Vodafone's Sarun Asks Industry to Work Together
By Eric Lin, Tue May 11 22:30:00 GMT 2004

At the Financial Times' World Mobile Communications Conference, Vodafone CEO Arun Sarin urged the industry to cooperate on technologies beyond 3G.

Back when the industry was selling 3G to the public years ago, they made it sound like a mobile Grand Unified Theory. Voice and Data were supposed to be little packets zipping around on a universally compatible network. Although both major 3G protocols rely on CDMA technology, they're still not compatible- and neither initial implementation uses packet transmission for voice either. Sarun is hoping that the industry can come together and make those original 3G dreams come true -- in 4G or beyond.

Although he would eventually like everyone operating on the same standard, Sarun also notes that he doubts Vodafone will convert their entire network to 3G. He said some areas won't produce enough return on the investment or other technologies may come along first, so he won't guarantee 100% 3G coverage. For instance, Vodafone KK is actually testing Flarion Wireless Broadband as a high speed data alternative, just like Nextel.

Sarin sees 3G as a step on the evolutionary path, not the destination (or the big bang as he calls it). Which begs the question, when it comes to technology -- mobile or otherwise -- is there ever an end game, a point where we say this is good, or fast, or small enough? Even if 4G isn't the be all and end all of wireless technology, it would be handy if it could finally unified carriers and manufacturers under one technological banner.