Nortel's EDGEy Business

Psst! Looking for the rhyme and reason behind the 3G rollout plans of major U.S. carriers in all the wrong places? Well, who better to ask than an equipment vendor?

David Murashige, VP of strategic marketing at Nortel Networks Corp. figures AT&T Wireless and Cingular Wireless have their own special reasons for their upgrade plans.

Murashige says NTT DoCoMo., which has an investment in AT&T Wireless, is pushing the U.S. carrier to make the jump straight to universal mobile telcommunications system (UMTS) from its GSM network, missing out EDGE altogether or deploying it sparingly. NTT has implemented an early version of UMTS in Japan, and it wants AT&T to be on the same page, Murashige reckons.

"The sooner they get to UMTS, the happier NTT DoCoMo will be," he says.

Meanwhile, Cingular is plotting a move to an enhanced data for GSM environments (EDGE) system because it would be a nightmare to move to UMTS via the GSM system it uses. Cingular runs its network on the 850MHz band, rather the 1900MHz band other GSM carriers use. "UMTS on 850 would be really difficult." Murashige says.

— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung
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