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GPRS
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Key User Features of GPRS

The General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) is a new nonvoice value added service that allows information to be sent and received across a mobile telephone network. It supplements today’s Circuit Switched Data and Short Message Service. GPRS is NOT related to GPS (the Global Positioning System), a similar acronym that is often used in mobile contexts. GPRS has several unique features which can be summarized as:

SPEED

Theoretical maximum speeds of up to 171.2 kilobits per second (kbps) are achievable with GPRS using all eight timeslots at the same time. This is about three times as fast as the data transmission speeds possible over today’s fixed telecommunications networks and ten times as fast as current Circuit Switched Data services on GSM networks.

IMMEDIACY

GPRS facilitates instant connections whereby information can be sent or received immediately as the need arises. No dial-up modem connection is necessary. This is why GPRS users are sometimes referred to be as being "always connected". Immediacy is one of the advantages of GPRS (and SMS) when compared to Circuit Switched Data. High immediacy is a very important feature for time critical applications such as remote credit card authorization where it would be unacceptable to keep the customer waiting for even thirty extra seconds.

NEW APPLICATIONS, BETTER APPLICATIONS

GPRS facilitates several new applications that have not previously been available over GSM networks due to the limitations in speed of Circuit Switched Data (9.6 kbps) and message length of the Short Message Service (160 characters). These applications, described later in this white paper, range from web browsing to file transfer to home automation- the ability to remotely access and control in-house appliances and machines.

SERVICE ACCESS

To use GPRS, users specifically need:

a mobile phone or terminal that supports GPRS (existing GSM phones do NOT support GPRS)

a subscription to a mobile telephone network that supports GPRS

use of GPRS must be enabled for that user. Automatic access to the GPRS may be allowed by some mobile network operators, others will require a specific opt-in

knowledge of how to send and/or receive GPRS information using their specific model of mobile phone, including software and hardware configuration (this creates a customer service requirement)

a destination to send or receive information through GPRS. Whereas with SMS this was often another mobile phone, in the case of GPRS, it is likely to be an Internet address, since GPRS is designed to make the Internet fully available to mobile users for the first time. From day one, GPRS users can access any web page or other Internet applications- providing an immediate critical mass of uses.

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