We've all heard about 3G mobile networks over the last few years, even if most of us don't exactly know what 3G means. In a nutshell, 1G, or first-generation, cellular networks relied on continuous analog signals (think old phonograph records) to bring mobile technology to the world. Second-generation or 2G networks made the leap to digital technology, providing a quantum improvement in the cost, weight, talk time and features of cellular phone technology (think VHS to DVD). We are in the midst of a massive U.S. roll-out of faster 3G, or third-generation networks, as we speak. Sprint led the way with its EVDO network, which allows for quick Internet access and very-high-speed wireless access. With speeds exceeding 1 million bits of information per second, EVDO is much faster than old modem technology and, in many cases, approaches the speed of modern broadband connections. I've been an EVDO user for years and I swear by it.
Now, the world is about to change again. Sprint has once again leapt ahead of the pack with the first 4G network in the U.S. and perhaps the world. This new technology is based on a standard called WiMax, which one could think of as the prodigy child of traditional cellular technology and the Wi-Fi wireless Internet devices we have in our offices and homes.
What does this mean for marketers? I haven't the faintest idea, but I know it's going to be big. Just consider what happened to the online world when we moved from modems to broadband. Now take that sea change and put it in your pocket wherever you go. An entirely new world of opportunities for mobile businesses and savvy marketers is about to unfold, and the possibilities are amazing. What changes do you think wireless megabit speeds might bring? Let me know and I'll post them here. Who knows, you might get credit for seeing the "next big thing."