Four of the world?s telecomms equipment powerhouses have given their backing to UMTS as the next generation of mobile communications in Europe.
The network is expected to come into commercial operation in five years? time.
The standard -- universal mobile telecommunications system -- is being championed by the UMTS Forum and has won the support of Europe?s leading players Alcatel, Ericsson, Nokia and Siemens.
However, the two largest US equipment manufacturers Nortel and Lucent, were conspicuous by their absence at the announcement. They too claim support for UMTS, but said they are also consider other alternatives.
The European manufacturers are urging that Europe?s third generation mobile communications standard should be based on an evolved core-GSM network. UMTS will offer wireless multimedia services and will be based on the convergence of fixed, cellular and satellite technologies.
The network runs at 2Mbits per second, sending large data files and video clips within seconds, rather than minutes using ISDN.
According to the four suppliers, wideband wireless multimedia applications would use a Generic Radio Access Network (Gran) interfaced to GSM core networks.
In a joint statement, the companies said: ?We strongly back a global and timely standardisation of third generation technology that meets with the real needs of today?s operators and hundreds of millions of end-users in cellular networkall over the world.
"Today, there is an opportunity to base the next-generation technology on open standards that will drive the development of new breakthrough applications and the introduction of affordable multimedia services.?
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