (to my home) than in my pocket on the road.

  • According to Cingular it 'will deliver mobile users data at rates of up to 470,000 bits a second -- fast enough to watch video clips over phones.

    Well, given how small most cellphone displays are, it's not too hard to imagine a 150x150x2 movie taking up that much bandwidth...
  • The orange Cingular splat I keep seeing reminds me of this one Pink Panther cartoon which featured an annoying asterisk that kept turning green. When the panther tried to teach the asterisk a lesson, he was greeted by its brother, a big, MEAN green asterisk who kicked the shit out of him!
  • Meanwhile... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Misfit (1071) on Monday December 03, 2001 @12:36PM (#2648203)
    Sprint PCS is expected to have 3G in June.

    on a side note. For those of you compaining about the video on phone. It seemed to me that they weren't pushing video on phone, but that they were trying to give people an idea of how fast the throughput is. Not everyone understands what a KB is.

    Misfit
    • Re:Meanwhile... (Score:4, Informative)

      by oldave (160729) on Monday December 03, 2001 @12:51PM (#2648310)
      Additionally, Sprint PCS will be using their 3G network (CDMA2000) to implement the direct-connect type thing that Nextel does... where you'll be able to use your phone as a walkie-talkie (2-way radio).

      They're claiming 144kb/sec data as well (for the first phase of the rollout).

      No word yet on what pricing will be, for either data or the direct-connect feature.

      I think both these features will be somewhat slow to catch on - people will have to buy new phones to get the advantage... unless Sanyo, for example, actually does what they've promised and provide firmware upgrades to the 4700 and newer models (I just bought a 4700, not for 3G, but because after 3 years, it was time to ditch the old Samsung 1500 with the broken antenna and battery that wouldn't hold a charge anymore).
  • by linuxrunner (225041) on Monday December 03, 2001 @12:37PM (#2648214) Homepage
    This sounds to me like a simple case of media overload! I mean, how much information do we really need at once? And where's the application for this?

    "sarcastic voice"

    oooo, ooooo look streaming video

    "/sarcastic voice"

    Really, so what? What can the average person do with this except maybe the I'm-late-for-a-bored-meeting (board purposely spelt incorrect). or a new twist to phone sex and 1-900 numbers.... After that, what would the average person want with this..... Sorry CMDTACO... You are not the average person so you're allowed to want this....

    I have no need for this, nor would I wish to pay for such a device
    Any ideas how much extra this would cost?
    Heck, I can't even reason with paying for wireless internet access anymore. It was a great novelty at first, and maybe checking my stocks or e-mail at the beach...

    But really, do we all need to be THAT connected?

    • But really, do we all need to be THAT connected?

      Yes. An end to boredom. Also, for those who have long commute times, sitting on a bus or train and being able to pull out a reasonable size PDA (or just sleep) is a way to turn 30 minutes or more of dead time driving a car to productive time, even if productive means catching up on slashdot.

      My work recently got us all Nextels and I've been using the WAP feature a lot at red lights. I can buzz right into CNN and catch up on news each time I have to sit for a minute or two. It also contains e-mail (er, two-way messaging). With the predictive text input feature, I can tap out on a 10-key faster than a lot of people can type using a qwerty keyboard. I love it.

      Now if I could only subscribe to O'reilly's Safari [oreilly.com] via direct implant connection to my brain, my life would be complete.

  • Like many other wireless solutions out there, watch it be priced per k so watching a movie that you ripped from a DVD you purchased and stored on your home media server will cost more than it did to make the movie in the first place.
  • G3 Success in Japan (Score:2, Interesting)

    by thened (530582)
    I'd love to point out some articles that have written about the success of G3 in Japan, but I don't think any exist. If G3 can't make it in a technology crazy country like Japan, good luck for it finding a way to survive in the middle of nowhere USA.

    If Ricochet couldn't survive providing faster access in areas of dense population, what makes you think that G3 will do any better.

    4 billion bucks wasted on a worthless concept. Maybe Enron has something to do with this?

    • by rochlin (248444)
      In fact, G3 hasn't been successful in Japan, but it's not the fault of the "technology crazy" Japanese consumer.

      In addition to the cost of deployment limiting availability to a few areas, there have been big technical problems. Really, other than voice, none of the snazzy features (video, pictures, raygun) have been working. Who wants to pay 2x as much for a voice-only system that only works in a couple cities, weighs a brick, and sucks juice like a two-year old on a sugar binge?

      Maybe they'll work the bugs out before this stuff gets deployed in the US (3G ~ 2004 depending on the FCC +/- $80 Billion)
  • 3G doomed? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pubjames (468013) on Monday December 03, 2001 @12:49PM (#2648295)
    The infrastructure required for the 3G is massive, complex and expensive. In my opinion, it may well be doomed.

