3G versus WiFi/WiMax

3G versus WiFi and WiMax? Telco standards versus Wireless LAN Internet protocols? You can count on an Ericsson official to say 3G will win.

“We believe that HSDPA (high speed downlink packet access) and PC cards will win this battle,” Jan Signell, president of Ericsson South East Asia, told technology reporters at the “Experience 3G with Ericsson” media workshop that kicked off Sept. 7. [in Kuala Lumpur]

He’s right, 3G will be more pervasive when deployed. If deployed in the Philippines. Our local telcos are holding back on the major capital investments necessary to bring high-speed data connections, and with good reason I believe. How many people can buy the expensive handsets needed to make full use of 3G? On one of the local GSM carriers, MMS-capable subscribers are only 5% of the total base.

An advantage of wireless LAN connectivity is it’s the full Internet. 3G may deliver a “mobile Internet” but I have little doubt that they will set it up as a “walled garden.” The telcos want control over the content flowing through, and the ability to charge per click. (Got WAP access? Try accessing local news sites on WAP and see your prepaid load go down or the charges appear as a line item on your monthly bill.). On the other hand, wireless LANs follow a time usage model – if not unlimited.

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  • anon

    while 3G may be the next best thing, i doubt pinoys will spend or shell out money for this technology…5% MMS subscribers out of millions is already too small for a service that costs what, 5 pesos? 10 pesos? what more pa 3G? am sure the providers are gonna charge rocket high prices for this

  • bit

    Since 3G is mobile-device-centered, it will no doubt be more successful in the Philippines.

    If I was asked, I’d say that cellular technology companies and wireless computer technology companies should get together and develop a standard common protocol. It would not only benefit consumers, it would also allow other companies to easily get into the business (although the latter is obviously not high on the list of agendas of most companies).

    3G (and EDGE) indicates that mobile technology is moving towards high-bandwidth information communication, which is basically what wireless computer technologies are doing too. Why complicate things? (Unfortunately, complication of markets is an unavoidable effect of capitalism. *sigh*)

    Personally, I’d prefer WiMax (and its other potential competition) over 3G, but that’s just me. Either way, it is true that either will undoubtedly be too expensive when they first arrive here, unless telcos manage to take out those sticks up their a**es and give us some reasonable services and prices.

  • i think broadband over power line is more suitable for us pinoys. before we go all 3g and mobile, we first have to increase the amount of internet users sa pinas (as opposed to having 3g,wifi and wimax, pero manila alone).A lot of people still don’t have phones but most have electricity.

    kaso di rin stable yung power supply natin…so…hehe.

  • bit

    Diba may issues with radio noise ang IP over powerlines?

  • those problems can be solved. yung point ko naman is with the far flung areas. konti/wala naman sigurong ham operators dun.

  • > yung point ko naman is with the far flung areas.

    I think Smart WiFi or WiMax will deliver Internet to the hinterlands and islands a lot more effectively than IP over powerlines.

    IP over powerlines, I think, will not prosper in our archipelagic Philippines. Tingin ko lang …

  • sometimes its not a question of which standard will win. This is the philippines, so you can say perhaps the bet here is which standard will be cheaper to implement and promise good return for every operator.

  • gil

    let’s opt for the cost-effective mode.

  • DTaparan

    The main differentiators between 3G and WiMAX are frequency and capacity, as far as data services are concerned.

    3G has better coverage because it works on lower frequencies.

    WiMAX (specifically 802.16e-2005) compensates for poor signal propagation by using OFDMA and sub-channelization.

    However, sub-channelization only brings additional gain on the link budget, OFDM always relies on multi-path and both will not completely solve Non-line-of-sight problems.

    Having said that, a WiMAX network needs more BST in order to provide the same coverage as 3G, not to mention, radio network planning is more rigorous because of higher likelihood of blindspots.

    On the otherhand, given the same amount of channel spacing (5Mhz), WiMAX can provide higher throughput per subscriber, although aggregate network data rate is roughly the same as HSDPA.

    But because it operates in TDMA, WiMAX also provides variable rates to user, and better QoS over-the-air as compared to CDMA.

    WiMAX is also better in coping with increasing number of subscribers as compared to CDMA, where transmission quality (due to internal interference caused by other subscribers) is left to chance.

    The Ericsson guy is wrong. The winner is a WiMAX radio on low frequencies such as 1.9Ghz, 800Mhz, etc.

    Regulations on those frequencies are the only stumbling block.

  • >> while 3G may be the next best thing, i doubt pinoys will spend or shell out money for this technology…

    Adoption really depends on the segment of the market being targeted. For example, if positioned as a broadband (eg. cable, dsl) alternative and not just for mobile communication and text-messaging, acceptable pricing goes from the few hundreds of pesos per month to the thousands.

    Personally, I would like to see WiMax win since it opens the door for entrepreneurs to make money from service delivery. On the other hand, 3G will be controlled by the established carriers.

    As mentioned previously, the primary obstacle to WiMax deployment will be the regulatory environment.

  • A good comparison indeed. I would choose 3G, though.

  • 3G is the future technology. Already large software companies in China are working on improving it, since the demand is so high.

  • In matter of technology, China is becoming even better. Don’t imagine that the only imported goods from China are clothes and spices, but also cell phones, computers, or iphones.

  • There are some very large telecommunication companies in China, that specialize in 3G and work on mobile services for people in the country. It’s an important element of China’s market place and in my opinion, this country is going to develop 3G technology a lot, with perseverence and determination. And the hard work they always agree with.

  • China is widely recognized as one of the biggest producers of wholesale products, consumer goods, and heavy industrial machinery among other things. But perhaps fewer people know about the role of the Chinese economy in hi-tech development, including advanced consumer electronics, biotechnology and ITC, including 3G technologies.

  • Actually, China is recognized as a source for manufacturing, materials and labor in producing technological goods. The developer is usually a foreign country.