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BT Cellnet gets ready to launch GPRS next month
Posted: 27-May-2000 [Source: FT]

[Higher speed, always connected, mobile services may not be far off according to BT Cellnet. Their GPRS launch, planned for June, will first be available to corporate customers.]

By Dan Roberts -- "BT Cellnet has stolen a march on its competitors by announcing the launch of the UK's first high-speed internet access available over mobile phones.

"The service, based on General Packet Radio Switching (GPRS), should be available to corporate customers from June 26.

"If successful, the corporate launch will embarrass rival operators such as Orange, which have been insisting that the lack of available equipment would prevent any large-scale commercial service until the end of the year.

"The service will allow people travelling with laptops to access the internet five to 10 times faster than with current mobile phones. Consumer applications based on new mobile handsets are expected by the end of the year.

"Orange had also been promising to offer high speed access using a rival technology called High Speed Circuit Switched Data (HSCSD), but its launch has been delayed by equipment shortages and is now likely later this summer.

"Both technologies are seen as vital in attracting high-spending business customers because current attempts to use laptops on the move are frustrated by data rates of 9.6 kilobits a second, whereas HSCSD and GPRS promise rates of 28.8kbits a second - fast enough to access most websites easily.

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