18, 2003 - LAS VEGAS - AT&T Wireless today began offering the fastest national
mobile wireless data service in North America, enabling businesses to improve
productivity by unwiring their operations and providing mobile professionals
unmatched coverage and speed.
AT&T Wireless took center stage at COMDEX as it
announced the availability of EDGE (Enhanced Data rates for Global Evolution), a
significant upgrade to its Next Generation wireless network. EDGE offers average
data speeds between 100-130 kbps -- nearly twice as fast as other national
mobile wireless networks and up to three times faster than traditional wired
"EDGE gives customers a much-enhanced wireless experience, providing data
speeds dramatically faster than 'so-called' 3G services offered by other
wireless companies," said John Zeglis, Chairman and CEO of AT&T Wireless.
"It boosts the efficiency of a business' work force by giving mobile
employees fast and easy access to the same business applications they have
in their office. EDGE speeds will make it simpler for people to be as
productive when they are on the go as they are in their home or office.
"With EDGE, our customers now have access to the fastest national mobile
wireless connections and advanced services in North America. That puts us
way ahead of the wireless pack, and it gives business customers another
compelling reason to be with AT&T Wireless."
AT&T Wireless said the combination of EDGE's fast data connections,
enterprise offers and unlimited data plan will give businesses a distinct
advantage over their competitors.
EDGE service is now available nationally to
customers located in areas served by the AT&T Wireless GSM/GPRS Next Generation
network, covering approximately 215 million people, some 6,500 cities and towns
and areas along more than 30,000 miles of major highways. The company is
offering EDGE in Puerto Rico and Bermuda, and plans to deploy EDGE throughout
its properties in the Caribbean in the near future. In addition, Rogers AT&T
Wireless has added EDGE capability in the Greater Vancouver area and will deploy
EDGE throughout its Canada-wide network beginning next year. The combined
networks provide AT&T Wireless customers across North America with access to
high-speed, multi-functional services when they travel.
AT&T Wireless said
that business customers can use the EDGE network to access information where
they can place a phone call on the company's Next Generation network.
Additionally, AT&T Wireless' WiFi service complements the company's EDGE network
by offering customers wireless data connections when inside local "hot spots."
The launch of EDGE, which is a true "3G" technology as certified by the
International Telecommunications Association, completes the second phase of AT&T
Wireless' 3G network architecture strategy. Using the same spectrum as its
GSM/GPRS network, EDGE is a cost-effective software upgrade that further
compresses how data is transmitted. At less than $2.00 per POP, the company said
that the upgrade was highly cost effective.
"Along with significant benefits
for our customers, GSM's evolution path enables us to turn the hype surrounding
3G into a reality," said Rod Nelson, chief technology officer for AT&T Wireless.
"The EDGE experience doesn't disappoint - it truly lives up to the potential
surrounding 3G services."
Additionally, international carriers outside North
America are also deploying EDGE. According to the Global Mobile Suppliers
Association, an industry trade group, support for EDGE continues to grow around
the world, with more than 60 wireless carriers committed to network deployments
including Telia Sonera in Finland, Telecom Italia Mobile in Italy and CSL in
So far so good and the press release from AT&T Wireless. However I
for myself still don't believe in EDGE that much as ATTW seems to believe into
it. For me it's more a niche technology for carriers who are not going the real
3G/3GSM way but want to migrate to a slower and not that cost intensive
technology only. As good and fast EDGE is today - in the midterm it will work
slower then 3G services and - like HSCSD (High Speed Circuit Data) it's world
wide implementation will not reach the same figures like today's GSM/GPRS and
tomorrow's 3G. In fact this means that international roamers will be much more
limited like HSCSD roamers today.
For instance in Germany (the largest
European telecommunication market) no operator has any plans to introduce EDGE
and the reason is pretty easy: Even if EDGE is based on GSM's core technology
and network you have to build a complete new wireless network anyway. So there
is no reason for carriers - who plan to introduce 3G/3GSM anyway - to build two
new networks in parallel: EDGE and 3G. It's a question of costs and therefore I
don't expect to see EDGE carriers to migrate to 3G in the midterm.
limited amount of EDGE carriers world wide will also limits the amount of EGDE
enabled handsets which is - again - a question of the price because a best case
terminal has to be triple mode: GSM/GPRS, EDGE and 3G and I wonder who will buy
such expensive devices.
So it's nice to see that AT&T Wireless is starting the
wireless high-speed future today but in the long run it's nothing which will
Cheers ~ Arne