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The Evolution of 3G Wireless Data Services

By Sabyasachi Dey

Second generation telecommunication systems, such as GSM, allowed voice traffic to go wireless—but they could offer only very limited data services. Third generation telecommunication systems, or 3G Systems, will provide global mobility with high bit rate data services as well as voice services. But getting to this rosy future takes a lot of work and international cooperation.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) started the process of defining the standard for third generation systems, referred to as International Mobile Telecommunications 2000 (IMT-2000). In Europe, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) is responsible for 3G standards. In 1998, the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) was formed to continue the technical specification work. The founding members of 3GPP are: ARIB and TTC of Japan, ETSI of Europe, T1 (ANSI) of the U.S. and TTA of Korea. The work of these organizations will be announced globally by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The ITU coordinates world-wide spectrum and IMT2000 standardization, observes regional regulatory policies and is a foundation and framework for 3G convergence across regions and technologies.

The 3G system is referred to as UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunication System). UMTS is envisioned as the successor to Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM). UMTS signals the move into the third generation of mobile networks. UMTS also addresses the growing demand from mobile and Internet applications for new capacity in the overcrowded mobile communications sky. The new network increases transmission speed to 2 Mbps per mobile user and establishes a global roaming standard.

UMTS Services

UMTS offers teleservices (like speech or SMS) and bearer services, which provide the capability for information transfer between access points. It is possible to negotiate and renegotiate the characteristics of a bearer service at session or connection establishment and during ongoing session or connection.