E-envoy defends 3G sale



Mike Simons

Alex Allan, the outgoing e-envoy, has slammed claims that the third-generation (3G) mobile licence auction will saddle...



Mike Simons

Alex Allan, the outgoing e-envoy, has slammed claims that the third-generation (3G) mobile licence auction will saddle business with unbearable costs.

Nicholas Negroponte, a leading new technology academic and director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Labs, has led those commentators making the charge.

Allan told Computer Weekly, "I debated this with Negroponte some months ago. I don't agree with his thesis, though it will, of course, be the market that will ultimately decide.

"It was the companies themselves who decided how much the licences were worth, and the auction results in both the UK and Germany indicate that they believe that 3G has a fundamental role in the future."

Negroponte claimed that the development of GPRS (2.5G) services in the next year would limit the uptake of 3G technology, but Allan again disagreed.

"The extra bandwidth provided by 3G should support innovative services that expand m-commerce beyond that possible in a 2G environment," said the e-envoy.

"Provided that the mobile market is competitive - and the UK has taken the opportunity offered by the 3G auction to introduce a new entrant - all the incentives are on the companies to roll out services that consumers want at prices they can afford," Allan concluded.

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