Next Generation Mobile networks win support

Twelve more companies have joined the Next Generation Mobile Networks Initiative, the lobby group set up by major GSM carriers and Sprint-Nextel to press for an open standard beyond 3G.

New additions include Alltel, AT&T, SK Telecom, Telecom Italia, and Telefonica from the operator world, and Huawei, LG, NEC, Samsung, Starent and ZTE from the vendors.

At the same time, it was announced that T-Mobile International CEO Hamid Akhavan would become chairman of the initiative’s board, with Vodafone CTO Steve Pursey joining as that firm’s representative.

“With our new members we represent around half of the global mobile subscribers. Furthermore, we have operators from all major markets of the world. This representation enables us to ensure that the future networks will be designed with the diversity of needs and scenarios in mind and that they can effectively respond to the needs of a global user base,” said Akhavan.

“The contribution of vendors in NGMN cannot be overstated as they play a vital role in the industry. However, we still welcome applications from other vendors in order to ensure that we can overcome barriers such as fragmentation of the industry.”

The initiative has been criticised in some quarters as a ginger group directed at Qualcomm’s intellectual property interests in WCDMA and other technologies, but its members strongly deny the allegations.

The technical objectives of NGMN are to provide “peak downlink and peak uplink throughputs at about 100Mbps and 50Mbps respectively, with end-to-end latency of less than 20ms, ensuring end-to-end QoS, security, and always-on, meeting all of the above challenges in a cost-efficient manner.”

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