Communication breakdowns which have dogged Comdex all week have highlighted the lack of a common global standard for mobile phones.
Despite the hype surrounding the use of the Internet, phone systems of all kinds including satellite, cellular and land lines, creaked under the strain as hundreds of thousands of users attempted to use the systems. On Tuesday, AT&T was forced to bring in three additional units as the cellular system failed yet again.
Although GSM has rapidly gained acceptance in both Europe and the Far East, the US lags behind with a variety of both analogue and digital systems which are non-compatible. So far, only a few telcos provide GSM facilities in the US, and there are no plans to cooperate on a standard, said a source at a major telecoms provider.
A straw poll conducted at eight different booths round the Convention Centre in Las Vegas, revealed not only that the US lags behind the rest of the world on GSM but showed that all the mobile companies asked had never even heard of the standard.
That caused frustration for one European delegate, who said that not only had he to leave his mobile at home, but he was unable to contact his office using a GSM data card. Somewhat ironically, the chairman of the GSM group is a senior executive at US telco Pac Bell.
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