Europe looks set to lose the lead it currently holds over the US in the use of wireless mobile communications, according to a senior Nokia executive.
The US has seen a revolution in both wireless technology and more importantly pricing, according to Bob Brace, VP of mobile solutions at Nokia Internet Communications, speaking at IDC's Mobility Conference in London.
"We are in danger of falling behind the US, where you can get all the GPRS you can use for $20 a month," he said. Just like flat-rate broadband services, these tariffs rely on economies of scale but provide the networks with a predictable cashflow.
"Europe has been the leader and the US largely fragmented, but there's a been a huge growth in GSM and GPRS in the US," Brace added. "And AT&T just deployed EDGE into all its GSM networks so it can provide 64kbps to all its users."
He noted that US mobile networks initially ignored SMS in favour of wireless email, a decision which he thinks was probably accidental but which is now paying off thanks to email's ability to cross networks and reach non-mobile users too.
"We laughed at their pagers, but e-mail is what's become ubiquitous. It wasn't a planned thing though," he says.