It was meant to be the year of Wi-Fi "convergence." Beginning in 2006, mobile-phone users in large numbers would finally be able to use handsets to roam seamlessly between cell-phone networks and the wireless fidelity, or Wi-Fi, hotspots that provide high-speed Internet access. Handset maker Motorola and networking king Cisco last year announced a bold joint effort to develop the gear necessary for the union of the disparate networks.

It's turning out to be the convergence that wasn't. In April, Motorola and Cisco said they "suspended" the project amid tepid demand from the wireless carriers meant to distribute the handsets and related equipment. In 2004, consultancy Pyramid Research predicted more Americans would use Wi-Fi than cellular networks by 2007. About 30.2 million people in the U.S. used Wi-Fi last year, according to Pyramid. That compares with 213 million mobile-phone customers. Pyramid and other researchers have already revised their projections.

Why the speed bumps? For starters, some corporate buyers are putting off Wi-Fi equipment purchases before the introduction of a new Wi-Fi standard. But that standard itself is facing delays. What's more, rival technologies are gaining popularity, while plans to blanket cities with low-cost or free Wi-Fi are hitting snags amid concerns over security and service quality.

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