When Cells Divide; December 1993; Scientific American Magazine; by W. Wayt Gibbs; 2 Page(s)
If Benjamin were in Westwood lounging around his parents' pool today, the word whispered in his ear would be "wireless." The wave that has rapidly but calmly lifted radio telecommunications from a niche technology to an $8- billion, 11-million-customer industry in just 10 years is starting to break. It has met another wave: the swell of digital networks as computers evolve from tools of calculation to portals of communication. Caught in the spray, cellular companies are thrashing about to get atop this confluence.
For the industry to thrive, it must simultaneously become more competitive and more cooperative. Simply lowering the price of admission to wireless networks is not enough; the diverse equipment and services must all work together as well. With the right balance, the wireless market could quintuple in the U.S. over the next decade, predict market analysts at Arthur D. Little. That event would bring personal, portable telephone services to 60 million people and their computers by 2005.