Third-generation (3G) services stumbled into existence and, depending on who you believe, are a white elephant or the next great technological leap.
In the UK, vendors were caught up in an auction frenzy, paying billions of pounds for licences that industry analysts said were overpriced.
Timing being what it is, the telecoms market went into freefall shortly afterwards and wireless networking started to attract attention away from 3G.
Analysts began questioning whether 3G would ever take off, pointing out that for many users traditional GSM phones and some form of wireless access would suit perfectly well.
Advocates of 3G hit back, claiming that the two technologies were complementary not competitive, and trials began using the technology.
Handsets have been slow to appear, launch deadlines have become fluid and the current level of services and costs mean that take-up will be slow, but perhaps only compared to the explosive growth of mobile technology during the 1990s.
Set that aside, and 3G's growth could well mirror that of its grandfather GSM. The alternative view is that, by the time 3G's issues are resolved, it could be yesterday's technology.
GPRS, often called 2.5G, was described as a bridging technology between GSM and 3G when it first came out and, to an extent, this hindered its early progress. After all, why invest in a technology when it will be superseded in just a few years?
2.5G is now gaining support, if slowly. Services are coming online, handset sales are rising and prices are coming down.
But, just as Wap handset sales fudged actual usage, how many people with GPRS phones subscribe to a GPRS network, rather than a GSM network?
Operators have been through turmoil in the market over the past few years, and hope that the worst is now behind them.
Whatever happens, vnunet.com's 3G Special will keep you in the picture.
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