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Abstract

Reports about mobile wireless technology in the media may be confusing. While we know that the telecommunication industry is in distress, we also observe a phenomenal, indeed unprecedented explosion of the use of mobile wireless devices and services all over the globe. This paper presents a balanced introduction to wireless technology including devices, mobile operating systems, and communication protocols. It discusses standardization efforts, technology evolution paths, and several new and potentially disruptive technologies, some still in the research stage. The paper lists leading global wireless service providers in terms of the number of domestic subscribers and presents an analysis of the six U.S. national operators including their strengths and weaknesses. Only four of them are profitable now. Although the consumer market currently dictates technology evolution, several examples of successful business applications of wireless mobile technology are presented. Finally, the question presented in the title is addressed.

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