Mobile communication goes broadband. One of the main features
of the third generation (3G) mobile cellular telecommunications
systems is the broad bandwidth. The third generation is an evolutionary
step in mobile communication, but will create a revolution in
mobile service provisioning. This opens up the door for a location
and time independent access to most of the information society
services, including broadband Internet access. The implementation
in Europe will start 2002. The 3G system will allow for a huge
number of new services especially tailored for mobile use and
in addition a full broadband access to Internet.
Already in the early days of mobile communication user preferences
indicated that mobility will play an utmost important role in
the future information society. The information society services
are in general of a broadband nature. The third generation mobile
cellular system has a bandwidth up to 2 Mb/s. The third generation
is an evolutionary development, very much based on the present
narrow band standards, e.g. GSM. The main features are high bandwidth
and fast Internet access combined with mobility. The technical
development takes place in 3GPP, the Third Generation Partnership
Program. This is a global activity where major telecommunications
players from all over the world participate. The implementation
in Europe will start 2002.
The convergence of technologies and services will generate
a huge number of new services. Most information society services
except e.g. normal quality TV can be transported. The high bandwidth
and high data rates offered by 3G in combination with Internet
is enabling a superior content distribution and interaction in
the increasingly IP-centric world. Data communication is expected
to become larger than voice communication in the near future.
Internet is the main driver in this development.
2. The Evolution in Mobile Communication
Mobile communication has been around for about 25 years. In
the beginning the number of users were rather limited, but the
development has in recent years shown an explosive growth. The
two first generations systems for voice communication, whereas
the third generation is developed to become a general-purpose
voice and broadband data system.
The exceptional acceptance and growth of second-generation
mobile communications, GSM, has in some regions already become
almost the "every-mans" commodity. Scandinavian countries
as being the forerunners, more than 2 out of 3 persons do have
a mobile phone. These countries as well show more advanced services
for mobile phones than other regions. Other European countries
are just now catching up fast.
Internet will play a decisive role in the transition into
the mobile information society. It is forecasted that the number
of mobile Internet subscribers will become larger than PCs connected
to Internet already by end of year 2004.
3. The Paradigm Shift
The third generation mobile communication offers broad bandwidth
and/or high bit rate to the user. Applications and services like
e-banking, e-commerce, information services, entertainment and
new kind of mobile focused services will undoubtedly speed up
the move towards the mobile information society. The mobility
makes it possible to be connected to the services independent
of location. The present and especially new services will change
cause a paradigm shift in communications and service provision.
The legacy network operator owned the network and "owned"
their subscribers. The service offered was connectivity, in the
early days only voice later as well low speed data transport
Broad band multimedia transport and high speed Internet connectivity
will change the situation. Content and service providers, user
etc. do offer services, which are networked and can be reached
by anybody and almost anywhere. Such service providers may also
be virtual network operators.
4. Mobile Information Society services
Most of information society services can be applied and used
by third generation mobile equipment. Mobility and location independence
enables new kind of services for mobile use. Such are e.g. Virtual
Home Environment (VHE), location-based services, mobile healthcare,
mobile telematics collaborative work, video conferencing etc.
A categorizing of services and users is difficult, mainly
due to the convergence of equipment and services. Many of the
services will however have a focus on user groups, like business
and private use. Services for private users are e.g. entertainment,
remote learning, remote health care/telemedicin, and remote gaming
and gambling. Services related to business use are e.g. office
extension tele working, remote telematics/telemetry etc.
Many of the services are of a more generic nature like video
telephony, unified messaging etc. New kind of services on demand,
push and pull services will emerge. Much of the service will
be bundled into service special or universal service portals.
5. The Service Portal
A portal is a kind of entrance to various kind of bundled
services. A portal can be a web site or service that offers a
large number of various kind of services, such as e-mail and
e-mail server, server for the users own web pages, forums, search
engines, and on-line shopping malls, network computing, remote
AOL has been one of the first portals to offer various kind of
services and in additional access to Internet. Today most of
the traditional search engines have transformed themselves into
Web portals to attract and keep a larger audience.
The mobile network operators' role will change from the present
voice, SMS and data transport enterprise to become a portal for
various kind of services and in addition offer mobile Internet
connectivity. The mobile operator will also become a connectivity
gateway for a number of services offered by third parties and
as well become a transport provider for virtual network operators.
A portal can be established at almost any part in an end-to-end
system. A portal can offer a cluster of services, which can be
tailored to the users needs. Portals can be at the:
- Content provider
- Network operator
A portal can deliver an almost unlimited number of services
from many applications areas. Main applications may be found
in areas like finance and transactional services, remote computing,
tele-shopping, remote education, communication, travelling support,
e-commerce, information services, lifestyle & entertainment,
news, sport, transactional services and e-banking, remote health
services, just name a few.
6. Example - E-banking
E-banking is one of the very fast growing fields of electronic
services. However, large differences in acceptance and implementation
between the regions occur. Some are related to different time
schedules, others to local needs and available infrastructure.
Relations between the growth of services and the general acceptance
of Internet and mobile telephony can be observed.
