Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile among them
The industry is now used to mobile operators combining to push forward developments they wish to see happen. Previous examples, successful or otherwise, include the OMTP, SIMpay, FMCA, and many others. Now, with the launch of the Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) initiative, there is another one.
Leading mobile operators including China Mobile, KPN, NTT DoCoMo, Orange, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile and Vodafone
have joined forces to create the Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) initiative, which has this week become a limited UK company.
NGMN has created a set of requirements for a future wide area mobile broadband network that is designed to offer enhanced customer benefits by delivering competitive broadband performance alongside high levels of interoperability.
The initiative, which MNGN says will work alongside existing standards bodies,wants to shape the “development and
standardisation of the next generation of mobile technologies”.
The group has specified that the evolutionary path should focus on existing infrastructure and spectrum allocation, and has outlined a series of guiding principles that include:
• High levels of data throughput alongside low levels of latency
• Low operation and maintenance costs
• Compatibility with legacy networks
• Support of high levels of authentication and security, and differentiated quality of service
• Improved terminal certification schemes
Thomas Geitner, the current Chairman of NGMN Ltd, said the move would help to create a high-performance and efficient mobile network for the future: “As major players within the industry and heavy consumers of mobile broadband infrastructure, we believe that the future of mobile networks should be determined by a mix of technical and performance standards.
“We are convinced that by drawing on our combined experience and commercial insight as operators, we will be able to bring a whole new perspective to the debate and continue to ensure that we give our customers exactly what they want.”
The operators say they are keen for other operators and “key industry partners” to join.
The operator push for interoperability between mobile broadband technologies can probabaly be interpreted as a sign that operators are trying to avoid vendors pushing them into technologiical blind alleys when it comes to mobile broadband.
As with most operator-led alliances, the proof of the pudding for vendors will be in the desire of operators to insist on NGMN compliance among their suppliers. Some previous alliances have stalled when the operators were unable to exert enough of an influence, or gain a large enough consenus among their peers.