T-Mobile launches world's first Flash-OFDM service

IDG News Service |  Mobile & Wireless

Slovakia is home to what Flarion Technologies Inc. is calling the world's first commercial launch of a new broadband wireless technology designed to compete with Wi-Fi and 3G (third-generation) networks.

The network, based on Flarion Technologies' Flash-OFDM (fast low-latency access with seamless handoff - Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) technology, went live on Monday, according to the Bedminster, New Jersey, manufacturer, which recently agreed to be acquired by Qualcomm Inc. Service is available in selected areas of Bratislava and in 19 other cities around the country.

The operator of the network is T-Mobile Slovensko a.s., the Slovakian subsidiary of Germany's T-Mobile International AG and Co. KG.

Flash-OFDM is a proprietary cellular broadband technology that network operators can deploy either for notebook computers of mobile users or serve as a fixed wireless access system, bridging the "last mile" to connect computers in homes and small offices. Key features include an all-IP architecture and fast speeds.

The technology, for instance, is capable of letting users traveling at 250 kilometers per hour to download data at speeds up to 1.5 Mbps (bits per second) or upload at speeds up to 500 Kbps.

By comparison, although 3G technology is capable of a theoretical speed up to 2 Mbps in a stationary position under ideal conditions, most mobile phone operators are currently offering download speeds of around 384 Kbps and upload speeds of 128 Kbps. Those operators that upgrade their 3G networks with new HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) technology initially expect to offer throughput rates of between 400 Kbps and 600 Kbps, with a peak rate of 14.4 Mbps.

Initially, customers of T-Mobile Slovensko will be offered mobile data speeds up to 1 Mbps for downloading data and 256 Kbps for uploading. Siemens AG built the network.

Last year, Siemens struck a deal with Flarion to integrate Flash-OFDM into its new broadband wireless access systems, and collaborated with T-Mobile in the Continent's first trial of Flash-OFDM technology in The Hague, Netherlands.

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