Wireless Technologies for Mobile Computing and Commerce

Wireless Technologies for Mobile Computing and Commerce

David Wright (University of Ottawa, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-054-7.ch097


At the time of writing (1Q06) most countries have a small number (2-6) of major cellular operators offering competing 2.5G and 3G cellular services. In addition, there is a much larger number of operators of WiFi networks. In some cases, a major cellular operator, for example, Deutsche Telekomm and British Telecom, also offers a WiFi service. In other cases, WiFi services are provided by a proliferation of smaller network operators, such as restaurants, laundromats, airports, railways, community associations and municipal governments. Many organizations offer WiFi free of charge as a hospitality service, for example, restaurants. Cellular services offer ubiquitous, low data rate communications for mobile computing and commerce, whereas WiFi offers higher data rates, but less ubiquitous coverage, with limitations on mobility due to business as opposed to technology reasons. Emerging networks for mobile computing and commerce include WiMAX and WiMobile (Wright, 2006), which offer higher data rates, lower costs and city-wide coverage with handoff of calls among multiple base stations. These new technologies may be deployed by the organizations that currently deploy cellular and WiFi networks, and also may give rise to a new group of competitive wireless network operators. This article identifies the capabilities needed for mobile computing and commerce and assesses their technology and business implications. It identifies developments in the wireless networks that can be used for mobile computing and commerce, together with the services that can be provided over such networks. It provides a business analysis indicating which network operators can profitably deploy new networks, and which network operators need to establish business and technology links with each other so as to better serve their customers. The resulting range of next generation service, technologies and network operators available for mobile computing and commerce is identified.

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