3G: THE EVOLUTION
Almost 10 or 20 years ago, we might not have imagined that mobile phones will become an integral part of our lives. I have a personal experience with a friend who recently lost her mobile phone. She basically uses her phone for everything from work such as sending e-mails to keeping touch with friends and families via voice and video calls. This incident has made her depressed and as she described it, it was as if she has lost someone very important in her life and she felt helpless without her mobile phone. This makes me realize that mobile phone with the 3G technology has made an impact on our daily lives and this write up is meant to look at the specific areas that 3G has played a pivotal part in. however, before that, let us briefly look at the history of the emergence of 3G.
3G is construed as the newest third generation mobile phone networks which enables the users to perform wireless internet surfing and high speed transfer of voice and media data on the move. The first mobile technology using this wireless communication concept is called 1G which is introduced in the 1980s and the standard used is Advanced Mobile Phone service (AMPS). Back then, the only service offered is the voice service-using analogue but there is no availability of data transfer service. Subsequently, Europe has introduced 2G technology based on the GSM (general service mobile) standards which were later changed to WAP Wireless Application Protocol) standards. This 2G technology has a maximum data transfer rate of 14.4kb/per second and digital voice concept is also introduced for the first time. However, 2G technology has not received positive feedback from mobile phone users in Europe and according to survey done by (Nairn, 2001), only about 6 percent of users utilizes this technology end of year 2000. Meanwhile, at almost the same time, in Japan, a mobile network operator known as DoCoMo has a first trial at the 3G technology by enabling its 2G users to surf the Internet using its i-mode platform and this has successfully created a successful 30 million customer base. Europe is not giving up and retaliated by introducing another technology called 2.5G which runs on General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) which is deemed to be faster than its predecessor 2G and even i-mode. This packet-based network technology has a data transfer rate of more than 144kb per second and with the introduction of Enhanced Data GSM Environment (EDGE), it has catapulted to a bandwidth of 384 kb per second and (McCartney, 2001) has indicated as of May 2001, there are about 30 2.5G service providers in Europe. Commencing from mid year 2002, 3G network technology has emerged and this has resulted in the increase of bandwidth and speed of data transfer rate to more than 2Mbps. Though there is no common universal 3G standard as yet, basically the technology used are such as W-CDMA (wideband code division multiple access), CDMA-2000 and UMTS (universal mobile telecommunications system). Irregardless of what technology or standard is used, 3G has definitely provided the development of more and more Internet-related services such as data and video streaming, e-payments and others.
3G AND BANKING SERVICES
Most of us must have been to financial institutions known as banks to perform banking such as withdrawals, deposits of cash and many others. Imagine that your nearest bank is 2 kilometers from your home and you need to urgently transfer some funds to one of your relatives. Imagine again that you need to face all the hassles of physically driving to the bank, finding a vacant car park in a very busy commercial area, fill in some forms, collecting a number and waiting for your turn to be called and finally proceeding to the counter for the bank officer to process your transaction. All these can be solved if your mobile phone is WAP-enabled equipped with 3G technology. At the click of the...