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Text H. Developing Countries Seek to Upgrade Their Telecoms Networks

As developing countries seek to upgrade their telecoms networks, they are faced with difficult choices.

On the one hand, they have the advantage of being able to forget about rolling out national fixed line networks. In some countries, teledensity is as low as 4%, so expanding a wired network to cover an entire population is far too expensive. The result is that they can bypass an old technology and move straight to a national wireless network to provide broadband and voice [VoIP] services.

On the other hand, there is a difficult choice to make - Wi-Max or 3G?

In many developing countries, Wi-Max [Worldwide interoperability for Microwave Access] has already made a huge impact. It delivers high-speed access wirelessly, enabling fixed and mobile broadband services over large coverage areas. It is an IP-based system and comes in two versions, fixed and mobile. Fixed Wi-Max is suited for delivering wireless last mile access for fixed broadband services, similar to DSL. Mobile Wi-Max supports both fixed and mobile applications with improved performance and capacity while adding full mobility. In India, Tata has launched what it says will be the world's biggest Wi-Max network, with a projected cost of $600 million.

In the other corner is 3G (and coming soon, 4G and LTE), з well-established wireless network in developed countries. 3G has evolved from the voice-centric telecoms world but is able to deliver not just voice but high-speed broadband access as well. The last ten years have seen the growth of huge networks in the developed world, and emerging nations are catching up rapidly. China is investing billions of dollars in rolling out a nationwide 3G network that will reach 70% of the population, and the Asia Pacific region expects to have over 500 million 3G subscribers in the next few years.

In the longer term, we are already starting to see the convergence of Wi-Max and 3G. While Wi-Max has broadened to become more mobile and capable of being used for media services, 3G cellular has become increasingly broadband, resulting in practical convergence between these fields of development. What's more, both are driven to use the same core sets of technologies.



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At the moment, developing countries still have to make a choice between the two systems, and are faced with the familiar Betamax vs VHS or BluRay vs HO decision. But if the two technologies can co-operate rather than compete, then the future of broadband and voice services in developing countries will look a lot brighter.

5.13 Answer the following questions:

1) Why are some developing countries not developing their wired networks?

2) What suggests that Wi-Max and 3G are equally suitable for developing

countries?

3) According to the text, what will happen to Wi-Max and 3G in the future?

 

5.14 Over to you:

1) What wireless technologies are being used in your country?

2) What are the limits to wireless technology when compared to fixed line?

3) Can you see the world becoming entirely wireless in the future?


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Talking about change | Topic 2: Education

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