Affiliated Organization

Case Western Reserve University, USA


We argue that the transition of the wireless industry from 2G to 3G is more than a simple technology upgrade. The industry’s service profile will move far beyond telephony and services will convergence with the computing and content sectors. This will bring many more players into this already huge industry. Thus the transition to 3G is a major economic transformation and requires a major reconfiguration of the value-network. Technical standards will be essential to the effective operation of wireless systems and, perhaps more importantly, because they will play a critical role in the future coordination of value-networks. During the current transition the standardization process has changed considerably – reflecting changes in the new value-network configurations. While the number of air-interface standards have been reduced to only two the overall number of standards bodies has increased by almost an order of magnitude to support the growing industry’s coordination requirements at other critical interfaces. At the same time the importance of the traditional standards development organization has diminished and industry consortia have taken over responsibility for most of the standardization workload. There is a general consensus that the major standardization battlegrounds, that will influence how the industry gets reorganized, have moved up the stack to the service enabler level. In addition there are indications that the manufacture of handsets and other mobile communications terminals is transitioning to a more horizontal structure.