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The Wireless World Initiative (WWI) is a major European research initiative to create the technologies needed for systems beyond 3G (B3G) in a cross industry and academia research collaboration. The WWI is a set of 5 coordinated research projects partly funded under the European Union's 6th Framework Programme (FP6) spanning the communications stack from future wireless air interfaces, through ambient networking, adaptive radio systems, service provisioning frameworks and distributed application architecture. The initiative represents the collaborative work of over 100 organizations from Europe, North America, Asia and Australia, more than 700 researchers and in excess of epsi 80 M of investment thus far. The initiative has completed the first phase of its projects at the end of 2005, framing the conceptual architectures for B3G and advancing enabling technologies. As the projects move into their second phases, we review the positioning and ambitions of the WWI as a major source of technology and consensus for the future wireless industry.