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Carriers Circle Their Wagons Around 4G

A number of heavyweight carriers are banding together to influence the development of forthcoming standards that would let users access corporate IT resources using cellular networks. NTT DoCoMo, Sprint, T-Mobile, Vodafone and several others have formed the Next Generation Mobile Networks initiative to define features they would like in 4G networks. Conventional standards bodies, such as the ITU, tend to focus on the needs of equipment vendors. In contrast, the carriers hope NGMN will ensure their own needs are accounted for.

A key goal of NGMN is the creation of "high levels of interoperability." This objective aligns with the concerns of businesses; multiple competing standards in the mobile arena have hindered enterprise adoption of existing 3G mobile technologies. Forty-seven percent of businesses cited cost and complexity as a major obstacle to mobile deployments, according to a survey from the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Another goal of the NGMN is to "support high levels of authentication and security." The Economist survey found 60 percent of businesses were holding back on mobile deployments because of security concerns. --Sean Ginevan, [email protected]