This paper investigates the main trends and uncertainties that will define fourth generation mobile systems and services (4G) in Europe. It outlines two divergent visions on 4G: the so‐called “immediate” 4G vision, consisting of wireless local area networks (WLANs) combined with other wireless access technologies, competing with 3G in the short term, and the so‐called “linear” 4G vision, in which the 3G standard is not replaced until the end of its life cycle by an ultra‐high speed broadband wireless network. Which of these visions will materialise, and what this means for the competitiveness of the main 4G stakeholders in Europe, will be to a large extent determined by which business models are feasible for 4G.
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