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November 19th 1998:

ITU Task Group presents progress on assessing technology proposals for third generation radio interface 
November 19th, St-Helier, Jersey (Channel Islands) - Key players from the mobile industry around the world met in Jersey, Channel Islands, 9-20 November 1998 and attended a two day workshop associated with the 15th meeting of Task Group 8/1 of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The Task Group - responsible for third generation (3G) mobile systems - considered various issues such as the development of key radio specifications and additional spectrum for 3G mobile systems, global circulation of terminals, etc. At the workshop - supported by the UMTS Forum - the ITU’s Task Group 8/1 presented its ongoing work in determining the key characteristics of the radio interface(s) for "IMT-2000" (International Mobile Telecommunications 2000). 
"The UK Government’s view is that third generation mobile will not just be a better version of today’s mobile services, it really will be a new concept, offering new and significant opportunities, driven by data applications, not just conventional voice" said David Hendon, Chief Executive of the Radiocommunications Agency of the DTI [UK Department of Trade and Industry], who opened the workshop. "We see businesses becoming increasingly global in scope as communications get better and better. We therefore feel that there is significant benefit to be gained from industry worldwide working together to realise, in a timely way, the maximum global benefits of third generation mobile systems to the benefit of all", he also said. 
Running from 10 to 11 November and hosted by the UK industry and the UK Radiocommunications Agency, the IMT-2000 workshop attracted more than 240 delegates from 31 countries. The workshop enabled those not directly involved with standardisation issues - such as commercial and marketing players in the telecommunications and related fields - to take stock of current developments and to provide guidance to the extensive debate taking place within the ITU. The objectives of the workshop were: 
  • to provide visibility of developments in IMT-2000 
  • to understand the market aspects of IMT-2000 
  • to review the IMT-2000 radio technology proposals 

Addressing the participants, UMTS Forum Chairman Thomas Beijer stated: "The UMTS Forum is delighted to support the ITU’s work as we move closer to the introduction of third generation services worldwide. Progress towards a reduced number of global standards is essential to the timely market introduction of IMT-2000 systems and, in the Forum, we applaud the ITU in its efforts to unify standards for the benefit of all players, including end-users", Beijer added. "The work of Task Group 8/1 will play an instrumental part in ensuring the success of 3G mobile services and the Forum recognises these efforts as a vital part of this process", he concluded. 

Operators taking part in the meeting also urged greater involvement in the work of IMT-2000 and a longer-term approach to the standards-setting work. 
Said Neil Lilly, former chairman of the GSM MoU 3GIG: "Operators must find a way to become more involved in IMT-2000 standardisation. However their limited resources are severely stretched by the proliferation of 3G organisations. We must produce standards which lay the foundation for the longer term and meet the needs of the majority of operators, in spite of the wide diversity of operational scenarios around the world." 

Mike Callendar, ITU Task Group 8/1 Chairman added: "Customers see services not the technologies that provide them. We must be able to provide seamless service evolution to IMT-2000 through competitive dual-mode handsets which hide the implementation complexities of the evolution phase from our customers. IMT-2000 recommendations can be the key to realising the full potential for market growth and cost reductions in the third generation of mobile telecommunications" 

Task Group 8/1 is currently evaluating a total of ten terrestrial and six satellite radio interface proposals for 3G systems, including the UTRA submission that was agreed by ETSI earlier this year. The Task Group’s work will continue through late 1998 and early next year, leading to the identification of the key characteristics of the IMT-2000 radio interface(s) in March 1999. 
Third generation mobile services will provide access, by means of one or more radio links, to a wide range of services supported by fixed networks, the Internet and to other mobile-specific services. A range of mobile terminal types will be developed for fixed and mobile use including linkages to terrestrial and/or satellite services. 
The third generation licensing process is already under way in Europe and Japan, with governments expected to make licence awards for commercial operation during 1999 for launch in a 2001/2002 timeframe. 

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$Date: 2000/02/07 18:11:04 $ $Revision: 1.180 $ Copyright © 1998,1999,2000 by the UMTS Forum. All Rights reserved.