T-Mobile, EDGE Yes, 3G No


T-Mobile is not that enamored with 3G. It can’t be – it doesn’t have the spectrum to roll out 3G services, so it is staying focused on cheap voice, and using WiFi as a high speed data option. However, the company is willing to make a concession to the future and is going to roll out EDGE service (which is roughly twice as fast as GPRS) by end of 2005. “We’ll use the time to make a better product at a better price point,” Cole Brodman, T-Mobile USA’s chief development officer told The Seattle Times. “Instead of jumping off the cliff with all the other lemmings with 3G and mowing everyone over, there’s going to be very little put in the market that we couldn’t do on our EDGE products, and hopefully better prices at similar performance.” 3G will come, maybe in 2008. Of course they could replicate their international strategy and introduce Flarion OFDM-based high speed data network in some other frequency band than their current cellular frequencies.

Previously: Why T-Mobile Should Offer iTunes Phone?


joshua simplicio

hi, I like the website! however, I am new to this and being very fascinated with today’s technology and especially when it comes to phones, Id really appreciate it if 2 questions were answered for me:
1) whats reallt the difference between 3G and EDGE?
2) which is better? faster?

I am debating whether to buy the K790i or the K800i sony ericsson phone. Thank you very much!


RF Engineer

  The amount of bandwidth needed for 3G services could be as much as 15-20 MHz. Compare this with the bandwidth of 30-200 KHz used for current 2G communication and you can see that there is as much as a 500-fold increase in the amount of bandwidth required. Now you can appreciate why radio spectrum has become such a precious and scarce resource in the information age – everybody from television broadcasters to the military wants spectrum, and it is in short supply. The telecoms operators have had to buy 3G spectrum from governments around the world, and those governments – realising that they own a precious, valuable resource – have sought to sell that spectrum at the highest possible price.

      Radio spectrum is often organized (and sold) as paired spectrum – a bit of spectrum in a lower frequency band, and a bit of spectrum in an upper frequency band (see the section on 3G Technology for an explanation of paired spectrum). Paired spectrum is often specified in a form like “2x15MHz” meaning 15MHz in a lower band and 15MHz in an upper band. This technique of two users talking to each other on two separate frequencies is called Frequency Division Duplex, or FDD (see the section on 3G Technology for an explanation of FDD). W-CDMA is an FDD technique (i.e., it requires paired spectrum) whereas TD-CDMA is a TDD technique (i.e., it can use unpaired spectrum).

Jesse Kopelman

Don’t believe the hype. Ability to deliver 3G is not about spetrum, it is about network density. To get good throughput you need to have an RSSI in the -70s (dBm). If you have that, you can squeeze the hell out of your 2G spectrum using better codecs to free up the spectrum for 3G. Therefore, network quality good enough for 3G = enough spectrum for 3G. It’s no surprise that the carrier being the most agressive in rolling out 3G (Verizon) is the one with the best network in terms of RSSI.

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