A significant difference to the general acceptance of mobile
telephony in Scandinavia can be observed. In Finland and Sweden
e-banking is very popular, whereas the acceptance in Denmark
and Norway is lower. Especially in Finland banking is fast moving
towards wireless e-banking by using specially tailored GSM based
services. The high acceptance in Finland is demonstrated by that
Merita bank of Finland has more private electronic bank accounts
than Germany in total. And this in spite Finland has just 5 million
inhabitants compared to Germany's 80 million.
7. E-commerce and e-transactional services
- The electronic businesses like E-commerce, e-retail, e-transaction,
e-contracting etc. are becoming international businesses. They
will also become one of the most important part of the information
society. All require global and approved standards and rules
to ensure a safe and secure traffic. Also the regulatory environment
need to be harmonized. Even when some standards and rules are
already in place, there is still a lot to be done. Many new initiatives
have been taken to make this happen. The standards organizations
in various regions are progressing on such. Unfortunately these
are still often done on a regional base, and hence competing
standards and systems will occur. Business-to-business e-commerce
used much more than business-to-private. Lack of security has
been a barrier to the implementation of e-commerce in Europe.
New regulations and development in the field of secure data transport
are fueling the growth.
- In order to enable a harmonized global standardization in
the field of e-commerce, United Nations Economic Commission for
Europe together with the global standards organizations, IEC,
ISO and ITU have agreed to cooperate in this field.
E-business enables the market to become global. The well-known
yellow pages are becoming electronic directories. These in combinations
with the general purpose search engines enables the user to find
Mobile systems make e-commerce even user location and time
independent. Regulatory issues are still to be developed, especially
regarding international e-commerce and guarantee questions and
for business-to-business as well regarding legal issues on e-cross
boarder transactions and e-contracting.
Another examples are automatic warehousing and automatic shelf
ordering by using with easy movable terminals. These can be used
by the personal or by the suppliers' agents by walking around.
The mobile system then automatically registers all needs at the
suppliers computer system. Also the local supplier can receive
order directly from end user for immediate delivery, where the
user may do the ordering location independent.
8. Location based Value Added Services
Location based services are new kind of mobile services. The
perspective of substantial revenues from Location-based Value
Added Services (VAS) has taken the industry by storm. ETSI is
currently standardizing a number of technologies, both network
and terminal centric, while a number of proprietary solutions
is already being trialed (e.g., CPS), together with more conventional
With this in mind, the European Commission (EC) organized
in June 1999 a workshop on this issue to launch a much-needed
debate already in the perspective of an eventual mandate to locate
cellular 112 emergency calls in the not so distant future. In
fact, in the context of the 1999 Communications Review, Communication
(COM 1999) 539 of 19/11/99, the EC did propose a time plan calling
for the availability of location information by 1 January 2003,
although the details of such a mandate are not yet clear.
A huge number of business and private based services can be
deployed. Via electronic directories and location based technologies
a user can be guided to wanted service and its location. Such
can e.g. shops, restaurants, theaters etc. Example of business
use e.g. a taxi or truck operator knows the location of each
car in the fleet, a service can be carried out by the car park
owner, given by the network operator or by third party.
9. Office Extension
The office goes remote - where, how and when is becoming more
important. People on the move, difficult to find right people
where the need is, fixed working our in the office etc. are driving
the development towards the mobile office. With the introduction
of the third generation mobile communications, the low bit rate
problem is not anymore the barrier.
The globalization of competition and the reaction on time
to market drives the development towards time limited project
At the same time the move from an industrial society towards
the information society leads to new work concepts e.g. tele-working
and remote working. New specialized networked enterprises will
offer high quality specialist services.
To become successful in the globalization of markets requires
many of the applications to become localized applications, which
take in consideration the local demands like language and culture.
Such demands can in most cases be best solved with local skill
networked to the contractors.
10. Service Provisioning in a Virtual Home Environment, VHE
VHE is a concept to enable service portability across the
borders of UMTS networks. It shall ensure that a user is offered
the same services in a visited network that he has in his home
network, and that those services always have the same personalized
look and feel, regardless of the environment or network through
which they are accessed. This shall also serve to soften the
transition to UMTS and may prove to be an aid in adoption.
By use of data stored on the USIM card (UMTS Subscriber Identity
Module), the visited network shall imitate the subscriber's home
network service environment. This means that there is no need
for the user to adapt or reconfigure his terminal to receive
the services to which he subscribes in his home environment,
hence Virtual Home Environment.
There is a trial running which is allowing users to build
their own menus on internet enabled mobile phones, using personal
assistants. This is viewed as a prototype of a Virtual Home Environment
(VHE), and will provide useful data about the extent to which
customers will want to personalize their service.
However, the UMTS consists of three component networks: fixed,
mobile, and satellite. To fully utilize the VHE concept is however
depending on agreements between operators on the minimum set
of services and data rates that they will offer.
The impact on the information society and related services
when moving from a narrow band voice centric system like GSM
to the broadband multimedia focused system 3G/UMTS will be tremendous
for both users and service providers.
Some governments are already discussing that the authorities
should carry the cost of mobile equipment and communication when
such a device is needed for e.g. medical, social and security
reasons. This clearly indicates that mobile communication has
become a natural part of the society. The information and knowledge
society will hence be a mobile communications and information