Open up, here comes the 4GMF
Stanford University Professor Willie LuÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s 4G Mobile Forum (4GMF) has big plans for the future of U.S. mobile communications. The 4GMF, of which Lu is the founder and chairman, wants to ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œliberate the whole wireless industryÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â so that users can personalize their future mobile phones and enable mobile users to navigate the platform as deftly as a mouse-equipped PC user. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œEven though we call the forum the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“4GMF,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ it doesnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t mean we have a very formal definition of what ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“4GÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ is,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Lu says. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢m a technical person and technical people donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t care about these terms. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“4GÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ or ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“3GÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢--these are just marketing terms, they are not technologiesÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ names. We just called it ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“4GMFÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ because most people have no idea what something like open wireless architecture is.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Lu says that the ForumÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s goals are threefold. First, the Forum aims to bring ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œopen accessÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â to the U.S. mobile communications market by doing away with locked SIM cards. Second, the Forum wants to make the mobile phoneÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s interface as simple and easy as possible for users to navigate. Third, the Forum aims to promote an open wireless architecture for 4G networks. The ForumÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s U.S. launch kicks off at the CTIA Wireless I.T. and Entertainment show this October. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThis is our first time in the U.S. so we are not going to launch a conference by ourselves,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Professor Lu says. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe are working with CTIA to see what happens. CTIA was very interested in our proposal so if this goes well this time we should be a part of CTIA shows in the future,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â he adds. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe have a very strong, very strong speaker team this time so this is going to be a very, very important event at the show.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Julius Knapp, the FCCÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s chief of engineering and technology, will keynote the three-day event at the CTIA IT Show in San Francisco. Executives from Intel, Oracle, Texas Instruments, Ericsson, Qualcomm and Yahoo will also be participating. Lu explained that the 4GMFÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s vision for 4G technology is very similar to that of the ITU, which is set to launch its 4G program this fall followed by an official standard next year. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œITUÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s vision for 4G is very clear: convergence,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Lu says. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œIt will make use of multiple technologies because there is no single wireless technology that can do everything we need 4G networks to do.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Lu says he expects mostly wireless engineers, investors and policy makers will attend the 4GMF show. The industry is hungry for more information on the regulatory environment surrounding the 700 MHz auction with its open access provisions. While the debate surrounding the 700 MHz auction certainly ingrained the term ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œopen accessÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â into the telecommunications sectorÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s collective psyche, Lu says that it was just the beginning of the opening of the U.S. market.