GPRS gets speed boost

Siemens says mobile phone users will be able to download data at speeds a third faster than before over Vodafone's GPRS network using its latest software.

Siemens says mobile phone users will be able to download data at speeds a third faster than before over Vodafone's GPRS network using its latest software.

The software, due to be released at the end of March, allows users of Siemens' S45 and ME45 phones to access the class eight specification of GPRS (general packet radio service), the so-called 2.5G technology that runs on Vodafone's GSM platform.

According to a statement from Siemens, "transmission and transfer of information access to the internet is made significantly faster through the incorporation of GPRS class eight, which delivers speeds of up to 53.6kbit/s compared with previous class four performance of 40.2kbit/s".

Siemens is one of several handset makers with offerings in the New Zealand market on Vodafone's GSM and GPRS networks. Others include Ericsson and Nokia.

Telecom's rival CDMA network, accessed by handsets from Hyundai, Kyocera and Samsung, offers speeds of 14.4kbit/s at present, says spokeswoman Linda Sanders says, but that will increase significantly when CDMA1X comes on stream in the second half of the year.

"The 1X service has achieved up to 153kbit/s in lab tests, but we're not saying that will be available to customers -- it was done under lab conditions."

GPRS has a similar theoretical maximum speed.

IDGNet reported in August that Andrew Kissling, participant in GPRS handset trials, had achieved 20kbit/s to 30kbit/s on average on an Ericsson R520 and bursts of 40kbit/s to 50kbit/s (see Users measure up CDMA, GPRS).

GPRS has been in existence in New Zealand since November 2000 but problems with supplying GPRS-enabled handsets to the market meant its uptake was restricted until a few months ago.

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