Europe is leading the way in the wireless internet race despite new figures released by IDC which predict that 84 million people in the US will adopt the technology by 2005.
IDC research claims the number of wireless subscribers in the US is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 73 per cent and is estimated to reach 84 million users by 2005, from 5 million in 2000.
According to Charul Vyas, senior research analyst at IDC, business users will set the trend in wireless adoption: "Businesses tend to introduce new services and devices to their employees first, and mobile employees have a need for highly functional devices with higher speed wireless internet capabilities."
IDC believes that the uptake in wireless web services will be boosted in 2003 by wireless data rates being faster than landline dial-up rates as carriers roll out their 2.5G and 3G networks. It also sites more functional end-user equipment and always-on capabilities as instigators.
John Newlyn, business development manager at wireless application vendor Attachmate, said: "I believe Europe will lead the way because of the good work that GSM has done, and in four years' time the US will only be at the level of saturation of mobile devices that Europe is at now. By then, Europe will be 75 per cent saturated."
Newlyn added that consumers will probably begin to widely use the internet wirelessly in 2003, but corporates sending textural information via wireless devices will use it earlier.
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