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Three's Company

American carriers are finally bringing 3G cellular service to a phone near you.

This story appears in the September 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

It may be the most overworked promise since low-cal foods and secure Windows . But (Third Generation) cell phone service is coming-honest. A handful of cities already have test projects, and several more will have them by year-end. In general, cellular providers are moving up 3G rollout plans, so most major U.S. cities should have at least one offering by the end of 2005.

What's changed? It's all about the Benjamins. Cellular companies, which haven't been willing to invest the money to make 3G happen before, now plan to spend upwards of $1 billion each. Heightened competition and falling voice prices are forcing them to search for new revenue sources, explains Alex Slawsby, senior researcher with , a research firm based in Framingham, Massachusetts.

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