Could Apple Solidify GSM in the US?

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Date: Tuesday, September 26th, 2006, 22:52
Category: Mobile Phone

ThinkSecret reports that the much-rumored-about iPhone from Apple is coming and will be available exclusively through Cingular. If true, it would mean that Apple has decided to take a position on what phone stack it is willing to support and has come out on the side of GSM.

In a lot of ways, the mobile phone landscape in the United States could be considered a case study into how sometimes the free market fails end users. Let me explain: in the late 80s and early 90s, there were two different types of technologies available in the US for mobile phone delivery: CDMA and TDMA. However, due to vendor differences, the market fragmented even further with Sprint PCS (now Sprint Nextel) adopting a different flavor of CDMA than Verizon. Meanwhile, Nextel (now part of Sprint Nextel) adopted a proprietary technology called iDen, which was based on TDMA while T-Mobile and Cingular adopted GSM, a flavor of TDMA that has become the global standard outside of the US.

The bottom line on this whole acronym soup is that most mobile operators in the United States cannot operate on each other’s networks because they are using different technologies. This is why foreigners visiting the US generally lament about the poor quality of the mobile experience in this country and why the US is falling behind in the global mobile race. This is also why most American mobile phones don’t work abroad.

Because Cingular and T-mobile used the same GSM technology, they agreed to share their networks, allowing their customers to use both networks transparently, in a situation similar to the one one would witness outside of the US. The fact that they use GSM is also why a lot of cool phones make it to their networks before they are available to other providers. Verizon is now hedging its bets by introducing hybrid CDMA/GSM phones under the heading of Global Phone Service. To many outside the US, it looks like GSM is already the winning format in the standards war. Read more…

TNL.net >> Could Apple Solidify GSM in the US?

ThinkSecret reports that the much-rumored-about iPhone from Apple is coming and will be available exclusively through Cingular. If true, it would mean that Apple has decided to take a position on what phone stack it is willing to support and has come out on the side of GSM.

In a lot of ways, the mobile phone landscape in the United States could be considered a case study into how sometimes the free market fails end users. Let me explain: in the late 80s and early 90s, there were two different types of technologies available in the US for mobile phone delivery: CDMA and TDMA. However, due to vendor differences, the market fragmented even further with Sprint PCS (now Sprint Nextel) adopting a different flavor of CDMA than Verizon. Meanwhile, Nextel (now part of Sprint Nextel) adopted a proprietary technology called iDen, which was based on TDMA while T-Mobile and Cingular adopted GSM, a flavor of TDMA that has become the global standard outside of the US.

The bottom line on this whole acronym soup is that most mobile operators in the United States cannot operate on each other’s networks because they are using different technologies. This is why foreigners visiting the US generally lament about the poor quality of the mobile experience in this country and why the US is falling behind in the global mobile race. This is also why most American mobile phones don’t work abroad.

Because Cingular and T-mobile used the same GSM technology, they agreed to share their networks, allowing their customers to use both networks transparently, in a situation similar to the one one would witness outside of the US. The fact that they use GSM is also why a lot of cool phones make it to their networks before they are available to other providers. Verizon is now hedging its bets by introducing hybrid CDMA/GSM phones under the heading of Global Phone Service. To many outside the US, it looks like GSM is already the winning format in the standards war. Read more…

TNL.net >> Could Apple Solidify GSM in the US?

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