IPWireless ships dual-band devices that allow global roaming on UMTS TDD networks


Devices work in both 1900 MHz and 2010 MHz IMT-2000 frequency bands, with 2.5 GHz tri-band devices in development

IPWireless has started shipping dual-band devices that allow users to roam across UMTS TDD networks in both 1900 MHz and 2010 MHz frequency bands, the company announced today. IPWireless is shipping the UMTS TDD modems now while equipment makers licensing the company’s UMTS TDD-based technology develop additional dual-band devices.

Part of the ITU’s IMT-2000 designation, the 1900 and 2010 unpaired spectrum bands are allocated for UMTS TDD in most countries worldwide that have allocated 3G frequencies. More than 120 mobile operators across Europe and Asia have UMTS TDD spectrum in one of these two bands. By offering devices that can seamlessly work in either band, IPWireless enables operators to offer roaming services, including in countries that have not traditionally had access to the benefits of GSM roaming. A subscriber with a dual-band UMTS TDD PC Card in their laptop would be able to not only get broadband access anywhere in their home market, but in any country where TDD is deployed in these bands.

This architecture also allows IPWireless licensing partners to build devices for a larger global market and increased economies of scale.  The first dual-band TDD devices were shipped in April to SonaeCom in Portugal, who recently announced a trial in Lisbon using their frequency in the 1900 MHz TDD band. Devices are also being shipped to operators across Europe, Australia, and to Japan.

IPWireless is also currently developing tri-band devices that would allow users to roam over networks in the 1900 MHz, 2010 MHz, and 2500 MHz bands. By incorporating the 2.5 GHz frequency, which includes MMDS spectrum in the United States and has been allocated as the UMTS expansion band in Europe, global roaming can be extended to nearly ubiquitous worldwide coverage.  Many operators that have already deployed IPWireless UMTS TDD systems have done so in the 2.5 GHz band and new tri-band devices would allow their subscribers to roam beyond their home network. In addition, GSM/UMTS operators deploying in the current TDD bands – 1900 or 2010MHz – can seamlessly add additional capacity in the UMTS extension band once it is allocated. 

"To truly be a mobile technology, a technology needs to provide a subscriber with access not only anytime and anywhere in their home market, but also enable global roaming.  This development allows operators and licensing partners to truly leverage being part of a global standard," said Chris Gilbert, chief executive officer, IPWireless. "I look forward to the day when I never have to think about how to get my laptop connected – even while traveling."

UMTS TDD, a global standard that can be used by operators and manufacturers worldwide, has emerged as the leading standard for mobile broadband, with deployments in several countries around the world including Australia, Germany, Malaysia, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, and the United States.  The commercially proven Mobile Broadband system includes a complete network infrastructure, pocket-sized wireless desktop modems, and PC cards (PCMCIA) for laptops and PDAs.  In addition, major equipment makers are developing a variety of network management and end user devices, including mobile voice over IP handsets and Compact Flash cards, with IPWireless-licensed UMTS TDD chipsets embedded.