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Philips adds weight to 3G doubts

OXFORD, United Kingdom-Scott McGregor, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Philips Semiconductor, has added to the mounting tide of third-generation (3G) criticism by claiming the company is not convinced about the predicted success of services based on the technology.

According to McGregor, the growing acceptance and convergence of General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) and 802.11 wireless local area network (WLAN) technologies will offer similar connectivity to what 3G services promise to provide at some stage in the future. “Also, what will consumers do with all that 3G bandwidth? It may be cool to send movies to each other, but it’s not that convincing,” said the CEO.

Not wanting to let the opportunity pass, McGregor added that there are growing worries about the short battery life of 3G handsets, although he failed to comment on the high battery requirements needed to support an 802.11b card when used within a mobile terminal.

Commenting on the handset business in general, which Philips is making a renewed effort to enter after a dismal first attempt, McGregor predicted the cell-phone industry would slow down. “Annual growth rates of 30 percent per year will drop to 8 percent to 12 percent in the longer term, as consumers go from replacing their phone every two to three years to every four or five years,” he said.

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