We've been talking about the overlap between 3G systems and Wifi systems, and wondering what will come of them. Well, at this week's CTIA conference, the wireless carriers are doing everything they can to tell us how much they really love Wifi. It's no suprise to hear VoiceStream saying this, since they bought MobileStar's Wifi network. What will be more telling is what they really do to offer Wifi to customers. They quote Deutsche Telekom's CEO (VoiceStream's parent company) saying that he considers Wifi to be "3G with training wheels". I think that statement says more about how the carriers really feel about Wifi. The fact is that Wifi is better than 3G at many things, and worse at many other things. It's not 3G on training wheels - it's just a completely different system with it's own benefits and limitations. It's much faster and simpler than any 3G system that we'll see in the next five years. However, it is limited by range. I think if the carriers really want to offer the best possible customer experience they need to look on both networks as potential offerings - and not lower one to being the other "on training wheels".
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