Mobile Telecommunications Networks
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Mobile Telecommunications Networks

Restructuring as a Response to a Challenging Environment

Peter Curwen and Jason Whalley

During the past decade, no industry has grown faster than that of mobile communications, yet coverage of its operations remains scarce. This state-of-the-art book examines the evolving structure and strategic behaviour of the thirty largest operators in the mobile communications industry.
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Chapter 2: Mobile technology in the modern era

Peter Curwen and Jason Whalley


One of the key factors underpinning the restructuring of the mobile telecommunications sector is undoubtedly technological change. Naturally, this is a factor in any industry to a greater or lesser degree, but what is unique to the mobile sector is the pace at which change is occurring. Curwen and Whalley (2008) contains a full chapter on the subject of technology, yet little more than one page is given over to a preliminary discussion of what is referred to as ‘4G’. Five years on, it is necessary in a similar chapter to give over little more than a page to anything other than 4G. The use of the term 4G results from a tendency to explain technological change as proceeding via a series of ‘generations’ or ‘part-generations’. This is more complicated than it appears at first sight because there is confusion in the public domain as to which technologies fit within which generational numbers. This is particularly true in the case of fourth generation technology (4G), which is widely reported in the media as consisting primarily of Long Term Evolution (LTE), although, in practice, as noted below, LTE should strictly be described as lying somewhere between 3.75G and 4G. Part of the difficulty resides in the fact that a mobile technology can also be described in terms of the speed at which data are transferred, expressed in megabits per second (Mbps).

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