The Promise of Wireless Communications

In the context of the developing world, wireless telecommunications hold great promise for overcoming many deficits of infrastructure and access. There are many advantages to wireless technologies that make them well-suited for extending existing networks.

Lower cost and less time to deploy the infrastructure than traditional fixed lines.

Faster activation of individual connections than in fixed line systems. This cuts down on subscriber waiting lists for access to the network.

Avoids potential problems and costs related to theft of copper wire and other equipment.

Mobile wireless offers convenience and flexibility to the user.

Global experience suggests that the rollout of wireless networks can accelerate competition in the telecommunications market, leading to faster rates of innovation, rapidly declining prices, faster network growth and better service quality.

Currently there are limited data applications for mobile wireless. However, as third-generation handheld devices come on to the market, and the deployment of broadband wireless becomes a more cost effective market solution, there will be even more opportunities to extend productive connectivity throughout the developing world.

With increasing availability of mobile data applications, handheld devices should become a good substitute for traditional access to data, removing the need for larger, more expensive personal computers.

Improvements in human interface technology, including voice recognition, may also lead to simpler, easier-to-use devices that will be more accessible to a broader population.

Innovative solutions for extending access become available with the declining cost and increasing power of handheld devices. These include the development of "disposable phones," or pre-paid plans with extremely low-cost telephones.