March 23, 2006
 

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November 2003

Double Standard

Are two networks better than one?
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By Teresa von Fuchs




Kyocera recently released a dual GSM/CDMA mobile phone, the first handset to implement Qualcomm’s GSM1x technology. Qualcomm created GSM1x to enable handset makers more freedom in building phones, and to begin bridging the gap between 2.5G cellular networks. A CDMA solution for GSM operators, a GSM1x handset accepts a GSM SIM card and overlays CDMA on GSM networks. Global roaming should be available on either network. Qualcomm also promises increased voice and data capabilities with this dual-network capability.

The Kyocera dual-standard phone is based on its KZ850 model, and includes a digital camera, high-resolution color screen and other multimedia options. The phone debuted for market trial with China Unicom in Suzhouin in August. China Unicom is the only carrier currently piloting GSM1x technology, and the pilot has been successful so far, according to Qualcomm.

Another hardware manufacturer, Samsung, has announced plans for a GSM1x compatible handset. Nortel Networks is the first company to begin making infrastructure equipment for GSM1x.
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