RealTime IT News

Telstra Sets GPRS in Motion

Telecommunications giant Telstra has switched on its commercial General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) network, becoming the first Australian network to be ready for end-to-end GPRS data calls.

The carrier demonstrated Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) and regular HTML Web browsing to display the capabilities of its GPRS service, showing application possibilities such as real time stock updates, and reading email as it is received.

"GPRS will provide the foundation for a new range of services, including real time access by being online all the time and only paying for how much data is used rather than the time taken to complete the task," said Telstra's OnAir group managing director Dick Simpson.

Telstra will move from this demonstration to commence customer trials this month, in an effort to provide its mobile phone MobileNet users with instant Internet access from their phone, wherever they are.

The company commenced GPRS trials last December in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

GPRS uses multi-slot technology and advanced coding schemes to deliver data in a packet-based protocol, to meet speeds of 24 kilobits per second (kbps). This is more than double the current popular form of data transmission, GSM, which functions at 9.6kbps and uses circuit switched data.

Telstra maintains it can take GPRS speeds further, to 48kbps and 80 kbps in early 2001.

The telco will use technology infrastructure from Ericsson and Nortel Networks, and will complement the infrastructure with handsets and appliances to make the new service more appealing to consumers.

Telstra has also been upgrading its base stations over the past two years to support GPRS, and has a team dedicated to developing the technology.