Mobile radio technologies have seen a rapid growth in recent years. Sales numbers and market penetration of mobile handsets have reached new heights worldwide. With almost two billion GSM users in June 2006, and 74.7 million users of third generation devices, there is a large basis for business and product concepts in mobile commerce (GSM Association, 2006). Penetration rates average 80%, even surpassing 100% in some European countries (NetSize, 2006). The technical development laid the foundation for an increasing number of mobile service users with high mobile Web penetrations. The highest is seen in Germany and Italy (34% for each), followed by France with 28%, while in the U.S., 19% account for mobile internet usage (ComScore, 2006). One of the largest growing services is mobile games, with 59.9 million downloaded in 2006 (Telephia, 2006). Compared to the overall availability of handsets, the continuing high complexity and dynamic of mobile technologies accounts for limited mobile service adoption rates and business models in data services. Therefore, particular aspects of mobile technologies as a basis of promising business concepts within mobile commerce are illustrated in the following on three different levels: First on the network level, whereas available technology alternatives for the generation of digital radio networks need to be considered; second, on the service level, in order to compare different transfer standards for the development of mobile information services; third, on the business level, in order to identify valuable application scenarios from the customer point of view.
Digital Radio Networks
In the past, the analysis of mobile radio technology has often been limited to established technology standards, as well as their development in the context of wide-area communication networks. Thus, in the following four chapters, alternatives of architecture and technology are represented.
General Basics of Mobile Radio Technology
Generally connections within mobile radio networks can be established between mobile and immobile stations (infrastructure networks), or between mobile stations (ad-hoc networks) only (Müller, Eymann, & Kreutzer, 2003). Within the mobile radio network, the immobile transfer line is displaced by an unadjusted radio channel. In contrast to analogous radio networks where the communication signal is directly transferred as a continuing signal wave, within the digital radio network, the initial signal is coded in series of bits and bytes by the end terminal and decoded by the receiver.
The economically usable frequency spectrum is limited by the way of usage, as well as by the actual stage of technology, and therefore represents a shortage for mobile radio transmissions. Via so called “multiplexing,” a medium can be provided to different users by the division of access area, time, frequency, or code (Müller et al., 2003; Schiller, 2003).
In contrast to fixed-wire networks, within radio networks, the signal spread takes place directly similar to light waves. Objects within the transfer area can interfere with the signal spread—that is why there is the danger of a signal deletion within wireless transmission processes. In order to reduce such signal faults, spread spectrum techniques distribute the initial transmission bandwidth of a signal onto a higher bandwidth (Schiller, 2003). The resulting limitation of available frequency can be minimized by the combination of spread spectrum techniques with multiple access techniques. Those forms of combination are represented, for example, by the Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS), where each transmitter changes the transfer frequency according to a given hopping sequence, or the Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS), where the initial signal spread is coded by a predetermined pseudo random number.
Key Terms in this Chapter
GSM: In 1982, the European conference of post and communication administration founded a consortium for the coordination and standardization of a future pan-European telephone network called “Group Spécial Mobile” that was renamed as “Global System for Mobile Communications” later.
Universal Mobile Telecommunications System: UMTS, sometimes also referred to as “3GSM,” is a third generation mobile phone technology using Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (W-CDMA). W-CDMA is part of the IMT-2000 family of 3G standards, as an alternative to CDMA2000, EDGE, and the short range DECT system. UMTS with High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) theoretically supports up to 14.0 Mbit/s data transfer rates.
Multiplex: Within digital mobile radio networks three different multiplexing techniques can be applied: Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA), Frequency Division Multiple Access (FDMA), and Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA).
Packet Switching: Packet-switched networks divide transmissions into packets before they are sent. Each packet can be transmitted individually and is sent by network routers following different routes to its destination. Once all the packets forming the initial message arrive at the destination, they are recompiled.
Local Area Radio Network: Mobile radio networks can either be built up as wide area networks consisting of several radio cells, or as local area networks usually consisting of just one radio cell. Depending on the signal reach of the used transmission technology, a local area network can range from several meters up, to several hundred meters.
Near Field Communication: Short range wireless technology using RFID standard, operating at the 13.56MHz frequency.
Circuit Switching: Circuit-switched networks establish a permanent physical connection between communicating devices. For the time of the communication, this connection can be used exclusively by the communicating devices.
Bluetooth: A specification for personal radio networks, named after the nickname of the Danish king Harald who united Norway and Denmark in the tenth century.
Wide Area Radio Network: A wide area radio network consists of several radio transmitters with overlapping transmission ranges.
Personal Area Radio Network: Small-sized local area network can also be named as wireless personal area network or wireless close-range networks.