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    EDGE finds its place


    Most GSM operators will deploy EDGE to complement GPRS and WCDAM for the delivery of advanced mobile data services, the Global mobile Supplier’s Association has claimed after a meeting of the EDGE Operators’ Forum in Rome in September.

    With 50 operators worldwide now committed to deploying EDGE, according to the GSA, European operators will start operating services from early 2004.
    The association said the complementary role of EDGE with WCDMA is now “widely understood”.  In Europe, WCDMA using new spectrum will serve the major population centres, combined with EDGE for serving the rural and semi-urban areas.
    Discussions highlighted that the bigger the success of WCDMA, the more that operators will be forced to upgrade their existing networks to EDGE to bridge the speed gap between GPRS and WCDMA with the help of EDGE.
    EDGE is already a commercial reality in the United States, following the launch by Cingular Wireless in June, 2003. Deploying EDGE is a business decision for operators, to ensure they have the ability to compete, and to safeguard their investments and assets.
    TIM was the first major European operator to confirm plans to deploy EDGE with WCDMA.
    “TIM is in the forefront of the technology development,” said Mauro Sentinelli, TIM managing director, speaking at the meeting in Rome. “We are glad to be the first operator in Europe to deploy EDGE in its network, thus offering always better and friendly services to our customers. As a matter of fact, EDGE deployment in TIM’s network is starting, representing an integration with UMTS at the beginning, and an important ally in its maturity.”
    Mike Bamburak, vp, technology architecture and standards, AT&T Wireless Services (AWS), also speaking at the event, added, “I am happy to report that AWS confirms that EDGE performance lives up to the advertisements on all fronts.”
    Several manufacturers speaking at the event underlined the huge industry commitment to deliver increasing numbers and varieties of EDGE-capable devices in the coming year. More companies are coming into the market, and from 2004, EDGE will be a standard feature in all new GPRS phones. 2004 will also confirm the arrival of several dual-mode EDGE/WCDMA phones.

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