Nokia busts out EDGE gear

Nokia this week began volume shipments of its Global System for Mobile Communications/Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution gear, which is designed to support 3G wireless services in the U.S.

Both Cingular Wireless LLC and AT&T Wireless Group Inc. will be implementing the base station and mobile switching equipment in the U.S. as they prepare to deliver 3G services. They are the first two wireless operators to deploy this type of equipment in the U.S., Nokia says.

The deployments represent an upgrade to the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) base-station equipment that Nokia began shipping to AT&T over a year ago. The original agreement included Nokia's UltraSite base station radio product, and planning and implementation services.

Cingular signed its contract with the company in November, valued at over US$1 billion, the largest system-level deal ever for Nokia. Included in this contract are Nokia's UltraSite triple-mode (GSM/Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution /Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) base stations. Also included are the Nokia DX 200 circuit switched core and General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) packet-core mobile switching gear.

Nokia says it expects similar shipments to European and Asian operators to commence within the next few weeks.

Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution (EDGE) technology was designed to enhance the efficiency of current GSM networks, and will enable data rates of up to 473K bit/sec for GSM and GPRS subscribers. Current GPRS data rates run at 171.2K bit/sec.

EDGE technology is considered the next stage in GSM evolution and was designed specifically to meet the bandwidth requirements related to 3G. Those requirements are 384K bit/sec to 2M bit/sec.

EDGE uses GPRS packet data protocols and the same basic frame structure of GSM. EDGE features are part of the GSM specification defined by European Telecommunications Standards Institute and the Third Generation Partnership Project.

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