Mobile operators will not wait for the arrival of third generation mobile standards before offering services that will get mobile data out of the slow lane of the information super highway.
According to Bernt Ostergaard, Giga Information Group's research director, Universal Mobile Telecoms Systems (UMTS) are still four to five years away and the market is not prepared to tolerate a 9.6Kbps data channel for that long.
Instead, a 'v2.5 generation' of mobile telephony will evolve with Terrestrial Trunked Radio (Tetra) services for the professional and emergency services market; and Global Packet Radio Services (GPRS) for the mass market.
"Tetra doesn't address the needs of the GSM market," said Ostergaard. "The window for GPRS is not big but services will roll out in the next 12 months and will run for two years before we have UMTS."
According to Giga, GPRS breaks the GSM model and the major UK mobile operators will adopt the technology, albeit for different reasons.
Ostergaard said that providers like One2One, with a large urban client base, will adopt GPRS to get out of cut-throat pricing competition and be able to offer a product with higher margins.
In contrast Vodaphone will get into the GPRS market to stay ahead of technology developments and prime itself for UMTS, said Ostergaard.
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