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3G Standards

The dream of 3G is to unify the world's mobile computing devices through a single, worldwide radio transmission standard. Imagine being able to go anywhere in the world secure in the knowledge that your mobile phone is compatible with the local system, a scenario known as "global roaming". Unfortunately, the process of unifying the numerous international standards has proved to be e tremely difficult. !fter difficult negotiation, a 3G "standard" called I#T$%&&& emerged as a rather unsatisfactory compromise. I#T$%&&&, in fact, represents several incompatible standards lumped together under one banner. The hope of I#T$%&&& is that phones using these different standards will be able to move seamlessly between all networks, thus providing global roaming. The rather fragmented nature of I#T$%&&& has resulted in a proliferation of confusion acronyms 'e.g., T(#!, U#T), *(G*+ often referred to as "alphabet soup". ,ossibly the most important acronym to remember is "U#T)"- this is the 3G standard for *urope and .apan. U#T) is the successor to the current ultra$successful G)# mobile phone standard in *urope. U#T) is being very heavily sold as the 3G standard 'some sources use the terms "3G" and "U#T)" synonymously, though this is really not correct and /ust adds to the confusion+. The main global competitor to U#T) is 0(#!%&&&, the 3G standard developed in the U.). by Qualcomm. U#T) and 0(#!%&&& look set to battle it out for global supremacy. 1owever, other less$ publicised standards will not let those two have it all their own way. It is hoped that the following guide will act as a roadmap through the confusing sub/ect of 3G standards. 2et's start by stepping back a "G"...

2G Standards
The e isting mobile phone market is referred to as the "second generation" of digital mobile communications, or "%G" 'analogue mobile phones were "3G"+. The *uropean market is controlled by the Global )ystem for #obile communications ' GSM+ digital wireless standard. This uses T(#! as its radio transmission technology '4TT+ 'see the section on 3G Technology for a description of T(#!+. G)# has proven to be the great success story of mobile standards as it has become the unifying standard in *urope $ it is possible to use one phone throughout 5estern *urope. 6ecause of the number of wireless users are in *urope this has greatly strengthened G)#'s position as the basis for a potential global standard. The hegemony of G)# has resulted in 7inland's 8okia and the U9's :odafone becoming the powerhouses of the wireless economy. In 8orth !merica the situation is not nearly so unified. The situation is divided three$ways between G)#, a T(#!$based system from !T;T 5ireless ' IS-136+, and a 0(#! system called C M!one "IS-#$!% from )print and :eri<on. This confusion of standards has resulted in the reduced popularity of cellphones in the U). 0(#!one has perhaps the strongest grip on the !merican market, as well as being popular in !sia.

%G data transmission rates do not e ceed =.>9bps 'kilobits per second+. This is not nearly fast enough to achieve comple 3G functionality. )o let's move on ...

2.5G Standards
The transition from %G to 3G is technically e tremely challenging 're?uiring the development of radically new transmission technologies+, and highly e pensive 're?uiring vast capital outlay on new infrastructure+. 7or both of these reasons it makes sense to move to 3G via intermediate %.@G standards. %.@G radio transmission technology is radically different from %G technology because it uses packet switching 'see the section on 3G Technology for an e planation of packet switching+. G&'S 'General ,acket 4adio )ervice+ is the *uropean %.@G standard, the upgrade from G)#. G,4) overlays a packet$switched architecture onto the G)# circuit$switched architecture. It is a useful evolutionary step on the road to 3G because it gives telecoms operators e perience of operating packet networks, and charging for packet data. (ata transfer rates will reach @&9bps. ( G( '*nhanced (ata for Global *volution+ is another %.@G upgrade path from G)#. *(G* is attractive for !merican operators as it is possible to upgrade to *(G* from both T(#! 'I)$33>+ networks as well as from G)#. Aou might see the full *G(* standard referred to as U50$33>. *(G* data rates are three times faster than G,4). 4ealistically, the ma imum rate that *(G* will be able to achieve will be 3@&9bps. *ven so, *(G* might be used for some pseudo$3G networks 'the minimum cut$off data rate for 3G systems is 3BB9bps+ though this is not generally regarded as a bona fide 3G solution. !s *(G* would be cheaper than a full$blown 3G solution, this makes it attractive, especially for operators which cannot afford a licence for the full 3G radio spectrum. #ost notably, !T;T has announced it is to use *(G*. !T;T has claimed a ma imum data rate of 3CB9bps for *(G*, although e perts point out that "this is based on the ideal scenario of one person using the network standing ne t to a base station"'D+. !T;T's wireless division, after receiving a E=.C billion stake from .apan's 8TT (o0o#o i$mode service, plans to overlay the 3G standard, 5$0(#!, onto their *(G* networks in the !merican market.

