Split standard

2019-03-07 06:01:14

By Barry Fox AN industry split over the best way to speed up Net access via mobiles and laptops could be bad news for consumers. British cellphone networks Orange and One 2 One plan to adopt rival standards to boost wireless modem speeds beyond today’s 9.6 kilobits per second. In December Orange will launch a High Speed Circuit Switched Data service that combines two or more channels, hiking the speed to 28.8K. And next year, One 2 One will introduce the General Packet Radio Service, which allocates up to 56K when needed. To use the services, you will have to buy new cellphones or wireless modems for your laptops. But those who invest in the HSCSD technology will not be able to take advantage of the faster speeds possible with GPRS. “HSCSD is a technology cul-de-sac. GPRS hardware will cope with it, but HSCSD hardware will not handle GPRS,” says Craig Tillotson, One 2 One’s director of strategy. One 2 One also claims its system will be far cheaper to operate. But Stuart Scott, Orange’s Internet product manager, says: “We have not yet set [HSCSD] tariffs, but our target is to add only a very small premium.” The problem may not be limited to Britain. Cellphone companies in other countries that have adopted Europe’s GSM mobile standard, may opt for one or other of the rival standards. Things will get even more complicated in 2002 with the introduction of GSM’s successor,