The success of a trial to test true global mobile phone roaming could mean investments required for the next generation mobile communications may not be so monsterously high.
Vodafone and Qualcomm have published details of their six month-long trial to test the use of core GSM network with a CDMA air interface. GSM is widely used in Europe, while CDMA is popular in Asia and the US.
From the turn of the century, GSM will gradually be replaced by Universal Mobile Telecommunications Services (UMTS). It will use ?evolved-core? GSM as the network and a combination of W-CDMA and TD-CDMA as the air interface.
The operator said the success of the trial could mean the investment needed to support UMTS could be ?appreciably? less.
Patrick Waters, the trial?s project manager, said operators would need to purchase new base stations and terminals, but could re-use large proportion of their investments in the core network.
?It?s unlikely there would be a need for wholesale change,? he said.
Also, the results returned positive implications for the UMTS interface with the GSM core network, continued the company.
The government is due to auction UMTS licences in the autumn, with initial services available from 2002. All four current mobile phone operators are expected to bid, but are reluctant to confirm plans because of the vast investments needed to upgrade.
One estimated the cost to be hundreds of millions of pounds.
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