The Path towards UMTS - Technologies for the Information Society (Conclusions and Recommendations)
Thursday, 01 January 1998
UMTS Forum Report 2, 1998
Conclusions and Recommendations
UMTS is going to happen - the multimedia market exists and is growing while technologies are being put in place to bring it into the mobile community.
We expect to see a phased introduction of UMTS hardware and services with coverage, capability and number of operators growing over time. This phased introduction ensures the early availability of services to users while reducing risks for UMTS operators and manufacturers.
UMTS needs to be capable of co-existing and working with existing second generation mobile communications technologies so that operators can choose to re-use their existing infrastructure assets and expertise.
Global availability of UMTS services will be ensured by providing for roaming between members of the IMT-2000 family, and handover between GSM and UMTS.
A number of technologies are required, in addition to the radio interface on which so much focus has been placed recently. In addition, technologies from other fields, (for example IP) will be used to reduce costs and increase the performance of UMTS.
Though much attention is currently focused on the early years of deployment, UMTS is being defined with a view to the long term. In time we expect that its capabilities will extend far above those envisaged today.
A number of key requirements need to be met to ensure that UMTS deployment takes place on schedule:
- Successful implementation of data services on existing networks. Though UMTS will support voice services its future depends on the use of mobile data within the mass market. Operators considering UMTS are now looking towards take-up of existing GSM data, and anticipating the success of new data services like GPRS as models for UMTS' success.
- Per-packet billing systems in place. Billing and customer care are becoming ever more complex as a means to achieve competitive differentiation. UMTS will require complex interworking between many organisations, and the convergence of different industries will introduce new customer care and billing concepts. The UMTS subscriber and network management capabilities will need to be enhanced to meet these new and evolving requirements.
- Implement the service creation environment and interfaces so that the rich range of services can be offered to end users.
- Maintain and progress the vision.
- Abide by the timescales. UMTS timescales are tight. Implementation of networks in 2002 requires constant attention and adherence to the overall UMTS project plan.
- Support continuing research to ensure UMTS' long term evolution, for example in the area of spectrum/resource sharing.
UMTS is a significant opportunity for manufacturers, operators, regulators and content providers, both as a communications system in itself and as part of the greater Information Society. The vision of UMTS is as a customer-focused system, where customers include both network operators and end users. The challenge to the communications industry is to integrate the technologies needed for UMTS in a way which supports this goal and thereby transforms the vision into reality.