March 10, 2005: GSA announces its support for the new 3GPP study items on EDGE Evolution. EDGE Evolution is envisaged to bring on average 2-3 fold data speeds compared to EDGE rates today, higher voice and data capacity and improved spectral efficiency.
With deployment of WCDMA accelerating globally, 3G services are in strong demand by enterprises and the mass market. Many operators are deploying a combined WCDMA/EDGE network strategy for delivery of 3G services. EDGE Evolution is a natural complement to HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) which will enhance WCDMA data rates and capacity, ensuring the best user experience of advanced wireless mobile broadband services.
Alan Hadden, President, GSA, explains: EDGE Evolution is an important step for single mode GSM and multimode GSM/WCDMA operators to support their current business and to the service continuity in GSM networks. EDGE Evolution is envisaged to only have a low impact on the existing EDGE capable GSM networks, however, it will lower service delivery costs considerably and make new services and higher data revenues possible. When it comes to WCDMA/HSPA subscribers, they can roam outside WCDMA/HSPA coverage and still use the services they are accustomed to.
Leading GSM/3G suppliers Ericsson, Nokia and Siemens are fully committed to bringing the benefits of EDGE Evolution to the marketplace. The first standardization release, 3GPP release 7, is envisaged to be ready in 2006.
Ulf Ewaldsson, VP GSM Product Management at Ericsson, sees the further evolution of EDGE as yet another step into the direction of fully 2G/3G integration: "With the enhancements in WCDMA towards high speed packet access, the EDGE evolution provides the necessary service seamlessness as it is expected by the end users."
Giuseppe Donagemma, Vice President, Radio Networks, Nokia, supports Hadden's view. Nokia supports EDGE Evolution work as we see it being beneficial to the mobile user experience as well as offering a possibility for the operators to increase their revenues, in particular with new real time services that require higher bitrates, lower latency and higher capacity. EDGE Evolution is complemented by the GSM voice enhancements, delivered to end users and operators with the same easy GSM/EDGE upgrades. We expect the WCDMA evolution to HSPA to be one of the key drivers for the EDGE Evolution."
Peter Giese, Head of Siemens Product Line Management for GSM/EDGE Radio Access Networks, said: "Siemens remains fully committed to providing a long term evolution of their GSM/EDGE networks that allows operators to optimize the revenue potential over the next decade and at the same time helping to protect the investment made."
Leading GSM/3G mobile network operators are also interested in EDGE Evolution. "TIM is pleased to see that both EDGE and WCDMA radio technologies are evolving further, supporting very well the TIM network strategy of having both technologies in parallel use to maximize network performance, services' coverage and customer opportunities" said Luca Luciani, TIM (Telecom Italia Mobile) Executive Vice President International Operation.
Tommy Ljungren, Technical Director of TeliaSonera Sweden's Mobile Networks, confirms the importance of further EDGE evolution, adding that "EDGE is a very cost effective way to quickly increase the data rates to TeliaSonera's customer base. EDGE is viewed as a complement to our WCDMA and WLAN networks. For TeliaSonera EDGE will play an important role in our realisation of "Always Best Connected" where our current and future customers get a seamless service experience through the most suitable access technology available in each location."
Kris Rinne, Chief Technology Officer, Cingular Wireless added: "Cingular is always interested in technology upgrades that enhance the operation of our network and the wireless experience of our customers. As one of the first carriers to offer commercial EDGE service, we are glad to see the continued support and evolution of GSM/EDGE from carriers and vendors throughout the world."
GSA reports strong acceptance of EDGE globally, pointing to its research completed on March 4, 2005 which confirmed 131 network operators in 76 countries committed to EDGE deployments. A total of 63 networks are delivering commercial EDGE-enabled services in 41 countries today. Demonstrating how EDGE and WCDMA are complementary technologies, GSA notes there are approaching 40 operators currently operating or deploying combined EDGE-WCDMA networks for 3G services delivery.