RealTime IT News

Don't Forget EDGE, Urges Top Wireless Advisor

[London, ENGLAND] In a report published Thursday, Swedish wireless communication advisory center Northstream has given its backing to EDGE technology, calling it a neglected opportunity for the mobile industry.

Enhanced Data GSM Environment (EDGE) is a fast version of Global System for Mobile (GSM) and can deliver data at rates up to 384 Kbps, enabling multimedia and other broadband applications on mobile devices.

However, in the rush towards the more advanced Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service (UMTS), mobile operators are not giving enough attention to the intermediate EDGE standard, according to Northstream.

"EDGE is a thoroughly sound technology. If it had found rapid acceptance amongst operators and manufacturers, its place in 3G would be assured," claimed Bengt Nordstrom, president of Northstream.

Nordstrom said that EDGE is in danger of being consigned to a minor role in 3G evolution. He went on to explain some of the reasons why his organization believes this to be wrong.

The issue, according to Northstream, centers around wireless telephone transmission technology Wideband CDMA (code-division multiple access). This technology, Northstream points out, has not yet been fully developed although it is an important part of the plans being made by GSM operators.

Leading the way in EDGE development are TDMA (time-division multiple access) operators in the United States, not GSM operators in Europe. The danger, according to Northstream, is that the potential of existing systems will not be exploited without EDGE -- and this needs to be done because of the enormous costs of getting the more sophisticated WCDMA networks up and running.

Nordstrom commented that it is often claimed that EDGE technology will become available at the same time as UMTS/WCDMA, and that it can, therefore, be ignored. This, he said, is doubtful because it assumes there will be no delay in the development of WCDMA, a completely new technology.

"As EDGE involves far less radical changes, it would seem a safe bet that schedules will be much easier to keep using this technology. Thus, the industry should carefully consider whether EDGE isn't a sensible complement to WCDMA," concluded Nordstrom.

Northstream is a strategic advisor to wireless operators such as Vodafone, NTT DoCoMo Europe, AT&T, Sonera, SK Telecom, Ericsson, Microsoft and Siemens. It is very influential in the development of systems, and Thursday's report could have a significant impact on the mobile industry.