Ericsson has staked a claim on tomorrow's wireless Internet market sending a strong warning to traditional networking vendors that another player has hit the scene.
The company's local arm has demonstrated what it believes is Australia's first live mobile Internet wideband network - more than a year ahead of expected commercial rollouts.
With NSW's Minister for Information Technology, Kim Yeadon, videoconferencing from a waiting van parked outside Ericsson headquarters in North Ryde, Karl Sundstrom, Ericsson Australia's MD espoused the virtues of Ericsson's new push into voice-data convergence over the Web.
Although the technology remains a year away from local commercial deployment, Sundstrom claims it is currently being rolled out in Japan, followed by Europe in the first and second quarters of 2001.
Ericsson's 3G, or third generation mobile wireless Internet access, boasts speeds of up to 2Mbps and Sundstrom claims the technology has a myriad of applications from the consumer level, right up to commercial videoconferencing for health, education and business.
The demonstration relayed information over a several kilometre radius at 472kbps, around eight times faster than normal standard home/office PC connectivity and up to 50 times faster than mobile phones, according to a statement released by Ericsson.
Armed with an arsenal of high-end voice/data IP switches and routers, the Swedish telco and mobile phone manufacturer is now determined to challenge the old stable of networking pedigrees such as Cisco, Lucent and Nortel, in the Internet networking space.
Despite Ericsson's new foray into General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) and 3G connectivity a cloud hangs over the channel waiting to see how the vendor will take its new product suite to market.
Daryl Joyce, director of business development for Ericsson, told ARN that opportunities exist for the 800-plus companies in Ericsson's Developer's Zone partnering program.
Admittedly Ericsson is not a "legs on the ground" company in Australia according to Joyce, who believes the vendor will turn to "application integration partners" rather than traditional networking resellers.
While Joyce confirmed Ericsson's consumer business, such as mobile phones, will continue through retail channels often aligned with the various carriers supporting phone contracts, Ericsson's high-end wireless voice/data IP connectivity is geared around new and emerging telecommunications applications.
However, leveraging Ericsson's clout in the carrier market, coupled with its network integration services, could force a potential shakeup of the wireless networking industry.
The message sent by Ericsson's 3G demonstration last week was that the industry keenly awaits the Australian Communications Authority auctions in Q1 next year to determine available radio spectrums.
Ericsson reportedly supports the largest private R&D investment in Australia and Minister Yeadon urged more organisations companies to come to the party.
"I encourage other companies to follow suit and create a competitive market place for Internet access through mobile phone services," Yeadon said. "Our own commitment to access and online services is backed by a $1 billion, three year investment plan for infrastructure, services, business development and education and training."