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why did GSM not take off in the US sooner?

Discussion in 'GENERAL Wireless Discussion' started by ronin, Feb 26, 2004.

  1. ronin

    ronin Junior Member
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    i don't intend this question as a GSM vs CDMA debate, but rather a GSM vs TDMA debate. I know that at one time Sprint was GSM, and also Bell South Mobility DCS (in my area) was also GSM. Sprint converted to CDMA, i don't know what DCS did, maybe they became part of Cingular and went TDMA? now we have cingular/att converting to GSM.

    So what was it about TDMA that surpassed GSM into the market place? As I understand GSM it has greater capacity and of course the SIM card makes it much more flexible and TDMA, so if GSM was already here, why not build that out, instead of going to TDMA?
     
  2. Bugwart

    Bugwart Bronze Senior Member
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    AT&T Wireless was the big driving force behind TDMA. This was their baby.

    They ruled out CDMA as unproven technology. They may have also ruled out GSM for the same reason. Bear in mind that "unproved" really meant NIH. CDMA was Qualcomm technology, not AT&T technology. GSM was European technology, not AT&T technology.

    Pragmatically, it is easier and cheaper to convert an AMPS network to TDMA than to GSM, since both AMPS and TDMA use the ANSI-41 core. GSM uses the MAP core. (The same argument also works for the AMPS to CDMA conversion.)

    Many networks in the Americas followed AT&T as they needed to upgrade their AMPS networks to digital. For many TDMA was the digital technology of choice.
     
  3. ronin

    ronin Junior Member
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    thanks for the information.

    hindsight is 20/20, but it just seems retarded to me, now that the tdma is going gsm.
     
  4. Matt

    Matt Twin girls!
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    Also, the GSM North America providers weren't thinking "national" when they started building their networks. The original idea was dozen(s) of smaller regional providers, with roaming of course. The industry didn't turn out that way, and consolidation among the GSM providers didn't start until Western Wireless spun off VoiceStream Wireless as a publicly traded company in either late 98 or early 99. It didn't take long - May 99 - for VS to make their first purchase and GSM consolidation to begin.
     
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  5. ronin

    ronin Junior Member
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    that seems like a silly model for business. why wouldn't you think national? is it cheaper to maintain a small network and pay roaming for your customers, or is it better (cheaper) to have a more national network, and make your money in volume?
     
  6. COtech

    COtech Bronze Senior Member
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    BellSouth Mobility DCS stayed GSM, and became part of Cingular Wireless.
    "Not Invented Here" explains it well enough. GSM appeared only on 1900 MHz in North America until Cingular started the 800 MHz conversion TDMA to GSM (and 1900 MHz TDMA to GSM).

    COtech
     
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  7. Bugwart

    Bugwart Bronze Senior Member
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    Of the early GSM systems, only Omnipoint pushed international roaming. Pac Bell had nothing about international roaming on their web site for at least one year.
     
  8. agentHibby

    agentHibby Iowa Cellular Guru
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    Was this a test market?? Or was it certain markets were GSM originally because of affiliates.
    Sprint Cellular was going to CDMA at the time when it was sold to 360 communications.

    I do not know much about Sprint PCS at the start. There was a guy in the class ahead of me that went to Drake University in Des Moines at the time. His family from what I understand are BIG SPRINT FANS!! I talked around Christmas of 1997 and he told me about Sprint PCS and I saw his phone. Since their was nothing in the mall where I went to during 96-98, I did not know that Des Moines was one the many markets that started on day one of Sprint PCS. They were CDMA then, but that does not mean other markets were GSM, or they were testing it back in the day.
     
  9. ronin

    ronin Junior Member
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    my guess would be because of affiliates. bell south mobility dcs was gsm in my area as well, back then.
     
  10. Matt

    Matt Twin girls!
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    Sprint was the first operator in the PCS band. They launched their GSM service, Sprint Spectrum, in the Wash/Balt metro area in Novemeber 1995. Around 1997 or so, they decided to go nationwide with CDMA, and they built a 2nd network in the Wash/Balt market and left the GSM market alone for about two years or so. They tried to entice everyone over to their CDMA network here, and sold the GSM network to Omnipoint/VoiceStream in late December 1999. VoiceStream branded service launched in May 2000 here, but I since I knew some people I was able to get their service in Feb. 2000. The network was very small compared to what it is today since from 1997 until early 2000, it wasn't expanded at all. However, it was built well originally, it was just small.
     
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  11. agentHibby

    agentHibby Iowa Cellular Guru
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    Ok what I understand that the PCS licenses were given out from auction #4 in early 1996?? I don't know alot about PCS until 2000.
    The name Sprint Spectrum did not come around until 1998 what I understand before that I was told it was called Wirelessco?? 1995-98
    could be wrong on all of this [​IMG]
     
  12. agentHibby

    agentHibby Iowa Cellular Guru
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    What I undstand Sprint PCS started Dec 1996???
     
  13. Matt

    Matt Twin girls!
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    Sprint PCS launched CDMA in 1996 (look at their ads - I think it still says (c) Sprint Spectrum, L.P. at the bottom!)

    Here is a little more background on Sprint Spectrum in DC. It was a shared investment. At this point Sprint had dropped the GSM references. link

    There were three early awards of PCS licenses before the auction in 95:


    link2

    One more

    However, the network wasn't shut down. This was published in August 1999, and in December 1999 the DC/Balt Sprint Spectrum GSM network was bought by Omnipoint/VoiceStream jointly.

    link3
     
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  14. agentHibby

    agentHibby Iowa Cellular Guru
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    Thanks for the info Matt!!!
    people I talked to find in on Sprint were works in Des Moines who worked their for a few years back in 2001.
    AT least Sprint has ran once under their real name.
     

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