[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
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
“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
“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.