    Consider this - local wireless is becoming increasingly popular and powerful. How long will it be before your handheld, Palm, or whatever, instantly connects to your office network via wireless so that you can have a broadband connetion to the Internet via that? Project a bit further - how long is it going to be before your handheld instantly becomes a guest on other companies' networks when you are visiting them, so you get a broadband internet connection through that? How long will it be before hotels also have this facility? Universities? Schools?

    The technolgy to do this is very nearly here, today. It will be relatively cheap to implement. So, the telcos are going to be loosing out on all that lovely revenue from connections to the internet made in or near company offices, hotels, schools, universities, etc. What proporition of their mobile phone revenue has that got to be? Sixty per cent? More?

    Remember Iridium? Once upon a time it sounded like it couldn't loose, didn't it?

    The telcos are years behind with 3G. My advice - don't invest in it.
    • Project a bit further - how long is it going to be before your handheld instantly becomes a guest on other companies' networks when you are visiting them, so you get a broadband internet connection through that?

      As soon as they install an internet-connected 802.11b and you install something like Air Snort on your handheld.
  • UMTS was opened in Oslo, Norway [telenor.com] on Saturday. It's just too bad there aren't any gadgets on the market yet, so we're not going to see a lot of it yet.
  • by rochlin (248444) on Monday December 03, 2001 @12:57PM (#2648341) Homepage
    This press release is just a way of hyping Cingular and Nokia.
    The FCC has not authorized ANY frequency band for 3G yet. Plans to re-allocate military spectra fell through.
    3G deployment is years in the future in the US because no standard can be set till the Government gives up some useable range of frequencies.
    So this is just GSM with the added benefit of a hyped up press release. GSM can be upgraded to EDGE (3G) in the future (though it will require more towers and different equipment on them), but it ain't happening now (we're talking about now, aren't we?)
  • Heat? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lysurgon (126252) <joshk@outland[ ]josh.com ['ish' in gap]> on Monday December 03, 2001 @01:02PM (#2648373) Homepage Journal

    Does anyone know what kind of sillicon they're planning on throwing into their phones? I read a while (6 months or so) back about some ericson engineers who complained that they could get the throughput (the bandwidth) happening, but they kept melting the phone chassis because the processor was too hot.

    You'd need some fairly muscular processing to do video replay, etc... and small phones don't really ventilate well, especially inside my pocket.

    On the other hand they could bill it as a combination tool. "It's a cell phone, a portable video-on-demand device, and a hand warmer

    • by autopr0n (534291)
      My nokia 8260 actually gets pretty hot after conversing for a while, hot enough that talking got a little uncomfortable :P

      But when it was just sitting in my pocket, things were fine. I'd guess it won't be a problem while you're not actually *using* the services, and chips do get faster after a while so it'll probably only be a real problem for first-gen machines, if even that.
  • by Xunker (6905) on Monday December 03, 2001 @01:11PM (#2648427) Homepage Journal
    I had the chance to use the other US 3G provider, VoiceStream, a few weeks ago for a few days. While the connection was a decent speed (fluctuated from 3kBps up to ~12), what killed my hope for it was the latency. Doing anything directly interactive, namely telnet/rlogin/ssh, was highly painful. I can't in good concience solely blame 3G because voicesteams' equipment could just be shite, but I don't think it would be bad enough to give me ~2 second latencies.
  • Take a moment to think about what you could do with 3G technolgy, instead of just watching movies. I'm an employee at Cingular Wireless HeadQuarters, and here are some ideas to think about:

    1) Video/Audio Teleconferencing for businesses
    2) You'd be able to view your Wolfenstein 3D webstats from your mobile phone

    3) Imagine running a *nix or *BSD system on your mobile phone, and writing bash schell scripts from Emacs, that would allow you to stream, download, and sort music off of AudioGalaxy. Or even transfer your playlist to your friends, via mobile wireless connectivity

    4) 3G + BlueTooth = (you just wait and see :)
    Let's just imagine sitting in a classroom, while you configure your network for a LAN party back at home, with video highlights to keep you awake in class, all from your cellphone.

    "Journies Lead to Knowledge and Passion Lights the Way"

    ~=NeuroMorphus=~
  • 3G is stupid, hard, expensive, and the telecomms industry is still struggling to get "2.5G" (like GPRS) to work.

    Wireless Ethernet is a better idea. For data services, which is what 3G is all about, you don't really need roaming support -- being able to seamlessly switch to a new carrier -- when you have TCP/IP.

    I believe the latest wireless Ethernet spec gives you about 20mbps of shared bandwidth. It's ridiculously cheap. You have these local clouds that can potentially interact with other clouds by overlapping and gatewaying. Each cloud can be fit to serve a number of users. You get real IP. You can scale locally without having to upgrade the entire world or invent a new spec every month (4G anyone?). You can boost your bandwidth by setting up your own box. And so on.

