Nokia Siemens celebrated 20 years of GSM. What happened to rest of the industry?

On July 1, Nokia Siemens Networks celebrated 20 years of
GSM service. What happened to the rest of the industry? We did not hear
anything big from the industry associations who have supported GSM. We did not
hear encouraging words from other leading equipment vendors. Many operators
were also absent in the celebration. Is there nothing to celebrate for GSM that
covered 80 percent of world’s population?

The mobile industry is going through unusual turbulence.
More active participation of industry members will give strong direction to the

We can welcome the 20th birthday of GSM as it
changed the world in the last two decades. We are more connected thanks to GSM
technology and the mobile operators who committed their precious time and funds
for the development and promotion of the technology.

Many business houses tested waters. Companies like BT
burnt their fingers. Several companies have failed to do business. However,
majority received significant returns on their investments and they committed
more funds to grab more market share. The virtual monopoly of GSM in the mobile
space will continue despite challenging situations.

The last decade saw the near collapse of Motorola and
Nortel and the emergence of Apple, BlackBerry, Huawei, ZTE and others in the
mobile space.

GSM operators, in collaboration with top infrastructure
equipment vendors such as Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks, ZTE, Huawei, and
others and their industry association, did a commendable job in the last one

Thanks to Vodafone’s pioneering emerging markets
initiatives, many operators started hunting for rural subscribers for extra

The current decade offers enough uncertainties to the
industry. We are not sure what will be the next breakthrough technology after
LTE. What will be the impact of 3G investments in emerging countries? Will mobile
internet save operators? What will happen to some of the leading equipment
vendors? Will they face the fate of Nortel?

The GSM family of technologies, standardized by 3GPP, has
evolved further to EDGE, 3G and LTE. Third generation 3G WCDMA networks have
higher data speeds and more capacity for mobile broadband services.

LTE, already in commercial operation in over 20 networks
worldwide, marks the next step in technology evolution. The main driver for LTE
is the need for data capacity for mobile broadband services. GSM, 3G and LTE
are evolutionary technologies, with networks being built and expanded according
to the needs of coverage and capacity, with seamless interworking between the

Today’s 838 GSM networks in 234 countries and independent
territories around the world have more than 4.4 billion subscriptions. GSM is
still growing fast, with 1 million new GSM subscriptions being added every day.
That’s a rate of nearly 12 a second.

Baburajan K
[email protected]