Revisiting 'The 12 Myths of Mobile UIs'- Part1

Aaron Marcus, the founder and President of Aaron Marcus and Associates, Inc wrote an article "The 12 Myths of Mobile UIs" for Software Development Magazine and was published in May 2003. Its been more than three years since then and lots of things have changed in the Mobile world across the globe. So let us revisit those 12 myths and see if there is any change in the stand. 

Myth 1: 3G is here! : The original article predicts that "The U.S. will be the last to get the advanced messaging, data streaming, multimedia and fast transmission promised by third-generation wireless standards. Japan and Korea, followed closely by China, are likely to lead the way, with Europe trailing second, as has been repeatedly demonstrated over the last decade in the telecom marketplace". Let us see how the top 4 US Carriers are doing in 3G as of today.

  • Sprint-Nextel : Sprint-Nextel has the largest Mobile Broadband network covering 216 major Metropolitan markets and 486 airports. (Source: Sprint Mobile Broadband Network ). Average speed is around 400-700kbps. Sprint is also upgrading its network with a new revision of EVDO for better speeds. Sprint-Nextel was in the news on 8th of August 2006 for its bold initiative to launch 4G network based on WiMAX technology. The company's deployment plans target a launch of the advanced wireless broadband services in trial markets by the end of 2007 with plans to deploy a network that reaches as many as 100 million people in 2008.  (No figures available on how many of its customers are 3G customers.)
  • Verizon Wireless : Verizon Wireless, the first to build a national wireless broadband network based on CDMA EV-DO (Evolution-Data Optimized) technology launched BroadbandAccess in October 2003 and announced a national rollout in January 2004 (Source: Verizon Network Facts). Currently serving around 181 cities at average speeds of 400-700 kbps. By the end of the second quarter, 2006, 10 million customers had broadband-capable devices, including phones, PDAs, Blackberries and laptop PC cards. (Source: Verizon News Release Aug 1 2006)
  • Cingular Wireless : As per a News Release from Cingular on 22nd September, 2006, Cingular's 3G network is currently serving  customers in the following markets: Austin (TX), Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Indianpolis, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Portland (OR), Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose (CA), Seattle, Tacoma (Wash.) and Washington, D.C. (No figures available on how many of its customers are 3G customers.)
  • T-Mobile : In September, 2006, T-Mobile won a bid for large portions of the 3G Spectrum. The 3G network will be based on a UMTS/HSDPA solution and should be launched sometime in 2007. 
  • Clear number of total 3G subscribers in USA is not publicly available, but reading between news and reports, it can be some where around 7-12 Million. Which is quite low compared to 218 Million of total Mobile subscribers in USA.

As per a news release by UMTS Forum on 13th Jun 2006, worldwide subscriptions to 3G networks exceeded 100 million. The 100 million subscriber milestone represents almost 75 million UMTS/WCDMA customers and more than 25 million CDMA2000 1x EV-DO customers. It is unclear, what is portion of USA in those 25 Million CDMA2000 1x EV-DO customers. (May be around 7-10 Million).  But when it comes to WCDMA, Western Europe represents just over half of the world's total WCDMA subscribers. The region currently holds 50.4% of the global WCDMA subscriber base, with Asia Pacific contributing 47.8%. The remainder - less than 2% - is contributed by subscribers in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, USA/Canada and Africa.

The statistics and recent news stories clearly indicate that  3G Customers and services are much more prevalent in Japan, Korea, and most part of the Europe. And USA is trying to catch up.

So, myth is still true. 3G Services are NOT yet ready. Though networks seem to be available to a greater portion of Consumers, it seems not many are taking the bite. 

In the upcoming posts, let us see how the rest of the 11 myths stand out.

[tags]Aaron-marcus, 12-Myths, Cingular, Verizon, Sprint, TMobile, USA, 3G[/tags]

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