Don't hold your breath for 3G services

3G might be the buzz word of the moment but don't expect to see any 3G services in the near future, says Alcatel's number two man, Jozef Cornu.

3G might be the buzz word of the moment but don’t expect to see any 3G services in the near future, says Alcatel’s number two man, Jozef Cornu.

“These companies are paying tens of millions of dollars for the licences – far more than anyone expected. Do you think they won’t try to recoup that expense?”

3G spectrum auctions in Europe have raked in 10 times what governments were expecting to receive – 3G spectrum blocks will allow telecommunication companies to offer high-speed data connectivity via a cellphone link.

Cornu was speaking at CommunicAsia, the largest telecommunications fair in South East Asia. Alcatel is one of half a dozen cellphone manufacturers that has launched a WAP capable cellphone this year, yet Cornu believes it will be a number of years before such functionality can be put to use.

WAP, or Web-application protocol, allows Web pages to be re-sized for smaller screens, like palmtop PCs or cellphones.

“There are carriers around the world still to take full use of the functionality offered by 2G spectrum, yet they feel obliged to bid in these auctions because otherwise they will be seen to be left behind.” Cornu offers the example of Telecom France.

“If Telecom France said it would not bid in the 3G auction in France, investors would look at the company and ask what its future growth plan is. It has no choice but to bid, even though it won’t be in a position to offer 3G services for some years to come.”

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