You may have heard about the next step for wireless phones that is coming soon—Third Generation Wireless, or 3G. 3G is an umbrella term covering all the new data services that will be coming soon to your wireless phone and network.

These services include high-speed data for e-mail and Web content, downloading songs, and even video conferencing. Although all this sounds great, it will take a tremendous amount of effort and money on the wireless carriers’ sides to update their networks for the increased amount of bandwidth that will be required to send these services over the wireless network.

The first generation of wireless was pure voice without wires.The second generation was the ability to send voice and data using digital signals, which is where the majority of wireless users are today.

There are many phones out there that can access Web sites, send and receive messages, and listen to music. Some wireless networks are being upgraded to allow what is being called 2.5G services, higher speed data than 2G with “always-on” capability, instead of making the user switch from voice to data when they want to use one or he other.

Carriers are starting to prepare for 3G by moving to 2.5G and phone manufacturers are preparing by making phones that can work on today’s 2G and 2.5G networks, and that will be upgradeable to the 3G networks.

The only question remaining for the wireless carriers and the phone manufacturers is “What will be the 3G capability that everyone will absolutely need and be willing to pay extra for?” And the jury is definitely still out on that question. Maybe those lucky enough to buy the new 3G phones in Japan (costing approximately $600) will discover the answer to that question and tell the rest of the wireless world.

Above is an article written by the author in another site, years ago. A lot has changed since then.

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