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Sprint PCS to begin 3G migration this year

InfoWorld

(IDG) -- Despite reports that some carriers are hitting snags with the implementation of 3G (third-generation) wireless networks and services, Sprint PCS Group announced on Tuesday that it is on track to begin migrating its U.S. network to 3G technology later this year. 3G technology lets carriers significantly increase their wireless networks' capacity to transmit voice and data.

Sprint PCS will roll out its 3G technology in four phases, the company said in a statement. The first phase of the deployment will be to migrate to a CDMA2000 (Code Division Multiple Access 2000) network, which will double the Sprint PCS network's capacity for voice communications, increase data transmission speeds from 14.4Kbps to 144Kbps, and lower handset battery consumption, the company said. The announcement was made at the CTIA Wireless 2001 Conference in Las Vegas.

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In early 2003, Sprint PCS will move to the second stage in its 3G transition and offer data speeds of up to 307Kbps. By late 2003, data transmission speeds will reach up to 2.4Mbps, and in early 2004 transmission speeds for voice and data will hit between 3Mbps and 5Mbps.

The first phase of the 3G migration will not require Sprint PCS customers to buy new handsets, unless they want to use new 3G services and applications, the company said.

In recent weeks, talk about 3G has soured after months of hype about the myriad application possibilities that the technology offers. Analysts have questioned how some carriers will make money given the amount of money they have spent to obtain 3G spectrum. Some observers question how much demand there is for 3G services. Compounding the matter are the delays in 3G network implementations.

Sprint PCS has invested approximately $3.4 billion to date for its nationwide spectrum, the company said. Sprint PCS said it plans to invest between $700 million and $800 million more to introduce wireless high-speed packet data throughout the United States by 2002. Companies supporting Sprint PCS' 3G migration include Lucent Technologies, Motorola, Nortel Networks, and Qualcomm.



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