Thoughts On 3G

Recently T-Mobile joined the crowd of carriers providing extensive 3G services. As one of the last horses crosses the finish line, it’s time to consider – has 3G become essential?

3G has been around and commercially viable for well over 5 years now, and reaches hundreds of millions of phones across the world. Soon, some say, we will hit the billion mark. When a billion people around you are using a certain service, is it fair to say it’s become commonplace? What’s more, vaunted 4G technology has already begun to roll out, implying that the future lies beyond 3G, and thus 3G itself no longer is the future.

Call me old fashioned, but I still use my cell phone primarily for calling people. While I keep up with the technology, the high tech mobile market has largely passed me by in any physical sense, and my LG clamshell (circa 2005) has served me admirably for years – somehow, and I feel validated for always treating the Li-Ion battery as if it really had battery memory here – the battery life still reaches anywhere from 3-5 days. Of course, if I try to connect to the 2.5G internet, the battery life is more like a few hours. For me, that technology actually affects my cell phone usage negatively.

However, hundreds of millions of subscribers can’t be wrong, can they? I’ve never felt the need to shell out for a smartphone and then pay $60 a month for a data plan, although as networks become more and more sophisticated I have to admit my curiosity has been gnawing at me. Tell me, what do you think? Is it time to cash in on my long awaited two year service plan renewal and start using a shiny new phone that can actually use the internet? Is it really worth it to pay $60/month for internet on my phone when I am already paying $40/month for faster internet on my vastly more capable laptop at home?

Regardless of what any of us think, 3G is continuing to grow at a rapid pace, and phones and networks are getting more and more powerful. Take a stroll down hyperlink lane to read some rather amusing predictions and then some actual information. Bajs In 2005 they were predicting 300 million 3G users by 2010.
In 2006, more audacious forecasters were calling for a billion
Today, some now predict a whopping 2.5 billion by 2013. 400 million is what we actually have today in 2009
T-Mobile’s new dongle
WiMax and LTE, the 4G Future.