2006 promises hi-speed wireless boom

Several years and billions of dollars after they first announced plans to build out high-speed, third-generation wireless networks, Verizon Wireless and Sprint now have them in place.

For as little as $25 a month, consumers now have access to speeds comparable to those at a Wi-Fi hotspot wherever they travel, without having to stay tethered to a local coffee shop.

PC makers are scrambling to adopt the technology, too. Wi-Fi rapidly went from optional add-on to standard equipment in laptops, and 3G is following the same pattern. This year, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and Lenovo all announced plans to include chips in their latest laptops that will use Verizon’s 3G network, and Panasonic is embedding Sprint chips in some of its line. You’ll see many of these laptops for the first time in January at CES.

The widespread adoption of 3G networks and services could have a big impact on Wi-Fi. 3G is vastly easier to use: You sign up for one account and pay one bill, while relying on Wi-Fi hotspots could easily find you signing up for half a dozen hotspot providers and having to track as many usernames and passwords. Full Story….

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