On Mon, 6 Dec 2004, Benedict Evans wrote:
> Outside the USA, most consumers have never been anywhere that their mobile
> doesn't have reception. Most people have never seen 'no network', exept
> perhaps in the subway or on a remote beach.
I don't buy this at all. I am often in all sorts of places (including
my own apartment!) where the reception is bad enough that I can not
reliably communicate using voice. And it's only been in the last couple
of years that undergroundish places, such as subway stations and
basement-level shops, have really started to get decent coverage. (I'm
talking Docomo here, but presumably, being the biggest, their coverage
is not much worse than anybody else's.) My friend experience pretty much
the same thing.
This is not much different from my friends' and my own experience in New
York, where I didn't even have a landline.
I buy the "evenings just coalesce in a mesh of calls and text messages"
thing, but without the text messages it would be rather more painful.
That said, I agree that current WiFi coverage is so much worse as to
be qualatatively different; I could probably get by with a WiFi phone,
barely, but I wouldn't do it if I had a choice. I am not sure that WiFi
could be expanded to get decent coverage, either; it seems to me it
would require some decent radio engineering, probably better than that
used for the PHS network, and why would anybody put that kind of effort
into an unlicensed band?
However, given the prevelance of text messaging, at least here in Japan,
I think a network without handover and with more limited areas of voice
usability could still do all right. Whether in the end that's enough
cheaper to build than a real cellular network is an open question. WiMax
might be it, but I'm not holding my breath.
Curt Sampson <cjs_at_cynic.net> +81 90 7737 2974
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Received on Tue Dec 7 09:29:26 2004