Broadband Opportunity: A Mini Series - Wireless report_highlightss

Published - Aug 2001| Analyst - Philip Leggiere| Code - IFT031A
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Report Highlights

  • Expenditures in the U.S. on high-speed wireless data networks totaled an estimated $24 billion in 2000.
  • Increasing at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 30.4%, expenditures will rise to nearly $91 billion in 2005.
  • Mobile data, the largest single area of spending, will continue to hold that distinction, growing at a projected AAGR of 30.6% to reach $76 billion by 2005.
  • Fixed wireless networks, which accounted for just under $2.5 billion in 2000, will grow at a projected 32.5% AAGR to top $10 billion by 2005.
  • Paging, will remain the smallest category throughout, accounting for just over $5 billion in 2005, while rising at an AAGR of 25.5%.



The possibility of two-way communication via wireless devices has been an integral part of popular imagination since Dick Tracy's wristwatch phone captivated readers of comic strips nearly 60 years ago. Most of the technologies that were to meld in the creation of cellular telephones and wireless data networks have been around nearly as long, if not longer, than the Dick Tracy comic strip. Only in the past 15 to 20 years, however, has the promise of wireless networks become commercially practical, first in the world, particularly among mobile professionals, and then to mainstream consumers.

Since being introduced on a wide scale in the mid-1980s, wireless services have radically changed telecommunications and other industries. By the end of the 1990s, nearly 15% of telephone subscriptions worldwide was for mobile telephones (cellular or personally communications service [PCS]), making mobile telephony a strong competitor to fixed wire line in the U.S. and developed world, and making mobile the dominant means of telecommunications in developing nations, such as Cambodia.

Spurred on by the continuing processes of miniaturization and squaring of chip capacity, known as Moore's Law, mobile phones and other portable devices have also begun to acquire many of the attributes of personal computers. As wireless technology move from analog to digital and from being circuit-switched to packet-switched, new, so-called second- and third-generation wireless communications systems are being designed to carry data as well as voice. With potential download speeds approaching 2.4 Mbps, new broadband wireless systems promise to make wireless Internet connectivity competitive with wireline digital subscriber line (DSL) and cable modems, and these fast, new mobile systems can enable not only e-mail and text, but high-resolution video, music, and multimedia files reception.

The next burgeoning phase of wireless will encompass not only the telecommunications sector, but related industries, including computer networking, hardware and software applications, Internet content and services industries, as well as e-commerce technology.

This report will explore the historical evolution and unique structure of this new industry. It will also explore its most recent technological and market dynamics.


The wireless network industry has, over its short history, been a fertile meeting ground for a panoply of different companies and industries. These include traditional wireline carriers that have spun off separate wireless divisions, independent entrepreneurial wireless firms, hardware equipment vendors of handsets, other mobile devices, personal computer companies, and software developers. The report is designed for the marketers of these industries. By focusing on how high-speed wireless is moving from simple voice communication to converged voice/data/video, it will help supply marketers to grasp the key trends and trajectories that are shaping new wireless networks.

In exploring the field, readers will get an overview of the new and innovative wireless communication technologies, including code division multiplex access (CDMA), CDMA-2000, Bluetooth, EDGE, microwave multipoint distribution system (MMDS), local multipoint distribution system (LMDS), and others. Readers will also receive detailed information on leading products, services, and applications within the mobile-wireless, fixed wireless, and two-way paging sectors of this industry, as well as an examination of the emerging dynamics of emerging markets.


This study delineates the most critical developments in high-speed digital wireless networks over the past several years, tracing the history of the field as well as reporting on the current state of the art. It will examine the near-term commercial opportunities and challenges of several different technologies and products. Through the study of historic patterns, as well as new and impending technological breakthroughs, forecasts are made of dominant market expenditure trends projected from 2000 to 2005.


This BCC report includes all aspects of high-speed digital wireless data and converged voice-data networks, including infrastructure hardware, telecommunication services, software, and network access devices. The report also takes into account historic and emerging demographic and usage trends, as well as technology expenditures.

Included are packet-switched digital mobile wireless, fixed wireless, and two-way paging networks carrying data at speeds of over 115 Kbps. This encompasses the so-called "2.5-generation" technologies (2.5G), as well as emerging third-generation technologies (3G). It will exclude, however, analog wireless voice phone services and the second-generation, low-speed circuit-switched wireless networks, including time division multiplex access (TDMA) and global system for mobile communications (GSM), and those capable of transmission speeds at or below 14.4 Kbps.


Preparation of this report involved in-depth study and critical analysis of published data from a wide variety of government and private sources. Industry projections have been made by BCC based on original studies of economic, social, and technological trends, as well as a critical examination of projections made by industry and other public sources.

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