Wireless has come a long way, despite the hype, says AT&T chief

The wireless industry has come a long way in the past three years even though some predictions have not become reality, said John...

The wireless industry has come a long way in the past three years even though some predictions have not become reality, said John Zeglis, chairman and chief executive officer of AT&T Wireless Services, at the Comdex show.

Zeglis admitted that the scenarios enabled by wireless services that he presented at the Las Vegas trade show three years ago were over the top. For example, in 2000 Zeglis talked about a world in which chairs, clothes and air fresheners combine with wireless networks to "deliver a total sensory experience". 

"The line between audacious vision and over-the-top hype can be fairly thin and easy to cross," he said.

What has come true is that user numbers have grown significantly and available bandwidth for data services has increased.

Zeglis called upon other operators to co-operate more on interoperability and standards and said the US government should free up more radio spectrum for wireless carriers.

Looking to the future, Zeglis said, "Wireless is going to displace wired big time."

Five per cent of existing wireless users have said they do not have a wired line.

AT&T Wireless is hatching a plan to make landlines redundant. When the customer is at home, all calls to the mobile phone could be forwarded to a base station device via Bluetooth. That base station would be plugged in to a regular phone jack and would forward the calls to wired phones around the house, Zeglis said.

This setup would also allow users to dial out from those regular phones, but using the mobile phone network instead of a landline carrier.

Joris Evers writes for IDG News Service

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