Roaming around the globe

Wireless communications took a step closer to seamless integration today, with the acceptance of the TDMA technology into those covered by the GSM Global Roaming Forum

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By  Mark Sutton Published  January 14, 2001

Seamless worldwide wireless communications will soon be made easier, with the announcement of an agreement between two international standards bodies. The GSM Association, which represents 501 second and third generation GSM operators and suppliers, has agreed to include TDMA technology, represented by the Universal Wireless Communications Consortium as part of the GSM Global Roaming Forum, a central body working for interoperability standards.

GSM, the most popular mobile phone system worldwide, and TDMA, mainly used in North America, have a combined subscriber base of 465 million, or 70% of wireless phone users. Interoperability between networks, which allows subscribers to use their phones outside of their normal network areas, is vital to enabling seamless global roaming.

The GSM Global Roaming Association was formed in June 2000 to work towards integration of the GSM, iDEN, CDMA, TETRA and TDMA technologies. The mission of the Roaming Forum is to develop technical requirements for terminals, networking, and smart cards and commercial standards for services, billing, financial settlements, and fraud management.

Rob Conway, CEO of the GSM Association said: "Our customers expect to be able to enjoy services from their home network, wherever they may be in the world, and the role of the Roaming Forum with the much appreciated help of UWCC members is to make that wish a reality."

Juan Carlos Jil, International Business Director for Entel PCS (Chile), and Chairman of the Roaming Forum, added: "The Roaming Forum is building the blueprints to facilitate inter-standard roaming and allowing customers to roam the world seamlessly across any wireless system with the GSM global network at its core and we are very pleased to welcome members of the TDMA community to this precedent-setting initiative." Jil added, "Seamless global roaming has been a major factor behind the ten-year plus success of the GSM industry, and we are looking to extending that success throughout pockets of the world not covered by GSM."

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