AT&T Wireless Services (NYSE:AWE) and Nortel Networks (NYSE:NT)(TSX:NT) have launched North America's first commercial UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) wireless networks, including the first to operate at the 1900 MHz radio frequency -- a requirement for North America.
These networks -- launched in Detroit, Phoenix, San Francisco and Seattle -- allow AT&T Wireless to increase capacity for voice and data traffic, reduce costs and increase data speeds for delivery of sophisticated new mobile services. Using Nortel Networks core and radio access UMTS wireless solutions, they will also provide AT&T Wireless subscribers and enterprise customers in these four markets with high speed VPN (Virtual Private Network) access, multimedia audio and video applications, and advanced location-based and m-Commerce features.
"This launch is a major milestone in the North American telecommunications sector," said Eric Updyke, vice president -- 3G Program Management, AT&T Wireless. "Nortel Networks has been a significant contributor in our plans to launch the most advanced network in the United States using the most widely used 3G (third generation) standards and bringing a new generation of mobile multimedia services to customers."
"Nortel Networks has successfully deployed UMTS across Western Europe, and a key factor for world-class customers like AT&T Wireless choosing solutions from Nortel Networks has been our reputation for speed and quality of deployment coupled with leading network performance," said Pascal Debon, president, Wireless Networks, Nortel Networks. "The AT&T Wireless launch is an important step in advancing 3G mobile services here in the United States and we're pleased to be taking a leadership role in making this a reality."
The networks will provide AT&T Wireless customers with average data speeds from 220 to 320 kilobits per second (kbps) -- six to eight times faster than dial-up -- and up to 384 kbps under optimal conditions.
The new networks will use AT&T Wireless' existing converged core -- supplied by Nortel Networks -- to add UMTS to existing GSM, GPRS and EDGE capabilities.
UMTS is a low-cost alternative for service providers seeking to address growing demand in capacity for voice and data services. Combined with GSM, GPRS and EDGE, UMTS gives AT&T Wireless more flexibility in managing its network to ensure capacity in high-traffic areas.