India can benefit from timely adoption of 3G licensing process and capitalise on the global UMTS opportunity
The UMTS Forum Chairman Jean-Pierre Bienaim today emphasised on UMTS being India's best choice for 3G platform and underlined the benefits of adopting W-CDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) radio access technology which provides a clear path ahead for Indian mobile operators evolving to 3G / UMTS and beyond. The UMTS Forum is the trade body promoting the global uptake of UMTS third generation mobile services.
"3G / UMTS 'future-proofs' Indian mobile operators' existing investments in GSM - the world's #1 choice of wireless technology, leveraging the enormous economies of an open system", indicated Jean-Pierre Bienaim, Chairman of the UMTS Forum while addressing the India Mobility Summit 2004 hosted by the Institute for International Research (IIR) in New Delhi.
Outlining the key benefits of the 3G / UMTS technology, Bienaim said, "3G / UMTS offers significant future additional capacity in fresh radio spectrum at lower incremental cost, allowing Indian operators to upgrade their existing networks, enabling them to well address the exponential increase in cellular traffic in India, provide superior quality and offer an array of services and applications on this technology, in a cost efficient manner." He also stated that by adopting W-CDMA radio access technology in harmonised frequency bands identified universally for IMT 2000, India could align itself with the global mobile telecommunications industry.
Bienaim stressed the importance of including 3G / UMTS in India's regulatory and technology decisions so that the country can participate in the global UMTS opportunity: "In the global family of third generation mobile technologies, UMTS is the natural evolutionary choice for operators of GSM networks, presently representing ~ 75% of the global mobile customer base. We believe, that India will greatly benefit from a timely 3G licensing process. With the availability of a vast pool of talented and skilled manpower, India can play a vital role in providing R&D and software and application development support in areas such as computing infrastructure, multiple access technologies, channel coding, etc. to the enormous global marketplace that is enabled by 3G / UMTS."
W-CDMA has been adopted by 98% of the operators that have been awarded 3G licenses so far and is the natural evolution from GSM, which exceeds one billion subscribers worldwide. GSM is a rapidly growing technology with more than 620 operators in over 200 countries. As the world's leading and fastest growing mobile standard, GSM is the globally most preferred wireless technology benefiting mobile operators, manufacturers and end-users by offering high quality and secure mobile voice & data services with full roaming capabilities across the world, significant economies of scale and interoperability. For present GSM operators, UMTS helps generate additional capacity by leveraging the current infrastructure enabling efficient optimisation of existing networks, provides an open platform for development of applications and offers the widest choice for terminals. For customers already availing voice and data services on 2 / 2.5 G, 3G's capacity and speed advantages assure enhanced customer experience.
3G / UMTS is already a reality today and rapidly gaining strength globally with over 4 million customers worldwide, which is estimated to grow to 12 - 15 million by the end of 2004. 15 3G / UMTS networks have been launched in Asia and Europe (Austria, Australia, Denmark, Greece, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Slovenia, Sweden and the UK) with operators like NTT DoCoMo, Vodafone and Orange already in the process of providing customers a gamut of services and applications on this technology.