Third generation is the generic term used for the next generation of mobile communications systems. 3GSM will provide enhanced services to those - such as voice, text and data - predominantly available today.
UMTS is a part of the International Telecommunications Union's (ITU's) 'IMT-2000' vision of a global family of third-generation mobile communications systems.
The technology concepts for third generation systems and 3GSM services are currently under development industry wide. The global 3G Partnership Project (3GPP), a collaboration of organizations which includes the GSM Association, are committed to bringing us the 3rd Generation mobile systems.
The GSM Association's vision of 3GSM is based on today's GSM standard, but evolved, extended and enhanced to include an additional radio air interface, better suited for high speed and multimedia data services. This system will enable users of current second generation GSM wireless networks to migrate easily to the new third generation services, with minimal disruption. This new evolved phase of GSM will in addition be an important and integral part of the ITU's IMT-2000 family.
Video on demand, high speed multimedia and mobile Internet access are just a few of the possibilities for users in the future. 3GSM Services will expand the possibilities of information and communication.
The main benefit is that they will offer high-end service capabilities, which includes substantially enhanced capacity, quality and data rates than is currently available. They will also include the concurrent usage of multiple services.
3GSM Services will also bridge the gap between the wireless world and the computing/ Internet world, making inter-operation apparently seamless.
It is likely that there will be up to 3 types of technology deployed in 3GSM. These systems are being harmonized to ensure they are compatible, can co-operate, and will accept multi-mode handsets. This integration of systems and services will give users world-wide roaming.
The first networks are planned to launch in Japan in 2001, with European countries following in early 2002. Launch plans for individual countries around the world will depend on local demand, and infrastructure availability.
A wide variety of styles and sizes of handsets are being developed to meet the individual needs of users. 3GSM Services will offer new Internet and multi-media services that will require convenient viewing screens. Handsets could vary from wrist-watch style 'simple' telephone's to palm-pilot type for multi-media web-browsing usage.
Visit 3GSM Terminals for samples of third generation devices from leading wireless manufacturers.
There will be a period when second generation and third generation systems co-exist. In essence third generation systems are based on today's second generation infrastructure and services, but offer a new radio interface, amongst other features. So your current mobile will continue to operate. It will up to you to chose if you need to use the 3GSM services, and need to upgrade your mobile to be able to use these services.
Regulatory authorities are responsible for freeing up spectrum and issuing licenses in their individual countries.
For the present, indications are that most existing operators will not be barred from gaining third generation licenses. However, some countries may issue additional licenses to encourage new operators to manage third generation systems.
In addition to the existing GSM spectrum and spectrum designated by the ITU in 1992 for the new third generation system. The Association believes that additional extension bands amounting to around 190 MHz will be required for 3GSM applications from about 2005 in some countries.
Your national regulatory authority is the best and most accurate source of information on third generation licenses and their availability in your country.
The GSM Association is the world's largest organization of mobile wireless operators, regulators and industry bodies that work together to ensure global roaming and inter-operability.
The Association is committed to ensuring the same co-operation between the key 3GSM players and already has third generation licensees as members. It works closely with the UMTS Forum which was established to focus on spectrum availability, licensing issues and long term market surveys for third generation systems.
Both organizations are Market Representation Partners of 3GPP, the global working organization responsible for producing the third generation technical specifications.
Source: © GSM Association 1999 - 2003
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