    Some serious thinking about a public infrastructure is needed, obviously. I don't know how 802.11 deals with multiple overlapping networks.

    But if you're talking about serious broadband, which no phone today is technically proficient enough to justify [1] (unless they start making GameBoy Advance phones -- now there's a thought), that's what you want.

    [1] My Siemens S45's SMS message editor isn't able to keep up with my typing. (The Nokia T9-capable phones also work increasingly slower as you type a message.) I believe SL45i, which runs the J2ME Java virtual machine, has a faster processor, but according to reports, apparently not by much.

    • Two words. Realtime. The 802 spec was not designed for realtime interaction between nodes. It also runs into problems when there's alot of nodes in a single "cloud". Humans don't like audio pauses longer than about a quarter of a second to unless you can figure out some packet routing technology other than GSM/GPRS than can get voices to my ear in under 250ms you've got a real problem. Bandwidth is NOT scalable when you're talking radio waves. A single band only has that much bandwidth, the more people on that band the less portion of that band they get thats where multiplexing comes in. The 802 project was just designed for wired networks, it would be complete shit if it were implimented as a realtime data carrying medium. Network applications can be patient waiting for data to arrive that they are expecting, the human ear however is a different story.
  • Don't really care whether its wireless or not, but being able to see what my family was doing on the computer when they call up asking for help would make MY life a helluva lot easier!
  • by Zarhan (415465) on Monday December 03, 2001 @01:55PM (#2648760)
    This is GPRS/EDGE-network, delivered by Nokia [nokia.com], and only 3G in an american sense. Cingular is moving from old TDMA system to GSM-based technology simply because they want to enable GPRS/EDGE (packet data) services. In theory, this could be done with TDMA as well, but there is no hardware available from any vendors.

    As for the bit rates, 470kbps is reachable...in a test lab. In GPRS, depending on the encoding (CS-1 to CS-4) you get 10 to 20kbps per timeslot. Note, that this is the rate on PHYSICAL layer. You lose a slice for all the overhead caused by the protocol stack, of course.
    One TRX (tranmitter/receiver) means 8 timeslots on a 200 kHz band. The newest GPRS phones are "4+1"-devices, using 4 timeslots for downlink, 1 for uplink, with CS-2 encoding, yielding about 40 kbps bitrate - in optimal conditions. This means that there are no other users and you get those timeslots completely for your own use.
    EDGE brings in a new modulation (8-PSK instead of GMSK), in which the bitrate is tripled (symbol rate/baud rate stays the same).

    So, in optimal conditions, with CS-4 encoding and EDGE, you get about 80 kbps. This means that for 470kbps you need 6 timeslots. Right. That means almost one whole TRX for a single user.
    Either Cingular invests a LOT of money (well, since they are switching their entire infrastructure to a new system, they are doing that already), and brings in one TRX/user, those rates are unreachable in any real world environment.

    Of course, EDGE is not ready yet, and in GPRS only CS-1 and CS-2 encodings are implemented anywhere (CS-3 and CS-4 coming in on H1 of 2002), so the maximum bitrate at the moment is about 40kbps.
  • Video on a cell phone obviously has great implications for the phone sex and porn industry in general.
    I know this is not all that pc but this is a big industry it alone has the potential to turn around the economy! (j/k of course)
    On the other hand it could ruin it... If it is true that all of those phone sex workers are really big fat women or hideous cross gender people.

    Either way I am sure that this can be used for advertising in a positive way. Call your local movie theatre and see 'now showing' trailers, call a restaurant and see the seats you reserve, the specials... many other possibilities.
    • Video on a cell phone obviously has great implications for the phone sex and porn industry in general

      No way! Phone sex depends on the customer filling in the details about the girl with whatever fantasy he's got. besides, a lot of operators are normal women doing it part time - not exactly a horny guy's /Ahem/ wet dream.

  • The operator is upgrading their GSM 1900 network with EDGE and GPRS technology. These will allow "3G services" on the network.

    The quoted maximum bandwidth is the theorectical maximum (8 TDMA timeslots). In practise mobile terminals will probably support only about half of that (about 235 kbit/s) in ideal conditions. Most terminals will not even support that.

    For example, none of the current GPRS phone supports maximum data transfer rates.
  • Reuters has a story about Cingular building a nationwide 3G network.

    Is this Nationwide or Nationwide*? You see, Nextel and Sprint have both advertised nationwide all-digital networks for the last few years. Now, I live in State College, Pennsylvania. We're about 100,000 people in the middle of nowhere. Nextel just turned up their network about a month or two ago, and Sprint did so about four months ago. So, to me, these networks are not nationwide.

    I hate these companies that come out and say they have nationwide converage but really only service certain major cities or a few metro areas. Let's just be honest and say that services will be deployed in these cities and the rest of the country can stick with AMPS or something slightly newer.

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