The GSM mobile communications industry met over three days this week at the GSM World Congress, and equipment suppliers were there in full force with new announcements.
Alcatel is working with Cisco to develop products to support the forthcoming general packet radio service (GPRS) standard for data transfer over GSM.
GPRS will allow GSM subscribers to send and receive data in packet mode which is best suited to the Internet. The first release of GPRS, which is currently being ratified by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) will be available in March, and Alcatel plans to launch products late next year.
The products will be aimed at GSM operators and will be based around Alcatel's GSM transmission equipment and Cisco's packet data networking technology.
Meanwhile, Ericsson is pushing forward the replacement of fixed phones with cellular devices, launching a system that allows subscribers to use their mobile phones to make and receive calls over the fixed public network.
The Ericsson GSM Cordless Telephony System offers two types of services. A personal phone service allows subscribers to be reached on a single number. The call is either routed to GSM or fixed public network.
The other service allows users to make and receive calls via PSTN or GSM networks using the same mobile phone, while keeping separate numbers for the fixed and mobile services.
Users plug a Home Base unit into their standard mains and telephone socket at home.
Meanwhile Nortel launched Indirect Access, a switch which enables cellular operators to offer services such as single integrated voice mailbox; a personal number that rings fixed and mobile phones; and integrated calling cards for fixed and mobile services.
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