By Mark Sutton
Etisalat and Motorola have completed the first stages of testing of the GPRS communications system, in preparation for a roll out sometime next year.
Etisalat, the UAE’s PTT and Motorola have already completed initial mobile data transfer in the region over GPRS (general packet radio service). Both parties have been running an extensive series of GPRS tests, which began in June.
Motorola had worked closely with Cisco Systems for the duration of the project, to use the world’s first proven commercial GPRS, already in use by other network operators worldwide. Using the overlay system on the Etisalat GSM network with Motorola’s Timeport 260 GPRS capable handsets, a number of applications are already being tested. However, despite the early successes, commercial GPRS availability on the Etisalat network isn’t due for introduction until sometime in 2001.
GPRS services means that the user is always connected, providing rapid connection to Internet based services and making WAP enabled content far quicker to access.
It is thought that the UAE PTT is testing a number of applications across the network, including; corporate e-mail access, personalised stock quotes, courier package tracking, book-marking of sites, news, sports and other media services, mobile banking, e-commerce services and instant messaging, streaming of audio/visual content and location based services.
An Etisalat spokesperson said: “High speed reliable mobile data transfer is an enormous market opportunity for us, and a significant move forward for subscribers looking to broaden the capability of mobile opportunities. The applications proven to work over GPRS can be migrated to the anticipated third generation networks, which will enhance the user interface.”