Analysts: Wireless Data Might Grow

Recent developments in wireless networks suggest that users may soon be able to access the Internet while on the road, in the air, or at the beach. A new report says that wireless data use may balloon, if providers ramp up their networks.

The Cahners In-Stat Group says that wireless data users could number 1.3 billion by 2004, accessing data through digital phones, PDAs, and other wireless small devices. The report also said that the wireless infrastructure will need to be upgraded before data becomes a popular service, since many users are accustomed to the relatively large bandwidth of landline modems and broadband connections.

In-Stat says that, on average, 3 million wireless messages were sent per month in 1999, including pager text messages and email. They presume that this figure will grow to 244 billion messages per month in 2004.

In additon, In-Stat expects that e-commerce and direction services will also drive the wireless data market. The analysts say that security and privacy are crucial, however, to the growth of these markets.

The report also noted that while in the U.S., personal Internet access is dominated by landline modem services, modem access is expensive in Europe and Japan, making wireless data much more popular. The group suggests that these markets may grow sooner than the domestic market.

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