Geoff Sanders, Lionel Thorens, Manfred Reisky, Oliver Rulik and Stefan Deylitz
Today no one doubts that the introduction of GSM represented a revolution in mobile communications. As this book goes to press, there are more than 773 million GSM users worldwide and the number is growing by the minute. This revolution, which has taken
place over the last 12 years, has had an enormous impact on our daily lives. Mobile telephony has changed the way we communicate and the way we do business. Friends and colleagues can be reached almost anywhere at any time, we are no longer tied to desk-top machines for e-mails and faxes, and the mobiles themselves are replacing not only telephones but also dictaphones, personal organizers and phone books.
"Convergence" has been the buzzword in recent years. The above is just the beginning and GPRS is the key. As multifunction mobile devices replace cellphones, PDAs and notebook PCs, there will be an ever increasing demand for bandwidth. Home Internet
users are used to the level of service offered by 64 kbits?1 ISDN or the higher rates offered by the various DSL services. These users will increasingly demand the same level of service from their mobiles, and as the volume of users goes up, content and service providers will respond and the network operators will have to provide the capacity. Originally, 3G was seen as the means to satisfy the demand for bandwidth and GPRS was viewed by many simply as a stepping stone on the way from narrowband GSM to wideband UMTS. However, the worldwide delay in 3G rollout has led to GPRS being seen in a different light, particularly with the development of E-GPRS. The promise of low-cost reliable mobile Internet access has led to many operators implementing GPRS, but, whereas GSM was seen as a communications technology, GPRS is seen more as an enabling technology. The ability to run an application on a mobile device that can send and receive packet data at high speed makes possible such things as mobile Internet, remote device control, multi-player gaming, location-dependent information services, and m-commerce.
GPRS will continue to change the way we live, just as GSM has already done.