[photopress:IT_3G_dongle.jpg,full,alignright]Dragon Lu, executive vice president of Internet value-added service provider Shenzhou Unicom is intent on building wireless networks using what he calls 4G technologies, to provide cheap VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services and broadband access, as well as carry various application including video telephony, mobile TV and location-based services.
He said, ‘Initially we plan to build wireless broadband networks in nine cities, namely Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Dongguan, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Changsha, Changde and Wuhan. We have a license to provide Internet access services in these cities. We are currently in talks with investors in the remaining cities and will apply for the licenses for those cities later.’
Two important points to bear in mind.
There is, as yet, no formal or accepted standard for 4G and it can effectively be what you want it to be.
Secondly, no one has yet demonstrated a successful business plan for making a profit from VoIP protocol although several attempts have been made.
The idea of having wide coverage with wireless broadband is a good and wonderful thing.
[photopress:IT_3G_dongle2.jpg,full,alignleft]The writer is currently on a Virgin train going from Wales to London. It has power points so that I can keep the notebook charged and I have a 3G dongle (one shown in the illustration at the top although that is a model using a computer on the left. I am never that well-dressed) stuck in a USB port which gives me very fair access to the Internet pretty well anywhere there is good telephone coverage which is most places.
Note the profit plan is already in place because I am using the 3G network and I am paying for usage on a time basis and on the quantity I download and upload.
(I could chose to go WiFi on this train but the costs are much higher.)
Looking around I would say nearly 20% of the passengers are using notebooks and are hooked to the Internet.
So it works, it can make money, but there must be a plan in place right at the beginning.
Shenzhou Unicom began wireless broadband trials in Changde in February, and has a plan to set up wireless broadband coverage in the city’s center by October of this year. Lu expects to achieve citywide wireless broadband coverage in Changde in February of next year.
The planned budget for Changde city is RMB250 million ($35.8 million). And this is on the low side.
‘Because they are only trials, the manufacturers provide the equipment to us free of charge. We have set up six Wi-Fi ‘hot zones’ in Changde.
The hot zones are basically large Wi-Fi coverage areas consisting of Wi-Fi hotspots connected together. They are located in hospitals and government office areas. In the future, we would like hospitals and schools to build their own Wi-Fi networks, and link with our public Wi-Fi networks in communities and downtown areas.’
The company plans to begin wireless broadband network deployment in three additional cities, namely Changsha, Shenzhen and Dongguan, in August this year.
He said, ‘The ideal model is to use WiMAX to build the backbone network and integrate it with Wi-Fi cells. WiMAX provides wider coverage than Wi-Fi. However it is not yet a very mature technology. Wi-Fi and WiMAX actually provide much faster data transmission rates than 3G technologies such as WCDMA, CDMA2000 and TD-SCDMA.’
True, but the 3G technologies are pretty much all at in place and it seems daft to duplicate it in order to get a small speed advantage.
The term 4G, an acronym for fourth-generation communications system, is used to describe the next step in wireless communications. There is no formal definition for 4G yet, however 4G is projected to be a fully IP-based integrated system that will be capable of providing between100 Megabits per second (Mbps) and 1 Gigabits per second (Gbps) speeds both indoors and outdoors.
Source: China Business News
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