TeliaSonera Does First EDGE – WCDMA Handoff

When network upgrades occur in cellular networks, the first test is whether the network itself works. But an equally important test is that the handsets that are designed for the new network can also use older legacy networks, which always have much wider geographic coverage. This latter accomplishment is actually one of the greater challenges, because it requires that the phone handle two different technologies, and that the two networks be capable of passing the call from one to the other and back. This inter-generational handoff was one of the bugs that plagued Hutchison’s new 3G network last year. That’s why it’s significant that TeliaSonera succeeded in data roaming between their old EDGE network and their new WCDMA 3G network (although the roaming was a data one, and not voice which is more demanding.) 3G – 2G handoff issues are a particular challenge for GSM operators who for 3G need not only fully upgrade the air-interface and the tower equipment, but also need to fully upgrade their core data networks. While we’ve now seen GSM – WCDMA and GPRS – WCDMA handoffs, this is the first (live network) EDGE – WCDMA handoff we’re aware of.

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