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Wireless Internet access: 3G vs. WiFi?


  • Lehr, William
  • McKnight, Lee W.


This article compares and contrasts two technologies for delivering broadband wireless Internet access services: "3G" vs. "WiFi". The former, 3G, refers to the collection of third-generation mobile technologies that are designed to allow mobile operators to offer integrated data and voice services over mobile networks. The latter, WiFi, refers to the 802.11b wireless Ethernet standard that was designed to support wireless LANs. Although the two technologies reflect fundamentally different service, industry, and architectural design goals, origins, and philosophies, each has recently attracted a lot of attention as candidates for the dominant platform for providing broadband wireless access to the Internet. It remains an open question as to the extent to which these two technologies are in competition or, perhaps, may be complementary. If they are viewed as in competition, then the triumph of one at the expense of the other would be likely to have profound implications for the evolution of the wireless Internet and structure of the service-provider industry.

Suggested Citation

  • Lehr, William & McKnight, Lee W., 0. "Wireless Internet access: 3G vs. WiFi?," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(5-6), pages 351-370, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:telpol:v:27:y::i:5-6:p:351-370

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ermelinda Kordha & Klodiana Gorica & Lavdosh Ahmetaj, 2011. "Managing It Infrastructure For Information Society Development. The Albanian Case," Romanian Economic Business Review, Romanian-American University, vol. 6(2), pages 122-131, June.
    2. Lehr, William & Oliver, Miquel, 2014. "Small cells and the mobile broadband ecosystem," 25th European Regional ITS Conference, Brussels 2014 101406, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
    3. Bert Sadowski & Mathijs Verheijen & Alberto Nucciarelli, 2010. "Strategic Options for Mobile Broadband Services: The Case of a Municipal WiMAX Network in The Netherlands," Chapters,in: Promoting New Telecom Infrastructures, chapter 7 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Vinoth Gunasekaran & Fotios Harmantzis & Kevin Ryan, 2008. "Strategic investment analysis for migration beyond 3G wireless networks," Netnomics, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 47-75, January.
    5. Michail Katsigiannis & Timo Smura & Thomas Casey & Antti Sorri, 2013. "Techno-economic modeling of value network configurations for public wireless local area access," Netnomics, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 27-46, November.
    6. Dr. Carleen Maitland, 2003. "The Delft UMTS Testbed and End-user Security Features," Working Papers 03-09, NET Institute, revised Oct 2003.
    7. Lee, ChanGi & Lee, SeongCheol & Lee, DeockHee & Lee, HyeongJik, 2006. "Optimal Bundle of Multimedia Services in Emerging Mobile Markets," MPRA Paper 3551, University Library of Munich, Germany.


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