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France, 17 December 1999

Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) approves Release 99 specifications in race towards global standard for the new millennium

Nice, France, 17 December 1999 - Standards bodies from China, Europe, Japan, Korea and the United States today agreed upon a set of specifications for 3rd Generation Mobile communications.

At the invitation of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, ETSI, over 400 of the world’s leading mobile communications experts gathered in Nice, France, at a meeting of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) to approve ”Release 99”, the comprehensive set of 300 specifications which will enable the launch of third generation (3G) mobile communications.

The 3GPP specifications will allow consumers to roam throughout the globe and benefit from access to the Internet and other multimedia services at speeds of up to 2 Mbits/sec, in addition to the voice services that present-day mobile users are already familiar with.

For industry, the 3GPP Release 99 provides the stability for the first roll out of 3G services expected to be available in the market as early as 2001, with progressive launches in the various regions of the world that are represented within 3GPP.

The 3GPP is a global standardization initiative created in December 1998 to develop specifications for the International Telecommunication Union’s family of standards known as IMT-2000. The new 3GPP specifications are evolved mainly from the popular GSM standard which is currently used by 250 million subscribers in more than 140 countries. The 3GPP specifications includes a new radio access technology known as UTRA which will provide various radio modes (Frequency Division Duplex, FDD, and Time Division Duplex, TDD).

According to ETSI Director-General Karl Heinz Rosenbrock, who is also President of the 3GPP Project Co-ordination Group, ”3GPP meetings have taken place in many parts of the world, emphasizing the strong commitment of Standards Development Organisations (SDOs) from China, Europe, Japan, Korea and the United States. It is through this commitment we have been able to meet the very aggressive targets for 3G. In just one year, we have been able to specify the 3G system, a truly unprecedented achievement in the world of standardization, and one that the industry will continue to envy for years to come.”

Release 99 specifies more than 50 services, both the FDD and TDD radio modes of UTRA, speech codecs, Operation and Maintenance, test specifications, and much more. The specifications that comprise Release 99 will now be transposed into formal standards by the participating SDOs from China, Europe, Japan, Korea and the United States.

Global specification work will continue as 3GPP develops Release 2000 providing further enhancements and features such as an ”all-IP” based network, further refinements of radio access modes, seamless service provisioning, etc.

Mr Michael Stocks, Chairman of the GSM Association, confirmed the satisfaction of the operator community. ”The GSM Association is really happy with the progress in 3GPP and the fact that the timescales and Release content are essentially in line with the original plans,” he remarked. ”The Association has emphasized its role in 3G by establishing an IMT-2000 Steering Group in which operators of 2nd Generation and enhanced 2nd Generation systems, together with prospective 3rd Generation operators, are able to formulate contributions to standards-making activities as well as to work on operational and business issued that fall outside standardization. We are convinced of the success of 3GPP and will continue to contribute actively to the excellent work of this project,” said Mr Stocks.

Dr Bernd Eylert, Chairman of the UMTS Forum, commented: ”The timely completion of work on Release 99 represents a major milestone in the evolution of technical specifications to support the successful market launch of IMT-2000 services globally. Within the UMTS Forum we now look forward to assisting 3GPP as it continues its work on Release 2000, with an increased emphasis on applications, network management, billing and service provisioning. A perspective from the marketplace on these other components of the IMT-2000 proposition is vital in enabling the creation of next-generation mobile multimedia applications that will meet end user needs.”

Mr Olle Åberg, a Vice-President of GSA - the Global Mobile Suppliers Association, confirmed the importance of these achievements. ”Release 99 is a vital step towards the successful development and deployment of 3rd Generation mobile communications,” he said. ”GSA is pleased to be part of the 3GPP process which is proving so very effective in achieving a consensus view of the global market requirements for the 3rd Generation. The forward-looking, open approach adopted by the 3GPP is an excellent model for bringing together the diverse requirements of different parts of the industry, which are committed to establishing a mass market for highly personalised and user-friendly mobile access to tomorrow’s Information Society,” he added.


The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) The 3GPP organization was established for the preparation and maintenance of a complete set of globally applicable technical specifications for a Third Generation mobile system based on the evolved GSM core networks and the radio access technologies supported by 3GPP partners.

3GPP membership consists of 3 categories - Organizational Partners, Market Representation Partners and Individual Members.

The current Organizational Partners (which by definition are recognized Standards Development Organizations) are:

  • Association of Radio Industries and Businesses (ARIB), Japan. www.arib.or.jp
  • China Wireless Telecommunication Standard (CWTS). www.cwts.org
  • The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). www.etsi.org
  • Committee T1, USA. www.t1.org
  • The Telecommunications Technology Association (TTA), Korea. www.tta.or.kr
  • The Telecommunication Technology Committee (TTC), Japan. www.ttc.or.jp

The current Market Representation Partners of 3GPP are:

  • The GSM Association. www.gsmworld.com
  • The Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA). www.gsassociation.org
  • The UMTS Forum. www.umts-forum.org
  • The Universal Wireless Communications Consortium (UWCC). www.uwcc.org

3GPP web site: www.3GPP.org

For further details contact:

ARIB: Mr. Akio Sasaki
Tel: +81 3 5510 8594
Fax: +81 3 3592 1103
e-mail: arib@mb.kcom.ne.jp
CWTS: Mr. Sun Lixin
Tel: +86 10 68094467
Fax: +86 10 68034801
e-mail: sunlx@bupt.edu.cn
ETSI: Ms Florence Pontieux
Tel: +33 (0)4 92 94 43 12
Fax: +33 (0)4 92 38 49 32
e-mail: press@etsi.fr
Committee T1: Mr. John Bernhards
Tel: +1 202 434 8850
Fax: +1 202 393 5453
e-mail: jbern@atis.org
TTA: Mr. B.K. Lee
Tel: +82 2 723 7075
Fax: +82 2 736 0384
e-mail: bklee@www.tta.or.kr
TTC: Mr. Kazunori Matsuo
Tel: +81 3 5776 7797
Fax: +81 3 3432 1553
e-mail: matsuo@ttc.or.jp
GSM Association: Mr. Mark Smith
Tel: +44 118 958 3031
Fax: +44 118 959 9595
e-mail: mark@companycare.com
GSA: Mr. Alan Hadden
Tel: +44 1279 435483
Fax: +44 1279 435443
e-mail: alan.hadden@btinternet.com
UMTS Forum: Mr. Chris Solbe
Mobile: +44 (0)956 388798
e-mail: chris.solbe@dial.pipex.com
UWCC: Chris Pearson
Tel: +1 425 372 8922
Fax: +1 425 372 8923
e-mail: chris.pearson@uwcc.org
  or Lynn Mell
Tel: +1 425 372 8924
Fax: +1 425 372 8923
e-mail: lynn.mell@uwcc.org

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