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Is your country 3G ready?

Posted on 17-Feb-2003 23:37 | Filed under: News

3G & Wi-Fi Pacific, an industry newsletter, presents the first ever "3G Global Readiness Index", a unique survey of 40 countries ranking their readiness for next generation wireless services.

The survey measured demonstrated consumer and economic behavior, technology adoption rates and regulatory and cost settings viewed as essential to the long-term success of 3G. It is not necesssarily a measure of early supply side-driven adoption, such as that seen in South Korea.

European countries figured high in the rankings, with Finland coming third, Switzerland 5th and Norway 6th. The USA came 4th and Canada came 8th in the rankings.

Although some Asian nations are already demonstrating early 3G adoption, Asia generally ranked poorly. After Japan, the next highest Asian nation was Singapore at 16, Hong Kong at 17 and South Korea at 19. Although South Korea is currently the leading nation for early 2.5G and 3G adoption, the survey found that it may ultimately have difficulty sustaining its leading position as a result of relatively modest figures for personal income, cellular penetration and relatively high 3G license costs (South Korean operators are obliged to build dedicated 3G networks and pay license fees, with current services offered through 2.5G upgrades) Likewise, although the Philippines is the world's leading SMS user this survey betrays the fact that this usage is driven by a desire to evade voice charges. The Philippines ranked 32nd, weighed down by low incomes, low cellular and Internet adoption and a weak commercial popular culture industry.

The survey measured nations across eight different criteria: - Existing cellular penetration, which tends to flatter European countries and tiger Asian economies against North America and larger Asian countries. - Existing Internet user penetration, which favors English-speaking and rich countries over South European and poorer countries. - - Purchasing power - Costs of 3G licensing, with weighting to cheap, non-existent or technology-agnostic markets, and negative weighting for markets with high or mandatory 3G licensing and network costs. - Technology spending as a percentage of GDP - Size of commercial popular culture industry, in view of early applications such as pop song ring downloads, digital imaging and related content - Daily commuting duration, in view of early propensity of mobile apps for "killing time". Some markets with high commuter populations but short transit durations lose weighting in this category. - Degree of liberalization and openness in 3G and Wi-Fi licensing, rewarding nations with regulatory arrangements for Wi-Fi class licensing, MVNO mandates, multiple licenses and technology transparency.

The survey, unsurprisingly, found that some countries performed poorly on all indicators, especially the less developed nations of Asia. Some high-profile cellular markets in Asia which might have been expected to rank better such as Taiwan and China ranked lowly because of inferior penetration, regulation and technology usage indicators.


1: Japan
2: Australia
3: Finland
4: United States
5: Switzerland
6: Norway
7: Sweden
8: Canada
9: Denmark
10: Netherlands
11: Britain
12: France
13: New Zealand
14: Ireland
15: Germany
16: Singapore
17: Hong Kong
18: Israel
19: South Korea
20: Taiwan
21: Spain
22: Italy
23: Malaysia
24: South Africa
25: Brazil
26: Russia
27: Thailand
28: Mexico
29: China
30: Brunei
31: Iran
32: Philippines
33: India
34: Sri Lanka
35: Vietnam
36: Pakistan
37: Burma
38: Indonesia
39: Cambodia
40: Bangladesh