Review Step 2c: Characteristics & Trade-offs


Mobile technologies have been rapidly adopted by billions of people worldwide, driving the “mobile miracle” across Africa and Asia. Today, there are over 5 billion unique mobile cellular users, making cellular mobile one of the most, if not the most, widely adopted digital technologies worldwide. The vast majority of the world’s population will continue to connect to the Internet via mobile technologies. Cellular refers to the generations of technology adopted thanks to mobile phones. Mobile cellular technology features a mature ecosystem with many device vendors, modular technologies and hardware, and larger coverage areas (higher output power) than Wi-Fi.

Spectrum regime: Various licence bands that are allocated and assigned (through auctions and “beauty contests”) Coverage area: Wide area or metropolitan area; 10s of kilometres Device costs: Low to medium for access devices; infrastructure equipment varies (cellular base stations from USD 20 000 to USD 100 000)

Table 21: Comparison of various y generations of cellular technology

Sources: various Note: Rates are based on technical standard maximums