The next mobile technology war
Prior to the advent of the cellular mobile phone industry, there were mobile systems available. However, these were effectively radiotelephones and most could be found in the high-end cars of the rich and famous. Way out of the reach of the majority of consumers.
The mobile phone industry has to be one of the most competitive markets on the planet. From the early days, there were only a few companies producing brick sized handsets by companies like Nokia and Motorola were working on analogue systems. These phones cost several thousand pounds and were only available to the high earners in society. The analogue network continued throughout the 1990s and smaller handsets, albeit still chunky, began to appear by various companies. This newer technology was far more realistic and available to the masses and sales boomed. Along with the increase in handsets, the number of companies offering a mobile network increased. This is really where the competition and the war for customers really started. BT, O2, Orange, Vodafone, TMobile etc. Some became merged with others, some sold on and names were changed fairly regularly it seemed.
By the mid to late 1990s 2G digital networks appeared. It was now possible to access the internet. Along with handsets, a large number of business ‘tablets’ appeared on the scene. Anyone using the internet this way will have been extremely frustrated by how slow the system was. Having said that it still changed the game quite considerably. Next came 3G and the world of the internet was now a reality. Phone designs, screen sizes and a whole array of apps from games to online banking saw sales in units saw. By the mid-2000’s it was becoming the norm to see most people with a smartphone.
The start of the speed war
With 3G networks running smoothly from 2003, only handset designs really changed. Things started to move apace with the advent of 4G. This new, much faster data service meant that, apart from a few forward-thinking companies, most handsets in use in 2010, were not capable of accessing 4G. For the population that just had to have the latest gadget, this to them rendered their 3G handset redundant. Apple saw sales in their units absolutely soar when 4G was released.
Chinese technology and market share
Whilst Apple and Samsung have spent the last few years fighting lawsuits against each other. Spending endless days in court after one continually accusing the other of stealing hardware and software designs, in China, another company, Huawei was about to cause a stir. Huawei is huge in the telecommunications market in China. They also help serve several international telecoms companies. They began producing smartphones with higher specifications than many models in the western market. Although popular in Asia, it took a little while for the company’s name to really take off in Europe. That has now changed and probably will continue to do so unless the telecoms industry of Europe can stop the charge.
The problem is 5G and the corresponding equipment to make it work. Huawei wants to infiltrate their extending market with their equipment. The problem is, that the companies who are working hard to get 5G rolled out in Europe have at least two issues. They don’t want the Chinese technology to undermine the equipment they have been developing for the last few years. The other issue is can they trust Chinese technology? In this world of Nano-espionage, those telecom giants maintain that China could, in fact, use their expertise to spy on the Western world without them even knowing.
Right now, it is up in the air. Huawei’s smartphones and other consumer products are here to stay. What happens to the behind the scenes technology remains to be seen! Watch this space?!