(eploying *(G* might prove surprisingly comple $ it's more than /ust a software upgrade. It may re?uire additions to the hardware subsystems of base stations, changes to base station antennas, and possibly re?uire the construction of new base stations. 7or these reasons, some G)# operators might not adopt *(G* but might migrate from G)# or G,4) directly to the 3G standard '5$0(#!, considered later+. The %.@G upgrade from 0(#!one 'I)$=@!+ is to C M!one "IS-#$)% which adds packet$switched capability. It offers data rates up to 33@9bps.

3G Standards
The 3G standard was created by the International Telecommunication Union 'ITU+ and is called IMT-*+++. The aim of I#T$%&&& is to harmoni<e worldwide 3G systems to provide global roaming. 1owever, as was e plained in the introduction to this section, harmoni<ing so many different standards proved e tremely difficult. !s a result, what we have been left with is five different standards grouped together under the I#T$%&&& label

5$0(#! 0(#!%&&& T($0(#!FT($)0(#! (*0T U50$33>

!t this point, the definition of what is and what isn't "3G" becomes somewhat murky. Gf these five standards, only three allow full network coverage over macro cells, micro cells and pico cells and can thus be considered as full 3G solutions- 5$0(#!, 0(#!%&&&, and T($)0(#!. Gf the remainder, (CT is used for those cordless phones you have in the house, and could be used for 3G short$range "hot$spots" 'hence, it could be considered as being "part of a 3G network"+, but it does not allow full network coverage so is not considered further here. !nd U50$33> is another

name for *(G* which is generally considered to be a %.@G solution and was considered in the previous section. )o that leaves 5$0(#!, 0(#!%&&&, and T($)0(#! $ the bona fide 3G solutions $ which will now be covered in more detail-

6ased on a presentation from the IT,.

5$0(#! The 3G standard that has been agreed for *urope and .apan 'very important markets+ is known as ,MTS. U#T) is an upgrade from G)# via G,4) or *(G*. U#T) is the *uropean vision of 3G, and has been sold as the successor to the ultra$successful G)#. The terrestrial part of U#T) 'i.e., non$satellite+ is known as UT4! 'U#T) Terrestrial 4adio !ccess $ don't you /ust love acronyms made from other acronymsD+. The 7(( component of UT4! is based on the 5$0(#! standard 'a.k.a. UT4! 7((+. This offers very high 'theoreticalD+ data rates up to %#bitFsec 'the rumour is that the achievable rate is far lower- 5$0(#! systems have been plagued with technical -ifficulties+. The T(( component of UT4! is called T($0(#! 'or UT4! T((+ and will be considered later. The standardisation work for U#T) is being carried$out under the supervision of the Third Generation ,artnership ,ro/ect '3G&&+. 5$0(#! has recently been rename- 3GSM 'to avoid confusion with 0(#!%&&&+.

0ingular :ideo In the U)!, 0ingular has launched a U#T) service called Cingular .i-eo. 0ingular :ideo is the only service to offer 7o 8ews clips in addition to news broadcasts from 088 and 860. 0ingular

:ideo will initially be available in the markets of !tlanta, !ustin, 6altimore, 6oston, 0hicago, (allas, 1ouston, 2as :egas, 8ew Aork, ,hoeni , ,ortland, )alt 2ake 0ity, )an (iego, )an 7rancisco, )an .ose, )eattle, Tacoma and 5ashington, (.0. with additional areas e panding rapidly. 7or more details, see the 0ingular 3G demonstration here.

