"Finnish telecom operator Nokia said on Tuesday its General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) infrastructure would support all three planned
classes of GPRS mobile phone terminals.
"It said this across-the-board support may have been underestimated by some players in GPRS, which is a system bringing permanent data connections to GSM (Global System for
Mobile Communications) phones.
"The Nokia GPRS solution has full support for all ETSI specified interfaces... resulting in a competitive functionality from the outset including support for Short Message Services
over GPRS and for all classes of GPRS-enabled mobile terminals," Nokia said in a statement.
"The importance of supporting all (interfaces by ETSI, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute) has probably been somewhat underestimated," the head of Nokia's GPRS business
programme Petri Poyhonen told Reuters.
"Poyhonen said terminal producers are planning three kinds of handsets for GPRS called classes A, B and C, with different telecommuncations functionality.
"The simplest phones, class C, will only be able to carry either voice or data connections, which means someone using the phone for WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) Internet services will not be able to take voice calls, which will be diverted.
"Therefore GPRS networks will need to include ETSI's interface "Gd" to carry a short message services telling the phone user if the caller has left a message in the voice mailbox, Poyhonen said.
"Class B phones will be able to let users switch to voicecalls from data use when the phone rings, and that will require networks to include ETSI interface "Gs."
"Class A phones would seamlessly let users talk without closing their GPRS data connections, Poyhonen said.
"Other ETSI interfaces -- Gn, Gb, Gr, Gp, Gf -- are needed for all GRPS networks, and will provide functions such as
inter-network roaming for all three classes of handsets.
"The first GPRS phones -- expected to hit the market in mid-2000 -- will likely be class C and B phones, with the class C models especially fit for data-only use, he said.
"Class A phones will enter the market much later, if at all, possibly at around the same time as third generation wireless broadband terminals are due, he said.
"Class A phones will be complicated and it is possible that phone makers will choose to use the resources for development of
other features instead," Poyhonen said.