I read in ITWeb that the mobile phone network I use, MTN, is about to rollout its EDGE offering with UMTS (3G) to be rolled out later in the year. This is particularly exciting news for me mainly because I have this very cool new phone and I am keen to replace my landline as the medium for my home Internet access with my mobile phone. At the moment I am connected at about 43kbps or so (I may be wrong about this) using GPRS (a 2.5G technology on GSM networks). My phone will support data transfers up to 384kbps for downloads and 128kbps upload and that is a lot faster than my landline where I connect at around 45kbps on a good day. The only thing will be cost of this connection. At the moment I pay around R22 (or $3.50 or so) per MB after I use up the 2MB that I get with my R50 per month (roughly $8 per month) package. So it is still quite pricey especially considering I can connect with my landline after hours and stay connected all night or all weekend and download as much as I want with it costing me only R7 or R8 (just over $1).
Anyway, ITWeb reported the following:
MTN’s data offerings have largely been
overshadowed by the noise of its rival’s launch of 3G, but the network
operator says it will soon make a big noise about its offerings.
Chellan, MTN’s senior manager of business solutions management
marketing, says MTN will soon formally announce the launch of its
Enhanced Data over GSM Evolution (EDGE) services – the upgrade to the
current generation of GPRS services. MTN plans to launch its full
commercial EDGE offerings in about two weeks.
Later in the year it will launch UTMS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System), which is essentially a 3G offering.
Chellan was speaking at a gathering of solution providers in Cape Town this morning.
MTN has not yet determined prices, but he expects the pricing structure to be competitive.
acknowledges that at R10 per megabyte per second, MTN’s download rates
are quite expensive, but prices should drop as data usage picks up.
have adopted a conservative strategy in moving to new technologies as
we want it to be backward-compatible to earlier generation devices.
Currently the EDGE part of the network now covers about 200 000 square
kilometres, or 20% of our current network. There are also about 200 000
EDGE devices available,?? he says.
EDGE is considered an extension of the current GPRS and GPRS+
technology, UMTS and its upgrade HSDPA (High Speed Download Packet
Application) are new generation technologies that will lead to download
speeds of about 14MBps.
MTN says it will begin testing UMTS and HSDPA later this year.
“Essentially this means we have a dual
bearer strategy that we believe has significant advantages over a
purely 3G-led strategy. The whole idea is to enhance the subscriber’s
experience,?? Chellan says.
Ok, right about here is where I started to feel a little anxious because here they are talking about the New Thing which supports data transfers of up to 14MBps and I’d be sitting there with a device supporting a mere 384Kbps. Then I realised that I don’t need that kind of mammoth bandwidth for my web browsing and emails! I don’t watch TV online or download large videos or music files that often. Just the geek in me immediately reaching for the new sparkly!
I am looking forward to the EDGE rollout later this month. It is going to be very cool!