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Darren Twiss

Hi Martin,

Another case to consider for GSM is the number of M2M/Telemetry devices out there. These are still predominantly 2G devices and provide a large install base for some networks.

As far as what will lead to the eventual phase out of GSM...In this part of the world (New Zealand and Australia) the carriers simply turn it off when it doesn't provide a return against the cost of running it.


I see your last suggestion as a promising one.
In Australia we have three significant GSM 900 networks, varyingly with UMTS 1900 / 2100 added on.
The largest operator also had CDMA 850, with sufficient spectrum to deploy UMTS 850 prior to switching off CDMA. They did switch off CDMA though and force a lot of people to replace their handsets.

The #2 provider has been deploying UMTS, using 900MHz in regional (non-city) areas to compete with #1. Their difficulty will be that UMTS then holds more than half of their 900MHz spectrum. Even switching off GSM, they won't be able to deploy LTE at 900 without crippling it to less than UMTS/HSPA performance.

Given your comments on the challenges of roaming to/from LTE, and the way HSPA is reaching into LTE's capabilities, will it be many years before anyone actually wants LTE?

dominic hayes

How about UMTS being turned off before GSM? Now that would be interesting. GSM would be provided as a strategic national asset: a kind of universal service obligation (the shared network idea sounds ideal). And surely this is a perfect application for SDR.

Developing country growth maybe a red herring as it's possible those GSM markets could grow separately, particularly as their roamers are more likely to be affluent and have high end phones. The key to GSM longevity in developed countries might well depend on the M2M market and users in remote locations.


Interesting thought Dominic, but in Australia at least, "remote locations" tend to have patchy GSM coverage due to its limited range.


Hi Martin,
my compliments once again for this blog, I like the fact that is updated regularly. Anyway, just adding a link to the discussion:


Hi SwordfishBob,

You make an interesting comment here concerning deployment of UMTS in 900 MHz and that operators might have issues with deploying LTE in this prime band later-on as they would have to rip either GSM or UMTS out of this band. Both things that would be hard as it has an impact on the devices of users. That's something to think about...


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