Nokia has announced that it is now shipping EDGE network infrastructure to all major markets in the Americas, Europe and Asia.
EDGE, a so-called 2.75G standard, offers data rates of around 450 Kbs and sits between GPRS and W-CDMA in the GSM evolution path. Nokia’s UltraSite base stations can support EDGE within the 800, 900, 1800 and 1900 Mhz bands and provide backwards compatibility with existing GSM/GPRS infrastructure. Certain operators, particularly in the US, are looking to EDGE as a way of delivering high speed data services within their existing spectrum allocations. Nokia’s support will provide a boost for the technology, reassuring operators that innovative handsets should become available for their networks.
“EDGE enjoys the proven benefits of GSM technology, such as openness, cost-efficiency through economies of scale and true global footprint and roaming, and will become an integral part of GSM/GPRS and W-CDMA terminals,” explains Jussi Ware, Vice President Marketing and Sales, Nokia Networks. “EDGE is a natural next step enhancement for all GSM/GPRS networks in boosting the performance of the existing data services as well as enabling a rich range of multimedia services, which is why mobile operators across the world are increasingly opting for EDGE.”
That Nokia bothered to issue a press release at all is worth reporting. Although it does not provide any details of network rollouts, this is a clear sign from Nokia that it expects there to be a reasonable demand for EDGE networks and that it will build EDGE support into its handsets.
EDGE has two key advantages which might attract operators – it is backwards compatible with GPRS/GSM and it can be operated over existing GSM spectrum allocations. Although it will not be as inexpensive or seamless as the move from CDMA IS-95 to CDMA2000 1x, EDGE will not be plagued with the incompatibilities which have seen NTT DoCoMo’s W-CDMA users confined to certain coverage areas. Its maximum speed, 473 Kbs, should be sufficient for all but the most demanding 3G applications.
Originally published by PMN Mobile Industry Intelligence, the subscription-based analysis and insight platform founded by Marek Pawlowski.