Telecom Italia Mobile SpA (TIM), Italy's largest mobile phone operator, today launched an experimental cellular phone service using GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) technology, the company announced.
"It's the first time the technology has been introduced in Europe," a TIM spokeswoman said. "TIM's first demonstration of GPRS was in May, and we are now launching a trial service for friendly customers."
GPRS is a packet switching data transmission system that represents a fundamental intermediate step between second generation GSM (General System for Mobile communications) and third generation UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) technologies, TIM said in a prepared statement.
GPRS will, initially, permit data to be received at a speed of about 50K-bps (bits per second) comparable with what is now available through ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network), and a considerable improvement on the 9.6K-bps currently offered by GSM, TIM said.
The technology will allow customers to remain constantly connected to the network, either on the Web or through an Intranet, while at the same time offering voice services, the statement said.
"For the first time, the cost of the service will depend upon the volume of data transmitted, and not upon air time," TIM said.
TIM can be contacted in Rome at +3906-3900-2491 or http://www.tim.it/.