Cingular Wireless Hints at GSM Move

 
 
By eweek  |  Posted 2001-10-16
 
 
 

Cingular Wireless has all but announced plans to switch its Time Division Multiple Access network to the global system for mobile communications standard.

Since AT&T Wireless, the only other major Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) network operator, announced its intention to convert to global system for mobile communications (GSM), industry observers have been grilling Cingular about its plans. Cingular hasnt yet officially spilled the beans, but its CEO has essentially confirmed that it would follow the GSM path.

"Weve not made a formal public announcement about our technology plans, though weve left clues along the way," said Stephen Carter, Cingulars CEO. "Perhaps today is one more clue." Carter was speaking during the announcement of a joint venture Cingular created with VoiceStream Wireless, a GSM operator. As part of the venture, the companies will share GSM networks in California, Nevada and New York.

Carter said that Cingular has studied its options carefully and is near making a final decision. "I feel pretty confident that well be able to make a determination publicly fairly soon," he said. Portions of Cingulars network are GSM already, but the bulk is built on the TDMA standard.

GSM is the most-used air interface around the globe and TDMA operators believe they can migrate to next-generation networks cost efficiently via GSM because worldwide economies of scale will lower infrastructure prices. Proponents of Code Division Multiple Access, employed by operators including Sprint PCS and Verizon Wireless, say that TDMA operators that migrate to CDMA will enjoy greater network efficiencies.

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