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Do We Need National or Global Radio Technology Standardization?

Posted on 30 Mar 2012

In the United States, we’re dominated by several wireless radio technologies that cellular devices operate on: CDMA, GSM, HSPA, LTE, WiMAX (and possibly more). What’s the problem with this?

I figured that if we were to standardize on a wireless radio technology, it would solve a lot of these problems. So I posed the question to Martin Cooper, the man who invented the cell phone. He raised a red flag about this saying that it would bring competition to a halt because manufacturers wouldn’t have any reason to innovate or compete, because they’re simply meeting a standard.

But I disagree. Standardizing on a wireless radio technology doesn’t prevent manufacturers and carriers from innovating with device specs (speed, storage, screen size, etc) or features (3G->4G, quad-core for gaming, etc). In fact, I think it frees up room for innovation by giving the manufacturers one less thing to worry about and allowing them to pump out a phone that can be sold across all carriers (saving them money having to tweak the device to work for a different carrier).

Plus, it puts more incentive on the carriers to provide better, more affordable service, because it makes it that much easier for me to take my device and cheaply switch carriers if my contract allows me.



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