We'll Sell You The Whole Seat, But You'll Only Need…

…the EDGE. EDGE (Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution) is interesting for more than being a forced acronyms. It is a technology that can bump up GSM data rates from the miserable real-world 25 Kbps of GPRS to a more robust 384Kbps. EDGE was all but discarded a couple of years back, when carriers were anticipating launching good GPRS networks that would hold them a brief time while they rolled out 3G UMTS networks. A funny thing happened on the way to UMTS: GPRS under-delivered and UMTS stumbled more than a frat boy on his way home from a kegger. Meanwhile, in the US, CDMA carriers rolled out strong 1xRTT networks, soon to be followed by 3G EV-DO networks, leaving the US GSM carriers without an adequate competitive response – re-enter the resurrected EDGE. Euro carriers, downtrodden by the expensive roll-out of UMTS, are planning to limit their 3G roll-outs to those which are required by their 3G licenses, and fill in the gaps with the cheaper EDGE. EDGE, once discarded and now resurrected, will succeed because it provides decent performance at reduced costs (ie..a business case). AT&T Wireless has already rolled out EDGE terminals in anticipation of their network upgrade, and now Telecom Italia Mobile, a huge multinational carrier, has stated their intentions to use EDGE.

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