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Suncom To Premiere Third-Generation Wireless Technology


December 14, 2000
Copyright © 2000 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

Local wireless carrier TeleCorp PCS, AT&T Wireless’ largest affiliate doing business as SunCom, will deploy for third-generation wireless technology by using general radio packet services (GPRS) technology over its existing time division multiple access (TDMA) infrastructure.

By selecting GPRS–a Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) based technology–for its high-speed data, TeleCorp will align itself with the worldwide GSM community, which leads wireless technology worldwide, with more than 400 operators in over 158 countries and almost 400 million subscribers. So far, no wireless operator on the island uses GSM technology. With the inclusion of GSM service SunCom, customers will also be able to do roaming in Europe and Asia.

GSM is the most widely used wireless technology. Because of its popularity, new innovations are integrated into it before they are integrated into the competing technologies (CDMA and TDMA) that are used in Puerto Rico by other carriers.

Using GSMs will ensure a greater variety of applications, wider availability of devices at lower costs, and the opportunity for true global roaming through a GSM/GPRS handset. So far handset manufacturers Nokia and Ericsson will provide handsets

"Our decision to go GPRS/GSM is the next step on our third-Generation, or high-speed, data migration path," said Raúl Burgos, vice president and general manager of SunCom in Puerto Rico. "By selecting GPRS/GSM for our next phase, we will be better positioned to give our customers more choices at a more competitive price. And with the future availability of a GPRS/GSM/TDMA handset, subscribers will be able to use both networks."

TeleCorp will begin deploying a GPRS data network in 2001 as an overlay onto its existing TDMA network in selected markets, including Puerto Rico. The GPRS data network will ultimately allow TeleCorp’s new and existing TDMA customers to access both the TDMA and GPRS network capabilities–including high- speed data applications and nationwide TDMA voice coverage through the use of next generation handsets.

"We will formulate our deployment plans in the next few months. Our analysis will include build-out requirements, demand for advanced data services, and availability of equipment. Puerto Rico is one of our largest and most important markets, so it will be at the top of our list for consideration," said Burgos.

As part of the planned evolution of its network, this decision gives TeleCorp the ability to accelerate the rollout of advanced high-speed data services. Its partnership with AT&T Wireless will deliver equipment cost savings, and the selection of the Global Systems for Mobile Communications (GSM) based GPRS technology will also provide TeleCorp and its partners a clear and direct path to the global standard third-generation services, known as Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS).

As an affiliate of AT&T Wireless, which has also selected GSM/GPRS, TeleCorp will continue to give its customers the benefits of nationwide service on the AT&T Wireless network. In addition, TeleCorp will be positioned to handle the in-bound data roaming traffic generated by AT&T Wireless subscribers and other GPRS data users. Furthermore, with GPRS, TeleCorp will be able to accommodate GSM voice traffic, thus giving the ability to collect new inbound roaming revenue from U.S. and international GSM subscribers.

"This is part of a nationwide strategy to provide data services on our network and on our partners network," said Gerald T. Vento, CEO of TeleCorp PCS. "TeleCorp will also benefit from its relationship with AT&T by providing inbound roaming services to millions of prospective AT&T data customers roaming in our footprint which now covers 14 states and Puerto Rico."

TeleCorp is AT&T Wireless’ largest affiliate with licenses covering approximately 35 million people from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. The company provides its SunCom digital wireless services in selected markets in fourteen states and Puerto Rico, encompassing 16 of the top 100 markets. TeleCorp is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia and employs more than 2,500 people.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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