3G fighting fit within the local communications arena
High growth within mobile and wireless solution development and application is fuelling the relevance and impact of third-generation or 3G wireless network technologies.
This is the view of Paul Luff, country manager of SMC Networks South Africa, who says that the rapid increase in adoption of mobile technology (especially smartphones) is being driven by trends such as the convergence of voice, video and data over a single channel (triple play), the consumerization of IT and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device).
Devices are being brought out with higher storage capacity, that are a great deal more compact and can offer reliable connectivity from anywhere – this, says Luff, has spurred the growth and adoption of 3G domestically. It is still viewed as being a technology with enhancements like multimedia access, high-speed communication and global roaming.
“There is a huge penetration of 3G technology in South Africa,” says Luff. “Service providers are targeting their offerings and gearing up infrastructure to capitalise on this rising level of consumer interest. People want to have the benefit of instant communication using a variety of platforms – from instant messaging to SMS to online socialising and interaction via apps – and they want it at a reasonable price.”
It is this demand and deliverable that has service providers scrambling to pitch an array of smart devices and data products to the mass market Luff adds. The intention is to get customers connected and do so quickly.
“3G is the most used form of Internet access. This is because of the ease-of-use associated with the technology, evident in the amount of product available, which can be used simultaneously. The hardware is in place to make it easy to use. When it comes to data, unfortunately the volume of users logging onto networks to connect means that bundles disappear pretty quickly,” he continues.
In addition to widespread adoption amongst South African users, the commercial value of 3G lies in the fact that, as a base for communications, it is more cost-effective than alternatives like ADSL says Luff.
Businesses, particularly small-to-medium sized operations, continue to look to acquire cost-effective communications solutions he continues. “Wireless is considered a more practical solution, given the fact that it is not as resource-intensive and there is scope to use the technology anywhere at anytime. But security remains a top priority for businesses and the reality is that 3G is no less secure or more secure that existing network infrastructure. Appropriate policies must be enforced and steps taken to ensure maximum protection,” Luff explains.
According to Luff 3G will undergo change in line with market developments and the growing maturity of networks – underpinned by the advent of virtual and cloud-based services.