Attendance at this year’s 3GSM hit 35,000, according to show organizers, an increase of nearly one-third over 2003. Optimistic proclamations abounded, heralding the end of the long, dark telecom recession and the advent of high-speed wireless networks throughout the EU. While we Americans scratch our…er…heads trying to reconcile our two competing cellular standards (GSM/GPRS/EDGE vs. CDMA) and praying to find a wireless data connection higher than 30 kbps, the Europeans are going fortissimo.
Even in Athens, Greece, which has been vilified for its poor preparation in the run up to this summer’s Olympic Games, high-speed wireless data is nigh. This will be the first Olympics staged with a full-fledged, third-generation WCDMA 3GSM network in place. The Greek government is requiring 3G licensees to provide a minimum uplink speed of 144 kbps to half the Greek population by 2006.
And that’s just one example. Having just gotten off a plane from France, I’ll be busy writing a full report on the 3GSM World Congress for our next issue. Stay tuned.