Third World Wireless Coming Fast

Use of wireless devices for data will grow twice as quickly in underdeveloped parts of the world between now and 2010 than in the so-called First World, according to a new study released Thursday by Telecompetition Inc.

That’s because mobile data access in developing and emerging technologies is driven by a fundamental need for basic communication services while that need isn’t as urgent in developed countries, the report says.

“Developing and emerging economies are highly motivated to build an infrastructure as quickly as possible,” stated Eileen Healy, president of Telecompetition. “Adequate communications infrastructure is widely recognized as a key success factor for emerging economies. Mobile networks can often be built more quickly than a traditional wireline infrastructure, and the new IP-based mobile technologies will provide a more cost-effective way for developing countries to expand both voice and data communications.”

In essence, wireless data capabilities make the Net-ready phone an affordable data terminal in poor countries, the report says.

The report predicts that, by 2010, there will be 729 million mobile data subscribers in developing and emerging economies. That number will be about the same as the number of subscribes in developed nations, the study says.

Looked at from a different angle, subscriber penetration for mobile services in less developed countries will triple by 2007, the study says. However, subscriber growth in developed countries will peak and even start declining in 2004.

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