7G#! 8TT (o0o#o has gone live with 3G in Tokyo. Its service is called /0M!. This is the world's first I#T$%&&& 5$0(#! service 'there are small but significant -ifferences between the .apanese and *uropean versions of 5$0(#! $ nothing is ever simple in 3G+. )ince the launch of the service, coverage has been e tended to almost 3&&H of the .apanese population, and the release of new terminals with higher level functionality continues to attract ever more subscribers $ now e ceeding *+ million users. 8ew phones in the /0M! lineup include the )harp )1I&&i 'shown below+-

0(#!%&&& The chief competitor to *urope's U#T) standard is )an (iego$based Jualcomm's C M!*+++ 'Jualcomm have done ?uite well out of 0(#! $ see here+. The standardisation work for 0(#!%&&& is being carried$out under the supervision of the Third Generation ,artnership ,ro/ect %, ' 3G&&*+. The C M! e1elopment Group offers advice to 3G,,%. *ven though "5$0(#!" and "0(#!%&&&" both have "0(#!" in their names, they are completely different systems using different technologies. 1owever, it is hoped that mobile -e1ices using the t2o systems will be able to talk to each other. 0(#!%&&& has two phases- phase one is 13'TT '3BB 9bps+ 'also known as 3K+. The ne t evolutionary step is to the two 0(#!%&&& 3K *: '"*:" L "*volution"+ standards. C M!*+++ 13 (.0 '"(ata Gnly"+ will use separate fre?uencies for data and voice. The following step is to 0(#!%&&& 3K *:$(: '"(ata and :oice"+ which will integrate voice and data on the same fre?uency band. )outh 9orea's )9 Telecom launched the 2orl-4s first 3G system in Gctober %&&&. Their system is based on 0(#!%&&& 3K. They were followed by 2G Telecom and 9T 7reetel 'both 9orean+. Gperational 3G systems based on 0(#!%&&& 3K are now appearing around the world. In the U)!, )print has launched its nationwide 0(#!%&&& 3K service called Sprint &o2er .ision. 5ith )print ,0) :ision #ultimedia )ervices, customers get streaming audio and video content from familiar sources, including !60 8ews 8ow, 872 8etwork, 7o )ports, *),8, 860 (iscovery 0hannel, and many more. )print offer a range of multimedia phones including the /usic-

)print is racing to catch up with :eri<on's *:$(G rollout, and planned to have its *:$(G service live in >& markets by spring %&&> 'for the full article, see here+.

!lso in the U)!, :eri<on has launched its high$speed 13 (.- 0 service featuring three phones including the Chocolate 'shown below+.

These phones are able to download content from the . C!ST 1i-eo ser1ice 'see their great 2ebsite+. The on$demand clips offered currently are under four categories 8ews$860, 088 to go, 860 market watch *ntertainment- : 0ast )howcase, .ust for laughs

)ports- 7o )ports, *),8 5eather- ! 6reaking news and 7orecasts

: 0!)T is now available to more than 3B& million users across 3I3 cites in U)! and is available in >C primary airports.

T($0(#!FT($)0(#! The U#T) standard also contains another radio transmission standard which is rarely mentioned- T($0(#! 'a.k.a. T(( UT4! because it is the T(( component of UT4!+. T($0(#! was developed by )iemens. 5hile 5$0(#! is an 7(( technology 're?uiring paired spectrum+, T($ 0(#! is a T(( technology and thus can use unpaired spectrum 'see the section on 3G Technology for an e planation of T(( and 7((+. T(( is well$suited to the transmission of internet data 'see the section on symmetric transmission vs. asymmetric transmission for an e planation+.

0hina has more mobile phone users than any other country in the world, so anything 0hina does in 3G cannot be ignored. The 0hinese national 3G standard is a T(( standard similar to T($ 0(#!- T -SC M!. T($)0(#! was developed by the 0hina !cademy of Telecommunications Technology '0!TT+ in collaboration with )iemens. T($)0(#! eliminates the uplinkFdownlink interference which affects other T(( methods by applying "terminal synchonisation" techni?ues

'the ")" in T($)0(#! stands for "synchronisation"+. 6ecause of this, T($)0(#! allows full network coverage over macro cells, micro cells, and pico cells. 1ence, T($)0(#! stands alongside 5$0(#! and 0(#!%&&& as a fully$fledged 3G standard. The 3G,, have e5ten-e- the T -C M! stan-ar- to inclu-e T -SC M! as an official I#T$%&&& standard. Unfortunately, T($)0(#! has performe- poorly in trials, and 0hinese network operators may prefer 6-C M! o1er T -SC M!.

6ased on a presentation from the IT,. In many ways, it's almost TGG simple ...