Vodafone is to integrate two of the world?s most popular mobile phone technologies in what could create a portable phone that can be used anywhere around the globe.
The mobile phone company will work with Qualcomm, which develops digital wireless technologies, on a six-month trial in the UK beginning at the end of the year. They will test the compatibility between the CDMA air interface, which is especially popular in Asia, with an existing GSM network, largely used in Europe.
CDMA is considered as the next generation of cellular technology after GSM. It is growing in popularity in Asia, mainly because it is not entrenched in legacy mobile technology, and so can jump straight to the so-called third generation network. Recently Motorola won a wide-ranging contract to build a CDMA network in Japan.
Vodafone?s trials will take place in Newbury, Berkshire, and will involve four CDMA commercial base stations. The stations and a base station controller will all be provided by Qualcomm. Vodafone will provide base station sites and a mobile switching centre, which was previously in its GSM network.
The mobile phones used will be modified Qualcomm 1.9GHz PCS phones, with software supplied by The Technology Partnership.
Said Ted Beddoes, Vodafone?s technical director, ?Results from the integration and trials will provide invaluable experience in evolving towards third generation systems where multiple air interfaces such as CDMA may be expected to co-exist with a common network.?
The results will be made available to the rest of the industry in a bid to help define the standard for a third generation network.
Earlier this year, the DTI called on the industry to help shape the next generation of mobile communications, which will start to be used from 2002. From that date, the third generation of mobile technologies will use a 2GHz frequency band. Current GSM mobile phones use a 900MHz band.
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