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UMTS roadmap to the future
Posted on 13-Jul-2005 11:10 | Tags Filed under: News



The 3G Americas, a group that promotes and facilitates the deployment throughout the Americas of GSM and its evolution to 3G says that Universal Mobile Telecommunication System (UMTS) deployments are well under way and starting later this year, the industry is preparing to launch the next evolution of UMTS through 3GPP Release 5 enhancements like High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) and IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS).

3G Americas have published The Global Evolution of UMTS/HSDPA - 3GPP Release 6 and Beyond, a paper covering industry progress towards UMTS Release 6 (Rel'6) and its further long term evolution.

Chris Pearson, President of 3G Americas stated, "With wireless data services starting to follow a similar growth curve to that of wireline data, the GSM community has recently focused on the near term evolution to support HSDPA and IMS through 3GPP Rel'5. Yet, UMTS/HSDPA is not an end point, its future evolution will continue to enhance speed, performance and cost for vendors, carriers and customers."

3GPP Rel'6, which is expected to be completed in the summer of 2005, is the latest innovative standard that continues UMTS momentum by enabling even greater speeds, capacity improvements and new applications. New Rel'6 features include: E-DCH for providing significant uplink data capacity and throughput improvements; improved minimum performance specifications for support of advanced receivers that will increase downlink capacity and throughput; and MBMS to enable more efficient broadcast and multicast services.

Further enhancements (e.g. reduced latency, improvements for real-time services like VoIP, etc.) are under way in standards through 3GPP Rel'7. Additionally, a long-term evolution effort is in progress at the Third Generation Partner Project (3GPP) which is focused on ensuring that UMTS remains a highly-competitive packet-based radio-access technology through 2010 and beyond.

Commenting on the growing momentum of UMTS, Vicki Livingston, 3G Americas' Director of Marketing explained, "In November 2004, there were 53 UMTS networks in commercial service; now, just over six months later, there are nearly 70 commercial UMTS networks in over 30 countries." She added, "As of May 2005, there are more than 24 million UMTS customers and that total is forecast to triple by the end of 2005."

In the U.S. marketplace, Cingular Wireless plans to launch UMTS networks enhanced with HSDPA in 15-20 markets by year-end 2005, perhaps becoming the first operator globally to launch an evolved UMTS/HSDPA network. Cingular expects to cover most major U.S. markets with UMTS/HSDPA by the end of 2006. To date at least 19 operators have made public announcements regarding their UMTS/HSDPA commitments.





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